Usage of business processes
models: Theory and Practice
Girts Karnitis, Janis Bicevskis
Problems of Business process
modeling
• In most cases models are used once and then
become outdated
• Universal modeling l...
Our approach
• Focus on model semantic according to model
usage
• Assign to model objects
(activities/tasks/transitions) d...
Types of models according to model’s
usage
• Business process description
• Business model determines definition of proces...
One model – many applications

Business model

Informal
information
IS model
Future: Model as
enterprise wide knowledge base
• Model serves as process description for human as well as IS
(computer)
•...
Model as business process description
• Used to understand business process
• Business people intuitively understand model...
Model as business process description

Informal enterprise registration process model created for business
people to easil...
Model as definition of process
• Used as instructions to run process by
business people
• High level of formalization and ...
Model as definition of process

Enterprise registration
process model precise
enough to serve as
instruction for process
e...
Model serves as requirement
specification (IS diagrams)
• Must be precise enough to serve as
requirements specifications
•...
Model serves as requirement
specification (IS diagrams)
• Serve as a basis for development of software
functional requirem...
Model serves as basis for IS operation
• Information system understands and
interprets defined model
• Model are 100% prec...
Model as basis for IS operation

Enterprise registration process model created in modeling language Bilingva
Correctness of Business process models
• Correctness of single step
• Correctness of gradual detailing
• Properties of Pet...
Correctness of single step
• Diagram's external process must be
described in other diagram as common
process
• All documen...
Correctness of gradual detailing
• Consistencies of processes can be checked
between different hierarchical levels or
insi...
Properties of Petri nets
• Option to complete – from every situation
reachable during execution, process can
proceed to th...
Unsolvable constructions
• OR-joins
• Cancel Region

• Theoretically if we use these constructions, we
can create process ...
Petri net property «Weak Soundness»
Weakens «Option to complete» and asks to have
at least one path how to complete the pr...
Some results of Petri Nets «Soundness» I
Because of simplicity of business processes, in many
cases «soundness» problem ca...
Some results of Petri Nets «Soundness» II

We think, that «soundness» problem for models of Computing Faculty of Universit...
DSL expressiveness
• DSL can have some constructs, that makes DSL
expressiveness as powerful as Turing machine (we call th...
«Soundness» of superrich DSL
• In general «soundness» of superrich DSL is unsolved
problem
• In special cases «soundness» ...
Experience
• It is hard to describe all of the sector specific
requirements
– For example, hard to access informal model
d...
Experience
• At the beginning business people are able to
make only informal models. After some time
they started to ask f...
Experience
• DSL allows create single unified model within
organization for all four usage scenarios
• Users can easily un...
Conclusions
• DSL definition and modeling tool definition
platform plays one of mayor role for DSL usage
– It is practical...
Problems
• Definition of DSL and development of modeling tools
requires involving high qualification specialists
• Enterpr...
Thank You
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'Usage of business processes models: Theory and Practice by J.Bicevskis, G. Karnitis, LV

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'Usage of business processes models: Theory and Practice by J.Bicevskis, G. Karnitis, LV

