Business Process Modeling

51XB28IfytL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I am doing a Business Process Reengineering (BPR) project for LoJack Corporation.  It is to their credit that a mature organization like LoJack is willing to examine its business processes.  This is part of a broader effort to increase F&I penetration, and it promises to be a lot of fun.  Readers of this blog know how much I enjoy BPR, and Dr. Hammer.

After much deliberation, we chose Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) for the project.  My main concern was having diagrams that would be easily understood by everyone on the team.  Not everyone who is an expert in F&I is also an expert in BPR.  I also wanted notation that would keep track of data flows, and was well supported by textbooks and software tools.

If we had only IT people on the project, I might have recommended UML or ODBA, but both of these are too technical.  Also, UML doesn’t do a great job of combining process and data flows.  I think the absolute best notation on this point is Event Process Chain (EPC) but it, too, requires special training.  There is a great paper out of Harburg Tech, by the way, comparing UML and EPC.  The windup is that UML is better for software and EPC is better for process.

As to support, BPMN is an Object Management Group (OMG) standard.  Visio 2010 not only supports BPMN, but it includes a syntax checker.  This will be important for people new to the tool and the notation.  I also found a number of good recent textbooks, including The Micro Guide to Process Modeling.  This is a concise “how to” that will serve us well, and it includes some good style tips.  Happy modeling!

Author: Mark Virag

Management consultant specializing in software solutions for the auto finance industry.

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