- Pools & lanes
- Connecting objects
Business Process Model and Notation 2.0 (BPMN 2.0) is an international industry standard for digital process modeling. Processes in your company that run the same or very similar over and over again can be digitally mapped and automated with BPMN. The industry standard BPMN 2.0 can be used across tools and systems to model and automate business processes.
Purpose and benefits of BPMN
BPMN basically pursues two main goals. First, modeling helps to visually look at process flows from a high level of view. This promotes the understanding of the overall process from the initial step to the finished result. Secondly, business processes modeled with BPMN are ideally suited for automated execution of the steps they contain.
With the help of this concept, existing processes can be documented, evaluated and improved. New processes can also be strategically designed and implemented. The automation results in massive cost advantages due to the fast and error-free execution.
OMNITRACKER BPMN supports modeling with the OMNITRACKER BPMN Modeler; automation of already modeled processes is realized via the OMNITRACKER BPMN Engine.
Business process modeling with BPMN building bridges between business departments and IT department
Initial situation without BPMN
|Business departments||IT department|
Advantages of business process modeling with BPMN
The modeling language BPMN acts here as a bridge that connects the requirements of both “worlds”. Process models can be created easily and transparently, so that it is clear at a glance which subprocesses, which departments or systems are involved in the process, where decisions occur or actions are triggered.
- Easy creation of models even without a technical background
- Both simple and complex models that are scalable and extensible
- Technical enrichment in a sufficiently high level of detail
- Organizational process management and automation possible
Which elements does BPMN consist of?
BPMN models always have the same structure and always use the same predefined elements as process modules. This simplifies operation, so that new models can be created more quickly and existing models can be easily extended or adapted. Behind each BPMN element is a specific technical functionality.
Pools & Lanes
Each BPMN model is divided into horizontal (more rarely vertical) areas (pools and lanes), which indicate which persons or which departments execute the activities of a process. Usually, a role concept is used here, so that tasks are not assigned to individuals, but to a group of people who take on a defined role. Pools and lanes can also define organizational boundaries.
Within a pool, a process is fully mapped; a pool is effectively the outer boundary of a workflow. Processes can be linked to each other via connecting objects (files or messages sent or received). External pools are represented as black boxes.
Lanes (also called swim lanes) subdivide a pool, for example, by responsibility and role. Sequence flows specify the order of execution and link activities.
Activities (blue fields) describe concrete steps within a process. Sequence flows (arrows) connect activities with each other and indicate the order of execution of the individual activities. Several activities can be separated out as subprocesses in order to reduce the complexity of a process. In practice, tasks are then generated from the individual activities and assigned to individuals or to a group based on roles.
A task is an atomic activity within a process. Atomic here means that the task cannot be split into further elements.
A call activity is used to have a global task or process started. Such a call is synchronous, that is, the call activity waits for the global task or process to finish.
An event subprocess is started automatically when a specific event occurs (via an incoming sequence flow). The event must be specified in the start event of the process model.
Sequence flows (solid arrows) control the sequence of activities and events as well as the passing through gateways; they thus indicate the "reading direction" of a BPMN model.
Associations (dotted arrows/lines) show dependencies to data objects, IT systems and notes. In notes, for example, documentation can be referenced so that manual tasks are also performed correctly and with fewer queries.
Message flows (dashed arrows) are used for communication between the different pools. This allows individual processes to be linked to each other. Message flows can also originate from activities or events.
Tokens are used for the controlled and trackable flow of individual steps. They indicate the position at which a process is currently being executed. From a technical point of view, tokens also control when an activity (task) may be started and when it is considered finished.
Gateways are decision points and are represented as diamonds. They regulate according to which logic (incoming and outgoing) sequence flows are connected to each other. For more flexibility in process modeling with BPMN, in addition to simpler gateways, even more complex ones are available, such as instantiating event-based gateways.
Forwards an incoming token to exactly one outgoing sequence flow whose condition is true (or to the default flow if none of the conditions are true). This gateway can be used to control which of the possible activities should be triggered next.
An example: You go to a restaurant and have to choose exactly one dish.
Forwards one newly created token per incoming token to all outgoing sequence flows. Merging parallel gateways wait for all incoming sequence flows. This gateway can be used to trigger multiple activities in parallel.