  1. 1. Usage of business processes models: Theory and Practice Girts Karnitis, Janis Bicevskis
  2. 2. Problems of Business process modeling • In most cases models are used once and then become outdated • Universal modeling languages UML and BPMN are created by IT for IT and not easily understandable by business people • Model syntax prevails over model’s meaning – semantic
  3. 3. Our approach • Focus on model semantic according to model usage • Assign to model objects (activities/tasks/transitions) domain specific information and informal descriptions
  4. 4. Types of models according to model’s usage • Business process description • Business model determines definition of process • Business model serves as requirement specification for IS development • Business model create the base of IS operations’ description • Automatically test of model consistency
  5. 5. One model – many applications Business model Informal information IS model
  6. 6. Future: Model as enterprise wide knowledge base • Model serves as process description for human as well as IS (computer) • Human understandable model can be with different detailing level according to user type • Changes in business processes (legal acts) establishes changes in IS behavior Comment: – Models serves as part of enterprise regulating documentation as well as part of IS
  7. 7. Model as business process description • Used to understand business process • Business people intuitively understand model syntax and semantic • Informal Informal enterprise registration process model created for clients to easily understand model
  8. 8. Model as business process description Informal enterprise registration process model created for business people to easily understand model
  9. 9. Model as definition of process • Used as instructions to run process by business people • High level of formalization and precision (~98%) • Links to external documents, forms etc. • All necessary information is one click away Example of document attached to one step of the model
  10. 10. Model as definition of process Enterprise registration process model precise enough to serve as instruction for process execution by business people
  11. 11. Model serves as requirement specification (IS diagrams) • Must be precise enough to serve as requirements specifications • Usually is some type of detailing of previous models Model step refinement for requirement specification
  12. 12. Model serves as requirement specification (IS diagrams) • Serve as a basis for development of software functional requirements containing data input, data output, data processing and data verification • Determine, which business process fragments should be implemented in information system and became fully automated and which should remain manual even after information system is introduced • Allows to make analysis who use which data • Can serves as a basis for creation of test cases for software testing
  13. 13. Model serves as basis for IS operation • Information system understands and interprets defined model • Model are 100% precise • Parts of model might be hardly understandable by business people
  14. 14. Model as basis for IS operation Enterprise registration process model created in modeling language Bilingva
  15. 15. Correctness of Business process models • Correctness of single step • Correctness of gradual detailing • Properties of Petri nets («Soundness» Reachability, Liveness, Boundedness)
  16. 16. Correctness of single step • Diagram's external process must be described in other diagram as common process • All documents used in flows must be defined in document list • All actors must be defined in actors list • All legal acts and their parts must be defined in legal acts lists
  17. 17. Correctness of gradual detailing • Consistencies of processes can be checked between different hierarchical levels or inside of the same level – – If a document is proceeded in a higher level of model, it should also be included into the detailed levels If an document is sent from one process to another, there should also be a receipt of the item foreseen
  18. 18. Properties of Petri nets • Option to complete – from every situation reachable during execution, process can proceed to the finish • Proper completion – process ends in clearly defined state and it guarantees that all messages are processed • Absence of dead activities – for any activity exists some legal path, during which this activity can be reached
  19. 19. Unsolvable constructions • OR-joins • Cancel Region • Theoretically if we use these constructions, we can create process for which Soundness cannot be decided
  20. 20. Petri net property «Weak Soundness» Weakens «Option to complete» and asks to have at least one path how to complete the process Wynn T, Verbeek H, van der Aalsts W, etc.; Business Process Verification – Finally a Reality!; 2007
  21. 21. Some results of Petri Nets «Soundness» I Because of simplicity of business processes, in many cases «soundness» problem can be decided. (Exhaustive search can be done with available resources, exists tools and experiments.) D. Fahland etc., Analysis on Demand: Instantaneous Soundness Checking of Industrial Business Process Models 735 real life models are checked. Full check of one model on medium strength computer (2 GHz, 3MB RAM) takes less than second. 95% of models where successfully checked.
  22. 22. Some results of Petri Nets «Soundness» II We think, that «soundness» problem for models of Computing Faculty of University of Latvia can be decided
  23. 23. DSL expressiveness • DSL can have some constructs, that makes DSL expressiveness as powerful as Turing machine (we call them superrich DSL): • Information input commands (get(x, ...)) • Information output commands (put(x, ...)) • Variables: – numeric – symbolic • Arithmetic operations • Logical operations
  24. 24. «Soundness» of superrich DSL • In general «soundness» of superrich DSL is unsolved problem • In special cases «soundness» of superrich DSL is decidable problem: – Limited use of read/write operations and arithmetic operations (conclusions of FTS theory) – There are exist some concept of model state, that model can be reduced to finite state automata (specific state concept can be found for model, that reduces model to finite state automata) • If model can be reduced to finite state automata, then many «hard» problems can be decided • Theoretical research and experiments of these problems are in progress
  25. 25. Experience • It is hard to describe all of the sector specific requirements – For example, hard to access informal model description stored in enterprise IS • There are very positive attitude of users towards graphical specifications – More than 95% users prefer graphical model
  26. 26. Experience • At the beginning business people are able to make only informal models. After some time they started to ask for more precise models – Business people are able to read precise models after very short learning period – It took 6-12 month for business people to start develop precise models that can be served as precise work instructions – Full adoption took 2-4 years
  27. 27. Experience • DSL allows create single unified model within organization for all four usage scenarios • Users can easily understand meaning of models and use models if business process semantic is bind to the model objects – Syntax does not matter very much • DSL building is one of the easiest way to bind semantic of the specific domain to the model
  28. 28. Conclusions • DSL definition and modeling tool definition platform plays one of mayor role for DSL usage – It is practically impossible to implement in real life methodology we describe without such platform • Survey shows that end users definitely prefer graphical diagrams instead of traditional text documents • Proposed process modeling methodology is examined in workflow type systems – For other types of systems the situation may differ
  29. 29. Problems • Definition of DSL and development of modeling tools requires involving high qualification specialists • Enterprise specific DSL development and business process definition is individual as enterprise specific IS development • DSL defined for needs of one company is hard or impossible use in other company even if the companies’ profiles are very similar – DSL for each enterprise contains nuances specific for each enterprise – Previously developed DSLs can be used in the very beginning of modeling and help to recognize specific of new domain • Automatic model correctness check is new idea and is not clear how to perform it for any specific DSL
  30. 30. Thank You

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