What do you do when you need to create a process model?
Some people use basic office software and I must say they sometimes create cool models (I had a chance to see complete EPC stencils in Excel and pretty awesome models created with PowerPoint auto shapes).
The problem is that models created this way are cumbersome to update and maintain plus not very easy to analyze.
This is why I created a list of free tools that will make your life easier if you need to create something more than one time drawing.
The list is an update of the post from my previous blog. It seems that free tools tend to have limited lifespan, so about a half of the tools I originally listed is no longer available/free. This is why I decided to create it from scratch.
Below you can find list of the free process modeling/Business Process Analysis tools. The former are rather simple while the latter often support also more advanced modeling scenarios (process architecture, data/document modeling, RACI assignment, analysis, simulation, KPI monitoring etc.). However both categories help you describe your business processes, so that you can understand and improve them.
I decided to list only tools that support BPMN not only as a notation, but also allow you to exchange your diagrams as BPMN DI (XML) files.
Standalone BPMN modeling tools
For obvious reasons this is a tool I know the best and use the most. It allows you to create BPMN diagrams, link them with process architecture, assign RACI responsibilities, link to IT systems, publish, analyze and simulate your processes + much more. Learn more: www.adonis-community.com
Bizagi Process Modeler
Also very popular choice among process modelers. It does not have the additional model types like ADONIS:CE, but allows you not only to easily create BPMN diagrams, but also publish and simulate them. Learn more: www.bizagi.com
MID Innovator for Business Analysts (Personal Edition)
Personally I do not know people who use this tool, I know only one person who uses it, but on a basis of short tests it looks pretty interesting. The free version has BPMN diagrams, Org. charts, UML class diagrams etc. Learn more: www.mid.de
Yaoqiang BPMN Editor
Simple but very nice tool for creating BPMN diagrams with good support for BPMN interchange. From time to time author changes license terms, so it is worth checking whether you can use it for free. Learn more: sourceforge.net/projects/bpmn
Browser-based BPMN tools
This is a super easy to use tool. I use it for my BPMN trainings when I need to show participants diagram interchange in action. Creation of a simple process takes less than two minutes and it can be easily moved to more advanced tool like ADONIS:CE for further enhancements. It does not require login and allows you to either create a model or import existing one, so it’s great when you need to quickly create/edit BPMN diagram on the go. Learn more: bpmn.io
If you know of other free tools for business process modelling/analysis please add them in comments. There are just two conditions: they need to be free (trials do not count; free tiers of SaaS tools that make your processes public are not OK), and they need to be useful for business process modeler/analyst (so even fine workflow engine does not count unless it has really cool modelling component).
You may also want to check my other post with a list of BPMN tools (including both BPA and BPMS software). There are 107 tools (and counting…)
If you are searching for other tools useful for business analysts there is a nice post on: businessanalystlearnings.com