Using Business Process Modeling Notations

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Business Process Modeling

A Business Process Model is a visual representation of the flow of activities and their order of performance using a set of graphical elements that use shapes familiar to most modelers and business users. For example, activities are rectangles and decisions are diamonds. The result is having an easy-to-understand mechanism for creating business process models which produce complex business processes.

The following example of a Business Process diagram shows the interaction between a customer applying for a loan and the bank/lender.



Collaborations show the relationship and interactions between multiple processes that may be owned by different parts of an organization. Collaborations are easily identified because they contain two or more pools. Each pool in a Collaboration represents a participant, such as a person, role, or system. Note that a pool may not contain any activities or can itself contain an individual process. Pools containing activities are known as "White Box" while pools with no activities in them are "Black Box," indicating that all details are hidden. Black Box pools can contain a process not owned by the group responsible for the other pool, hence why the process is not displayed.

Communication between two different pools or objects within a pool is handled by Message Flows. As part of this diagram, a Choreography may appear between the pools as they intersect the Message Flows.


Choreography allows you to indicate tasks that include multiple participants in order to complete that task. While similar to a normal Business Process, a choreography exists outside of or in between participants or pools while a normal Process exists within a single pool and illustrates the tasks of a specific object. A Choreography, meanwhile, focuses on the sequential exchange of information (Message Flows) between multiple participants.

As mentioned above, a Choreography may appear in a Collaboration diagram.


Choreography Diagram Elements


The lighter participant brand is the party that initiates the conversation while the darker band designates the parties that receive/respond to the conversation. There can only be one initiating participant but there can be one or many receiving participants.

The optional message item changes depending on whether it is a initiating or receiving participant.

When Participants are added, they are added to both the top and bottom in an alternating fashion.

Choreography-Sub Choreography Element.png

Sub Choreographies contain many child choreographies that include the conversations that take place in order to complete the sub choreography task.

The child choreography participants must be included in the sub choreography participant list.

Choreography-Call Choreography Element.png

Call Choreographies are Global Choreographies that may be used by different people throughout the process.

Note: If you connect a Choreography via a Sequence Flow, the Initiating Participant in the second Choreography must be a Participant (Initiating or Receiving) in the Choreography before it.


Conversations can be thought of as an informal or simplified version of a Collaboration diagram in that it provides an overview of which entities interact on which tasks. A Conversation indicates a series of messages occurring between two or more participants, pools, stewards, or Business Units. Conversations start with a Message Object in one pool reaching out to an object in a different pool. Conversations can also have sub-Conversation between the participants of the parent Conversation.

Note that the connection is generally made between two black box pools, meaning there is nothing in the pools, although you can extend the connection to tasks within a pool.

Call Conversations and Call Sub Conversations are Global versions of the Conversation and Sub-Conversation, meaning that it is a conversation that may be taking place within several places in an organization and its processes.