In conjunction with CAiSE'03 

Next Event 

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

4th BPMDS Workshop on Requirements Engineering for Business Process Support 

(REBPS'03)

Klagenfurt/Velden, Austria, June 17, 2003


Abstract

It is well known that it is difficult (if ever possible) to introduce business process management without having a computer system to support business processes. Such a system should not only assist human beings in completing elementary tasks (activities) but also help in driving business processes towards their goals. Requirements engineering (RE) for business process support (BPS) systems somewhat differs from RE for traditional business (information) systems in, at least, two aspects. First, a traditional data-model (conceptual model) does not give enough information for building a system, a detailed process model should be built in addition. Second, a traditional business information system is, normally, designed to support a business as is (but more effectively), while a BPS system should be designed to support a new way of running the business, the one which is not possible without the system. The latter leads to substantial requirement changes even long after the system has been deployed. This workshop is meant as a forum for discussing the problem of RE for BPS. It is the forth workshop in a series of international workshops on business process modeling; the main topics this time are: (a) what kinds of business process models are suitable as a basis for building computerized support, (b) how to build such models in practice (based on the information from the experts), (c) how to build a support system according to the model, and (d) how to introduce it in the operational practice. In addition, any other topics that concern RE for BPS are of interest for discussions at this forum. The results of the discussions will be summarized in a working document that will be produced after the workshop. A selection of the best papers will be considered for publishing in a special issue of an international journal. The workshop is designed as a meeting place for both researchers and practitioners in the fields of business development, and business application software development.


The flow of events during the workshop is presented in:

Reportage by Ian F. Alexander

Abstracts, full texts from proceedings and presentation slides can be found in:

Final Program

Online proceedings are published by CEUR Workshop Proceedings:

 Vol-75: CAiSE Workshop Proceedings 2003

There is also a printed version of proceedings


Call for Participation

Motivation

Business process orientation is considered to be an efficient way of increasing productivity and effectiveness of companies and organizations. This is a long process that starts with process identification and mapping and goes on through analysis and reengineering to introduction of process management and process-oriented organization. Business process management, which is a constant improvement of business processes, is often considered to be the most important part of process-orientation. However, the process management is impossible to (effectively) introduce, without, first, introducing means for processes control to ensure that each process instance, as a rule, is run according to the process definition. Without process control, the whole idea of process management would not work. If we cannot ensure that the process is run according to a (maybe non-optimal) definition, what is the point to optimize it?

For many business processes, especially for those that run across the departmental boundaries and include many human participants, the only way of establishing business process control is via the introduction of a business process support system. Such a system should help the human participants to run their processes thus encouraging them to follow a process definition by providing assistance (not by pure force). Simultaneously, the system can gather all essential information about each instance of the process, e.g., when and how started, when and how finished, all activities performed, etc., which is invaluable for process management. 

Development of BPS systems differs from the traditional business (information) system development in many aspects some of which are listed in the table below. The differences concern all stages of application development including requirements engineering (RE). The first two aspects are of particular importance for RE as they require:

(a) Understanding not only the mission and goals of the system under development, but also the broader goals of the business that the system is to support. This includes so-called functional goals, e.g. "I want the goods delivered", as well as non-functional goals, e.g. "I want my customers to be happy because the goods arrive undamaged and promptly" (a possible approach to modeling both types of goals see in [Yu & Mylopoulos, 1994]])

(b) Building a business process model in addition to a data (conceptual) model, and functional specifications (on insufficiency of current modeling techniques from the point of business process reengineering  see in [Yu & Mylopoulos, 1994]).

(c) Discussing not only what the future end-users want from the system, but also what the system will require from them.

(d) Being prepared that requirements will undergo substantial changes even long after the system has been deployed, as at the start we have only a hypothesis that the new way of running the business is better than the old one. The hypothesis is bound to be corrected in the process when the business and the system will converge to become synchronized.

Aspect

Traditional information systems

BPS systems
Organizational aspect Support old ways of running business Suggests new, more effective way of achieving the business objectives
Modeling Data modeling Process modeling
Database Static and passive Dynamic (history-minded) and active
User Interface Functional (multilevel menus) Navigational (free navigation in the space of interconnected business objects)

Building a business process model is a complex task that includes understanding the process goals, business environment in which the process operates, various participants of the process, etc. This is a challenging task because:

The experts engaged in the process certainly know their job, but their knowledge of the processes in which they are engaged is rather implicit than explicit. Most probably they are not consciously aware of all goals, participants and characteristic features of the business environment.
The environment in which a business process modeler works is similar to the environment in which a field linguist works when studying a natural language that exists only in the spoken form. He gets oral information from the native speakers, and confirms his/her theories via getting confirmation from the native speakers. Linguists have special methods permitting them to get the necessary information from the native speakers without teaching them any linguistic notions. A model builder needs similar methods for getting information from the business experts without teaching them all nuances of the business process theories.

Topics for discussion

The objective of the workshop is to discuss the main issues of RE for BPS. The following topics are of particular interest:

However any other topics on RE for BPS are also of interest.

