A Data-Centric Design Methodology for Business Processes

A Data-Centric Design Methodology for Business Processes

Kamal Bhattacharya (IBM T.J. Watson Research Lab, USA), Richard Hull (IBM T.J. Watson Research Lab, USA) and Jianwen Su (University of California at Santa Barbara, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-288-6.ch023
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This chapter describes a design methodology for business processes and workflows that focuses first on “business artifacts”, which represent key (real or conceptual) business entities, including both the business-relevant data about them and their macro-level lifecycles. Individual workflow services (a.k.a. tasks) are then incorporated, by specifying how they operate on the artifacts and fit into their lifecycles. The resulting workflow is specified in a particular artifact-centric workflow model, which is introduced using an extended example. At the logical level this workflow model is largely declarative, in contrast with most traditional workflow models which are procedural and/or graph-based. The chapter includes a discussion of how the declarative, artifact-centric workflow specification can be mapped into an optimized physical realization.
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1. Introduction

Most traditional workflow models are based on a procedural and/or graph-based paradigm for specifying how a business process or workflow is supposed to operate, and methodologies to design workflows in those models are typically founded on a process-centric perspective. This chapter describes a fundamentally different approach to workflow design, which is founded on a data-centric perspective, and which is especially useful for designing the detailed operation of business processes for enterprises in the modern era. The first major step in this data-centric approach is to identify the “business artifacts”, which correspond to key (real or conceptual) business entities that are to be managed by the workflow. Examples include sales invoices, insurance claims, shipments, financing “deals”, and customers. A business artifact includes both business-relevant data about the business entity, along with information about the macro-level lifecycle that the entity moves through, including the key stages of the processing of the entity and how they are or might be sequenced. The second major step is to develop a detailed logical specification of the data needed about each class of artifacts, the services (a.k.a. tasks) that will operate on the artifacts, and the associations between the services and the artifacts. In contrast with most workflow models used in industry today, the services and associations are described in a declarative manner, using pre-conditions and conditional effects for the services and Event-Condition-Action (ECA) rules for the associations. The third and final major step is to map the declarative workflow specification into a more procedural specification, which can be optimized and then mapped into a physical implementation. In addition to describing the data-centric design methodology, this chapter describes an artifact-centric workflow model which can be used as the target for data-centric workflow design activities. A business process is a set of (typically linked) activities executed by various stakeholders to provide value to a customer without exposing the customer to the costs and risks involved in delivering value. With enterprises of today shifting their business strategies from the more traditional product focus to a customer focus, it is important to be specific about how to organize business operations to deliver business value and enable growth. Business processes are a means to operationalize a business strategy and have become an important aspect of gaining the leading edge in the market place over competitors. Business processes are thereby a key element of an enterprise’s “survival kit” and a lever to ensure growth and most importantly, outperform competitors.

Business process modeling is the act of representing a business process in a format (often a graphical representation) that can be used to communicate the intent of a process to different business stakeholders. The level of detail included in a business process model is determined by how the model is being used. For example, providing guidance about process execution may only require a step-by-step description whereas using a business process model as a driver for implementing a complete workflow may require a much greater level of detail.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Business Artifact: A business artifact type holds information about a key class of (real or conceptual) business entities, including both the information model (data schema) of the business-relevant data that can be associated with entities of this type over time, and specification of the possible macro-lifecycles of these entities. A business artifact is an instance of this type.

Business Operations Model (BOM): A detailed logical specification of the business artifacts (including both information models and lifecycle specifications) that are used to describe the business-level operation of a (portion of a) business or other organization.

Conceptual Flow (Diagram) of an Artifact-Centric Workflow: A conceptual flow is a specification that represents in abstract but procedural form how a Business Operations Model can be implemented. It does not include low-level physical implementation details. A conceptual flow is typically specified as a graph, which is called a ‘conceptual flow diagram.’

Artifact: In the context of data-centric workflow, a synonym for “business artifact”

Lifecycle (of a Business Artifact): A specification of the key business-relevant stages of the processing of an artifact, the tasks that are used to evolve the artifact between these stages, and (using procedural and/or declarative constructs) the possible sequencings of these tasks.

