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Top 8 Business Process Design Tools

Camunda PlatformSAP Signavio Process ManagerSparx Systems Enterprise ArchitectVisioerwin Data Modeler (DM)BizagiARIS BPAerwin Evolve
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    The solution is good for data models.The modeler is useful for creating the flow. The way to access the data through their REST API is also valuable. This is what we're using right now.
  2. leader badge
    The benefit of this application is that I can immediately describe processes and form normative documents for these processes. For me, this is definitely a plus. Сurrently, I work in a company that is not involved in the structural alignment of business processes. They have huge gaps in this. Nothing is described and there are no norms. Therefore, the formation of regulatory documents, rules, and descriptions of processes, not only in graphic form, but also in documentary form is an absolute plus. I have not found this in other process programs.
  3. Find out what your peers are saying about Camunda, Signavio, Sparx Systems and others in Business Process Design. Updated: November 2021.
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  4. leader badge
    The installation was very easy.I like Sparx's BPM features and the way it lets you create the diagram.
  5. leader badge
    It is ideal for putting out flowcharts and swim charts. It's really good. It has all the various options to use, particularly depending on what kind of audience you have. It provides you different kinds of options to insert the pictures and explain things.
  6. The most valuable features are the ability to reverse engineer and do model comparison. With the reverse engineering, I can understand the databases from third-party products. With the model comparison, I can track the differences between two versions of the same database.
  7. What I find most valuable is the flexibility, I find it very easy to use and very flexible for my purpose. I can use it without any particular problem, and it's very intuitive and easy to understand.
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  9. The shared repository allows for cross-functional cooperation instead of doing things in a silo. You can operate cross-functionally and really work end-to-end, instead of dividing everything up on a functional basis.
  10. I really liked that it mapped out processes and was able to attach the data model to the appropriate process. You could map out the process, then when you got down to a specific couple of data elements, you could attach the table in the database that supported that process. You could connect it with erwin Data Modeler for that.

Advice From The Community

Read answers to top Business Process Design questions. 554,873 professionals have gotten help from our community of experts.
Chuene Sekwakwa
Hi, I have been tasked to reengineer all business processes. I need to know which tool will be the best fit for me to use with these criteria: 3 to 5 Process designers Common workspace Affordable  I need the tool to model processes first (1 year), then I will upgrade to business interactions, RPA, and cost efficiency calculations at the later stage.  I appreciate your inputs.
author avatarMichael Barg
Consultant

There are many BPM applications available.  


Camunda and Pega BPM are two good choices, but I don't know how you define "affordable."  If you want a very simple graphic application that is easy to learn and use, then Visio is useable, but not dynamic in any sense.  


Take a look at Camunda and Pega BPM (also called Pega Systems) and see if they will work for you. You should be able to get a trial for either of them.  Good luck!

author avatarHelena Pettersson
User

Hi


Based on the conditions you specify, I conclude that it is an extensive process modeling that you will do. One year and 3 to 5 designers.
I suggest Sparx Enterpise Architect for process modeling and RPA and another tool for cost efficiency calculations.


Sparx Enterprise architect is available both as a viewer and modeling tool. Which can be an advantage if non-designers will also be able to see the models. Good luck

author avatarSteveBarnes
Real User

When I hear people all about BPMN modelling, I immediately wonder what they are going to use for organizational/role modelling, information modeling, location modelling and event modelling. Then there's application and technology modelling. 


If you are embarking on a small, very process oriented project, then there are plenty of free BPMN platforms, including community brains of Bonita Studio and Process Maker.


If however you are in any way dreaming with organisational issues, application architecture or information modeling, you really need an enterprise modelling tool to give you the context for your process improvement effort. 


I would like to suggest BOC's tool, Adonis Community as a great way to model your enterprise. They provide it for free; you just need to login once a month to keep the account going. I have used it in my consulting work for two different councils here in Victoria, Australia in the past two years, and found it very effective. You can generate an interactive HTML website from it that can distributed so people can navigate it; and there is now an Android (unsure of other platforms) app for users to navigate models.


As for Business Process Management Systems (BPMS), I've been involved with then since 2005, and have used several. Here's a brief article I wrote: https://theprocess.expert/2020....



author avatarSalesEng0d2e (Sales Engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees)
Reseller

Blueworks Live by IBM is an exceptional tool for process modeling and discovery. 


Unlike many other modeling tools, Blueworks generates BPMN 2.0 behind the scenes so that, once you are ready to move forward with automation, you will be well-positioned.

author avatarVipin-Kumar
Reseller

IBM BlueworksLive will be an ideal solution. Since you are envisaging only 3 to 5 process designers, IBM BlueworksLive will be the perfect fit. 


