I have been a computer consultant for about ten years. Through my various mandates, I have often had to model business processes without having a really effective solution for doing so.

Whether you are a beginner or an expert, read on to get a good idea of hat Bizagi software is and how to use it.

 

What is Bizagi exactly?

Bizagi is a business process modeling tool that allows you to quickly and easily create a graphical representation of the activities and actors involved in a process. The result improves understanding of operations and facilitates the identification of potential optimizations. It can also add a document layer to workflows.

Bizagi adheres to the business process model and the standard BPMN graphical notation. To familiarize yourself with this standard, use this link which presents a very interesting reading list: https://youtu.be/IBFI1xlFQ5A?list=PLSkCdDPNwJTBZKn_ajUYSXiuAA8xVq421

These videos explain the main concepts of the norm and its formalism (use of geometric shapes to represent tasks, events, decisions, etc.).

The presentations are interesting because they contain several simple examples as new concepts are introduced. Do not miss this!

 

Five good reasons to model your business processes

1. This discipline makes your current business processes visible. This facilitates the identification and correction of problems related to the tasks or their progress.

2. It also allows to simulate the activities of a process in order to make them more fluid and efficient.

3. Business process modeling may also be an obligation arising from the maintenance of accreditation (eg, such as ISO 9001).

4. It can be useful to detect opportunities for automation of certain activities and thus, to overcome the competition.

5. Finally, modeling helps to bring out basic business needs when looking for a sustainable solution to an operational problem.

 

Five features offered by Bizagi, besides modeling

Bizagi offers several other very interesting features: once your processes are created in BPMN format, they can be converted into different formats such as Word, Excel, Pdf, etc. They can be shared via the web, on Sharepoint or on a Wiki. For team work, it is a very useful element.

Your processes can be documented in the software, or if you prefer, in an external Word document and, for example, attach it to your process. It's as easy as attaching a file in an email!

Hyperlinks can be attached to activities included in your processes. You can add tables, multiple choices via radio buttons, and so on. All of these attributes can be exported to a file on your PC, so you can use them later, in a different model, so you do not have to create them again.

 

Two absolutely great features!

The many features of Bizagi do not stop there. One of its features makes it possible to work on the same document, even when the teammates are geographically distant. The owner of the document can share it in two ways:

• teammates can view the document or comment on it, but can not edit it. A chat window appears to the right of the screen and allows them to exchange written comments, live.

• All teammates can edit the document during the team work session. The owner decides on the best way to work for his team.

 

One of the most interesting features is the ability to run different types of simulations with a newly designed process. The software can validate it without testing it in the field, with real resources and the costs that follow. It makes it possible to check their effectiveness and to make the necessary improvements.

Not only does it allow you to evaluate the efficiency of a process, but it calculates its execution time by including all of its tasks, from start to finish (including those performed in parallel, alternatively or generating a decision to be made).

Bizagi can even simulate the efficiency of your processes by considering the available resources (human, equipment and others), their cost and taking into account the capacity in hours worked each week. It is also possible to compare scenarios by creating different simulations from a modification of certain parameters of the application (via the "What if?" Option).

 

Four strong points of Bizagi

• The software interface is available in French (mainly) and the application is free (except for certain extensions). Only paid feature: remote team collaboration.

• The created files are saved in a cloud cloud space, from which you get the rights of use by opening a Bizagi account. Because processes are images, they can require a lot of disk space. The registration on the cloud of Bizagi avoids this situation, while offering a satisfactory response time.

• The software includes several learning tools, including the "User Guide" which explains, step by step, how to use the application from several practical examples.

• A link to the Bizagi website is available to help with learning. It contains videos, case studies (and their solution) to practice, quizzes, etc.

Three weak points of Bizagi

• The documentation is only available in English or Spanish.

• The vast majority of the documentation found on this subject is in the English language. So, if you're not good at Shakespeare's language, it's better to forget about learning to work with this software.

• And the functionality to work in a team must be purchased.

How I learned to use Bizagi

First of all, you have to take the BPMN standard and, for this purpose, it is recommended to watch the videos suggested at the beginning of this article a few times. They are very useful for acquiring the fundamental concepts of process modeling.

Then, to become familiar with the software, there is nothing like modeling a first process thanks to the video found on You Tube: How to model your first business model using BPMN

Then, take note of the case studies that can be found on the Bizagi website. To access it, you will first have to create a Bizagi account. You will then find the case studies in the "Process modeling" section of the site. The quizzes, Bizagi usage videos and case study solutions are also in one place.

It must be admitted, humbly, that the first modeling attempts with the BPMN standard present some difficulties. Often it is a question of where to start and how to model a case that is presented to you.

You can also refer to a PowerPoint presentation, in French, which explains not only the BPMN standard, but how to use it with Bizagi (it includes different working methods). Its author proposes some of them. Try to look at all of them and use the one you are most comfortable with. It is probably thanks to one of the proposed methods that you will be able to do better to make a model.

Finally, it is suggested to read Bizagi's user guide to deepen your knowledge.

Conclusion

From my personal experience, it took me about 7 to 8 days full time to understand the BPMN standard and use the Bizagi software. It's a big investment, but when you discover and use its many features, you'll be like me, under the spell of this software.

 

References :

• Bizagi: http://www.bizagi.com/en/products/bpm-suite/modeler

• 8 BPMN concept videos: The basic concepts

• First model with Bizagi: How to model your first business model using BPMN

• PowerPoint presentation: http://fr.slideshare.net/fredericbouvart/bpmn-bizagi-modelisation-process

 

 

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