An example: You go to a restaurant and have to decide on a precisely prescribed number of several dishes.
Depending on the specified condition, only one token is generated on one sequence flow or multiple tokens are generated on different sequence flows. So several activities can follow, but it can also stay with only one activity.
An example: You go to a restaurant and you can decide yourself whether you order only one dish or several.
Events are specially marked in BPMN so that the rough structure of a process can be seen at a glance. Events show where the process or subprocess starts and where it ends. Furthermore, relevant intermediate steps within the process can be highlighted visually.
- Start of a process
- Simple outline
- Additionally marked green in OMNITRACKER
- Between tasks
- Change in process execution
- Double outline
- Additionally marked yellow in OMNITRACKER
- End of a process
- Thick outline
- Additionally marked red in OMNITRACKER
These three event types can be modified if necessary, so that, for example, the process is terminated, messages are sent or another process is triggered. Numerous conditions can also be attached to events, so that the process can be deliberately delayed until a certain point in time (such as a specified date) is reached.
The precise control via events makes BPMN processes so flexible and enables immense resource advantages in the secure automation of business processes.
What is a subprocess in BPMN?
A subprocess (expandable, indicated by a plus symbol at the bottom of the activity) starts the first contained activity and waits until the last activity of the subprocess has been completely executed. Only then does the process follow the rest of the sequence flow.
Subprocesses simplify the creation and ensure the error-free execution of frequently used work steps. Subprocesses control the chronological sequence of a BPMN model and keep it clearer.
Subprocesses can be reused as call activities in different processes (comparable to a template) once you have modeled them. This reduces effort and risk and leads to uniform process flows.
Simple sample process with BPMN
An example process from the HR environment should give a better understanding of the interaction of all BPMN elements. The process starts with the person responsible for onboarding the new professional. After verification, all necessary steps are initiated by the IT department to ensure that everything is ready on the first working day. This is, for example, the (parallel) creation of all necessary accounts as well as the ordering of hardware. Only the last step in the process chain—setting up the workstation—is subject to a time limit so that the workstation is ready “just in time”.
Since many of the activities included always run in the same way, the actual execution can be controlled automatically via so-called service tasks—such as the creation of new accounts in an IT system. External systems are controlled via BPMN connectors.
Automation with BPMN | Start into digitalization
Historical context: development to BPMN 2.0
The revised version of BPMN was released in 2011 and relies on a standardized xml format that can be imported and exported. This enables an exchange between different BPMN systems. ISO/IEC 19510:2013 has declared version 2.0.1 to be an international standard. With the modeling language BPMN, companies rely on an established procedure for modeling and automating business processes.
The version upgrade to version 2 includes the following features:
- Functions can be extended themselves.
- Events can be modified and extended in a fine-granular way.
- Human interactions can now be better mapped within models.
- Processes can be coordinated more harmoniously.
Conclusion for version 2.0
The entire process landscape of a company can now be mapped via a process map. Together with the extended control functions mentioned above, it is now much easier to merge BPMN processes across departments. The economic potential of such a holistic automation network is enormous.
Just 5 steps to your BPMN software solutionSend us an individual request according to your needs.
BPMN Network: OMNINET is a member of the Model Interchange Working Group
The MIWG (Model Interchange Working Group) is an organization that brings people and companies together and promotes professional exchange on the topic of BPMN.
The group aims to support tool vendors in the development and more efficient use of the BPMN standard. OMNINET is part of this international association and thus a decisive innovation driver in the field of process automation with BPMN.
OMNITRACKER BPMN Foundation Training: the fast introduction to BPMN
After this theoretical introduction, you would like to model BPMN processes yourself? With practical exercises in the OMNITRACKER BPMN Foundation Training you will get a feeling for the syntax and the practical flow of a BPMN modeling. Of course, the most important theory (all symbols, elements, terms, etc.) is refreshed in the training itself, so you don't need any previous knowledge or have to be a customer.
The goal of the three-day training is that you build up the necessary know-how in theory and practice to create (automatable) BPMN diagrams yourself from scratch.
Next dates, prices and a detailed description of the training can be found in our training calendar.