Business processes shape the way your company is run. They dictate how day-to-day tasks are performed and major decisions are made — so when a process is inefficient or poorly planned, the actions that stem from that process will be as well.
Evaluating and improving your business processes is an important part of ensuring your company is performing as efficiently as possible. Business process modeling tools make that task more manageable, productive, and successful.
Let’s dive into how you can choose and use business process modeling tools to improve your business performance.
TL;DR: Top business process modeling tools of 2024
- Microsoft Visio
What is business process modeling?
Business process modeling uses visualization (such as flowcharts) to gain a bird’s eye view of your processes so you can more easily identify opportunities for improvement. It’s a process that can be done manually but finding the time to manually draw, edit and review all your business processes can quickly add up.
Using a tool not only cuts the time it takes to create models of your business processes, but it can also automate identifying improvements to strengthen your processes.
A modeling tool also makes it easier to compare and contrast proposed process updates, giving you more freedom and flexibility in finding the progression of tasks and actions that allows your team to be most productive.
Types of business process modeling
Business process modeling comes in many different forms. Here are some of the most popular.
1. Business Process Modeling Notation
Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) is one of the most common business process modeling techniques. BPMN uses standardized symbols to represent workflows, tasks, and other components of your business process. Lines and arrows connect each component so you can quickly see how each piece fits together.
Flowcharts are a simple yet effective way to model business processes. Flowcharts are similar to BPMNs but cannot usually go in-depth or represent process components that are happening simultaneously. A flowchart is a great option for modeling simpler business processes.
3. Gantt charts
Gantt charts break down tasks into subtasks and show the specific timeframe required to perform each. Gantt charts are a great tool to use when your process has a hard deadline or when timelines are particularly important, but like flowcharts, they often fail to showcase the depth required of most business processes.
4. PERT diagrams
Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) diagrams show process flows in terms of the critical path’s time frame from start to finish. You can use PERT diagrams to find the shortest, longest, and likeliest time frame for a process to be completed, making it a great tool for setting timeline goals.
5. Functional flow block diagrams
Functional flow block diagrams break down tasks and functions into blocks. Each block represents an ordered phase of the process and can be broken down further into subtasks. Functional flow block diagrams are an easy way to represent complex processes with multiple steps.
9 top business process modeling tools
G2 Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars
- Free basic plan.
- $23/user/month Pro plan.
- Custom Enterprise pricing.
With Scribe, all you need to do is turn on the extension and go through your process as you normally would. When you’re done, stop the recording and Scribe will work its magic to create a step-by-step guide, complete with text and annotated screenshots.
And with Scribe's latest feature, Pages, you can combine bite-sized guides with videos, images, and more — or ask the AI to write it for you.
As a business process modeling tool, you can use Scribe to follow different scenarios and process variations and automatically develop documentation that outlines how it does (or doesn’t) work. This lets you quickly and easily see how changes to your processes would impact steps down the line or how you might be able to improve the way you’re currently working.
G2 Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars
Jira is one of the most popular tools among software teams and developers. As a business process modeling tool, it allows you to adjust process changes directly in the app your team is already using. Less back and forth means fewer opportunities for something to go wrong, and making changes as you grow or processes change helps you stay on top of your work.
Jira fits into the entire process management lifecycle, from planning to releasing and reporting. But to make Jira an even stronger process modeling tool, you can add extensions from the Atlassian (Jira’s parent company) marketplace. One of the best is Business Process Studio for Jira — an extension that allows you to design, implement and deploy processes directly in Jira.
G2 Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
- Custom pricing.
Appian Business Process Management (BPM) Suite promises to improve efficiency and governance, and drive results by streamlining workflows and putting people, systems, and data in one place. Appian BPM makes it easy to simplify workflows and incorporate automation across your entire organization, empowering your team to get more done.
As a modeling tool, Appian BPM starts by drawing your processes in a flowchart. It then allows you to enhance your processes by adding AI and other smart services to strengthen your workflows. You can even add critical business rules to enforce across your organization so your workflows always comply with your standards and expectations.
G2 Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars
- Free basic plan.
- $7.95/month Individual plan.
- $9.00/user/month Team plan.
- Custom Enterprise plan.
If you’re looking for a tool to make high-quality flowcharts quickly, Lucidchart should be your go-to. Lucidchart is an intelligent diagramming application that simplifies creating processes, systems, and visual workflows. It even has sharing and collaboration capabilities, so you can have essential conversations right where you work.
Lucidchart integrates with the apps your team is already using, including Slack, Atlassian, Google Workspace, and more. You can even add additional context to your charts through data linking or generate org charts with auto-visualization.
5. Microsoft Visio
G2 Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars
Microsoft Visio pricing:
- Visio Plan 1: $5.00/user/month.
- Visio Plan 2: $15.00/user/month.
