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Round-trip iterative business process modelling between BPA and BPMS tools

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Purpose ‐ This paper aims to present how iterative round-trip modelling between two different business process modelling tools can be enabled on a conceptual level. Iterative round-trip modelling addresses model transformations between high-level business and executable process models, and how to maintain these transformations in change time. Currently, the development of these process models is supported by different tools. To the authors' best knowledge, no coherent collaborative tool environment exists that supports iterative round-trip modelling. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This paper is primarily based on a literature review of state-of-the-art business to IT transformations regarding business process modelling. The architecture of integrated information systems (ARIS) and Cordys tools are used as an example case in this research. ARIS is a business process analysis (BPA) tool suited for analyzing and designing business processes, while the execution and monitoring of these processes is allowed by Cordys, a business process management suite (BPMS). The theory is used for transforming between ARIS event-driven process chains from the business perspective and business process modelling notation in Cordys from the IT perspective. Findings ‐ A conceptual framework is proposed to couple a BPA and BPMS tool for round-trip business process modelling. The framework utilizes concepts from the model-driven architecture for structurally addressing interoperability and model transformations. Ensuring iterative development with two tools requires traceability of model transformations. Practical implications ‐ In many organizations, BPA and BPMS tools are used for business process modelling. These are in practice often two different worlds, while they concern around the same business processes. Maintaining multiple versions of the same process models across two tools is a considerable task, as they often are subject to design changes. Interoperability between a BPA and BPMS tool will minimize redundant activities, and reduce business to IT deployment time. Originality/value ‐ This research provides a theoretical base for coupling a BPA and BPMS tool regarding iterative round-trip modelling. It provides an overview of the current state-of-the-art literature of business process modelling transformations, and what is necessary for maintaining interoperability between tools. The findings indicate what is expected in tool support for iterative development in business process modelling from analysis and design to execution.

Keywords: Business process modelling notation; Event-driven process chains; Interoperability; Model driven architecture; Model transformation; Modelling; Open systems; Process management

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 7, 2011


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