BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation –BPMN-)

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BPMNBusiness Process Modeling NotationBPMNBusiness Process Modeling NotationBizAgiProcessModelerBusiness Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) is a graphical notation that describes the logic ofsteps in a business process. This notation has been especially designed to coordinate thesequence of processes and messages that flow between participants in different activities.Why is it important to model with BPMN? BPMN is an internationally accepted process modeling standard. BPMN is independent of any process modeling methodology. BPMN creates a standardized bridge which reduces the gap between businessprocesses and their implementation. BPMN enables you to model processes in a unified and standardized way so thateveryone in an organization can understand each other.Introduction to BPMNThe Business Process Modeling Notation - BPMN – provides a common language which allowsall the parties involved to communicate processes clearly, completely and efficiently. In this way,BPMN defines the notation and semantics of a Business Process Diagram (BPD).BPD is a diagram based on the ‘Flowchart’ technique, designed to present a graphical sequenceof all the activities that take place during a process. It also includes all relative information formaking an analysis.BPD is a diagram designed for the use of process analysts who design, control and manageprocesses. In a BPD diagram there are a series of graphical elements that are grouped intocategories.To introduce BPMN, the reader will find throughout this document a series of examples revolvingaround a Consumer Credit Application process.A Credit Application process begins with the recording of the application where the clientexpresses an interest in acquiring credit. This stage includes the presentation of the application,and the required documents to the organization for verification. This is followed by an analysis orstudy of the credit application and finally we find the activities needed to either disburse thecredit or to notify the client in case of rejection.

BPMNBusiness Process Modeling NotationBizAgiProcessModelerAs you can see in the above example, in a Business Process Diagram there are a number ofgraphical elements with which we represent a business process.In the above example we can see different types of elements that describe how the processworks. Within these elements are the activities that represent the work that was carried out,the beginning and end events, which indicate the starting point and completion of the process,plus the decision elements known in BPMN as Gateways, which indicate alternatives along theway. These elements are connected by means of Sequence Lines that show the process flow.At the beginning of the Credit Application Process there is the figure “Start Event”, whichindicates the beginning of the process. Processes can begin in different ways and BPMNprovides for different types of Start Events (simple, message, signal, etc.)At the end of this process we find the figure “End event", indicating termination of the process.As the graph shows, the process ends when the applicant is rejected, the credit application isnot approved or the loan is granted and disbursed.The gateway used in the above example is the Exclusive Gateway. As a decision element, thisgateway behaves like an “XOR”, in other words, only one of several given alternatives can betaken. In the Credit Application Process we can see two examples of the use of an exclusivegateway. The first one depends on the result of verifying the applicant’s information: the linemay run in one of two directions; if the result was “Applicant Rejected”, the process endsthere, and if the applicant was accepted, the process can continue. In the second example, thedecision is based on the result of the credit study: if the application is rejected, the client isnotified, if it is approved the credit is disbursed.If we look into the Credit Application Process, we discover activities that can be analyzed ingreater detail. One of these activities is checking the Information provided by the applicant.Credit organizations normally carry out several analyses of an applicant, verifying, forinstance, if the applicant is already a client of the organization, if they are a target client or,check the applicant’s financial situation.

BPMNBusiness Process Modeling NotationDepending on the above, the activities may or may not be compound. In BPMN, compoundactivities are known as Subprocesses, and atomic activities as tasks.BizAgiProcessModeler-Task: A task is carried out when the work in the process is not brokendown into more detail. It is executed by one person and/or oneapplication.-Subprocess: A Subprocess is a compound activity included in aprocess. It is compound because it includes a series of activities and alogical sequence (process) indicating that it can be analyzed in moredetail. Visually it can be “collapsed” or “expanded”.The process flow diagram of a Credit Application would look like this, when the InformationChecking activity is included as a subprocess.The subprocess of verifying the applicant’s Information would be as follows:It is also possible to show the Credit Application process with the expanded Client InformationChecking Subprocess, as follows:

BPMNBusiness Process Modeling NotationBizAgiProcessModelerAdditionally, within the Client Information Checking Subprocess, we find that the activities ofVerifying for Existing Client, Checking the Client Black List and Credit Bureau Consultation areautomatic tasks, that is to say, they are carried out by a system with no human intervention.This can be either an automatic device or a Web service. For diagramming these elements,BPMN provides a type of task called Automatic Task (Service).The subprocess of Verifying Applicants’ Information is shown in the following way, with theAutomatic activities:Another activity in the Credit Application process that can be carried out on a more detailedlevel is disbursement.

