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What is BPMN?

There are a number of ways to answer the question – “what is BPMN?” First, BPMN is Business Process Model and Notation and specifically “what is BPMN?” relates to the latest version of BPMN which is BPMN 2.0. More specifically, the answer to “what is BPMN?” is that BPMN is a standard for business process modeling that provides a graphical notation for specifying business processes in Business Process Diagram.

For others, “what is BPMN?” is a deeper question and the answer is based on a flowcharting technique similar to the activity diagrams from Unified Modeling Language, or UML.

In practice “what is BPMN?” should be looked at from the view of Business Process Management or BPM. Both Technical and business users require a language which is intuitive enough for non-technical users yet semantically rich enough to be able to represent complex process semantics. “What is BPMN?” is also a question asked by those that are interested in a graphical notation with semantics that can actually be executed. Hence, the answer to “What is BPMN?” is that it is an executable XML that can be described graphically.

Perhaps the universal answer to the question -“What is BPMN?” is that it is a standard notation readily understandable by all business stakeholders. These include the business analysts who create and refine the processes, the technical developers responsible for implementing them, and the business managers who monitor and manage them. Consequently, BPMN serves as a common language, bridging the communication gap that frequently occurs between business process design and implementation.

There are several competing standards for business process modeling languages, however BPMN 2.0 is picking up steam and appears like it will be the long run winner in the war of the modeling and notation standards with regards to business processes.