High-Level Design and Analysis of Business Processes
The Advantages of Declarative Specifications
I. Rychkova, G. Regev, A. Wegmann
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland design . Modeling techniques, such as BPMN  and use cases , also encourage modeling details at an early stage. As a result, in many cases, an organization will commit to one of the execution paths (e.g. paying before sending the goods) and later, handle the second one (sending the goods before receiving the payment) as an exception. The number of exceptions, however, often results in tangled processes containing many exceptions. This has two related consequences. First of all, the alignment between the strategy of the organization (i.e. selling on-line) and its detailed business processes is not apparent. Second, the flexibility of the processes themselves  is limited because they become difficult to manage and change. In this paper, we propose a technique that complements imperative business process specifications with declarative specifications. This declarative specification enables designers to describe the actions that a business process needs to contain, but not their sequence. It omits the specification of the control flow between the actions thus keeping the process design independent from constraints imposed by an environment in which this process will be implemented. The control flow, often specific to a given environment, is later modeled in an imperative specification. Our technique includes checking the conformance of the imperative and the declarative specifications. Presented technique can improve the alignment of the business process with the business strategy of an organization by giving a synthesis of a set of business processes (abstracting the control flow) while maintaining a rigorous relationship with the detailed process. Flexibility may also be enhanced because alternative paths are modeled as separate business processes conforming to an overall process, thereby helping organizations to tailor them to different environments without losing the overall view. This technique is a new addition to SEAM (Systemic Enterprise Architecture Method) -. We illustrate our technique with the example of an on-line book store: The company wants to design a global view on its sale process in order to maintain the alignment between the different customizations of this process for different countries and to simplify the design of these customizations. We illustrate a business process redesign task using the same example and show how declarative specifications help designers to understand the relation between the redesigned process and the initial one.
Abstract—Business process modeling techniques, such as BPMN, encourage the early specification of the exact order in which the activities of the process will be executed. However, a business process may be exposed to different environments and subjected to many conditions in which a sequence cannot be identified at design time. We present declarative business process specifications that can be used to align optional process customizations, as well as process redesign, with the business strategy of the organization. These specifications complement the traditional (imperative) business process model by specifying the process independently from a particular environment. Index Terms—Alloy, formal verification, Business Process Modeling, refinement.
LIGNING business processes with business strategy is an important preoccupation in modern organizations. This alignment is made simpler if an adequate level of abstraction for business process representation is used. A business process can be defined as “a set of partially ordered activities aimed at reaching a well-defined goal.” . The keyword partial alludes to the problem of defining, ahead of time, the exact order in which the activities will be executed. Indeed a business...
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