Artifact-Centric Workflow or Business Process Model: A workflow model that is based on the use of business artifacts, where each business artifact type includes both the data schema and specification of possible lifecycles for a key class of business entities.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Jorge Cardoso, Wil van der Aalst
Chapter 1
Tiziana Margaria, Bernhard Steffen
The one thing approach is designed to overcome the classical communication hurdles between application experts and the various levels of IT experts.... Sample PDF
Business Process Modeling in the jABC: The One-Thing Approach
Chapter 2
Huy Tran, Ta’id Holmes, Uwe Zdun, Schahram Dustdar
This chapter introduces a view-based, model-driven approach for process-driven, service-oriented architectures. A typical business process consists... Sample PDF
Modeling Process-Driven SOAs: A View-Based Approach
Chapter 3
Stefan Jablonski
This chapter presents a process modeling approach for holistic process management. The main idea is that domain specific process models are required... Sample PDF
Process Modeling for Holistic Process Management
Chapter 4
Matthias Kloppmann, Dieter Koenig, Simon Moser
This chapter introduces a set of languages intended to model and run business processes. The Business Process Modeling Notation 1.1 (BPMN) is a... Sample PDF
The Dichotomy of Modeling and Execution: BPMN and WS-BPEL
Chapter 5
Chun Ouyang, Michael Adams, Arthur H.M. ter Hofstede
Due to the absence of commonly accepted conceptual and formal foundations for workflow management, and more generally Business Process Management... Sample PDF
Yet Another Workflow Language: Concepts, Tool Support, and Application
Chapter 6
Modelling Constructs  (pages 122-141)
Ekkart Kindler
There are many different notations and formalisms for modelling business processes and workflows. These notations and formalisms have been... Sample PDF
Modelling Constructs
Chapter 7
Kwanghoon Kim, Clarence A. Ellis
This chapter introduces the basic concepts of information control net (ICN) and its workflow models. In principle, a workflow model is the... Sample PDF
ICN-Based Workflow Model and its Advances
Chapter 8
Manfred Reichert, Peter Dadam
In dynamic environments it must be possible to quickly implement new business processes, to enable ad-hoc deviations from the defined business... Sample PDF
Enabling Adaptive Process-Aware Information Systems with ADEPT2
Chapter 9
Macello La Rosa, Marlon Dumas, Arthur H.M. ter Hofstede
A reference process model represents multiple variants of a common business process in an integrated and reusable manner. It is intended to be... Sample PDF
Modeling Business Process Variability for Design-Time Configuration
Chapter 10
Cesare Pautasso
Model-driven architecture (MDA), design and transformation techniques can be applied with success to the domain of business process modeling (BPM)... Sample PDF
Compiling Business Process Models into Executable Code
Chapter 11
Cinzia Cappiello, Barbara Pernici
This chapter illustrates the concept of repairable processes and self-healing functionalities and discusses about their design requirements.... Sample PDF
Design of Repairable Processes
Chapter 12
Web Process Adaptation  (pages 245-253)
Kunal Verma
Adaptation is an important concept for Web processes. The author provides an overview of adaptation with respect to control theory and how it is... Sample PDF
Web Process Adaptation
Chapter 13
Carlo Combi, Giuseppe Pozzi
Time is a very important dimension of any aspect in human life, affecting also information and information management. As such, time must be dealt... Sample PDF
Temporalities for Workflow Management Systems
Chapter 14
Karsten Ploesser, Nick Russell
This chapter discusses the challenges associated with integrating work performed by human agents into automated workflows. It briefly recounts the... Sample PDF
The People Integration Challenge
Chapter 15
Dimka Karastoyanova, Tammo van Lessen, Frank Leymann, Zhilei Ma, Joerg Nitzche, Branimir Wetzstein
Even though process orientation/BPM is a widely accepted paradigm with heavy impact on industry and research the available technology does not... Sample PDF
Semantic Business Process Management: Applying Ontologies in BPM
Chapter 16
Hernani Mourao, Pedro Antunes
In this chapter the authors propose a solution to handle unexpected exceptions in WfMS. They characterize these events deeply and recognize that... Sample PDF
Using WfMS to Support Unstructured Activities
Chapter 17
Guillermo Jimenez
In this chapter the authors introduce the role of a business process engineer (BPE) and necessary competencies to define, simulate, analyze, and... Sample PDF
Business Process Engineering
Chapter 18
Christoph Bussler
This chapter introduces the application of process management to business-to-business (B2B) integration and enterprise application integration... Sample PDF
B2B and EAI with Business Process Management
Chapter 19
Paul Grefen
This chapter is devoted to automated support for interorganizational business process management, that is, formation and enactment of business... Sample PDF
Systems for Interorganizational Business Process Management
Chapter 20
Guido Governatori, Shazia Sadiq
It is a typical scenario that many organisations have their business processes specified independently of their business obligations (which includes... Sample PDF
The Journey to Business Process Compliance
Chapter 21
M. Castellanos, A.K. Alves de Medeiros, J. Mendling, B. Weber, A.J.M.M. Weijters
Business Process Intelligence (BPI) is an emerging area that is getting increasingly popular for enterprises. The need to improve business process... Sample PDF
Business Process Intelligence
Chapter 22
Diogo R. Ferreira
This chapter introduces the principles of sequence clustering and presents two case studies where the technique is used to discover behavioral... Sample PDF
Applied Sequence Clustering Techniques for Process Mining
Chapter 23
Kamal Bhattacharya, Richard Hull, Jianwen Su
This chapter describes a design methodology for business processes and workflows that focuses first on “business artifacts”, which represent key... Sample PDF
A Data-Centric Design Methodology for Business Processes
Chapter 24
Laura Sanchez, Andrea Delgado, Francisco Ruiz, Felix Garcia, Mario Piattini
The underlying premise of process management is that the quality of products and services is largely determined by the quality of the processes used... Sample PDF
Measurement and Maturity of Business Processes
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