In future state of a business process in

In
the framework of BPM, business process modeling plays an important role and is
considered as the mechanism for describing current and future state of a business
process in an organization. Business process modeling is accountable
to produce a graphical representation of events, actions, decisions, flow
control, and links in the sequence that supports the administration of
organizational processes and their change decision. The change could be intense
or indirect, but business process models are capable to address it in terms of compliance,
efficiency and financial issues. In business or IT area, it considered as a
tool for process documentation, process automation, simplification of various
stakeholders interdependencies and to end for process execution.

Nowadays,
business process modeling has been considered as a fundamental approach towards
process management that benefits organization to remain efficient and
competitive in the dynamic market. Nevertheless, process modeling requires a
considerable asset in terms of suitable methodology, tool and lastly training guidelines
to model any business processes. It is apparent that for the accomplishment of any process model, employees
are the main reason. Hence, in order to get full benefits of process modeling,
the employee should handle process
modeling appropriately. There are many modeling techniques available in the
market, and selection is not easy as the company
needs to understand which technique is suitable for the business environment and most importantly it can be easily
understood by company staffs. To get overcome the above problem, comparative
analysis of most usable modeling techniques is required. For SAP PLM or any
other management application, depending upon modeling objectives, different
process perspectives are considered to select best suitable modeling
methodology and a tool that can fulfill current and future business requirements.

1.1      
Purpose of Business Process
Modeling

Business process modeling is a tool to describe the end-to-end business process and not a performance
output. The output of any business process diagram is considered as an
improvement opportunity for any organization in the way their operation works.
So the focus should be on differentiating value-added
activities and improve them to reduce cost and time efforts, and ultimately to make
customer experience and service better.

 

 Business process
models are differentiated into two types;

·        
As-is model – represent
current state of business process

·        
To-be model – future state
of business process

These process models are used for analysis and improvement and executed for further
optimization. Besides the description,
process modeling aims to enable company employees for a better understanding of operation workflow amongst each other and to
streamline the process.

 

Table 3: Outcomes of business process modeling (Snabe 2012)

 

1.2      
Business Process Modeling Techniques

Varieties of modeling
languages have long been used for describing processes. Flowchart, UML (Unified Modeling Language) diagram, EPC
(Event-driven Process Chain), Petri Net, IDEF (Integration Definition for
Function Modeling), DFD (Data Flow Diagram), RAD (Role Activity Diagram), YAWL
(Yet Another Workflow Language), BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation) are
few commonly used examples of process-oriented
modeling techniques. But at present few of them are widely used because of
their expressiveness and functional behavior. These languages are primarily
used to describe operational workflow so many can easily understand, analyze
and do positive changes via improvement in the process.
Below discussed types are leading modeling techniques that many organizations have
been using a process management tool to
improve their business process performance.

A
flow chart diagram represents the flow of
control or algorithm during the course of the process, showing step by step
sketch of various activities and their order by simple arrow connection. As a
most popular diagramming type, flowchart
has simple symbols that can easily understand by users. But due to lack of
support for the breakdown of activities, the flowchart
has limited usage.

Flowcharts mainly used for software engineering but its simple nature
attracts many managers and business developers to implement it in some
administrative use as well.

UML
(Unified Modeling Language) activity diagram represents logic or detailed logic
of business rules which applied basically
in business or software-based system
domain. In a software system, UML diagram
is used for specifications, development,
visualization, and documentation. In the business
profession, UML is considered as a powerful,
flexible, and object-oriented technique to describe the detailed logic
of business rules. Regardless of flexibility in modeling, UML is not popular
among business analyst because of its semblance and multiplicity nature.

EPC diagram, short
form for Event-driven Process chain diagram, is deliberated as a type of
flowchart. Even though being the type of
flowchart, EPC diagram gain ample popularity because of its occurrence in the configuration
and implementation of SAP system especially Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
Nowadays, EPC diagram is used for resource planning and to identify possible
opportunities for business process improvement. Started from business process
workflow outline generation incorporation
with SAP R/3 solutions, EPC diagram, nowadays, used widely by many
organizations for modeling, analysis, and process redesigning purpose. EPC
diagram is supported by many elements like events, functions like activity or
task, logical connectors, and responsibility functioning like process owner,
organization etc.

