PHILharmonic Flows

PHILharmonic Flows - Process, Humans and Information Linkage for harmonic Business Flows

Project Description

Our basic mission in this project is to develop concepts, methods and tools for realizing object- and process-aware application systems. In particular, we aim at a flexible integration of business data, business processes, and thus want to overcome limitations known from activity-centered Workflow Management Systems.

A general goal of business information systems is to provide advanced functionality for managing business information and business processes in an integrated way. Existing information systems provide a data-oriented view which enables users to access and manage relevant business data at any point in time. In addition, many systems additionally offer a process-oriented view within which upcoming tasks are assigned to responsible actors at the right point in time.

On the one hand business information should include information about the corresponding processes. On the other hand, adequate context information should be offered during process execution. Any business software therefore should provide an integrated view on business information as well as on business processes! Interestingly, many application systems already enable an integrated access to business data and to business processes (e.g., CRM or ERP systems). However, in these systems, process logic is often hard-coded. Thus, even simple process changes require costly code adaptations and high efforts for testing. As a consequence long development cycles and high maintenance costs result.

To cope with this unsatisfactory situation, Workflow Management Systems (WfMS) have been introduced. Using WfMS, it becomes possible to define processes independent from specific applications. However, a comprehensive data-oriented view is still missing in contemporary workflow technology resulting in many limitations and costly workarounds.

In the PHILharmonic Flows project, we have analyzed numerous processes as supported by existing application systems and we have evaluated their relation to application data. We have observed that contemporary WfMS have not achieved the technological maturity yet for adequately supporting the data-driven processes (see Fig. 1) within these application systems.


Fig.1: Data and Process Structure within Application Systems

We have elaborated the key challenges for an advanced process management technology which we denote as Object-aware Process Management (see Fig. 2). The underlying idea is to provide a generic component which enables similar features as can be found in hard-coded application systems on the one hand and which benefits from the advantages known from WfMS on the other hand.



Fig. 2: Challenges for Object-aware Process Management Systems

Challenge 1:           
Providing an integrated view on data and on the corresponding processes.

Challenge 2:    
Defining a uniform granularity for the harmonized modelling of processes which considers the underlying data structure.

Challenge 3:    
Synchronizing concurrently executed process instances in accordance with their semantic relations.

Challenge 4:     
Enabling data-based process modelling and data-driven process execution.

Challenge 5:        
Ensuring a flexible granularity of activities and enabling dynamic coordination of optional and mandatory activities.

Additionally we address research questions which emerge from the involvement of users in Object-aware Process Management Systems.

Challenge 6:                      
Enabling authorizations based on individual object instances.

Challenge 7:           
Ensuring compliance between permissions for accessing data and for executing process activities.

Challenge 8:           
Considering the relations between users and object instances.

Challenge 9:                      
Differentiating between optional and mandatory permissions.

By tackling these challenges, we want to achieve the following benefits:

  • A clear and intuitive methodology for the harmonized modelling of processes which leads to comparable process models.
  • A generic implementation of basic application functions like forms, overview lists, and so forth.
  • A separation between business rules and process logic.
  • A knowledge-driven process execution for better assisting users.
  • Compliance between the state of data objects and the progress of the process.
  • Controlled and synchronized evolution of data and processes.
  • Controllable integration of context information; i.e., avoidance of the "context tunnelling" problem.
  • The generation of different perspectives on one and the same process considering the context of the user.

Our overall vision is to develop a framework for an Object-aware Process Management System which tackles the above mentioned challenges. In the course of the project we want to give detailed insights into the different components of the framework as well as their complex interdependencies.

Altogether, PHILharmonic Flows will provide an important contribution towards the realization of more flexible process management technology in which daily work can be done in a more natural way.

Project Details

Project Team

Opens internal link in current windowProf. Dr. Manfred Reichert
Ulm University, Institute of Databases and Information Systems
Opens internal link in current windowVera Künzle
Ulm University, Institute of Databases and Information Systems
Opens internal link in current windowCarolina Chiao
Ulm University, Institute of Databases and Information Systems
Opens internal link in current windowKevin Andrews
Ulm University, Institute of Databases and Information Systems
Opens internal link in current windowSebastian Steinau
Persis GmbH

Project Partners

University of Ulm, Opens internal link in current windowInstitute of Databases and Information Systems

Persis GmbH, High-Level Human Resource Software

Funding

The project is partially funded by Persis GmbH.

