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Why BPMN: What does it offer?

Processes Blog

In our previous article ( we explained what are the favourable conditions for the emergence of this notation and the avidity of a "deregulated" market or without a common language. We also explained the main reasons for the consolidation of BPMN as explicit modeling language for business processes.

In this article we will work to deepen the qualities inherent in the notation that make their adoption is a good bet for companies that want to improve their processes, detecting flaws and needs, an investment with a high rate of return on investment. They can be summarized as: simplicity, expressive power, visual language, standardization and interaction between business people with each other and with IT people. Then it delves into each of these reasons.


A modeling language must be accessible. For people involved in the definition of processes in the various user departments - Sales, Marketing, etc. - Who they are readers of the diagrams, even without knowing the details of its syntax and semantics, we can reason about their diagrams and have a clear understanding of what is being modeled.

BPMN easily meets this feature. As an example, you can see the following figure:

At first glance, and without knowing the details of the meanings of the arrows, squares and other plot elements, any reader can at least get an idea of ​​the process being modeled. From the diagram you can see that to successfully bring a process patent, there is a file involved, that information is checked, accepted that patents are recorded and reported through letters. It can also be seen involving a customer is asking the patent, a sector of logistics and business department.

The possibility of having immediately any information is essential for any organization because it can be easily performed by any sector / actor within it.

Expressive power
One factor often in conflict with the simplicity of a language is its expressive power. The expressiveness of a language defines what can pass the language. In general, the greater expressive power has a language (ie, the more it is able to transmit), more complex language. However, BPMN manage to keep simplicity in a highly expressive language.

While in a BPMN diagram elements are varied, they are easy to interpret. In the same they can express different types of messages (temporary, urgent, control, automatic, etc.), simple processes or compounds (processes that can be further divided into sub), manual or automatic activities, activities that are internal to the organization or external, distinguishing the various stakeholders, end and beginning of processes, parallel tasks, timing of events, decision making, etc.

Such a range of elements and diagrams allow the transmission with varying degrees of detail and accuracy all business processes that is relevant model for an organization.

Visual language
Visual languages ​​always have the plus, if well designed, to reflect graphically transcendent content, which results in greater efficiency and communicational power. BPMN clearly exhibits this feature through its various types of diagrams and elements.

The advantages offered a standard are clear: unifying concepts and uniformity within companies and across all industries that make use of the standard.
BPMN, since version 2.0, available since 2010, was established as the only standard for describing business processes.
All relevant actors know and understand, which facilitates and speeds up communication and analysis, including several open source.

Interaction with IT
The possibility of working with automated tools software allows quickly and effectively all kinds of analyzes to improve all the processes of the organization to perform. For example, with entries BPMN diagrams, tools can detect bottlenecks in business processes. You can easily detect those activities and likely to be improved in order to increase business productivity processes.

It is also easy to quickly get all those services that are performed by third parties in a process of an organization. Likewise, management tools can point to resources that are overloaded, or otherwise, who are involved in few tasks and / or activities as well as visualize critical activities in the development of a given process.

Bruno van Dam - CTO BPMCYT