2020-07-23T02:01:00Z

Looking for a BPMN tool that is easy to use and reasonably priced


I am looking for a comparison of reasonably priced BPMN tools based on ease of use. Any recommendations?

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88 Answers

author avatar
Top 5Real User

@Rony_Sklar ​Thanks. As I said in my original post without knowing the purpose it is not possible to know what questions to ask, for example;
1. If you are not automating then integration with automation is irrelevant.
2. If you are only looking to draw pictures then modeling capabilities are not important
3. If you are working alone then team capabilities are not likely to be in focus.
4. If you are not seeking to share then publishing and online viewing may not matter.
5. If you are only documenting than analysis and simulation may be irrelevant.
6. If you are only drawing single processes then a repository-based tool may not have value.
7. If only doing something simple then commercially supported may not be needed.
8. If only for yourself you may not require decent reporting capabilities.
However, if more than one or two of the above may be needed then I suggest being cautious of FREE, it may seem attractive at first, but the cost of switching when you hot limits can be worse than taking the time to invest in the right tool in the first place. Often people forget that all tools are cheap when compared to the time and effort that goes into creating useful results.
Lastly, ask yourself is BPMN alone enough to provide a complete answer or present your goals. You may find that in addition to BPMN you may want to use DMN, Customer Journey Mapping, Business Capability Modelling, etc. in order to derive and drive a complete picture or solution.

2020-07-27T08:41:59Z
author avatar
ExpertTop 5Consultant

This is a common question. If you are seeking a tool which is BPMN 2.0-compliant and can easily move you from model to developed process application, I certainly would recommend Bizagi Modeler (www.Bizagi.com). It is free, and the development tool, Bizagi Studio, is also free to use. Costs only come into the picture when you move to production (you can test for free with up to 20 users) for the Bizagi Automation Server/Services (on prem or cloud).
I have been using Bizagai for a major digital transformation project with a state government client for about 3 year now and we have been impressed with its ease of use and speed of modeling/development.

2020-07-23T15:57:25Z
author avatar
Community Manager

@Art Hebbeler, PMP ​great input. Have you worked with other tools that are comparable to Bizagi in terms of its functionality?

2020-07-26T11:14:16Z
author avatar
ExpertTop 5Consultant

@Rony_Sklar ​Yes. There are several options out there (and almost all can be investigated and compared here on IT Central Station, in fact :)). If one only wants to do the diagrams, and not interested in using the diagram output as input to one of the other tools (Bizagi, Appian, Pega, Alfresco, et al.), then even Visio works well to do the diagramming. One could even do it in a paint or presentation application.

2020-07-28T15:46:57Z
author avatar
Top 20User

BPMN modelling tools are usually ok. However, the phrase 'BPMN compliance' means many different things across these toolsets. So if you are fully bought in to the approach and wish to build business process models that adhere to the spirit and stick to the engineering discipline from APQC principles then you would need to go for something that enforces not only the notation but good design.
Examples of where the different interpretation allows for loose compliance - subroutines and linked processes, collaboration diagrams, validation, plus many more. So a tool that advertises low code, microservice, workflow (too generic a term in this instance) will not give you the functions and capability for you to model BPMN. 
The other challenge is that if you do want to move to orchestrating business process models as end-to-end executables then you need to have more scrutiny over the tool. A key guiding design principle is that the business process model should be system agnostic and no strategic parts - data model or infrastructure - should be built into the BPMS. The only tools and components within the BPMS should ALL be about getting the process from start to end and should not persist as business data. 
An integrated tool that compromises BPMN is next to useless and will send you down dead ends where the only solution is to tightly couple your underlying strategic architecture to the BPMS. This is fatal and simply builds in yet-another-system that will inevitably become a legacy system. So another key crtiteria is the portability of the models either by using the standard file protocols (.bpmn files or variants like xml) or having tools available to migrate. 
All in all it depends on your requirements - if you simply want good modelling tools the cheaper end are good. But if you want sophistication and to be able to move to orchestration then you need to apply rigourous criteria to both the modelling and orchestration tools. If you want enterprise level with the adoption of BPMN across an organisation then there are no shortcuts and only the enterprise level tools are appropriate, examples being ARIS (SAP), Oracle, TIBCO, IBM. 

2020-07-23T13:26:24Z
author avatar
Community Manager

@Antony Craven ​great advice! For the enterprise tools you have recommended, can you give some insight about how they compare in terms of ease of use?

2020-07-26T11:17:51Z
author avatar
Top 5Real User

There is not a simple answer to your question. There are many free BPMN tools out in the market, people like BizAgi have offered one for years. But the key question is around what the purpose of having a tool is. Are you simply looking to create BPMN diagrams as you would in Vision or Lucidchart? or are you seeking to actually model processes and create more of a process architecture? In which case you are seeking professional modeling tools. These can be low cost or community based like BOC or Axellience, giving you a very easy way to test the tools with low-cost commercial options. Then you have more expensive but more featured tools like Signavio, Software AG, and iGrafx. Lastly, if you are looking at process as part of a broader Enterprise Architecture initiative then spending more but getting the right tool could be important, in this case an example would be BiZZdesign.
Please don't rush to buy based on low-cost, look harder at the use cases and the value of your efforts. I can't believe that if you are saving or making large sums that the cost of any tool is an issue. On the other hand, if you are not sure what the value of the effort is, then the cost of any tool is too high.

