Getting into the nitty-gritty of business processes takes planning. You’re meant to consider, among other things, the purpose and placement of each container and activity within a process. In addition, you have to think about what portions of the workload are split up for different activities, where they converge along the workflow, and even how large a workload can be at any given stage of the process.
This, of course, is part of that planning phase, but it’s not enough to write down the specifications in a list. Instead, with business processes, it’s almost always more helpful, more efficient, and more communicative to use BPMN, or business process model and notation.
What Is BPMN?
BPMN is a system of modeling and writing down the structure of business processes for a complete and preemptive understanding of how they work. Everything from the order of steps to the size of a workload can be notated in a BPMN diagram, and because it’s a standardized language, BPMN is used across various industries to accomplish the same thing everywhere. Whether it’s on your computer or an old-fashioned “pen and paper” diagram, BPMN is a useful tool for planning. But that’s not the only thing it happens to be good for.
How Can You Use BPMN?
Business process model and notation proves very useful for planning out a process long before it’s built, but there are other uses: you can implement this modeling system to diagnose a process, for example, finding bottlenecks in the workflow and even developing different solutions in a mathematical way long before implementing the specific fix in question.
How does this work? BPMN is designed to reduce the process itself into variables and constants, into numbers that can be used to define flow rate, workload size, capacity of specific activities in the process, and much more. By using these variables to define and inform your process, when you find the math isn’t adding up to a desired outcome, you can rearrange the workflow and try again. Adding activities, splitting up workloads, or even testing out a change in capacity can all be done without wasting hours and money, all through modeling the process with these mathematical breakdowns. That’s one of the main values of BPMN that comes across no matter what industry or type of process you build.
But there’s more to this mathematical diagnosis and prognosis. With computer programs capable of helping you to model these processes, you can find red flags much more easily when building the process model in the first place. This helps in various ways, with one of the most impactful ways being that you will more easily avoid much of the heartache that could be caused by first building a flawed process, and then having to diagnose such a process. You have the ability now to find many of those flaws first, and not have to act on them later.
Another added benefit of BPMN is the universality of its structure. You can use this to communicate to anyone, on any level of the organization, the planned outcomes of a process in detail. Due to its visual style, with flows coded with various shapes to indicate different stages in the process, it’s easily understandable at a glance, and for those, say engineers, who need more specific details, that’s all written in as well. You can even use this visual modeling to your benefit by demonstrating varieties of the process in mind, and to discuss the benefits of each variation at length. In this way, BPMN proves not only a tool for planning processes, but also in optimizing them to great effect.
How Does Digital BPMN Work?
The largest benefits of “pen and paper” BPMN diagrams are those shown above: planning and optimization. However, with those that are designed on the computer, there are other benefits to consider. If you have a digital workflow, then using BPMN means you can actually set up your process, piece by piece, in a way that’s easy to understand and audit for red flags as you’re building it.
More than just setup, though, BPMN in the cloud works to offer process visibility that’s unmatched, and even to help you automate the process. By having a distinct role in setting up, identifying, and activating process stages, a BPMN platform can not only scale tasks, but it can orchestrate them according to the design you’ve laid out.
By following BPMN flow, these types of platforms are capable of kickstarting and monitoring the process from head to toes, all in multiple cloud applications as needed. With the simple integrations that this type of BPMN tool offers, it’s easier than ever to properly determine the timing, activation, and outcomes of each process stage to your benefit.
There’s more to BPMN than something to look at: you have a tool that’s capable of helping you to build, design, communicate, and diagnose your business processes in whatever way is needed. With the advent of using workflow orchestration tools comes the benefit of combining that automation and monitoring with the benefits that BPMN already has to offer, and in so doing, users now have a BPMN tool that serves an even greater, more versatile purpose.
It’s important to know where everything’s going in a digital workflow, and to visualize it is one thing that can seriously help your efforts when building such a process. Even more important, though, is knowing exactly where and when certain tasks need to be done, and being able to do so, all within the cloud. That’s where a BPMN platform comes in, so you don’t have to do it alone.