BPM 2009 Tutorial

Enabling Flexibility in Process-Aware Information Systems - Challenges, Paradigms, Technologies
Manfred Reichert and Barbara Weber

7th Int'l Conference on Business Process Management (BPM'09)
Ulm, Germany, 9 September 2009 


Process-aware information systems (PAIS) must be able to deal with uncertainty, exceptional situations, and environmental changes. Needed business agility is often hindered by the lacking flexibility of existing PAIS. Once a process is implemented, its logic cannot be adapted or refined anymore, and no flexibilty is provided to users.  This often leads to rigid behavior or gaps between real-world processes and implemented ones. In response to this drawback, different paradigms and technologies for realizing flexible PAIS (e.g., adaptive processes, declarative workflows, case handling) have emerged. Using real-world cases, this tutorial presents a detailed review of the challenges that exist for flexible PAISs, and it gives detailed insights into paradigms and technologies for their realization. Our approach is to present real-world needs and then to deliberate on various developments from academia and industry in terms of their closeness to these needs, thus identifying open questions where relevant. 

This tutorial will be organized as follows: First, the presenters explain the overall agenda and establish the context of process flexibility in the light of industry demands. Case studies are presented which form a motivational backbone for the remaining tutorial. This is followed by a detailed discussion of the challenges, paradigms and technologies around process flexibility. Finally, demos of technologies for realizing process-aware information systems are provided.

In summary, the following topics will be covered by the tutorial:

  • Basic challenges and requirements emerging in the context of flexible PAIS.
  • Paradigms for realizing flexible processes and flexible PAIS respectively; e.g., adaptive processes, declarative workflows, case handling, data-driven processes
  • Analysis of the diversity of these paradigms and discussion along characteristic sceanrios
  • State-of-the-art technology for enabling (runtime) process flexibility (e.g., ad-hoc changes, late modelling)
  • Implementing process changes through process schema evolution (and change propagation)
  • Change patterns and change features in PAIS; pattern-based comparison of state-of-the-art technology for flexible processes
  • Demonstrations of existing proof-of-concept prototypes 

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