Free BPMN modelling tools – 2020 edition

Since last post some things changed, so I prepared an update for you πŸ™‚

As in the last edition it is clearly visible that cloud tools are very popular. However it is still possible to find standalone BPMN modelers – pretty commonly they are offered by vendors of the process automation/workflow software. Please note that while some tools mentioned below are simple diagramming tools, others are more advanced and allow you to do much more than create BPMN diagrams.

So, let’s see what are the options:

 

ADONIS:Community Edition

Since several years ADONIS:CE is available for free in a cloud. Apart from BPMN diagrams you can also create process architectures, organigrams and make a comprehensive documentation containing not only interlinked processes forming a process architecture but also references to roles (using RACI approach), applications, documents, KPIs, risks and much more. Recently also free mobile application Ask ADONIS was added.

Academic edition is also available with DMN, simulation and teaching materials.

 

Bizagi Modeler

Bizagi offers unique approach to process modelling. It is a standalone (Windows) application, but also cloud β€œModeler Services” are available in a freemium model. Free tier gives you unlimited models and diagrams and 10 MB of storage, while paid plans allow you to simulate processes, create process architecture, collaborate with others etc.
Since Bizagi is a process automation company it should not be a big surprise that you can use Bizagi Modeler to prepare automations. You start by modelling your processes in Bizagi Modeler, extend it with forms etc. in Bizagi Studio and finally automate it with Bizagi Automation.

BPMN.io & family

This list would not be complete without BPMN.io and its siblings created by Camunda πŸ™‚ They share many characteristics (as you will immediately see) such as possibility to create BPMN, DMN and CMMN diagrams, but have important differences.

BPMN.io is web-based modelling tool. You can use it without any registration, so I am often showing it to my students so that they can see how easily they can move BPMN diagrams between various tools (in my case I show how diagram created in BPMN.io can be saved as XML file and imported into ADONIS and vice versa).

Camunda Modeler
This is a standalone tool which can be useful if you want to create BPMN/DMN/CMMN diagrams with no access to the internet or if you want to prepare your processes for automation on Camunda platform.

Cawemo
As the name suggests (CAmunda WEb MOdeller) this is a web modeller too. However while BPMN.io allows you to work on a single diagram and export it without storing anything permanently, Cawemo allows you to store your diagrams in a cloud repository, share them and collaborate with others.

Apart from those tools there are also many others using Camunda code – for example for putting your diagrams on Confluence or showing results of Process Mining analysis on BPMN diagrams.

Cardanit

This is not a totally new tool – just a rebranding of BeePMN which you may remember from 2018 edition of this post. It is also present in BPMN MIWG demos since several years.
Free version of Cardanit allows you to create 5 BPMN and DMN diagrams with up to 30 elements, so this is a good option if you are just starting and do not need a big process architecture.

Honorable mentions

Apart from the tools described above there are also many other interesting tools. Below you can find an overview of the selected ones.
If you are using other free tools which support BPMN let me know in comments!

ARIS Express

If you like to model your processes using EPC this is an interesting choice. Apart from EPC, it also allows you to create BPMN diagrams, Process landscapes, organizational charts, data models, IT infrastructure diagrams and more! This is a standalone (Java-based) application, so you do not need internet access to use it. Unlike professional version of ARIS, ARIS Express stores all your diagrams as files, so there are very limited options of creating more complex process documentation with connections between various layers of organization. Last update of ARIS Express was in 2017.

Draw.io

Browser based diagramming tool. It allows you to create many diagram types – including BPMN, but does not allow BPMN Diagram Interchange (it only has proprietary XML).

BPMN MIWG capability demonstration 2020

As you may recall from the earlier posts about BPMN Model Interchange Working Group live interoperability demonstrations we usually had part of modelling and exchanging BPMN diagrams among participating tools and at the end session where automation was shown. In 2018 and 2019 we did not have time to show the automation.

In 2020 edition of our demo automation is back πŸ™‚ As previously this presentation will be part of Object Management Group technical meeting (during BPMN in action slot).

