Process Mapping and Business Specifications in the e-Business Age
Process Mapping has always been important as a way of highlighting, better than
procedures alone could, when a task responsibility of one person changes to a hand
over interface between two people. Because it is easier to see the flow in a process
map it is more appropriate as a tool for discovering gaps, overlaps, waste and dead
ends. And when annotated with added value measures and process flow details then it
can become a tool for improvement and safe re-engineering of processes.
Figure 1 Deployment Flowchart1
Paul Hayes Page 1 of 10 Friday, 21 February 2003
Figure 2 Process Map2
Because the Process Map excels in simple and transparent definition of interfaces it
becomes even more important in displaying information flows and material flows
across the functions of a business or the phases of a project, see Figure 1 and 2. As
supply chains have always included suppliers and customers outside the business
these process maps have often to be translated into forms acceptable to the other
parties. The problem of sharing this information has multiplied as different software
tools have become available.
In the electronic Business age process mapping across the supply chain takes on fresh
levels of importance. Whenever we go to place an order over the internet we create a
supply chain instance without any human intervention, if the checks all go through.
The company accepts our order, which may involve them ordering on their supplier,
and the merchant accepts our payment details on behalf of the company on whom we
have placed the order.
But automatic flow of information electronically from supplier to customer predates
the internet by over a decade and was handling manufacturing process data as well as
commercial data. I remember going to IBM Greenock in 1988 to benchmark our
TQM programme plans and hearing about the EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)
supply of information direct from their supplier’s processes into their own Quality
Although the EDI technology of that decade may remain as the payments backbone of
the internet and e-business it is just too costly and complex to serve the needs of the
Small and Medium sized enterprise needing to promote their products and service in
the new electronic marketplace. Over the last five years XML has been developed out
of the foundation languages of the Internet as the answer to that problem3.
When I first looked at HTTP (Hyper Text Transmission Protocol), the foundation of
www (the world wide web), back in 1994 I realised again that ‘what goes round
comes round’. The same use of tags - clearly understandable switches I used within
‘WordStar’, one of the very first word processing packages, to switch <bold-
on>‘Emboldened Text’<bold-off> - were the foundation of the internet. What many
people don’t know is that HTTP is a very restricted subset of a very much more
powerful language - SGML (Standard Generalised Markup Language). “Most
documents on the Web are stored and transmitted in HTML. HTML is a simple
language well suited for hypertext, multimedia, and the display of small and
reasonably simple documents. HTML is based on SGML (Standard Generalized
Markup Language, ISO 8879), a standard system for defining and using document
formats. SGML allows documents to describe their own grammar -- that is, to specify
the tag set used in the document and the structural relationships that those tags
Paul Hayes Page 2 of 10 Friday, 21 February 2003
represent. HTML applications are applications that hardwire a small set of tags in
conformance with a single SGML specification.” 4. But SGML is too heavy and a
simplified subset of SGML known as XML (eXtensible Markup Language) has been
developed which offers three key advantages.
1. Information providers can define new tag and attribute names at will.
2. Document structures can be nested to any level of complexity.
3. Any XML document can contain an optional description of its grammar for use by
applications that need to perform structural validation. 4
These very powerful features mean that plain documents, tables, or flow diagrams can
carry software independent definitions of the information they contain within the
document, table or diagram.
This has enabled the definition of a standard for specifying business processes that
aims to be global and that is logically defined and semantically expressed independent
of any software5. The key to this is reusable information. Once you have created the
document no matter where it goes electronically the information about what the
characters signify goes with it. The capacity for extensibility by information providers
enables those interested in legal processes to make a legal XML and those interested
in doing business electronically to make an e-Business XML – ebXML.
