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Business Process Modeling

Business Process Modeling expends your understanding of the business to the scope of the activities. In a first approach you would deep dive in top-level and key activities of the organization. In many organizations process are not well documented. You may need to spend time with operators of these processes to define what and how they do things.

A business process is a collection of related, structured activities or tasks that produce a specific service or product, serve a particular goal, for a particular customer or customers. Processes are designed to add value by transforming inputs into useful outputs.

On top of understanding the business, proceeding with business process modeling will be useful if you want to apply technics such as BPM or lean management.

There are conventions to draw processes; the one we will use as an illustration here is the Business Process Model Notation. On a high level view, we can distinguish 4 elements of a process model:
• Events: It is an observable occurrence; something that takes place. It can be for example the reception of an email or simply a date and time. Events can be Starting events occurring before other elements, ending events occurring after or intermediate events.
• Activity: It is a specific action; the description of something being active. It can be for example writing an email or simply doing something. The smallest activity is a task, representing a single unit of work. An activity can itself represent a whole process which you do not want to fully represent on your drawing, in that case it can be a ‘Sub-process’ or a ‘Transaction’ in case all contained activities can be treated as a whole in the latter case.
• Gateway: It is forking or merging of paths between different elements of a process. It can be a question resulting in different actions (Yes/No). There are several kinds of gateways.
• Connections: It is a element linking different elements together. It can represent the sequence of the elements, showing which one is done after another, or it can represent a message flow between 2 elements.

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