Data Elements are used to introduce data into a process or output data from a process. In BPMN, data can be modeled by several types of data elements such as data objects, data inputs, data outputs and data store. There is a well-defined way to manage the states of data, like instantiate, completed, deleted, etc. For example, in the Expense Report process, the receipt uploaded as an Input Document file is an input data object and the invoice generated as an Output Document is an output data object. The results of the process which are saved in a Report Table are a data store.
Data elements are found in the fourth row of the shapes toolbox:
A data object represents information flowing through the process, such as business documents, emails or letters. It is represented by the following element:
By default, the text inside the element will be "Data Object# ...". Double-click on it to edit the label.
Change the type of data object to "Input", "Output" or Empty in the menu of this element:
- Input: Select this type of data object to indicate that the input will be external from the process
- Output: Select this type of data object if the data will be the result of the entire process.
- Empty: Select this type of data object if the data won't be either Input or Output.
A data store is a place where the process can read or write data, e.g. a database or a filling cabinet. It persists beyond the lifetime of the process instance.
It is represented by the following element:
By default, the text inside the element will be "Data Store # ...". Double click on it to edit the label.