2020-07-23T10:56:52Z
author avatar
Community Manager

@Mark McGregor ​helpful advice. Thanks for weighing in :) I agree that it's important to define what your purpose is before investing in a tool - do you have some advice on how to choose BMPN tools once one has defined a clear purpose? What questions should one ask about the tool whilst comparing the options?

2020-07-26T11:25:15Z
author avatar
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

An Enterprise Service Bus is a software architecture, set of software tools, software,
and a communication medium or carrier. Together these ESB components control
the movement of data between computers. Applications in an ESB‐supported IT
architecture can communicate by tying into the communications carrier (network)
part of the ESB, which serves as a message broker between the various applications
in the company that use the ESB. Each computer on the ESB is a separate node on
the network. Each has a separate unique address on the network. The applications
using the ESB will define the places or nodes that will receive the message or
request and then assign the right address or addresses to the message. All nodes on
the network constantly monitor or listen to the traffic on the network, waiting for a
message with their address. When heard, the node accepts the message and sends it
through the EAI adaptor to the application. The adaptor converts the format of the
message so it can be accepted by the application. The reverse is true for messages
being sent by an application.
The ESB software tools thus sit between the applications and work with the
Enterprise Application Interface (EAI) software, allowing legacy or any other
applications to communicate over the ESB in a standard format.
When used with an SOA open‐messaging approach, information can be broadcast
over the network for all applications on the ESB to hear and use. These messages
will be in a common SOA form so they can be easily consumed by the EAI adaptor. In
this way, information can be easily sent to several applications at one time, without
a need to build separate interface programs between each of the applications. This
eliminates the need for much of the point‐to‐point or application‐to‐application
communication connections (interfaces) that exist today.
This simplification of interfaces and the reduction in the number of interfaces
between applications reduces the risk of change, cost of change, and the time it
takes for a change to an application.
Enterprise Service Buses normally work well with BPMSs and are, in fact, part of
some BPMSs such as the IBM WebSphere and TIBCO suites

2020-07-30T14:55:33Z
author avatar
Top 5Consultant

Depends on what you want to do with BPMN, but since you say reasonably priced I would say have a look at Camunda, Flowable, Alfresco Activiti and JBPM.
These Companies all have open source options so you can try them out before you buy.
By the way are you looking to just document BPM models to give you a good visual representation of your business processes or are you looking to also orchestrate your business activity to give you an end to end workflow execution, based directly on your documented business process models?
Bizagi also comes into the picture of reasonably priced software tool, but I do not have much experience of it.
If price was not an issue then you could look at some of the higher priced and richer feature BPMN modelling tools like Signavio, IBM Blueworks etc. These guys offer more features  for multiple teams collaboratively working modelling business processes. But you will need to do your homework carefully, because some of these so called enterprise BPMN tools still do not support the spirit of open BPMN standards and you can quite easily find yourself being locked into a particular vendor or system.

2020-07-24T11:33:34Z
author avatar
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

An Enterprise Service Bus is a software architecture, set of software tools, software,
and a communication medium or carrier. Together these ESB components control
the movement of data between computers. Applications in an ESB‐supported IT
architecture can communicate by tying into the communications carrier (network)
part of the ESB, which serves as a message broker between the various applications
in the company that use the ESB. Each computer on the ESB is a separate node on
the network. Each has a separate unique address on the network. The applications
using the ESB will define the places or nodes that will receive the message or
request and then assign the right address or addresses to the message. All nodes on
the network constantly monitor or listen to the traffic on the network, waiting for a
message with their address. When heard, the node accepts the message and sends it
through the EAI adaptor to the application. The adaptor converts the format of the
message so it can be accepted by the application. The reverse is true for messages
being sent by an application.
The ESB software tools thus sit between the applications and work with the
Enterprise Application Interface (EAI) software, allowing legacy or any other
applications to communicate over the ESB in a standard format.
When used with an SOA open‐messaging approach, information can be broadcast
over the network for all applications on the ESB to hear and use. These messages
will be in a common SOA form so they can be easily consumed by the EAI adaptor. In
this way, information can be easily sent to several applications at one time, without
a need to build separate interface programs between each of the applications. This
eliminates the need for much of the point‐to‐point or application‐to‐application
communication connections (interfaces) that exist today.
This simplification of interfaces and the reduction in the number of interfaces
between applications reduces the risk of change, cost of change, and the time it
takes for a change to an application.
Enterprise Service Buses normally work well with BPMSs and are, in fact, part of
some BPMSs such as the IBM WebSphere and TIBCO suites

2020-07-30T14:55:11Z
author avatar
Top 5Consultant

You can see explore Camunda BPMN Tools (https://camunda.com/)

2020-07-23T10:06:48Z
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