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Event-driven process chain (EPC)

Overview Event-driven Process Chain notation

Download free modeling tool ARIS Express

An 'Event-driven process chain' (EPC) is a modeling language you can use to describe business processes and workflows. The free modeling tool ARIS Express supports the free modeling of EPCs with its model type 'Business model'.

The most common EPC constructs such as branches or loops are provided as fragments in ARIS Express, thus enabling you to have an easy start to the world of process modeling and flow charting.

A simple event-driven process chain may look as follows:

Example of an EPC
Figure 1: Example of an EPC

Event-driven process chains are used to describe the operational sequence of processes.

Rules for EPC modeling

The beginning and the end of every event-driven process chain is always illustrated by an EPC event. An event is defined by the conditions that must be met to start and end the process. Multiple functions can follow each event or multiple events can follow each function, but there must be rules in between. In an EPC, such rules are called  'OR', 'AND',  or 'XOR' and are represented as graphical connectors. The following table shows how you can use the various elements of an event-driven process chain:

Connection rules for Event-driven process chain
Figure 2: Connection rules for Event-driven process chain

Event-driven process chains are often used at the lowest level of the process hierarchy. ARIS Express not only offers the possibility of representing business processes by means of the event-driven process chain, but also provides the BPMN diagram for illustrating technical workflows and flow charts.

History of Event-driven process chains (EPC)

The EPC notation offers many ways for modeling processes, analyzing them, and identifying improvement potentials. Event-driven process chains are used in many industries and are supported by different tools. For example, the ERP provider SAP uses EPC diagrams to document processes of their SAP R/3 solution. EPCs were invented back in 1992 by Prof. Scheer and colleagues at the University of Saarland. Since then, they have seen an industry wide adoption.

Example event-driven process chain

The following example shows an EPC model that is directly embedded with the interactive model viewer. You can download it and edit it for free in ARIS Express. You can also use the video tutorials provided to find an easy way into the world of ARIS.

How to model an EPC with ARIS Express

Let's start modeling EPCs!

From here you can start to learn modeling an event-driven process chain (EPC) with ARIS Express. The required steps are: Download ARIS Express, check some model examples or video tutorials, start modeling, share your models and discuss them with other users, and if you haven't joined the ARIS Community yet do it now ;-)

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