Moreover, with any standards, IBM BlueworksLive is cost-effective and affordable.  

author avatarKevinO'Rourke
Integrator

I would suggest QualiWare. You can get the easy to use cost-effective web-based QualiWare Plus and Collaboration licenses (details below). Put this in a SaaS cloud for a year (we offer that in North America - see  SaaS Pricing Billed Annually - CloseReach Ltd.) while you improve internal process management capabilities and grow from there. You get all the benefits of a full EA tool with integrated repository while eliminating the file sharing and spreadsheets you would still need with just a diagramming tool like Visio.


QualiWare Collaboration PLUS Web license that includes all Collaboration license functionality plus permits web users to interact with QualiWare repository content from web-forms or via web-services (create, read, update, delete) allowing domain experts to effortlessly contribute their specialized knowledge to EA content creation, editing and governance. Also includes Web-based modeling for building process and workflow diagrams, (BusinessProcessDiagram, BusinessProcessNetwork, WorkFlowDiagram, BusinessProcessNetwork:Archimate). Each Collaboration PLUS license requires an underlying Collaboration license.


QualiWare Collaboration Web license for dynamic web portal access involving the ability to access OOTB or customized diagrams, templates and objects. Enables web registration (create) of Change Requests, Problems, Comments, Ideas, Ratings, Subscriptions, Acknowledgements and execution of all Governance Workflow Actions. Captures web statistics on the organization's performance and use of web content published by QEP, and presents the information in web charts/dashboards designed for decision makers.

Rony_Sklar
Hi,  How do microservices orchestration and choreography differ?  What are the relative benefits of each approach in microservices architecture?
author avatarPaulPerez
Real User

For many years, the question “Choreography or Orchestration” divided the software integration world and is still not decided today.


The choreography is an integration pattern that relies on the rule “Smart Endpoints and Dumb Pipes”. It suggests that the endpoints (service, micro-services) are smart enough to fully implement our processes without any smart intermediate but just dumb pipes. At the Development level, connections between endpoints must be dumb. Our processes intelligence is only implemented at the endpoint level.


The choreography looks like a project that would hire clever people and let them work independently and concurrently, using emails (the dumb pipe) to exchange information.


The orchestration is an integration pattern based on a different rule, “Smart Endpoints and Smart Pipes”. The “Smart Pipes” are orchestrators that manage process contexts and communication between endpoints. So, processes are not limited to the endpoints but are also implemented in the orchestrators. This organisation creates dependencies between orchestrators and services but reduces dependency between services dramatically[i].


Orchestration is commonly used in projects where clever people are hired in an organisation with management and hierarchy that optimises and synchronises exchanges between the project’s partners. 


Choreography vs Orchestration


The table below summarises the main characteristics of each integration pattern.






























Choreography

Orchestration

Easy to set up, no need for additional partners or elements to implement processes other than endpoints.

One or more orchestrators are required to implement processes. The orchestrator can be a simple bespoke development or a more sophisticated system such as a BPEL (present in OpenESB) or a BPMN engine.

Direct or semi-direct (ex: DNS routing) connection between endpoints (services). Consequently, there is no central point in the architecture. This lack creates dependencies between services.

There is no direct connection between services but between services and orchestrators. This integration pattern creates dependencies between the orchestrators and the services. Also, a single point of failure appears when the low-level infrastructure is flawed and does not provide redundancy and high availability features. (OpenESB has mechanisms to solve this issue)[ii].

Simple processes are easy to implement with choreography.

Simple processes must be implemented at the orchestrator level. This represents extra work if the process is straightforward.

The choreography pattern does not dedicate an entity to manage the process context. Consequently, it does not supports natively multi-step conversations, process context management, compensation required by complex processes. Process management feature requires a considerable effort to be developed and tested with the choreography pattern.


One of the main orchestrator features is the management of the process context.


Orchestrators (ex: OpenESB BPEL, Oracle BPEL ) support natively multi-step conversations, process context management, compensation required by complex processes.


Choreography does not dedicate an entity to manage the business process context; consequently, the process’s context is shared by the elements implementing the process. So, when the process becomes complex and requires context management, the endpoints (service, micro-services) become stateful components. Reusing and evolution of stateful services are tricky and costly.


One of the main orchestrator features is the management of the process context. It relieves the services from the burden of context management.


The endpoints (services, microservices) remain stateless. Maintenance and evolution costs are lowered, and stateless services can be reused easily in other applications.



Stateful services generate affinity between service consumers and service providers.


Service providers and service consumers are linked by the process context. This dependency prevents your platform from scaling. Managing scalability with stateful components requires robust infrastructures, excellent monitoring, and consequently extensive resources and budget.



The context process is managed at the orchestrator level, and the endpoints remain stateless. So, it is easier to implement a good level of scalability with stateless components in your integration platform.


How do the orchestrators, which are stateful components, scale?