Business Process Model and
Notation (BPMN) is now
measured as a standard for the representation of an end-to-end business process in an expressive
graphical way. In the beginning, BPMN technique was developed by
Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI), an organization to promote the
standardization of software enterprises. But after the unification of BPMI with OMG (Object Management Group), it is now maintained
by the Object Management Group (OMG). Nowadays, BPMN has received considerable
attention from many process managers and
business analysts as a convenient modeling technique for documentation and
further execution of business processes to gain a competitive advantage in this dynamic market.

The primary objective of BPMN was to simplify communication
and coordination among various departments inside organizations or company.
BPMN varies from business process mapping as it is used for the representation of current business processes
for purposes such as standardization, employee training activities, and quality
administration. But now BPMN can likewise support UML, XML (Extensible Markup Language) and HTML documents intended for execution of business processes with visualization
of standard and common notations across any organization.

Over the past few years, we have not seen any standard
approach for modeling of business processes. But with the establishment of BPMN technique, BPMI, now OMG
group has filled out that vacuum with the development
of royalty-free graphical notation. With
the variety of elements, BPMN targeted customer’s
ranges from higher level business user to lower level implementers. With many
amendments, finally, OMG was able to
launch BPMN 2.0 version successfully, which is used as one single specification for all as it defines the graphical
notation, metadata and interchange diagram layouts.

Every
organization has sets of methodologies that govern their work towards
development and improvement. Strategically, the methodology plays an important
role to provide confidence to stakeholders (customers, employees, management
etc.) that deliver projects profitably. Each methodology signifies a diverse
measure for evaluation. With a clear question
in mind i.e. for what purpose business process models are used in the organization, it is likely to begin working out
which approach organization want.

Depending
upon the focus of process description, modeling techniques should be capable of
providing vital information of associated process. We evaluated most effective modeling
techniques that discussed in previous section (Chapter 4.2) along two general points;
(1) four different lookouts of business processes namely: behavioral,
informational, functional and organizational, and (2) basic modeling elements
that supported by each technique.

A
business process modeling technique should be capable of representing one or
more following process perspectives,

·        
Behavioral: Signifies when and
how actions are accomplished.

·        
Functional: Signifies what
activities are being accomplished.

·        
Organizational: Signifies where and
by whom activities are executed.

·        
Informational: Signifies informational
entities (data) produced or manipulated by a process and its interrelationship.

The
intention of the evaluation is to gain further insights into the suitability of
the modeling methods with regard to the visualization of modeling elements in
subsequent chapters. A summary of the main results of the comparisons is
presented at the end of the subsections broken down according to the criteria.

The
results are in the tabular format summarized below. A rating can have three appearances
minus 1 (-), zero (o) or plus 1 (+).

 

Table 4 above shows first phase
assessment for suitable modeling techniques
based on different lookouts of business processes. All three of the modeling techniques
i.e. EPC, UML activity diagram and BPMN 2.0 ??studied here have a freely
available meta-model and can, therefore, be extended at any time. They are therefore
rated all three with a +. But BPMN 2.0 and UML activity diagram is favored by
most of the business analyst and process managers because of their
standardization prominence by OMG group. Most notable thing from above evaluation
is that process-oriented modeling technique BPMN 2.0, however, succeeded faraway in terms of all four business process
perspective with the highest score of +16.

From
an organizational point of view, behavioral
perspective plays a central role while selecting any modeling technique because
it directly relates to organizational
performance by managing the workflow
among different functional units to optimize and improve their business processes.
But a different modeling technique uses more or less the same graphical
notations (elements) while modeling any process. There is no way of explaining
which methods are best suited in terms of notation.  In the second
phase of evaluation, we will quantify the
result of the first phase by comparing the
availability of basic elements like events, functions, branches, and control, data and message flow, responsibilities, data and software
systems in Flow Chart, EPC, BPMN and UML Activity diagram.

