What Is an Event-Driven Process Chain?

Malcolm Tatum

An event-driven process chain (EPC) is a form of business process modeling that seeks to trace the logical flow of events that begin with a single activity and eventually lead to the occurrence of specific events that in turn generate new activities as well as outcomes. Typically, this type of process chain is presented in the form of a flowchart, making it easy to project the anticipated outcomes of any given event, based on related factors. Companies can use this particular strategy to discern the possible results that are most likely to occur when a given action is taken, usually in terms of making some change to the existing process chain.

Businessman giving a thumbs-up
Businessman giving a thumbs-up

The goal of any type of event-driven process chain is to identify factors that would help to enhance the efficiency of a given business process by following the logical outcome that results from the process. By mapping the details of the process chain on a flowchart, it is possible to assess the flow of events from initiation to resolution and determine if and where some changes can be made to refine that process. Using this simplistic visual aid can often make it possible to readily identify areas that could stand some improvement and ultimately make the process more efficient and more cost-effective.

Creating an event-driven process chain can be managed using traditional tools, such as a piece of poster paper and a few markers to manually create a flowchart. There are also a number of software packages available that make it possible to enter relevant data into specified database fields, which can then be used to generate a fully functional chart of the process. One of the benefits of using software for this type of activity is that substituting new values for existing data makes it much easier to assess the change in events that is triggered by those new values. In addition, the software works very well in situations such as web conferences in which participants at a number of different geographical locations can use the conferencing tools to display the event-driven process chain and make real-time changes that can be viewed and discussed in real time fashion.

When utilized to best effect, an event-driven process chain aids in refining processes so that the resources of the company are used to best effect. Virtually any type of business process can be mapped in this manner, analyzed, and possibly refined to increase efficiency and productivity. While considered a tool that is helpful in larger corporations, even smaller businesses can use this strategy to evaluate processes and determine if those approaches are in fact the best fit for the current business model.

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