Business Process Modeling

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Journal of the Association for Information Systems

Research Article

Business Process Modeling- A Comparative Analysis*

Jan Recker Faculty of Science and Technology Queensland University of Technology Michael Rosemann Faculty of Science and Technology Queensland University of Technology

Marta Indulska UQ Business School The University of Queensland
Peter Green UQ Business School The University of Queensland

Many business process modeling techniques have been proposed over the last decades, creating a demand for theory to assist in the comparison and evaluation of these techniques. A widely established way of determining the effectiveness and efficiency of modeling techniques is by way of representational analysis. This paper comparatively assesses representational analyses of 12 popular process modeling techniques in order to provide insights into the extent to which they differ from each other. We discuss several implications of our findings. Our analysis uncovers and explores representational root causes for a number of shortcomings that remain in process modeling practice, such as lack of process decomposition and integration of business rule specification. Our findings also serve as motivation and input to future research in areas such as context-aware business process design and conventions management. Keywords: Business process management, Process modeling, Representation theory, BWW model

* Yair Wand was the accepting senior editor. Joerg Evermann, Andreas Opdahl, and Pnina Soffer were the reviewers. This article was submitted on January 9, 2006 and went through two revisions. Volume 10, Issue 4, pp. 333-363, April 2009

Volume 10


Article 2

Business Process Modeling- A Comparative Analysis
1. Introduction

Business process management (BPM) continues to be a top business priority, and building business process capability is still a major challenge for senior executives(Gartner Group, 2009). The interest in BPM has, inter alia, triggered substantial academic and commercial work aiming toward advanced business process management solutions. One prominent example in this context is increasingly popular business process modeling (Davies et al., 2006). Due to a strengthened interest in a more disciplined approach to business process management, many organizations have made significant investments in process modeling initiatives, which in turn have triggered substantial related research. The recent introduction of legislation such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (Nielsen and Main, 2004) for example, further contributed to the increasing interest in business process modeling as a way to document the processes of an organization. The ongoing and strengthened interest in modeling for business process management has given rise to a wide range of modeling techniques, from simple flowcharting techniques (American National Standards Institute, 1970), to techniques initially used as part of software design such as UML (Fowler, 2004), to dedicated business-oriented modeling approaches such as Event-driven Process Chains (Scheer, 2000), to formalized and academically studied techniques such as Petri nets (Petri, 1962) and their dialects. Consequently, a competitive market is providing a large selection of techniques and tools for process modeling (Ami and Sommer, 2007), and significant demand has been created for means to evaluate and compare the available techniques (Moody, 2005). Indeed, many available “standards” for process modeling lack rigorous evaluation (van der Aalst, 2003). Given the keen interest in process modeling as a way of capturing the operations of organizations in real-world domains, and given the multitude of available techniques for such a task, our interest is to understand the capabilities of different process modeling techniques to facilitate the modeling of...
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