Note: Some requirements that concern BPS can be found in the materials for discussions for our previous workshop on Practical Business Process Modeling: http://www.ibissoft.se/events/pbpm/Requirements.htm

Submissions

Prospective workshop participants are invited to submit a position paper related to one (or more) of the main topics. The submitted papers will be reviewed by the organizers. The selection will consider relevance to the main topics as well as potential to generate relevant discussions.

We would very much like to see among the attendees not only technicians but also professionals in business processes analysis and development. Both researches and practitioners are welcome.

Two kinds of position papers would be accepted. The first kind is a submission for making a presentation. Such submission should be devoted to a practical or theoretical topic of RE for BPS. The second kind is a submission for participating in the discussions. Such submission should describe the relevant experience of the participant, and it should explain in what topics the submitter is interested in and why.

Submissions for making presentations (no more than 5 pages, please, make it short)  should be sent by e-mail to ilia@ibissoft.se by April 10th (firm deadline) in any of the following formats: HTML, PDF, MSWord (please mention version and platform). HTML and PDF submissions are preferred. Notification of acceptance will be sent by April 21. Final versions for placement on this WEB-site are expected before May 26. Accepted submissions for presentation are planned to be published by the CAiSE organizers in a special Workshop volume together with proceedings of other workshops. A format for the camera ready copy for such publication is the same as for submissions for the main conference, for details see: http://www.ifi.uni-klu.ac.at/caise03/06_submission/. The deadline for the camera ready copy May 10.

Submissions for participating in the discussions could be sent any time before the workshop's start (limited to the room available). However, we would appreciate receiving them before May 26.  

Form

The aim of the workshop is discussions, rather than presentations. A position paper does not necessarily need to include the answers to the problems of business process modeling, requirements engineering, or building support systems. A position paper that raises the relevant questions, describes successful or unsuccessful practice, or experience will be welcome as well.

All position papers will be published on our website before the workshop, so that everybody can get some knowledge about the problems that are important for other participants.

To facilitate interaction between the participants, the organizers will try to compile a list of questions that are of common interest for the group. The list will be published on our website well in advance of the workshop. Any proposals of what should be included in the list will be appreciated. Participants who would like to answer those questions before the workshop will have the possibility to do it in writing. The written answers will be added to the workshop site.

Expected Results

Based on the discussions, a working document will be produced to summarize the results and outline the promising directions in the field.

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.

Important Dates

    Deadline for submissions:      April 10th, 2003 
    Notification of acceptance:    April 21st, 2003
    Final version for publication: May 10th, 2003
    Final version for WEB:         May 26th, 2003 
    Days of workshop:              June 17th, 2003

Previous workshops in the BPMDS series

The current event continues the series of international workshops started in 1998:

First workshop - Workshop on Object-Oriented Business Process Modeling (OOBPM'98) at ECOOP’98, see: http://www.ibissoft.se/events/oocontr/ooworkshop.htm. Organizes: Ilia Bider and Maxim Khomyakov.

Second workshop – Workshop on Practical Business Process Modeling (PBPM*00) at CAiSE*00, see: http://www.ibissoft.se/events/pbpm/Pbpm00.htm. Organizes: Maxim Khomyakov and Ilia Bider

Third workshop - Workshop on Goal-Oriented Business Process Modeling (GBPM*02) at HCI*02, see: http://www.ibissoft.se/events/gbpm02/GBPM02.htm. Organizers: Ilia Bider and Paul Johannesson

Organizers

Ian Alexander is an independent consultant specializing in Requirements Engineering. He provides consultancy and training on requirements, often using DOORS as the platform. He is the author of the JBA 3-Day Requirements Engineering Course, and is co-author of JBA's 3-Day Systems Engineering Course. He is accredited as an instructor for Telelogic's Applying DOORS, DXL, and Requirements Methodology courses, and for the Atlantic Systems Guild's Mastering the Requirements Process course. 
He aims to improve the requirements engineering process using scenarios. He created the Scenario Plus for Use Cases toolkit. His book 'Writing Better Requirements' is published by Addison-Wesley 2002. He helps to run the BCS Requirements Engineering Specialist Group and the IEE Professional Network for Systems Engineers. He is a Chartered Engineer. 

Ilia Bider is a cofounder and Director R&D of IbisSoft, a small consulting business based in Stockholm, Sweden. The company specializes in the borderland between Management and IT, the main focus being on organization of operative work in non-manufacturing business processes. Ilia has  PhD in Computer and System Sciences, and combined experience of over 25 years of research (in the fields of computational linguistics, databases, and business modeling), and practical work (business analysis, and software design, coding, sales, and marketing) in five countries (Norway, Russia, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States).

Gil Regev earned his CS degree from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in 1988. He worked for 9 years with Logitech in Switzerland and Silicon Valley as software engineer and project manager. He joined EPFL in 1997 and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in the area of Requirements Engineering.

References

[Yu & Mylopoulos, 1994] Yu, E., Mylopoulos, J., Towards modelling Strategic Actor Relationships for Information Systems Development - with Examples from Business Process Reengineering? Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Information Technologies and Systems WITTS'94, Vancouver B.C., Canada December 17-18, 1994.