Semantics as a Key Enabling Business Process Automation (englisch)
Business Process Management (BPM) includes methods, techniques and tools to support modelling, implementation, execution and analysis of business processes. Nowadays, BPM is often combined with the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) paradigm, as together these two approaches may offer many benefits. Whereas BPM specifies business directions, goals and processes defining how the organisational resources are used in order to support achieving business goals, SOA offers a flexible IT architecture that may be easily adapted to changing business requirements and helps to leverage IT investments through provision of reusable components.
Although BPM used together with SOA is believed to provide a complex approach to manage business processes in an enterprise, currently it offers only little support for automation of the BPM lifecycle. It is especially visible when it comes to the automatic transition from one phase to another. For instance, the automatic transition from modelling to implementation phase is impossible due to insufficient technical description of a process provided by a business analyst resulting from different perception of a process hold by a business expert and an IT engineer. Similar problems may be also observed in other phases, e.g. when the execution data (low level technical data) needs to be presented to business analysts in order to allow for process improvement.
Various attempts were undertaken to achieve automation of the Business Process Management (BPM) lifecycle. None of them, however, provided its originators with the desired level of automation. One of the most recent initiatives in this area is Semantic Business Process Management, which aims at enabling at least semi-automation of the BPM lifecycle using Semantic Web and Semantic Web Services technologies. In this presentation we present this vision and describe how ontologies and Semantic Web service technologies can be used throughout the BPM lifecycle, consisting of process modeling, implementation, execution, and analysis phases. We identify the new functional requirements, explain the benefits of adopting semantic technologies in SBPM and demonstrate exemplary usage of these technologies.
Agata Filipowska is a Teaching and Research Assistant at Poznan University of Economics, Department of Information Systems. She teaches courses on business process modeling, software engineering and management information systems. Agata Filipowska has a Master of Science from Poznan University of Economics (received in 2004, Summa Cum Laude). From 2004 she has been involved in projects funded by European Commission - ASG, SUPER and USE-ME.GOV. Moreover, Agata Filipowska chaired Organizing Committee of the International Conference on Business Information Systems from 2004 to 2006. Her main areas of interest include information retrieval and filtering, information extraction and service oriented architectures.