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Process modeling: Smooth collaboration with the help of BPMN

In every company that uses business software to handle its daily business, smooth and efficient processes are crucial. When modeling these processes, a BPMN tool can optimize the cooperation between the business department and the IT department.

BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation) is a specification language for the graphical representation of processes, which is now a certified standard. It offers various symbols that can be used to model and document business processes and workflows. There are already many process engines available that can execute processes specified with BPMN.

For which use cases is the application of BPMN suitable?

Besides a profitable documentation of already existing business processes, BPMN also supports the introduction of new processes as well as the improvement of existing processes in organizational terms or through software solutions. The actual goal is to represent reality in the model that its complexity is reduced.

Why can BPMN be so helpful in a company?

The problem is always that a process must be easily readable for the business department and at the same time precise enough (including all technical details) to be implemented in the IT system (e.g. Dynamics 365 Business Central). The use of a BPMN tool serves in the first instance as a bridge between IT and business and increases transparency.

Processes specified by BPMN are intended to provide the business department with a logical sequence of workflows, which are to be modeled in a generally understandable way for all parties involved. The IT department, on the other hand, is concerned with the technical view of an executed process (largely with the automation of processes). The BPMN tool combines both areas and provides support from the design phase to technical system development. This creates a common understanding and knowledge transfer between both parties – internally and across departments.

In addition, the use of BPMN helps to optimize existing processes and structures. In this way, for example, bottlenecks can be identified, and resource management can be reconsidered. Moreover, interfaces and the scope of processes can be reduced. Furthermore, a possible automation through BPMN makes work easier.

Concrete application scenarios

There are numerous possibilities for the use of BPMN. For example, the process of an application for leave or the approval workflow of a purchase order could be significantly simplified and run completely paperless. Based on the BPMN model, the application for leave or the purchase order to be reviewed is passed between the various approval levels and revised if necessary until it finally  returns to the requester. Approvers (e.g. supervisors or authorized employees) are asked for approval or rejection only digitally and the requester is informed of the decision at the end. Such automated processes ensure IT support, higher throughput, visibility into process status and finally an automatic proof.

Process modelling with BPMN
BPMN model of a simplified approval workflow of a purchase order

In summary, BPMN ensures consistent communication between business departments and IT. In addition, processes are standardized, and readability is increased due to the standardization. Furthermore, BPMN contributes to the optimization of structures and processes and ensures optimization in all areas due to automation.

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