Business Process Modeling and Information Systems Modeling

Business Process Modeling and Information Systems Modeling

Zude Zhou (Wuhan University of Technology, China), Huaiqing Wang (City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong) and Ping Lou (Wuhan University of Technology, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-864-2.ch006
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Abstract

Today’s world is characterized by globalization and the rapid advance of information technology. To face such unprecedented change and survive, enterprises have to continuously review their products, services, and relations with the environment. Information systems, which have now become an integral part of business, are relied on to assess the quality of products and effectiveness of services. Unfortunately, very often software system does not properly support businesses. The causes may be poorly-defined assessment of requirements, deficiencies in proper business understanding by the software design team, or even the nature of the business (which may change so often that the software simply cannot keep pace). According to Davenport and Short (1990), the relationship between business process design and information systems has never been fully exploited in practice.
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Introduction

Background and Motivation

Today’s world is characterized by globalization and the rapid advance of information technology. To face such unprecedented change and survive, enterprises have to continuously review their products, services, and relations with the environment. Information systems, which have now become an integral part of business, are relied on to assess the quality of products and effectiveness of services.

Unfortunately, very often software system does not properly support businesses. The causes may be poorly-defined assessment of requirements, deficiencies in proper business understanding by the software design team, or even the nature of the business (which may change so often that the software simply cannot keep pace). According to Davenport and Short (1990), the relationship between business process design and information systems has never been fully exploited in practice.

Modeling is an essential means to address the ‘business/IS fit’ problem. Within the field of organizational design and information systems development, approaches to requirements engineering involve a detailed modeling of different aspects such as system structure, data or behavior. Models enable decision makers to filter out the irrelevant complexities of the real world, so that efforts can be directed toward the most important parts of the system under study. Using a model, those responsible for a software development project's success can assure themselves that business functionality is complete and correct, end-user needs are met, and program design supports requirements for scalability, robustness, security, extendibility, and other characteristics, before implementation in code renders changes difficult and expensive to make. Furthermore, these models are an essential means of communication between system developers and expert users, and they are the basis from which system design and implementation are derived in later stages of the development process.

In order to support system development in an optimal way, description techniques for models of specific system views must be intuitively understandable in both business process design and information technology. On the one hand, the choice of a particular way of conducting business in an organization will influence the design and structure of the information systems to support this process. On the other, advances in information technology can generate completely new opportunities for organizations and thus influence the design of specific business process layouts (Giaglis, 2001).

Given such recursive relationships between business process and information technology, it is a decisive factor for the success of system development to align the design of information systems with the design of corresponding business processes. Successfully integrating these systems into the enterprise often requires modeling even the manual organizational processes with which these systems interact. Therefore, more and more people, both from the field of information technology and business engineering, have concluded that successful systems start with an understanding of the business process of an organization. To align the design of information systems with the design of the corresponding business process, conceptual models for both information and business process are essential. Conceptual modeling of business process is deployed to facilitate the development of information systems that supports business process, and to permit the analysis and re-engineering or improvement of them (Aguilar-Saven, 2004).

The increasing popularity of business process orientation has yield a rapidly growing number of methodologies, and supporting modeling techniques and tools (Kettinger, et al., 1997; Aguilar-Saven, 2004). It has become more and more complex to select the right technique and the right tool not only because of the huge range of approaches available but also due to the lack of a guide that explains and describes the concepts involved. In this chapter, we will help readers to bring order to this chaos reviewing several BPM/ISM methodologies and techniques.

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