A Systemic Framework for Business Process Modeling Combining Soft Systems Methodology and UML

A Systemic Framework for Business Process Modeling Combining Soft Systems Methodology and UML

Kosheek Sewchurran (University of Cape Town, South Africa) and Doncho Petkov (Eastern Connecticut State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/irmj.2007070104
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Abstract

Business process analysis and modeling is a crucial step in formulating information systems user requirements. The practice of information technology (IT) development does not indicate a lack of problems in spite of the growing number of modeling techniques. This article gives an action research account of formulating and applying a new business process modeling framework to manufacturing processes to guide software development. It is based on a combination of soft systems methodology (SSM) and the Unified Modeling Language (UML) business process modeling extensions suggested by Eriksson and Penker. SSM has been linked to information systems provision in the past. The examination of prior research shows that there is no underlying reasoning about the justification from a methodological point of view of the combination of SSM and UML. This article justifies the mixing of SSM and Eriksson and Penker’s UML extensions using the ideas of Mingers’ Multimethodology. The latter helps to overcome the ontological complexities of combining soft and hard techniques in a single intervention. The proposed framework was applied to modeling the production process in an aluminum rolling plant as a step in the development of a new information system for it. The reflections on the intervention give details on how actual learning and appreciation is facilitated using SSM, leading to better UML models in this complex problem.

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