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usiness Process Modelling (BPM) is a modern term and methodology which has evolved through different stages and names, beginning during the 'division of labour' of the late 1700s, when manufacturing first moved into factories from cottage industry. More explanation is in the historical development of Business Process Modelling below.Broadly the term 'business' in Business Process Model/Modelling/modeling is interchangeable with 'organisation'. Business Process Modelling is not only carried out in conventional businesses; the methodology is increasingly applicable to all sorts of other organisations, for example government agencies and departments, charities, mutuals and cooperatives, etc.

Confusingly, the acronym BPM can mean different things, some closely related to Business Process Modelling; others less so. 'Business Process Management' is an example of a different and related meaning. More details are in the glossary below.

Business Process Modelling is a method for improving organisational efficiency and quality. Its beginnings were in capital/profit-led business, but the methodology is applicable to any organised activity.

The increasing transparency and accountability of all organisations , including public service and government, together with the modern complexity, penetration and importance of ITC (information and communications technology), for even very small organisations nowadays, has tended to heighten demand for process improvement everywhere. This means that Business Process Modelling is arguably more widely relevant than say Time and Motion Study or Total Quality Management (to name two earlier 'efficiency methodologies') were in times gone by.

Put simply Business Process Modelling aims to improve business performance by optimising the efficiency of connecting activities in the provision of a product or service.

Business Process Modelling techniques are concerned with 'mapping' and 'workflow' to enable understanding, analysis and positive change. Diagrams - essentially 'flow diagrams' - are a central feature of the methodology.

The diagrammatical representation of Business Process Modelling is commonly called 'notation'. Many and various proprietary software (off-the-shelf computer programs) exist to enable this, but the basic principles of Business Process Modelling can also be applied using a pen and a table-napkin or a flip-chart or a bunch of sticky notes, and in some cases these are still effective aids for creating and communicating fundamental ideas. Computers sometimes get in the way, over-complicate simple things, and exclude groups. So choose your devices wisely. Business Process Modelling generally needs support from people to work in practice.