Evolution of Business Process Notation

Evolution of Business Process Notation

Roberto Paiano, Anna Lisa Guido, Andrea Pandurino
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-300-5.ch001
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The analysis of the business processes, realized through visits and interviews to the employees, must necessarily aim to provide for visibility to a large range of operation of the whole process knowledge; this misses very often to the company: each operator sees only the part of the process that tightly competes with it and only an analysis realized by an external team (or that succeeds in abstracting from the specific problems of every actor of the business process) can gather the process in its entirety.
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IDEF0 (Draft Federal Information, 1993) is the acronym for integration definition for function modeling; it is a standard born in 1993 with the goal of providing for a manner to model in a consistent and complete way the activities, functions, processes, operations as well as the relationships intervening between them. IDEF0 has the followings characteristics:

  • Generic, or rather it suits it for the analysis of systems with various goals and complexity

  • Rigorous and precise with the purpose of providing a correct model and easily usable

  • Concise to facilitate the communication, the approval and the validation of the model

  • Conceptual for the representation of the functional requisites

  • Flexible to support different phases of the cycle of life of a project

The use of IDEF0 is recommended for the projects that:

  • Require proper techniques of modeling for the analysis, development, and reengineering of an information system

  • Require a description of how the company works through an analysis of its processes

The IDEF standard, in which is included the IDEF0 standard, is constituted by three other levels:

  • IDEF0, used for producing a “functional model.” A “functional model” is a structure that represents the functions, the activities and the processes inside the system or in the area of interest.

  • IDEF1 is used for producing a “information model” that represents the structure and the semantics of the information in the area of interest.

  • IDEF2 is used for producing “dynamic model.” A dynamic model represents the varying behavior in the time of the system.

Among these three levels, the first one (IDEF0) is mostly used, and it is probably the reason for which often the terminology IDEF or IDEF0 it is used for pointing out the same thing.

IDEF0 is not limited to providing only for the primitive types of modeling, but also possible methodologies with which to be able to conduct the activities of modeling.

The IDEF0 diagrams are organized into a hierarchical structure, or rather, the sketches are refined for following levels.

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