Microsoft Visio features:
If you’re a Microsoft user, Visio is a great tool for your team’s process diagramming needs. Use Visio to create flowcharts and optimize processes with BPMN. And because Visio is from the Microsoft team, you can use Excel to build process tables and other spreadsheets for your BPMN diagram.
Visio also integrates seamlessly with your other Microsoft tools, making sharing and collaboration easy. Get input and insights from relevant team members and even automate your workflows by exporting BPMN diagrams to Microsoft Flow.
G2 Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars
- Free starter plan.
- $12/editor/month Professional plan.
- $45/editor/month Organization plan.
Figma is a collaborative design tool that can be used for everything from brainstorming to building. As a process modeling tool, you can easily create various types of process models, including Gantt charts, swimlane diagrams, and flowcharts. Pre-made templates make it easy to get started with Figma immediately.
Figma has optional add-ons to make your collaborative experience unique to your team’s needs. Use free widgets to add on features like live updating, chat, recordings and more so you can easily bring crucial team members into process improvement.
G2 Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars
- Free basic plan.
- $8 starter plan.
- $16 business plan.
- Custom enterprise pricing.
Miro is a visual platform for creating through collaboration and a great tool for creating flowcharts and BPMN diagrams. Because Miro prioritizes collaboration throughout the creation process, you can identify areas of disconnect preventing your processes from being as successful as possible. With Miro, you can increase transparency to improve the way you work.
Miro allows you to create multiple swimlanes within your BPMN diagram and assign each section to the relevant team. Get all eyes on your process as you’re working to ensure everything is correct for the final iteration. It’s also easy to save and update your diagrams as needed, keeping all your processes current.
G2 Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
- Free collaborative account.
- $49/month professional account.
- Enterprise pricing available.
Camunda provides process orchestration for end-to-end automations. It has a modeler function that gets business and IT on the same page so they can build complex workflows together. Visual modeling makes it easy for technical and non-technical team members to collaborate to create the best possible processes for your team.
With Camunda, you can design and deploy within the same interface. Visually build your processes then add the appropriate code. Integrate with the tools your team is already using for an even better overall experience.
G2 Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars
- Free personal plan.
- $5/user/month small teams plan.
- $12/user/month mid-teams plan.
- $19/user/month multi-team plan.
- Enterprise plans available.
ClickUp is an all-in-one tool for managing tasks, docs, chat, goals and more — including your process documentation. With ClickUp, you can create a variety of workflow diagrams to identify process improvements and test optimization theories. Use the Whiteboard feature to draw swimlane diagrams, flowcharts, Gantt charts and more.
If you already use ClickUp for your document or task management, mapping your processes within the same tool can keep everything clean and organized. Easily share process documents with relevant teams and gather their feedback or comments right within the tool — no need to add more complexity to your tech stack.
Benefits of business process modeling
Business process modeling and notation can help you get a leg up on the competition and boost your team’s productivity. Here are some of the main advantages of using business process modeling.
1. More process transparency and control
The high-level view of your processes can help you see how early decisions will impact the actions or requirements later down the road. With this level of insight, you can refine your processes to avoid bottlenecks, confusion, or unnecessary complications.
2. Greater consistency
Individual process efficiency is important, but so is ensuring your processes work together as they should. Business model processing allows you to create consistency across all your processes so your team can move forward and stay focused on larger business goals and objectives.
3. Stronger competitive advantage
More efficient processes help you gain and maintain a leg up on your competitors. Process modeling allows you to find inefficiencies quickly to refine how you work and avoid losing customers to the competition.
4. Better alignment with business goals
Achieving your business goals depends on your team's day-to-day operations and behaviors. When your processes aren’t aligned with your overall business goals and objectives, moving forward in the right direction is hard. Business process modeling tools enable you to connect processes with business goals to ensure you’re making the right choices.
What are the five 5 main business processes and models?
The five main business processes and models comprise the Business Process Management (BPM) lifecycle.
The BPM lifecycle consists of five phases: process design, modeling, execution, monitoring, and optimization.
- Process design involves identifying and defining the business processes that need improvement or automation.
- Process modeling is the visual representation of the business processes using tools like flowcharts or diagrams.
- Process execution is implementing and automating the designed processes using technology or software.
- Process monitoring involves tracking and analyzing the performance of the executed processes to identify bottlenecks or areas for improvement.
- Process optimization focuses on adjusting and enhancing the processes to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
The BPM lifecycle is a continuous cycle, where each phase builds on the previous one to create an efficient and effective business process management system.
Start your business process modeling with Scribe
The first step to building business processes that improve productivity and team efficiency is to make documentation as easy as possible. When you’re able to appropriately capture process details, you set your team up for success.
If you're looking for business process modeling tools, look no further than Scribe.
Scribe takes the complexity of process documentation off your hands. With Scribe, you don’t need to worry about missing important steps, carving out hours of time to outline and review processes, or bugging your team to get involved in the documentation process. Don’t believe us? Start a free trial and see for yourself.