Event Driven Process Chain

April 19, 2012


An Event Driven Process Chain is used in many industries to model business process work flows, ERP implementation, and business process improvement. It is more commonly known as an EPC. This process was developed in the early 90’s my Professor Scheer at the University of Sarrland. Many industries utilize this process thus making it an industry-wide standing. The elements of an EPC are activities (functions), events, and rules. These rules are denoted by logical operators such as AND, OR, and XOR. It is crucial to note that multiple functions can follow each event or multiple events can follow each function. There must be rules between those events though. In addition, these rules are represented by graphical connectors. Presently there are a number of tools that are available for creating EPC diagrams. They are ARIS Toolset of IDS Scheer AG, ADONIS of BOC Group, Mavim Rules of Mavim BV, Business Process Visual ARCHITECT of Visual Paradigm, Visio of Microsoft Corporation, Semtalk of Semation GmbH, or Bonapart by Pikos GmbH. Simply put, an EPC is an ordered graph of events and functions. One advantage of using the EPC is its easy-to-understand notation. This in turn makes the EPC one of the most widely acceptable techniques to denote business processes. In my research, I noticed some articles about EPCs refer to them as ordered graphs. These are actually directed graphs without any node ordering. EPCs most closely resemble UML activity diagrams. One setback of the EPC is that the execution behavior of nodes within an EPC sometimes depends on the state of other parts of the EPC, which may be ‘far’ away. There are ten elements of an event-driven process chain. The elements of an event-driven process chain are events, functions, organization unit, resource object, logical connector, logical relationships, control flow, information flow, organization unit assignment, and process paths. Events are elements in the event driven process chain that are critical to the formation of the model. Events are represented by hexagons. In general, the event driven-process diagram must start with an event an end with an event. Events always point out what a business process results in. On the other hand, functions are more active elements. They take on the role of tasks/processes within the company. Functions are represented as rounded rectangles. Organization units are vital within event driven process chains. These units identify which individual(s) are responsible for various functions. Logical connectors are important relationship connectors. They control the flow of events. These connectors are very crucial because they are able to split the flow of control from one flow to multiple flows and to reverse flow from two or more to one flow. The next most important factor within event driven process chains are logical relationships. The three kinds of logical relationships are Fork/Join, OR, and Branch/Merge. A branch in the EPC is represented by an opening XOR, while closing of the XOR connectors are symbolized by a merge. Forks are represented by an opening. On the other hand, a join is represented as a closing in addition to connectors. The most crucial elements of EPCs are the functions, events, and connectors. These form the foundations for the entire EPC diagram. Throughout my research, I have noted benefits of this model. Although it is more complex than other models, it was formulated to deal with simple to complex business processes. Because business processes have varying conditions, it needs a business flow model like the event driven process chain to represent elements in a simplistic manner. The EPC ensures that all aspects are indicated while making it easy to recognize any inefficiencies and/or duplication of actions.


1. http://www.sts.tu-harburg.de/pw-and-m-theses/2001/Ferd01.pdf
2. http://www.valuestreamguru.com/?p=214
3. http://www.slideshare.net/ariscommunity/what-is-an-eventdriven-process-chain


One Response to “Event Driven Process Chain”

  1. hennenberg said

    Thanks for this rough overview – But I’m missing …
    Concept Draw (http://www.conceptdraw.com/news/article.php?nid=NID-3591) with its Event-driven Process Chains templates.
    I suggest to try.

    Thx for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: