20/10/2021
Banking Blog Business Insurance

BPMN standard — what is it, and why should you use it?

Altkom 6 min Read

Effective management is the key to the success of any enterprise. Sooner or later, the obviousness of this will impact any company not attaching much importance to this issue. Thus, companies are constantly looking for new solutions that will give them an advantage over the competition. One such may be the BPMN standard — what do you need to know about it?

Business during the pandemic — how has it changed?

The fact that the future of mankind is digital has been talked about for several decades. The possibilities of computers, software and the Internet seem limitless, and talking about them seems to be repeating clichés these days. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how much the economy of Poland (and the world) is still “offline”. It is worth noting that the necessity of switching to remote work proved the thesis that the presence of employees and staff in the office for many hours is often not necessary at all. 

On the other hand, the current approach to business processes was often a source of chaos, which in many cases took months to control. It should be emphasized that the problem was not only organizational but that there were also technical obstacles: outdated and inefficient hardware and software often could not cope with greater loads or were not suitable for expansion into new functionalities. These problems have been highlighted by the pandemic, which forced the sudden transition of individual departments or even entire companies into “online” mode. 

Find out how to flexibly manage the digital sales and service process.

Business digitization — how should it be implemented?

It is also worth mentioning here that the “wild” digitization of business turned out to be a serious problem in the reality of the pandemic. It consists of a not fully thought-out selection of solutions or their constant patching and modernization. In many cases, this resulted in a paradoxical situation in which the IT systems of companies, instead of supporting the introduction of new solutions, inhibited them. Most often due to the lack of appropriate capabilities, producer support, etc. This phenomenon, referred to as legacy systems, affected not only small entities but also large enterprises, generating significant losses and extending the time necessary to adapt to the new reality. 

That is why it is so important to anticipate needs and choose long-term solutions, which at the same time give the possibility of free expansion and adaptation of usability to changes in the business. Currently, the best solution, in this case, seems to be the use of BPM (business process management) solutions. 

Business process mapping — what do you need to know about it?

One of the elements inherent in business process management is its mapping and modelling. Generally speaking, these activities rely on a clear description of a given task and its optimization. Of course, depending on the organization, business processes differ in their complexity and nature. In any case, however, the purpose of this activity is to identify errors and correct them. The result is a more efficient operation of the entire enterprise, which on the one hand brings benefits to the organization — in the form of greater efficiency and profits — and on the other hand, also benefits employees whose workload is reduced. 

Properly implemented management of business processes minimizes the number of unnecessary activities, allows for more effective use of time, and often eliminates various types of office absurdities.

What is BPMN standard?

As we have already mentioned, business process mapping is one of the elements of BPM. However, for it to be effective, an appropriate “language” is needed for this task, which is accessible, unambiguous and comprehensible, and for other software as well. Such features are possessed by BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation), i.e., the standard of graphic notation used to image business processes. The Object Management Group consortium is responsible for maintaining and developing this notation. Additional advantages of BPMN include the possibility of using it both for ERP and Workflow software, as well as for many other available tools. 

The BPMN schema — what does it contain?

What is crucial in the case of the BPMN standard is the very effect of business process modelling. It takes the form of a more or less complex diagram, based on several indications such as, inter alia, flow nodes, connections, execution sites, data objects, artifacts and decorators. They are all used to describe processes, which requires dividing them into various types of subtypes — events, activities, gates or conversations. 

Such detail is not accidental, as it allows for a very accurate mapping of the processes taking place in the organization and reaching the level of a single event. Of course, this makes the business process diagram prepared in the BPMN standard seem unreadable at first glance. But it allows you to accurately trace the process and catch even small nuances that are the source of errors or other problems. 

BPMN 2.0

Speaking of the BPMN standard, it should also be mentioned that this solution is constantly evolving. The version currently in use is 2.0, which will not be the last. Like all other tools, BPMN is also constantly evolving, which requires users to implement new solutions. On the other hand, it also ensures maximum adaptation to changing needs. 

BPM Camunda — what makes it stand out?

Currently, the BPMN standard is used by several platforms, among which Camunda is one of the most popular. It works on an open-source basis and is characterized by lightness and high efficiency. Its additional advantage is the fact that it offers support not only for BPMN 2.0 but also for DMN 1.1 and CMMN 1.1. From the point of view of the organization it will also be important that this platform is easy to integrate with other systems, can be configured and adapted to needs, and also has the support of the community or our company.

BPMN standard vs UML

Any potential user of the BPMN standard will find it interesting to compare it with UML (Unified Modelling Language). At first glance, the two systems look similar, but in practice, they differ significantly. Most importantly, UML is used more widely as a universal visual modelling language in software development. On the other hand, BPMN focuses on the visualization and modelling of specific business processes. In practice, this means that the latter standard is used by analysts, programmers and other people directly involved in managing business processes. 

Focusing on the BPMN standard is a great way to analyse and improve the functioning of any organization. Such tools are usually used by businesses, but this does not always have to be the case. Especially noteworthy in this case are platforms such as Camunda, whose capabilities are really large (and constantly developed), and the cost of implementation and maintenance is relatively low.