CAiSE*00

Next Event

 International Workshops on Business Process Modeling, Development and Support (BPMDS)

2nd BPMDS Workshop on Practical Business Process Modeling (PBPM*00)

Stockholm, 5-6 June 2000

Abstract

Wide spread use of Internet leads to increasing volumes of customer requests and often results in the business environment where a relatively small staff handles a large amount of business processes. Effective management of business processes is impossible without a supporting computer system. In such system, not only internal staff are the users, but the customers as well (via Internet). The road to building process support systems goes through modeling business processes. The workshop is aimed to discuss Business Process Modeling from the viewpoint of application system development. Three most important topics are suggested for discussions: (a) conceptual model that gives us a common language to talk about business processes, (b) formal model and knowledge representation, (c) methods for extracting the end-user's knowledge. The results of discussions on each topic are expected to be summarized in a working document that will be produced directly after the workshop.  These documents and a selection of the best papers will be considered for publishing in a special issue of an international journal.

List of accepted presentations

Materials for workshop discussions: Business Process Modeling -Concepts
Materials for workshop discussions: Process Support Systems - Requirements
Materials for workshop discussions: Why do we need to model business processes

The workshop is open for everyone who wants to hear the discussions.
Please contact the organizers to ensure that there are enough copies of proceedings and enough chairs available.
For workshop registration, please see CAiSE*00 registration page
http://www.dsv.su.se/conferences/caise00/registration.html


Call for Participation

Motivation

Topics for Discussion

The road to building process support systems goes through business processes modeling. There exist a number of approaches to building such models, e.g., Role Activity Diagrams, IDEF3, Use-Cases, etc. However, none of them is fully focused on creating an “executable business process model” that could be interpreted by a support system. The workshop will concentrate on discussing the problems of building such a model. The following main topics are suggested:

Though the workshop is devoted to discussing business process modeling suitable for building support systems, the detailed technical architecture of such systems is beyond the main theme. However, the architectural issues that show a clue to building the right model are, naturally, relevant to the main theme.

1. Conceptual model

A conceptual model is a (minimal) set of abstract notions that describe a particular application domain. A business process is, usually, understood as a framework for activities that lead to a well defined objective (goal), e.g., closing a sale, getting money for an incoming order (after delivering the goods), etc. The main notions needed for describing business processes are “dynamic” in nature, e.g.: process objective (goal), time, process state, activity, history, plan, etc. However, to fully cover the domain, some “static” notions are required that concern business organization. For example, many processes have both an owner - who drives the process forward, and a beneficiary - for whom this process is driven. Those two are in a "static" relation of vendor/customer (seller/buyer, etc.). A process may also have human resources assigned to it who execute activities. These resources have "employment" relationships with the process owner, etc.

The idea with the conceptual model is threefold:

2. Formal model and knowledge representation

The conceptual model is not formal, usual words from a natural language are used to name the concepts, and to explain them. To make it possible for the computer to interpret the model, we need to represent it in some formal way. Here, the following type of questions should be answered:

Knowledge representation is about coding the formal model in a way that permits to input a business processes description in the computer system, and use it for providing the functionality required. Finding a proper way for knowledge representation can give an additional proof that the chosen formal model is suitable for the practical purposes.

3. Extracting information from the end-users

The conceptual (as well as formal) model defines a general framework  for building process support systems (i.e. a meta-model). To build a concrete system, the model should be specialized, i.e. filled with the concrete notions relevant to the application domain in question. For example, the following details should be worked out:

The specialization task is impossible to solve without collaboration with the future end-users of the application. The end-users would, naturally, know their job, but, most probably, they would know nothing about formal models of business processes. Very often, they even barely know that business processes exist in their surroundings, as the processes are not easily visible for their participants in a functionally structured organizations. The conditions in which an application designer works are similar to those of a linguist who studies a language that exists only in the spoken form. Linguists have special methods permitting them to get the necessary information from the native speakers without teaching them any linguistic notions. Moreover, it's considered a wrong practice to teach informants linguistics, as it may only spoil them.

An application designer needs similar methods that would permit him to obtain the detail knowledge of business without introducing the workers into the world of our conceptual model. Some way of visualization of the abstract model in connection to the particular application is required. It can be prototyping, visual tool for playing with process definitions, etc.

Expected Results

Based on the discussions during the workshop, up to 3 working documents should be produced, listed in the order of their priority:

After the workshop, the workshops materials together with a selection of the best papers will be considered for publishing in a special issue of an international journal.


Submissions

Prospective workshop participants are invited to submit a position paper related to one (or more) of the main topics, and/or a proposal on what terms should be included in the conceptual model, and how those terms should be defined.

As far as proposals to the conceptual model are concerned, the program committee will preprocess all of them and compile a draft that will be discussed during the morning session on June 5th. The draft will be sent in advance to all participants and published on our web site.

The submitted papers will be reviewed by the program committee. The selection will consider relevance to the main topics as well as potential to generate relevant discussions. The selected position papers will be presented during the afternoon session on June 5th. Those submissions will be made available from our web site in advance.

The morning session on June 6th will be devoted to overall discussion of problems in practical business process modeling. Please, feel free to send your proposals on what topics need brainstorming to the organizers.

We would very much like to see among the attendees not only technicians but also professionals in business processes analysis and development. We need your help to verify correctness of proposed approaches to business processes presentation.

Submissions (no more than 5 pages) should be sent by e-mail to ilia@ibissoft.se by Mars 25th in any of the following formats: HTML, ASCII, MSWord (please mention version and platform). HTML submissions are preferred. The organizes would appreciate very much if proposals on what should be included in the conceptual model are sent as soon as possible. You don’t need to form them in any special way, plain ascii in email would be enough.


Important Dates

    Deadline for submission:    Mars  25th, 2000
    Notification of acceptance: April 20th, 2000
    Final version:              Maj   15th, 2000
    Days of workshop:           June  5-6th,2000

Previous workshops

The workshop will continue the discussions started at the 1998 Workshop on Object-Oriented Business Process Modeling, but without any connection to a specific information technology (e.g., OO). The previous workshop was held in conjunction to the European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming (ECOOP’98). The materials can be found in:

Workshop on Object-Oriented Business Process Modelling. In Serge Demeyer and Jan Bosch, eds, Object-Oriented Technology. ECOOP'98 Workshop Reader, Springer 1998, LNCS 1543, pp. 217-241.


Organizers

Dr. Maxim Khomyakov is a cofounder and President of Magnificent Seven (Moscow, Russia). He has thirty years of research experience (in the fields of mathematical linguistics, logic, and OO), and 10 years of software business development.

Ilia Bider is a cofounder and Technical director of IbisSoft (Stockholm, Sweden). He has combined experience of over twenty years of research (in the fields of computational linguistics, databases, and OO), and practical work (design, coding, software sales, and marketing).

Program Committee

Jean Bézivin, Université de Nantes, Nantes, France
Ilia Bider, IbisSoft, Stockholm, Sweden
Maxim Khomyakov, Magnificent Seven, Moscow, Russia
Bernhard Thalheim, Brandenburg Technical University, Germany
Victor Sergeev, MGIMO, Moscow, Russia