I had a couple of emails recently from people looking for public-domain process models, related but slightly different. The first was looking for generic process models for those processes that are the same in most businesses:
I am trying to convince [a small healthcare company] that their business is no different than many other service businesses providing service to customers. I am having a very hard time finding a reference model for just a generic enterprise, one that would include all of the standard functions such as Finance, Strategy and Planning.
The second was looking for some real-world examples of BPMN:
I’m looking for a good source for real examples of BPDs that are compliant with the BPMN spec. I’ve spent ~3 hours surfing for information on BPMN when I came across your blog and decided you might know what you’re talking about. I’ll admit to being uncompromising when it comes to adherence to the BPMN spec, but I don’t have a lot of support. So far, we’ve generated a whole bunch of examples of how not to draw models, do you know of any good sources?
Aside from not being sure whether to be flattered or not over the comment that I might know what I’m talking about, it’s really the same issue: the need for publicly available templates or samples of business processes. Think of it as design patterns for business processes, something that’s far more useful than the standard “employee expense approval” flow that seems to ship with every process modelling tool. The biggest problem, of course, is that many companies consider this to be part of their intellectual property, even if the particular process is not part of their competitive differentiation, and don’t allow those process models to be shared. What’s funny is that every customer I work with thinks that their processes are completely unique, but it usually boils down to something very similar to what I’ve seen at other customers in the same industry, or even across industries. I think that the attitude that “our business is unique” might be preventing more standardized modelling of business processes.
Anyone out there know of any libraries of real business process models available online, whether generic or industry-specific? Any that use BPMN? Does anyone have process models that they’d like to contribute to an “open source” library? Tim Vojta, the author of the first email above, has kicked things off by creating a Business Process Reference Model after our discussions and publishing it under a Creative Commons licence (yeah!), although it covers only a fairly high-level functional view of the enterprise.