Business Process Modelling (BPM) Best Practice
A business process could be defined as the self-contained, logical order of activities, that are executed for the transformation of an business object with the goal of accomplishing a given task.
As key business processes are typically valuable corporate assets, process modelling can be used to define, analyse, improve and even automate these tasks, all of which support the business process management (BPM) process. Effective process modelling makes use of a common naming convention and methodology, shows the integration of processes with systems, organisations and data, and supports process walkthroughs for validation.
These models, as represented above in swimlane format, represent the benchmark process flow upon which further “what-if” analysis can be measured and in turn supports process reengineering for the introduction of improvements and efficiencies.
One approach to process modelling is to use a modelling tool such as ARIS from IDS Scheer that applies a defined Grammar (syntax, semantics, notation) and supports a proven methodology (conventions, lifecycle, process). A modelling grammar provides the set of principles and rules against the use of a defined set of symbols used to visualise entity relationships. The modelling methodology typically follows accepted standards specifying the syntax, semantics and notation applied through the modelling process lifecycle.
The best modelling tools also offer reference models and lifecycle management tools to facilitate the modelling process. A step further is for the application to offer workflow modelling and execution, such as YAWL.
So what really contributes to the success of a process modelling exercise?
In addition to the actual “process of process modelling” (conducting interviews. workshops etc) and the use of an effective modelling application, other key success factors include the level of senior management support for the project and access to staff with sufficient application domain knowledge. One point to always remember though is that different stakeholders (model designer v contributor v consumer) will always have a differing view of the process due to their organisational role and skill set eg. Business or IT focus. Factors of difference will include the perceived usefulness, ease of use and overall satisfaction of the models intended use.
And finally, a view of the process modelling roadblocks and the current issues identified in a study by Indulska, Recker and Rosemann from both an academic and practitioner perspective. Through this study it became clear that academics typically concentrate on the functional process modelling properties whilst BPM practitioners are more concerned with process adoption issues.
This disconnect between academia and process application is further highlighted in the following perceived benefits of process modelling table:
So where does that leave us now? Ready to discuss model governance and process execution…..
Big thanks to Professor Michael Rosemann and Dr Jan Recker of the QUT BPM group for the use of the information contained in this post! 🙂
Highly recommended reading:
Becker, Kugeler, Rosemann. Process Management. Springer-Verlag, August 2003. ISBN 3540434992
Factors and measures of business process modelling: model building through a multiple case study. Wasana Bandara, Guy G Gable and Michael Rosemann. European Journal of Information Systems (2005) 14, 347–360
Indulska, M., Green, P., Recker, J., Rosemann, M. (2009): Business Process Modeling: Perceived Benefits. The 28th International Conference on Conceptual Modeling. Springer, Gramado, Brazil
Indulska, M., Recker, J., Rosemann, M., Green, P. (2009): Business Process Modeling: Current Issues and Future Challenges. In P. van Eck, J. Gordijn, and R. Wieringa (eds.): Advanced Information Systems Engineering – CAiSE 2009. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 5565. Springer, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 501-514.