As you may guess this event does not take place in Orlando as it was planned, but is virtual so you can easily join us live by registering on OMG website for the event (or using direct link to GoToWebinar registration page). It takes place on Monday June 22nd 11.00 am – 12.30 pm ET.

For the first time we will be streaming the event using GoToWebinar and not Hangouts/YouTube, so keep your fingers crossed!

This year we will have 11 participating vendors: BOC Group, Camunda, Cardanit, Case Agile, Itesoft, KnowProcess, OMNITRACKER, Signavio, Software AG, Trisotech, and Viadee. 6 vendors (BOC Group, Camunda, KnowProcess, OMNITRACKER, Signavio, Trisotech) will be showing automation.

Our demo scenario will be based on a (fictive) EU Bank which documents the current state (AS-IS) processes and develops future state (TO-BE) for the recruitment. If you are using ADONIS probably you will recall those processes since they are (again πŸ™‚ ) based on ADOmoney Bank example.

Here is the overview process architecture which was not part of the interchange demo as it is not BPMN πŸ˜‰

This demo covers three processes:
a) Advertising job vacancy

b) Current (AS-IS) application process

c) Improved (TO-BE) online application process.

UPDATE:
The recording is now available on YouTube, so you can watch all the session plus Q&A.

You can also download our diagrams from Github:
https://github.com/bpmn-miwg/bpmn-miwg-demos/tree/master/2020-06-omg-technical-meeting-orlando

Below you can find few screenshots where Denis presents models used in the demo.

As you can see first model was extended a bit with Data Objects and object names were shortened (since during our demos it turned out that we don’t have time to type everything πŸ˜‰

PS. To learn more about BPMN MIWG and watch recordings of past demonstrations visit our site: http://www.omgwiki.org/bpmn-miwg/doku.php
You will also find there test cases and list of tools participating in MIWG tests.

Free online BPM conferences in 2020

This time I wanted to share with you info about free virtual conferences which you can join to learn more about various aspects of BPM.

Let’s start with 2 conferences of BPM vendors:
1) K2 FastFWD (April 21-23 – so you can still watch the last day plus access all the sessions on demand)
https://k2fastfwd.com

2) CamundaCon Live (April 23-24)
https://www.camundacon.com/live/

Now, something for Process Mining enthusiasts:
3) Celosphere Live (April 28-30)
https://www.celonis.com/celosphere-live/

And finally event you cannot miss if you are interested in Business Rules and Decision Management:
4) DecisionCAMP (June 29-July 1)
https://decisioncamp2020.home.blog/

Do you know any more interesting online BPM conferences? Share them in comments!

How to teach BPM online in 2020

How to teach BPM online in 2020

Last week I had a chance to discuss (online of course) with many professors teaching BPM in Poland the current situation when they need to move their classes to online environment. Below you will find few ideas which I hope will be useful for you if you are teaching BPM πŸ™‚

So, what do you need to run your class online?
1) Software for running online classes
2) Content
3) BPM tool for teacher and students
Keep reading →

How to work from home

This post differs from those which you can normally find on my blog, because it is not about process management. We are now in a very exceptional period and people and companies all around the world are doing their best to help others. I also want to do what I can from my part.

Since many people had to start working from home I thought it may be useful if I share some tools that I use with success for some time. Some of those tools help me in my work as a consultant at BOC Group, others are very useful for remote work with a team of volunteers in an NGO and the rest help me run this blog.

1. Tools for coordinating the work

It is very difficult to coordinate work on a basis of e-mails only if you do not have face to face contact with others. Of course in a perfect world you would be using some cool BPMS/workflow applications coordinating your processes, apps built using low code solutions which would allow you to work from anywhere or bots doing most of the work for you, but most likely your organization is not there yet and you need something fast.

A) Slack
Slack is an awesome tool which allows you to share messages and files with your team members in a context of channels or threads. This way you can have a quick overview of what is going on and finish projects without hundreds of e-mails. You can also have voice or video calls from Slack.