Above
mentioned modeling methods are used by many organizations
and considered as a standard for good
documentation of business processes. They basically include freely accessible
graphical notations and common terminology. Other modeling methods like RAD,
DFD, Petri Net and many more, are out of questions because they do not fulfill the
requirements set out here, for example,
they are too difficult to learn, have limited regularity, or that their
elements are already controlled in the methods mentioned above.

 

Event element group shows that EPC and Flowchart diagram provides the easiest graphical
notation with just one symbol. However, defining only states can be possible
here. The UML activity diagrams are provided with start and end element without
any intermediate state i.e. no information carrier in the succession of the process. On the other hand, BPMN 2.0 diagram provides three notation elements for events
i.e. start, intermediate and end event. All these symbols can be easily
visualized and used. Thus, a variety of states in a process can be described
and illustrated.

Function
group shows that the graphical notation for
EPC, BPMN 2.0 and UML are the same. But in case of BPMN 2.0 and EPC, there is a
possibility to represent individual
process steps as well as sub-processes or references to other processes. But
the scope is limited to represent
sub-process in UML activity diagram and it depends upon the software vendors
who provide notations for modeling.

Gateway group shows that there is the only difference in the semantic understanding of the gateway elements.
Thus, the EPC cannot subsequently use inclusive (OR) or exclusive (XOR) gateway
due to the state of the event. Otherwise, all modeling methods offer an opportunity
to run a process path exclusively or in parallel. In the case of BPMN 2.0, a variety of gateway elements is used to govern
the workflow of the process. These elements represent fundamentally
different symbols and a distinction is made based on circumstances of the incoming
and/or outgoing workflow for branching
and/or connecting, parallelization and/or synchronization, data conditions and/or
futuristic circumstances. 

Control, data, and message flow
group shows that EPC and UML offer the possibility to model control, as well as
data, flows except Flow Chart diagram. However, only BPMN 2.0 offers a
well-integrated message flow in addition to controlling
flow and data flow in its notation.

Communication
Link group shows that BPMN 2.0 and UML
offer the possibility of a visual differentiation by Swimlanes. Processes can
thus be demonstrated very clearly within defined company boundaries and responsibility
conversions can be easily pictured. With the EPC, functions can be assigned by
a symbol of an organizational unit. To give a short impression of EPC element in
comparison with Swimlanes, each activity would have to be assigned an organizational
unit and quickly creates confusion among process modeling.

All
modeling methods presented here are able to represent data and/or information.
In BPMN 2.0, however, more data is demonstrated that
objects of any kind. In addition to data objects and storage container, text annotations
can be assigned to an activity, which increases the expressiveness. A software system
can only symbolically express into the EPC and BPMN 2.0. The BPMN 2.0 is more
focused towards workflow and information
flow of the process and strongly geared into
the modeling of the implementing software system. But in addition, BPMN 2.0 is enough
adept to represent any software systems that involves any time during process accomplishment.

An
evaluation based on four different viewpoints of any business process and
supported modeling elements prove that OMG’s BPMN 2.0 standard notation is
capable of addressing most substantial characteristics of BPM and it ranked
best among the widely used process modeling methodologies. As shown above, all
the modeling methods justify behavioral perspective criteria for an
organization by using different graphical notations. However, approaching
towards methodology selection for any organization, it becomes clear that BPMN
2.0 has most powerful and expressive notation for the description of any kind
of processes. Describing processes in a standardized
way by using BPMN 2.0 notation allows organizations to cover business as well
as a technical view of any process on the
same page. Business level modeling is
used for demonstrating a high level of business abstraction and technical level
modeling is used to complement technical details on the abstracted business level
model. BPMN 2.0 graphical notation is simple to understand but complexes for modeling any business process. To
work smart and take the advantage of BPMN
2.0 standard, the organization is needed a
tool that matching organization requirements, easy to use for all stakeholders and
smarter enough to generate modeling result.

 

Today,
huge numbers of different business process modeling tools are available in the
market that supports complete BPMN 2.0 standard. A comprehensive study from BPMN modeling reviews suggested that at least 70 software providers have
application for the process modeling that uses BPMN 2.0 as a standard. In the earlier state, many business analyst or
developers started using a drawing tool such as Camunda, MS Visio with same
BPMN syntax and notations in their tool palette for documenting different
business processes. But after the introduction
of standard notation by OMG, view towards looking BPMN 2.0 tool has changed. Now
many BPM vendors have developed their own
business suit to support BPMN 2.0 standard and extended modeling scope from
process documentation to process analysis, process simulation, process
monitoring, and process automation via workflow management.