The claim is made that “ebXML enables anyone, anywhere to do business with
anyone else over the Internet”5. ebXML6 uses the UN/CEFACT7 Modelling
Methodology to produce “Simple, Transparent And Effective Processes For Global
The drivers leading to the likely global adoption of the standards are:-
1. It will be the way of winning and doing business electronically;
2. It will cut the costs of doing business.
The foundation of the ebXML Business Process Specifications Standard is UMM -
the UN/CEFACT Modelling Methodology. UMM uses standard information diagrams
to describe and communicate these processes.
UMM is derived from the Unified Modelling Language MetaModel, extended
specifically for business, that was developed by Rational Rose9 for the UN. The aim
is to define an operational view of a business in layers that will permit affordable
electronic data interchange between businesses to accomplish explicit shared business
goals in a way that is technology and protocol neutral. Business Process Analysts use
the outputs to define Business Collaboration Frameworks that will enable new supply
chain agreements to be initiated, negotiated and agreed electronically through to order
and delivery. The Business Process Analyst is as much of a facilitator as anything else
and he may well work with a Technical Modeler who will produce the documentation.
As always though it is the person who knows the business - the Business Expert –
who is centre stage and from whom the business knowledge has to be extracted.
Paul Hayes Page 3 of 10 Friday, 21 February 2003
The operational view is separate from the functional view of how information is
shared electronically 10 as shown in this diagram of the EDI model Figure 3 EDI
Model of Business Operation View (10).
Figure 3 EDI Model of Business Operation View (10)
Their aim is to produce an operational view in four layers or sections see Figure 4 .
1. Business Domain View (BDV),
2. Business Requirements View (BRV),
3. Business Transaction View (BTV)
4. Business Service View (BSV).
These correspond to the four main views of the UML MetaModel.
Business Operational View
BDV BRV BTV BSV
Business Business Business Business
Domain Requirement Transaction Service
View View View View
Figure 4 Components of the Business Operation View
A business domain may be as large as a whole business sector represented by an
idealised model organisation or a project to take one part of a companies business to
get going with e-Business process definitions. The domain analysis yields a
categorization of the domain into:
• business areas;
• process areas:
• business processes.
Paul Hayes Page 4 of 10 Friday, 21 February 2003
The Requirements and Transactions views are elaborations of the components of the
domain view. The Business Expert, Business Process Analyst and Technical Modeller
collaborate to produce these deliverables as shown in Figure 5 UMM Workflows(10).
The resulting deliverables are detailed in Figure 6 Overview of UMM Work Areas
Figure 5 UMM Workflows(10)
Paul Hayes Page 5 of 10 Friday, 21 February 2003
Figure 1 test
Figure 6 Overview of UMM Work Areas and Artifacts(10)
“Domain specific business reference models are typically used to categorize business
processes to aid in business process definition, business process integration and gap
analysis.”(10). These reference models are provided on an open-licence basis by the
Technical Committees of OASIS11 so that anyone can use them as a template business
model that they can customize to their needs. The list of Technical Committees12
Auto Repair To develop a standard format to enable access to emission-related repair,
diagnostic and technical information with respect to the vehicles covered by
the scope of Directive 70/220/EEC, i.e. passenger cars and light commercial
Education The purpose of the OASIS Education XML TC is to represent international
pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade (PK12) interests by developing XML
Paul Hayes Page 6 of 10 Friday, 21 February 2003
requirements documentation for shared extensible user profiles, controlled
vocabularies, taxonomies, and thesauri, and other needed specifications…
Emergency The purpose of the Emergency Management TC is to advance the fields of
Management incident preparedness and response. The TC will design, develop, and release
XML Schema-based standards that begin to solve these real-world problems.
These standards will not only provide a framework for data exchange, but also
for functionality and service accessibility, all with the common goal of
seamless application and data interoperability
Tax The purpose of the OASIS Tax XML TC is to research and analyze personal
and business tax reporting & compliance information, represented in XML, to
facilitate interoperability in a way that is open, flexible and international in
Basic order enquiry, response, purchase and supply are already defined as template
processes in the Core Components of ebXML.
