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There are many approaches using process modeling, including business process reengineering (BPR), business process management (BPM), activity based costing (ABC) and business activity monitoring (BAM). At the core of each of these approaches is process modeling, which helps to create a knowledge base that can be shared by all development organizations.

To better understand the scope addressed by business process modeling, we will describe the three typical project types where business process approaches should take place:

  • The creation of a customer-oriented business management method-- running the company via its business processes or value chains
  • The creation of procedures to oversee an organization’s operations
  • The integration of IT resources using a business process approach

When planning a company’s operations, it is important to consider the relationship between the company’s strategy and its business processes. For example, a bank may decide to target the financial products market over the retail banking market. The business process of “providing financial products” thus becomes the bank’s major value. To support this value, bank operations must organize according to this business process so that each branch focuses on satisfying customers that buy financial products.

In another example, the same bank wants to improve its operations. The bank wants to ensure through management procedures that it has control over its customer debt levels. In this case it is important to determine what rules apply and which organizational units are responsible for applying them.

A third example involves information systems and the coordination of software services and user tasks. In the case of this bank, a workflow could be implemented to automate the gathering of past customer records for debt control purposes.

Today there is no single standard that can satisfy all of the above three requirements. It is important to realize that for each approach there must be a specific adapted type of process modeling. Business analysts using the process approach need to know the optimal standard to deploy.

A relevant business process-modeling standard should meet the following criteria:

  • Have an intuitive notation that is easily adopted for use: a good diagram is worth a thousand words.
  • Have a metamodel and vocabulary—a group of concepts and relationships—that is strictly and consistently defined to provide a solid foundation for the various business process approaches.
  • Allow a breakdown of the metamodel and notation for each level of analysis of the business processes: value chain, organization and IT integration. This breakdown must be accompanied by a mechanism for navigating between the different levels of analysis.
  • Have an exchange format for both the process models and their diagrams.


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