Recent orchestrators (ex: OpenESB) implement sophisticated scalability and high availability features and do not reduce global process capabilities.



Conclusion


Choreography relies on simple (dump) connections between services, and process implementations rely on the endpoints’ smartness. Since this pattern cannot manage process context easily, we recommend it for prototypes, POCs and simple processes.


On the other hand, even if its learning curve is sharper, the orchestration has been designed to implement complex projects and maintain stateless processes.


No offence to Lewis and Fowler[iii], “smart endpoint and dumb pipe” is a teenager illusion when implementing complex processes with reasonable budgets.


Before finishing, let’s raise the apparent objection that the choreography is very much used by the GAFA. The answer is simple: Using GAFA to validate the Choreography pattern (or any other technology) is inaccurate for us. Indeed, these companies have almost unlimited staff, infrastructure and budget and play in a different division. Their constraints, teams, and budgets are so far from all other companies that taking them as an example becomes a fallacious comparison.


[i] Fortunately, orchestrators such as the BPEL engine is designed to work with contracts of service and not directly with the endpoint. To communicate with the orchestrator, the endpoint implements the contract of service. So, the dependency between is limited to the contract (the interface) and not to the implementation (the endpoint). If many endpoints implement the contract, using it as an intermediate provides great flexibility, evolution, availability and scalability.


[ii] The OpenESB infrastructure support service redundancy, request redirection to reduce the single point of failure


[iii] https://martinfowler.com/artic...

author avatarAllanKowalski
Real User

Conceptually the difference is that choreography involves two or more microservices working together( in a choreographed fashion) to achieve a result.


There are two high-level forms of choreography.


The first is Direct Choreography in which operations in one microservices direct invoke operations in a second microservice by means of a direct call.


This means, one microservice needs to know about the other (i.e. they are tightly coupled) making maintenance more complicated. This is because there is no top-level boss - they all cooperate and so inter microservice communication is part of the microservice behaviour.

The second is an indirect approach in which each microservice minds its own business but when it does something it makes it known that it did something( e.g. publish an event). It doesn't know if anyone cares, it just publishes it.


If a second microservice cares about that event it will do what it has to do.


In this way, microservices still don't need to know about each other. Each microservice knows which events it cares about but not where they came from.

On the other hand, Orchestration involves a "conductor" microservice that runs the show and invokes various operations of various other microservices. If MS O invokes MS A and then MS B then it needs to know about MS A and B but A and B do not need to know about each other. 


Orchestration is a way of limiting tight coupling as well as centralizing the related behaviour logic.

author avatarAdrian Koepe
User

The choreography describes the interactions between multiple services, whereas orchestration represents control from one party's perspective.

This means that a choreography differs from an orchestration with respect to where the logic that controls the interactions between the services involved should reside.

Rony_Sklar
What Business Process Design tool do you love using? What are its stand-out features?  What makes it better than other tools that you've used?
author avatarGuillermo Lopez
Consultant

My favorite BPD tool is the one I can get for what I can pay. Most tools are good enough to be useful, but it all depends on the objectives you want or need to achieve. It depends also on particular preferences.

author avatarWalter Kuhn
Real User

It depends on my use case.


When doing it for myself, I prefer Sparx Enterprise Architect, as I can develop more elements jointly with the BPM design. However, disadvantage is the usability.


For an approach with normal users (business analysts with low IT level), we analysed several tools and finally concluded Camunda's open source editor. You do not need many explantions, easy to use, export is available.


I also used several other tools, mosty notably Bizagi, which I would also recommend.

author avatarGuillermo Lopez
Consultant

Hi, I´m using Blueworks Live since 2014 in my company, BPMN 2.0 based, easy to use, ready to use since first day, collaborative, all in one, process, decisions, policies, We started with the free 30 days trial, and we are using the tool in several units of the organization.

author avatarLinda NamayanjaPMP,CBPA,ITIL
Real User

I enjoy using Bizagi process modeler


I like its simplicity and the fact that it user friendly-it does not require one to have an IT or systems developer background which is a plus to in my work environment


I Like its simulation capabilities enabling us to model as-is processes an run different simulations that can show us how the to-be process would behave like


It is open source

author avatarreviewer1376664 (President at a tech services company with 51-200 employees)
Real User

Sparx Enterprise Architect.  I've created an entire interactive model of the Retail Enterprise in this tool. Check out this YouTube Video 

author avatarLinda NamayanjaPMP,CBPA,ITIL
Real User

Bizagi.


its simplicity, ease of use,adaptability is unmatched compared to other tools

author avatarGeraldDivinagracia
User

Signavio Process Modeler! Both professionally and academically.


Find out what your peers are saying about Camunda, Signavio, Sparx Systems and others in Business Process Design. Updated: November 2021.
554,873 professionals have used our research since 2012.