Business Process Modeling

Business process modeling (BPM) refers to the creation of a model of a business process in order to better understand that process. Business process modeling relies on conventions like Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) or Unified Modeling Language (UML) to set up models or simulations of a business process for evaluation and possible alteration.[1]

Along with business process discovery, process modeling is widely viewed as a critical component in successful business process management (BPM). It is used to map out an organization’s current (or “as-is”) processes to create a baseline for process improvements and to design future (or “to-be”) processes with those improvements incorporated. Process modeling often uses Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), a standard method of illustrating processes with flowchart-like diagrams that can be easily understood by both IT and business managers.[2]

The Purpose of Business Process Modeling[3]
A Business Process Model diagram is a tool - a means to an end, not a performance outcome in its own right. The final output is improvement in the way that the business process works. The focus of the improvements is on 'value added' actions that make the customer service and experience better, and on reducing wasted time and effort. There are two main different types of Business Process Models which are used to analyse, test, implement and improve the process:

  • the 'as is' or baseline model (the current situation)
  • and the 'to be' model (the intended new situation)

The aim of modelling is to illustrate a complete process, enabling managers, consultants and staff to improve the flow and streamline the process. The outcomes of a business process modelling project are essentially:

  • value for the customer, and
  • reduced costs for the company,
  • leading to increased profits.

Other secondary consequences arising from successful Business Process Modelling can be increased competitive advantage, market growth, and better staff morale and retention. There are no absolute rules for the scope or extent of a Business Process Model in terms of departments and activities covered. Before committing lots of resources to Business Process Modelling proper consideration should be given to the usefulness and focus of the exercise - ask the questions:

  • Does the modelling have the potential to produce gains that will justify the time and effort?
  • Will the modelling be structured so that people will understand the outputs (not too big and complex as to be self-defeating)?
  • Do people understand why we are doing it, and "what's in it for them"?

As with other management tools, there is no point producing a fantastically complex model that no-one can understand or use, just as it is a bit daft to spend hundreds of hours analyzing anything which is of relatively minor significance.

Business Process Modelling is a powerful methodology when directed towards operations which can benefit from improvement, and when people involved are on-board and supportive.

Business Process
Business Process Execution Language (BPEL)
Business Process Analytics
Business Process Architecture
Business Process Engine (BPE)
Business Process Improvement (BPI)
Business Process Automation
Business Process as a Service (BPaaS)
Business Process Change Cycle
Business Process Management (BPM)
Business Process Integration
Business Process Reengineering
Business Process Mapping
Business Process Model


  1. Defining Business Process Modeling Techopedia
  2. What is Business Process Modeling Techtarget
  3. The Purpose of Business Process Modeling Wikipedia

Further Reading

  • Business Process Modeling Techniques with Examples Creately
  • Business Process Modeling Defined Business Process Model CDC
  • Process Mapping Versus Process Modeling Appian
  • Understanding Business Process Modeling IBM