One of the main tasks business analysts are required to engage in is defining the current state of the business. Processes are a key part of the business and should be continually analyzed for bottlenecks or lapses that may have built up over time. In improving the current state, business processes are defined through models. With the right tools in place, you can focus on the task of process modelling with ease. This post provides a list of free tools you can explore to decide which process modelling software is best for you and your team.
This list has not been arranged in any particular order of priority and has only been provided for your information. Where available, links to independent product reviews have been included to help you identify the most suitable business process modelling software.
3. Open ModelSphere is an open-source tool for modelling data, processes and producing UML diagrams. It allows the analyst decompose a process into its sub-processes and offers the functionality to drill down to the required level of detail. It is platform-independent and supports the generation of SQL scripts for integration with other databases. It also supports the creation of Entity-Relationship Diagrams, Activity Diagrams and Class Diagrams. It is useful in software development from the analysis stage through process modelling, database modelling and code reverse engineering. There’s an Open Modelsphere community on LinkedIn you can interact with, if you would like to go this route.
4. ARIS Express is a popular modelling tool that supports the modelling of processes using the BPMN 2.0 and Event-driven Process Chains (EPC) notations. It is Java-based and can run on multiple platforms but has only been officially released for Windows. You can use it for modelling data, processes and building organizational charts. All documents can be exported in different file formats. The user interface is intuitive, which is perfect for modelling newbies. The ARIS community provides training materials to get you started. For a more detailed review, there’s a Wikipedia page and a review by Craig, the Process Ninja you can dig into.
5. Modelio Free Edition is a platform-independent process modelling tool that supports the creation of BPMN and UML Diagrams. You can generate documents in word and your models can be exported with ease to another platform. It also supports traceability management.
6. ProcessMaker Open Source is more than a modelling tool. It is a BPM solution for managing workflows and is designed for small and medium-sized businesses. It is web-based and has an intuitive user interface. For more information, a full review is provided by Infoworld. See also, an initial review of ProcessMaker.
7. Questetra BPM Suite has workflow capabilities that can be used to define, operate and monitor your business processes. It is browser-based and is fully compatible with BPMN.
8. BizAgi Process Modeler is a desktop application that can be used to create business process diagrams and flow charts. It supports BPMN 2.0 notation. It is easy to use, comes in different languages, supports simulation and allows you to publish documentation in a variety of formats. Bizagi Process Modeler is free and allows users collaborate in real-time. It is not web-based but users can collaborate on process diagrams via Dropbox or shared network folders. The platform also comes with the added functionality to chat during collaboration. When changes are to be made by one person, he or she can “lock” the diagram under review and “release” it when the change is complete. Users may however choose to work offline and upload the diagram when it is ready.
10. Visual Paradigm for UML 11.0 Community Edition is another free UML drawing tool with export and import capabilities that can help you create professional diagrams. It supports ERD and Systems Modelling Language (SysML). In addition to the supported diagrams, it offers the Requirement diagram for documenting users' needs; requirements can be linked to one another using this diagram. This product has been reviewed by Shawn Rakowski.
11. Adonis is considered a benchmark tool in the field of business process analysis (which includes modelling, management and analytics). It offers multifarious uses for analysts, supports the BPMN 2.0 standard and helps in executing complex and elaborate business process analytical functions. It is targeted at new users who would like to document business processes, as well as BPM experts who want more sophisticated options like process simulation, monitoring, optimization and risk support. You can work with hundreds of models and easily see the relationships between them. These models can be published as documents or printed as-is. The community edition can be downloaded free of charge. It is user-friendly and comes with a knowledge toolkit on modelling, simulation, analysis and documentation. A review of Adonis can be found here.
13. Tibco Business Suite can be downloaded for free as a stand-alone application. It is used for modelling business processes, user interfaces, data and organizational structures.
14. Oryx is another web browser-based modelling tool that business process analysts will find handy. With this tool, stakeholders can access business process models via the web. Oryx directly supports a variety of languages like BPMN and EPC.
This is not an exhaustive list. There are many more tools of varying standards and qualities available out there. Please leave a comment if you would like to contribute to this list or add a review to any of the tools already on this list.
15. Creately has all the features needed in an online, collaborative business process modelling platform. It has loads of templates so you never have to start from scratch. In addition to process models, you will also have access to other types of diagrams - UML diagrams, mockups/wireframes, etc.
Adriana Sopi is a noted researcher, marketer and educator. He has written several articles, columns and features in various industry publications on the web. He is a successful consultant working with small business companies and offering them guidance on obtaining 8a Certification.