What is Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN)?

Business Process Modelling Notation

BPMN stands for business process modelling notation. The BPMN is the result of the business process modelling initiative (BPMI), whose aim is to provide a notation that can be readily understood by all business users and that ensures that various business execution languages can be visualised.

History of BPMN

The Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) specification is one of the most recent developments within the world of workflow specification and design, having been published by the Object Management Group in 2004.

Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) is an international standard for modelling business processes that were developed by the Object Management Group (OMG) and published as ISO/IEC 19971. It was launched in November 2004 and is currently being revised as ISO/IEC 19979-1:2010, but is also available under the alternative name Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN).

The specification was originally published as a joint project between the IBM and Microsoft teams, but was later adopted by the OMG and has been under development ever since. The most notable features of BPMN include its ability to represent different types of business process models and the introduction of a graphical approach to workflow design, allowing designers to easily view their workflows and communicate their work with stakeholders.

BPMN is primarily used for defining models of business processes and business systems and is a graphical notation for business process modelling. In this respect, it is similar to the Unified Modeling Language (UML), which was published as ISO/IEC 1144 in 1991. The BPMN models are expressed in graphical symbols that are easier to understand and use than textual modelling languages. BPMN is, therefore, suitable for use by non-technical people, whereas the textual modelling languages are often more difficult to understand and work with, particularly by business people.

Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) is one of the most powerful and easy to use business process modelling technologies. This is large because of how simple it is to create, understand, and model business processes in BPMN. I like to think that BPMN is the perfect blend between a simple and user-friendly modelling notation, and a more “serious” modelling language.

The three main aims are to define the notation and its association semantics and to amalgamate all best-practice modelling notations (interestingly enough, including the UML).

Although this is an excellent initiative that has yielded outstanding results, the BPMN is far too narrow to meet the stringent requirements for process modelling identified in this book.

Indeed, the introduction of the process meta-model will show that seven views need to be considered – four of which are realised by structural diagrams, for which the BPMN has no facility. Also, the BPMN does not consider the requirements for a process that are essential for any process validation.

This means that, in total, the BPMN could only be used to realise two of the seven views required for effective and complete process modelling.

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