NGO where I am involved uses free tier of Slack which has a limit of 10 000 messages, so I can confirm that it works perfectly for small to mid-size team and if your team is bigger commercial plans should also work for you.

B) MS Teams
Teams offers very similar functionalities to Slack. You can share messages, files, have voice or video calls. It was available as a freemium for some time already, but in recent days Microsoft kindly increased support for users of free version. You can use Teams at work or at the university for remote classes (there is a special free plan for education).

2. Tools for planning the work

If you need to change the way you work it is a good idea to plan it in such a way that others can see what needs to be done and easily post updates. There are many tools for task and project management, but below you can find my favorites.

C) Trello
This is a brilliant tool for managing tasks and projects, which I use daily. It uses kanban approach and organizes your tasks as cards which can be extended with lots of additional details (responsible people, due dates, links, checklists and many more) and placed on boards to provide better visibility of the status.

Trello is only one of several great tools offered by Atlassian. So if you need something for a small team (up to 10 people) to collaborate with others on documents (Confluence) or track issues or projects (Jira) check their free offer: https://www.atlassian.com/software/free

D) Asana
Asana is also a great tool for managing tasks and projects. It has lots of cool features and I was their happy user for years.

3. Tools for video meetings with others

Sometimes you need to have a meeting with people outside your organization and show them something. If you need something more reliable than Skype, here are my suggestions.

E) GoToMeeting
Whenever I need to make an online session with a customer GoToMeeting is my first choice. I am normally using commercial version, but the free one should be sufficient for a start. GTM is rock-solid and very easy to use.

F) Zoom
When I was doing video interviews for BPM Tips online summit few years ago I used Zoom very often and this was a great choice. It allows you to run small webinars too (up to 100 participants and 40 minutes) apart from unlimited 1 on 1 meetings on a free plan. Zoom also has a very useful feature of switching backgrounds if you do not want to show your messy room πŸ˜‰

4. Tools for screen recording

If your job, like mine, requires explaining something to others probably you do not enjoy writing long instructions nobody reads. But there is a better way: very often one short video can save you hours of back and forth communication.

G) Loom
For years I was using desktop application for screen recordings and then uploaded the recordings, so that people could watch them. It was slow and cumbersome. With Loom it literally takes seconds from finishing videos to sharing it. You can also cut unnecessary parts or even use animated GIF as a video preview.

5. Tools for measuring time

One of the difficult aspects of working from home is knowing how to divide time between work and other tasks. If you want to make sure you know how much time do you spend on work and how long did you need to finish given tasks time trackers come to the rescue.

H) Toggl
There are lots of various time trackers on the market, but my favorite one is Toggl. It is super easy to use and you can integrate it with many other applications.

Hope some of those tools will help you stay productive and safe during this time! If you have any ideas of what could be helpful for you from my side let me know in comments or via e-mail!

BPM Skills in 2020 – Hot or Not (part 1)

BPM Skills in 2020 – Hot or Not (part 1)

January is often time when we come up with resolutions for a new year. While it is easy to decide that we want to change something, change will not happen unless we start doing something differently.

That’s why, like in the past years, I prepared for you post with suggestion regarding skills which will be useful for process professionals.

You can also check the 2019, 2018, 2017 part 1, 2017 part 2, and 2016 version of this post.

Keep reading →

Start 2020 strong with knowledge about Fundamentals of BPM

Every year is a chance to learn (and use in practice) something new. I believe in learning from the best – this is why on this blog you can find world-class BPM experts sharing their knowledge with you πŸ™‚

I think that one of the best sources of knowledge about Business Process Management is the “Fundamentals of BPM” book along with the MOOC courses based on it.

You may recall from my post “Back to school 2019: free online courses for BPM professionals” that while awesome MOOC course “Fundamentals of BPM” (run till 2017 by QUT) is not available anymore in an interactive form, video recordings are available.

Professor Marcello La Rosa kindly allowed me to present them in a form more convenient than the original PDF (available on http://fundamentals-of-bpm.org/mooc/).

Below you can find links to pages with videos.

Keep reading →