OASIS is the point where organisations and businesses can begin to input and
influence the creation of standard reference business models of interest. Fees are set
for membership as Sponsors ($13,500 pa), Contributors ($1,000 – 5,750 pa) or
Individuals ($250 pa) with varying rights. Contributors and Sponsors can join and
form Technical Committees and vote on work13.
The Business Process Analyst and Technical Modeler need a high-level understanding
of the concepts behind OO modeling, business process modeling, and some
rudimentary knowledge of UML in order to utilize UMM.(10)
The corresponding ebXML standard14 uses tables to capture the information required
see Figure 7 ebXML worksheets to UMM Views, so simplifying the process and
making it more feasible for a wider range of staff to carry it out.
Paul Hayes Page 7 of 10 Friday, 21 February 2003
Figure 7 ebXML worksheets to UMM Views
The purpose of building the Business Process Specifications is to enable Electronic
Business Collaboration. “The strength of the ebXML technical architecture is that it
provides a framework for electronic business collaboration. The architecture enables
businesses to work together to specify business process, discover each other, negotiate
collaboration agreements, and execute business processes. The significant activities
implementing and executing this ebXML electronic business collaboration are shown
in Figure 8 ebXML Business Collaboration Process.”15
Paul Hayes Page 8 of 10 Friday, 21 February 2003
Figure 8 ebXML Business Collaboration Process(15)
“In ebXML, companies conduct business through the exchange of documents, which
can take the form of purchase orders, administrative information, or even the goods
themselves. For example, a company looking for a news clipping service might send a
purchase order to a supplier and receive a list of news items in response.
Registries hold information on potential Trading Partners in the form of Collaboration
Protocol Profiles (CPPs). These are XML documents that use a specific vocabulary to
identify business processes that a company is willing and able to take part in, the roles
that it can play, and technical information about its capabilities. For example,
searching the CPPs in an ebXML registry can uncover a business that can provide
news clippings through an HTTP interface and that is willing to accept purchase
Business Process Specifications for the conduct of global business have arrived
because of the business imperatives of e-business and the need to provide affordable
electronic data interchange for small to medium sized enterprises. This has been made
feasible by the development of XML. These process definitions will be central to
winning business as well as conducting business and are likely to become all
-pervasive. They are likely to include internal quality and business excellence related
processes and meta –processes. Quarry is a project being considered by the IQA as
one means of helping ensure we are as ready as we can be for that day17.
Paul Hayes Page 9 of 10 Friday, 21 February 2003
IndigoVision Ltd http://www.indigovision.com
Happy Birthday, XML! (XML Turns Five on Monday 10 February 2003)
by Dave Hollander and C. M. Sperberg-McQueen http://www.w3.org/2003/02/xml-at-5.html
XML, Java, and the future of the Web Jon Bosak, Sun Microsystems Last revised 1997.03.10
Creating a Single Global Electronic Market With ebXML™ Dieter Naujok, ebXML Chair Netfish
Technologies Inc, Chief Technology Officer http://www.w3.org/2001/04/wsws-proceedings/naujok/ebxml.pdf
UN/CEFACT United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business
UN/CEFACT Modeling Methodology – Presentation http://webster.disa.org/cefact-
Rational Group http://www.rational.com/uml/ and UML is a trademark of the Object Management Group
UN/CEFACT – “Simple Guide to the UMM” Working Draft January 28, 2003 http://webster.disa.org/cefact-
OASIS Technical Committees http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/committees.shtml
OASIS TECHNICAL COMMITTEE PROCESS http://oasis-open.org/committees/process.shtml
Oasis Online Application Form. https://www.oasis-open.org/join/application.phtml
Business Process Analysis Worksheets & Guidelines v1.0 http://www.ebxml.org/specs/bpWS.pdf
Business Process and Business Information Analysis Overview v1.0 2
Introduction to ebXML - IBM developerWorks Seminar
Quarry project http://www.basilicon.com/quarry/