Self-service business process modelling platform for interorganizational collaboration

Inter-organizational collaboration in virtual enterprises is based on dynamic requirements and agile organizational setups. Business processes need to address these constraints both on the design-time (setup and modelling of business) and run-time perspective (operation/execution of business). The ComVantage project addressed both aspects. Whereas the modelling part is described below and additionally in result #4, the execution aspect is described in result #6.

ComVantage introduces an enterprise modelling method that is

a) process-centric, enabling modellers to describe business processes within their enterprise and execution context;

b) multi-faceted, allowing the modellers to link business processes to their motivators (e.g. product/service variants) and to Comvantage-specific requirements (e.g. mobile apps and their capabilities, inter-organisational roles);

c) multi-layered, allowing the modellers to describe processes in different abstractions (e.g. both inter-organisational processes and mobile app workflows);

d) modular, to avoid a “take all or leave all” approach;

e) semantically integrated to allow retrieval of information across multiple types of models.
Thus, the method is wider in scope and more domain-specific than standardized approaches for business process modelling (e.g. BPMN), which aim to bring all users to the same (high) level of abstraction. A key focus is on explicit semantics (i.e. properties of the modelling elements that can be exported as Linked Data), while standard languages and notations aim to express semantics strictly on a visual level.

Furthermore, a flexible concept for model type interoperability was developed as an alternative to traditional XML-based model serialization approaches. An RDF vocabulary was introduced as a schema for the serialization of conceptual models. This enables the transfer of visually-oriented diagrams for processing within a Linked Data environment, where information captured across the multiple types of models can be queried with semantic technologies (i.e. SPARQL). Thus a new generation of process-aware information systems can benefit by querying business process models that are semantically linked to elements from their enterprise context and from other models. Result #6 is a proof-of-concept for the possibilities opened by this innovation.

A proof-of-concept academic modelling prototype has been deployed within the OMILab environment (http://www.omilab.org/web/comvantage/home) for members of the Open Model Initiative community and for experimentation purposes. The academic prototype is mainly designed for academic exploitation (scientific experimentation, curricular development, case studies etc.). However, it is provided freely for download as an open ADOxx source (for those who want to further customize the prototype, the ADOxx metamodelling platform is available for free at http://adoxx.org).