Selection
of best suitable BPMN 2.0 supported tool for any organization can be a complex process and it might have an indirect impact on organizations way of doing
business as it requires substantial investment in time, money and employee
training. However, evaluation for tool selection must be adequate that not only
fulfill organization current needs but also covers the aspect of further
process improvement and long-term future
growth.

Considering
methodological requirements discussed in an earlier
section and various other perquisites like already in-house availability of tool, the global market of vendor i.e. market size,
maximum customer base etc., we have elected six below major BPMN 2.0 providers for
comparison. The technique used for tool evaluation is divided into two stages that
range from functional support towards BPM approach to intuitive usage and tool
smartness towards process modeling with BPMN 2.0 standard. We compared and
measured those tools in tabular form (see Table 6 and Table 8) with regards to different
user perspective that covers intuitive, functional and/or technical factors. A
rating in below-given table can have
three appearances; (1) minus (-) stand for tool is either not supported or
partially supported to the given features and barely eye-catching for any business
process description, (2) zero (0) stand for vendor is still do not have
effective tactic to support given features, and (3) plus (+) stand for tool is
effective to support given features.

 

From
Table 6, evaluation outcome
shows that all tools have a greater provision
in terms of established criteria. The results from above table based on
functional areas and basically referred with respect to the future outlook of
any BPMN 2.0 software towards BPM concept (see Table 7). But ARIS business
suits have a much-advanced platform by introducing digital technologies earlier into
process modeling that supports functionality like process discovery and process
visualization functionality, handling change request, process models sharing, cloud-based support, different process analysis
reporting, an ease of managing process workflow across the organization. MS Visio tool seems to be developed only for diagramming purpose
that supports BPMN 2.0 standard but no other functionalities form given
criteria. However, tools like Signavio, Camunda, and Adonis, Bizagi, MS Visio and
almost all other business suits from the market
have the capability to address this
functionality completely in future time.

From
the primary evaluation result, we can conclude that process modeling tool that
supports BPMN 2.0 standard should have the
capability to address further process
improvement measures. From an organizational
point of view, both functional and
non-functional requirements are needed to fulfill as it addresses usability like UI friendliness and performance
characteristics. So we will further narrow down our approach by considering end
users usability perspective. Defining usability perspective with respect to end
users must need to achieve specified objective of process description and
process improvement goals efficiently and effectively.

From
Table 8 result it’s now clear
that ARIS Business IT Transformation Suite and Software AG’s Signavio Business Transformation
Suite have the highest degree of provision for BPMN 2.0 process modeling
standard in terms of all above-defined
criteria for usability and further process improvement functionalities. Applied
second evaluation result shows ARIS has some restrictions in terms of
import/export functionality, user interface and stability for learning. The
reason behind such restrictions is because
of their initial focus towards entity-relationship modeling, diagrams
decomposition, organization charts and later they focused towards process modeling
based on the concept of Event controlled process chains (EPC). On the other
hand, Signavio has a much-simplified user interface
and capability to import other vendors supported file formats easily and to
support many different formats like HTML,
XML, BPMN, DMN etc. With multilingual
functionality, contents are possible to show in a variety of supported languages. Separate modeling conventions
notation functionality allows any organization to create own templates for
process modeling. Process model versioning for release management and different
variant comparison gives organization well insight into process distinction. With
well-supported collaboration feature,
users can easily share process models on the web-based
portal to get any comments and feedbacks on models. Like ARIS, Signavio
also has the capability to address
integration possibility with SAP enterprise tools. Signavio tool itself is very
intuitive to learn from available documents to get an overall understanding of the working
environment.

In
conclusion, of course, Software AG’s ARIS
has many capabilities on a larger scale by introducing various advanced
digital platform with respect to future needs. However, to initiate from limited
scope like process modeling and improvement at the departmental level, Signavio shows the best candidature towards intuitive working, organizations
requirements and user satisfaction