A Rule-Based Approach to Model Business Process

A Rule-Based Approach to Model Business Process

Gang Xue (Yunnan University, China), Zhongwei Wu (Yunnan University, China), Kun Zhang (Chuxiong Normal University, China) and Shaowen Yao (Yunnan University, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1975-3.ch030


Up to the present, the modeling of business process manly focuses on the flow-control perspective, regardless of the logic relationships between models. Although the value of business rules in business process modeling has been recognized by many organizations, it is not fully clear how business rules can be used to model business process models. Business rules are powerful representation forms that can potentially define the semantics of business process models and business vocabulary. This chapter is committed to model the business process based on SBVR, then use the method mentioned below to transform a plain text rule statement into BPMN files.
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2. Background

2.1 Business Rule

A business rule is a statement that aims to influence or guide behavior and information in an organization (Steinke & Nikolette, 2003). Business rules are as close to the business as we can get. For example, a life insurance company might have a business rule saying that applications for a new pension plan are decided upon within three days. A business rule in the context of immigration might be that applications for green cards are put aside if the identity of applicants cannot be established legally. The five structural categories of business rules are (Wagner, 2005):

  • ∙ Integrity (or constraints); For example: Each project must have one and only one project manager.

  • ∙ Derivation (conditions resulting in conclusions); For example: Platinum customers receive a 5% discount. John Doe is a platinum customer. As a conclusion, John Doe receives a 5% discount.

  • ∙ Reaction (Event, Condition, Action, Alternative action, Post-condition); For example: An invoice is received. If the invoice amount is more than $2,000 then a supervisor must approve it.

  • ∙ Production (condition, action); For example: If there are no defects in the last batch of cars then the batch is approved.

  • ∙ Transformation (change of state); For example: A man’s age can change from 28 to 29, but not from 29 to 28.

A variety of rule languages have been developed over the past decade, and the most common used rule modeling languages are Rule Markup Language, Simple Rule Markup Language (SRML) and Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules (SBVR). As Rule Markup Language, specification is based on xml structure, less readable than the textual representation, and SRML has less technical support, we decided to use the SBVR as the business rule modeling language.

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