BPMNBusiness Process Modeling NotationBizAgiProcessModelerIf we look at the Disbursement subprocess (following diagram), we can see that there areseveral ways of disbursing the credit; deposit into an account, deposit into another loanaccount or by issuing a check. These forms are not necessarily mutually exclusive, in otherwords, a credit can be disbursed using just one of the available forms or using differentcombinations, such as one part by deposit into an account and another part by check. Thisbusiness situation is diagrammed by using the Inclusive Gateway as an element of decision;this gateway allows one or several of the routes to be activated, depending on the facts of theprocess.Once the credit has been disbursed, the client has to be notified of the result, but all thebranches that have been activated should be finalized in order to carry out the activity ofinforming the client. This is done by using the Inclusive Gateway as an element ofconvergence (synchronizer), which means that it will wait for all the activated branches beforecontinuing the flow.In the previous example we saw some notes in the process diagram. BPMN provides variousdevices to include additional information about the diagram, thus providing the reader withmore details about the process.In BPMN it is also possible to specify which activities are automatic (automatic tasks), whichactivities are carried out with the help of a system (user tasks) or which activities are carriedout manually (manual tasks), etc.In the Disbursement subprocess, tasks relating to deposit into an account, by check or depositinto another loan account are automatic tasks, since they are carried out by the systemwithout human intervention; we can also specify that the activity of “Issue of Check” is acompletely manual task and that the activity of completing disbursement information is madewith the aid of a device, which makes it a user task.

BPMNBusiness Process Modeling NotationBizAgiProcessModelerLet us suppose that, once the credit is approved, it is necessary to coordinate a date ofdisbursement with the client, meaning that the disbursement will only be made on the agreedday. It is, therefore, necessary to wait before carrying out the disbursement task. In thesecases, BPMN offers the Timer Intermediate Event, a type of intermediate event thatrepresents a period of waiting in the flow.Going back to the Credit Application process, it is possible that, at the moment the applicationis made, the client does not present all the required documents and the process cannotcontinue unless the documents are complete. It is therefore necessary to include a documentreceiving activity, but fulfillment of this activity depends on the client, not the organization’semployee. In this case a Simple Intermediate Event can be used.

BPMNBusiness Process Modeling NotationIn the above example, the Simple Intermediate Event “Receive Documents” representssomething that can happen during the process flow, that does not depend on the user but onan external factor.BizAgiProcessModelerNevertheless, the providing of documents is something that may or may not occur within theprocess, in other words, the client may not present the documents or take too long to do so.This makes it necessary to control the client’s time for presenting the documents and by thismeans we can follow-up pending applications. For this reason we need to diagram thefollowing situation in the credit application: The client has a given period of time to provide thedocuments; if this is not done within that period of time, the Simple Intermediate Event forreceiving documents is deactivated and contact is made with the client to follow-up theprocess. Nevertheless, if the documents are presented by the client within the establishedtime, they are checked, and the time that controls their delivery has to stop running, in otherwords, the Timer Intermediate Event is deactivated. To diagram this situation, we are goingto use the Exclusive Gateway based on events. This gateway permits activation of variousalternative routes but only one of them will be used, “the first one wins”, since it deactivates allthe others so that they will no longer be available.The process will be shown in the following way.

BPMNBusiness Process Modeling NotationFinally, business process diagrams normally use visual separators to indicate the roles orspecify who assumes different responsibilities in the activities of a process. BPMN allowsdiagramming of the different areas or participants that intervene in the process; for thispurpose we use swimlanes, and the process is expressed as follows:BizAgiProcessModeler

BPMNBusiness Process Modeling NotationWe have seen in the previous examples how some BPMN graphical elements have beenused. These BPMN elements are classified into four categories:BizAgiProcessModelerFlow Objects: these are the chief graphical elements that define the behavior of the processes.Among the Flow Objects, we find: Events: They consist of something that happens in the course of a businessprocess; they affect the flow of the process and usually have a cause anda result.In the above examples we use start, end and timer; these elements areevents and are classified in 3 types.Start EventsIntermediate EventsEnd EventsBPMN includes many ways of starting or ending a process, and there arealso many things that can happen in the course of the process, for thisreason there are different types of starting events, end events andintermediate events. Activities: These represent the work that is carried out as part of a businessprocess. The activities may be compound or not, which is why we useexamples of two existing types of activity:TaskSubprocessesAs we saw in the previous examples, there are different kinds of tasks(Simple, automatic, manual, user, and others) as well as of subprocesses(embedded, reusable, etc.) which allow us to diagram the processes ingreater depth, thereby providing more information and clarity for thereader.Gateways: These are modeling elements used to control the divergenceand convergence of the flow.There are 5 types of gateways. In the examples given in this document wewere able to see the use of the Exclusive Gateway (XOR) and theInclusive Gateway.The 5 types of gateways are:

BPMNBusiness Process Modeling NotationoooooBizAgiProcessModelerExclusive GatewayGateway Based on eventsParallel GatewayInclusive GatewayComplex GatewayConection Objects:These are the elements used to connect two objects in the process flow .Among the examples used were the Sequence Lines, which connect flow objectsand Associations, which are the dotted lines to help us associate notations in someflows.There are 3 types of connection objects:o Sequence Lineso Associationso Message LinesSwimLanes: These are elements used to organize flow activities in different visual categorieswhich represent functional areas, roles or responsibilities.o Poolso LanesArtifacts:Artifacts are used to provide additional information about the process.In the examples some notations were used in the flow.There are tree types:o Data Objectso Groupso AnnotationsIf you wish to practice what you have learned, download BizAgi Process Modeler totally free deler.htmlFor more information you may consult: Introduction to BPMN by Stephen A. to%20BPMN.pdf BPMN Specifications at 01.pdf