November 11, 2020

What is Process Modeling? Understanding Business Process Modeling and its Applications

Diagrams for Businesses
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What is Process Modeling?

Process modeling is the activity of documenting how work gets done within an organization. This is typically done through generating activity diagrams and flowcharts that provide insights to business functions.

Understanding the ins and outs of processes in your enterprise can help you identify opportunities to work faster, improve quality, or reduce costs. These models, also called business process models, help companies perform and succeed.

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4 Key Benefits of Business Process Modeling

Improve Communication Across Teams

Clearly documenting processes helps every member of a team or organization understand the how and the why behind the work they do. With this understanding, your employees can better work on cross functional teams, break down silos, and hold one another accountable for getting the job done well.

Process models also become valuable onboarding tools and act as a source of truth if leaders or stakeholders change over time.

Increase Overall Efficiency

By visualizing your processes, you can easily identify redundancies or bottlenecks in any type of team or project while conducting a process analysis. Because process modeling allows anyone in the organization to see the big picture, you can quickly source ideas from team members at all levels.

As you make changes, be sure to update your models so that you can continuously iterate upon each process.

Reinforce Your Strategy

While corporate-level strategies can sound lofty or aspirational, sometimes it’s hard to translate them to the day-to-day work your team does. By mapping the processes of smaller teams or working groups, you can help them understand how they contribute to the overall strategy. 

If you find that their work isn’t aligned to the overall strategy, you now have a clear starting point and the opportunity to pivot.

Identify Opportunities for Standardization

By comparing processes between different teams, you can identify what parts of their process contribute to their success, remove redundant tools or steps, or introduce a new way of working to a low-performing team.

You may find that one team in your organization is using a digital asset management system, for example, while another doesn’t have a standardized place to store their files and loses time hunting them down. Identifying that strength in one team allows you to make it the standard for others.

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Business Process Modeling Techniques and Types of Process Models

There are multiple standardized languages within process modeling as well as widely accepted methods. Regardless of what technique you use, Gliffy’s easy-to-use drag and drop diagramming software can help. If you’d still like to learn more about process modeling, here are some of the most popular ways to visualize your process.


Make a flowchart to quickly and easily capture a high-level overview of your work. This is the most accessible, simple, and popular method of process modeling.

We also have more resources about flowcharts here:

Get started for free:Launch a flowchart template in Gliffy Online >>

Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN)

Originally published as Business Process Modeling Notation, this popular standard works well for capturing enterprise process workflows. It’s more technical than your standard flowchart, which means you can capture more detail about your work in one clear graphic. This method is used by business analysts, data architects, and some software developers.

Learn more about BPMN with our guide, What is BPMN?

Get started:Launch a BPMN template in Gliffy Online >>

Data Flow Diagrams

There are multiple levels and layers to data flow diagrams. These diagrams are most popular for, as their name implies, depicting the structure of data flow through software and systems. DFD is less popular for interactive systems and database modeling that focus more on a moment in time within a system.

Start now:Launch a DFD template in Gliffy Online >>

UML Activity Diagrams

The Unified Modeling Language standard is most popular among software engineers and contains over a dozen types of diagrams depending on the needs of a specific project. If you’re interested in creating a process model using the UML framework, you’d use an activity diagram.

Read up on Gliffy’s other UML content here:

Free template:Launch a UML Activity Diagram template in Gliffy Online >>

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Build Your Own Process Model in Gliffy

Regardless of what format or structure you use for your own process modeling, Gliffy’s easy-to-use drag and drop diagramming tool makes it easy to get started. And, visuals of any type are a powerful way to communicate ideas for your business. You can sign up for a free trial with Gliffy Online or check out our Atlassian apps to learn how to sign up for a free trial of our Confluence or Jira diagram tool.

Try Online  Try in Confluence

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