BPMN Introduction and History

BPMN Introduction and History

By Trisotech

Read Time: 4 Minutes

BPMN was originally developed by the Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI). They released a version 1.0 to the public in May, 2004. In June 2005, BPMI merged with OMG, the Object Management Group. A BPMN Specification document was released by OMG in February, 2006.

Version 2.0 of BPMN was developed in 2010, and the actual version of the specification was released in December 2013. The latest version (2.0.2) has been formally published by ISO as the 2013 edition standard: ISO/IEC 19510.

Over the last few years, BPMN rapidly became the de facto standard for process modeling. Part of its success, is due to the fact that BPMN offers a familiar look and feel to business analysts, while providing powerful business process model expressiveness.

BPMN 2.0 models can be used to communicate, and interchange the business requirements of a business process, as well as providing the underpinning of the actual process implementation. BPMN 2.0 is a fundamental evolution of the original standard. It extends the scope and capabilities of BPMN in several areas:

  • It formalizes the execution semantics for all BPMN elements.
  • It defines extensibility mechanism for both Process model extensions, and graphical extensions.
  • It refines Event composition and correlation.
  • It extends the definition of human interactions.
  • It defines a Choreography model, and a Conversation View for a Collaboration diagram.

In short, BPMN 2.0 is not just a modeling notation anymore. It is a model and a notation.

BPMN Scope and Objectives

BPMN provides a notation and model for Business Processes, and an interchange format that can be used to exchange BPMN Process definitions, both domain model and diagram layout, between different tools. It provides businesses, with the capability of understanding their internal business procedures in a graphical notation, and gives organizations the ability to communicate these procedures, in a standard manner.

OMG used the experience of the business process notations that have preceded BPMN, to create the next generation notation that combines readability, flexibility, and expandability. BPMN advances the capabilities of traditional business process notations, by inherently handling B2B Business Process concepts, such as public and private Processes and Choreographies. It also handles advanced modeling concepts, such as exception handling, transactions, and compensation.

BPMN allows the creation of multiple types of diagrams, which are designed for use by the people who design and manage Business Processes. Analysts need to understand multiple representations of Business Processes considering that it may be required, as it moves through its lifecycle of development, implementation, execution, monitoring, and analysis. Movement of individuals from one company to another, and companies merge and divergence, also support this requirement…

BPMN supports exclusively the concepts of modeling applicable to Business Processes. Other types of modeling done by organizations for business purposes are therefore out of scope for BPMN. These other types include:

  • The definition of organizational models and resources;
  • The modeling of functional breakdowns;
  • Data and information models;
  • Modeling of strategy;
  • Business rules models.

The primary goal of BPMN is to provide a notation that is readily understandable by all business users, including:

  • The business analysts, that create the initial drafts of the processes;
  • The technical developers, responsible for implementing the technology, that will perform those processes;
  • The business people, who will manage and monitor those processes.

Thus, BPMN creates a standardized bridge for the gap between the business process design, and process implementation.

Another goal, but no less important, is to ensure that XML languages, designed for the execution of business processes, such as WSBPEL, (Web Services Business Process Execution Language) and XPDL (XML Process Definition Language), can be visualized with a business-oriented notation. A key objective of the BPMN specification is to enable portability of Process definitions, so that users can take Process definitions, created in one vendor’s environment, and use them in another vendor’s environment.

Benefits of BPMN

The use of BPMN, offers organizations many benefits. Being a neutral notation that is adopted by many solutions providers, it provides an organization the capability to select from multiple tools available. Organizations can use BPMN at different levels. They can use a subset of it, mainly its graphical elements, to visualize processes. These graphical elements can be augmented with attributes and properties, to enable process analysis or execution in a Process Management Execution Engine.

BPMN has a simple, but powerful semantic. Process models can be created by business personnel. They can be augmented or enriched, by more experienced business or technical personnel. BPMN modeling of event and exception handling are key aspects that position BPMN as a leader in modeling notations.

BPMN Basic shapes

A key element of BPMN is the choice of shapes and icons used for the graphical elements identified in this specification. The intent is to create a standard visual language that all process modellers will recognize and understand.

Basic shapes

These elements are used, linked together and enriched by markers, attributes and properties to create Process, Collaboration, Conversation and Choreography diagrams making Business Processes accessible and meaningful to organizations of all sizes and domains.

All Blog Articles

Read our experts’ blog

View all

Learn how it works

Request Demo

Confirm your budget

Request Pricing

Discuss your project

Request Meeting