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Semantic Business Process Management: Applying Ontologies in BPM

Semantic Business Process Management: Applying Ontologies in BPM
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Author(s): Dimka Karastoyanova (University of Stuttgart, Germany), Tammo van Lessen (University of Stuttgart, Germany), Frank Leymann (University of Stuttgart, Germany), Zhilei Ma (University of Stuttgart, Germany), Joerg Nitzche (University of Stuttgart, Germany) and Branimir Wetzstein (University of Stuttgart, Germany)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 19
Source title: Handbook of Research on Business Process Modeling
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Jorge Cardoso (SAP Research, Germany) and Wil van der Aalst (Technische Universitat Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-288-6.ch014

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Abstract

Even though process orientation/BPM is a widely accepted paradigm with heavy impact on industry and research the available technology does not support the business professionals’ tasks in an appropriate manner that is in a way allowing processes modeling using concepts from the business domain. This results in a gap between the business people expertise and the IT knowledge required. The current trend in bridging this gap is to utilize technologies developed for the Semantic Web, for example ontologies, while maintaining reusability and flexibility of processes. In this chapter the authors present an overview of existing technologies, supporting the BPM lifecycle, and focus on potential benefits Semantic Web technologies can bring to BPM. The authors will show how these technologies help automate the transition between the inherently separate/detached business professionals’ level and the IT level without the burden of additional knowledge acquisition on behalf of the business professionals. As background information they briefly discuss existing process modeling notations like the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) as well as the execution centric Business Process Execution Language (BPEL), and their limitations in terms of proper support for the business professional. The chapter stresses on the added value Semantic Web technologies yield when leveraged for the benefit of BPM. For this the authors give examples of existing BPM techniques that can be improved by using Semantic Web technologies, as well as novel approaches which became possible only through the availability of semantic descriptions. They show how process model configuration can be automated and thus simplified and how flexibility during process execution is increased. Additionally, they present innovative techniques like automatic process composition and auto-completion of process models where suitable process fragments are automatically discovered to make up the process model. They also present a reference architecture of a BPM system that utilizes Semantic Web technologies in an SOA environment.

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