Duration

The PHILharmonic Flows project has been running since 2009.

Publications

| 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 |

2014

Chiao, Carolina Ming and Künzle, Vera and Reichert, Manfred (2014) Towards Schema Evolution in Object-aware Process Management Systems. In: International Workshop on the Evolution of Information Systems and their Design Methods (EMISA 2014), Luxembourg, September 2014, Lecture Notes in Informatics (LNI), Koellen-Verlag. (Accepted for Publication) file
Chiao, Carolina Ming and Künzle, Vera and Andrews, Kevin and Reichert, Manfred (2014) A Tool for Supporting Object-Aware Processes. In: IEEE 18th Int'l Distributed Object Computing Conference - Workshops and Demonstrations (EDOCW 2014), Ulm, Germany, September 2014, IEEE Computer Society Press, pp. 410-413. file

2013

Chiao, Carolina Ming and Künzle, Vera and Reichert, Manfred (2013) Object-aware Process Support in Healthcare Information Systems: Requirements, Conceptual Framework and Examples. Int'l Journal on Advances in Life Sciences, 5(1 & 2): 11-26. file
Chiao, Carolina Ming and Künzle, Vera and Reichert, Manfred (2013) Enhancing the Case Handling Paradigm to Support Object-aware Processes. In: 3rd Int'l Symposium on Data-Driven Process Discovery and Analysis (SIMPDA'13), Riva del Garda, Italy, August 30, 2013, CEUR Workshop Proceedings 1027, CEUR-WS.org, pp. 89-103. file
Chiao, Carolina Ming and Künzle, Vera and Reichert, Manfred (2013) Integrated Modeling of Process- and Data-Centric Software Systems with PHILharmonicFlows. In: 1st IEEE Int'l Workshop on Communicating Business Process and Software Models, Workshop held in conjunction with the 29th Int'l Conf on Software Maintenance, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, September 23rd, 2013, IEEE Computer Societey Press, pp. 1-10. file
Künzle, Vera (2013) Object-Aware Process Management. Phd thesis, University of Ulm. file

2012

Chiao, Carolina Ming and Künzle, Vera and Reichert, Manfred (2012) Towards Object-aware Process Support in Healthcare Information Systems. In: 4th International Conference on eHealth, Telemedicine, and Social Medicine (eTELEMED 2012), Valencia, Spain, January 30 - February 4, 2012, IARIA, pp. 227-236. file
Chiao, Carolina Ming and Künzle, Vera and Reichert, Manfred (2012) Schema Evolution in Object and Process-Aware Information Systems: Issues and Challenges. In: 1st Int. Workshop on Data- and Artifact-centric BPM (DAB'12), BPM'12 Workshops, Tallinn, Estonia, 2 September 2012, LNBIP 132, Springer, pp. 328-339. file
Künzle, Vera and Reichert, Manfred (2012) Striving for Object-aware Process Support: How Existing Approaches Fit Together. In: 1st Int'l Symposium on Data-driven Process Discovery and Analysis (SIMPDA'11), Campione d'Italia, Italy, June 29 - July 1, 2011, LNBIP 116, Springer, pp. 169-188. file
Reichert, Manfred and Weber, Barbara (2012) Enabling Flexibility in Process-Aware Information Systems: Challenges, Methods, Technologies. Springer. file

2011

Künzle, Vera and Reichert, Manfred (2011) PHILharmonicFlows: towards a framework for object-aware process management. Journal of Software Maintenance and Evolution: Research and Practice, 23(4): 205-244, Wiley. file
Künzle, Vera and Weber, Barbara and Reichert, Manfred (2011) Object-aware Business Processes: Fundamental Requirements and their Support in Existing Approaches. International Journal of Information System Modeling and Design (IJISMD), 2(2): 19-46, IGI Global. file
Künzle, Vera and Reichert, Manfred (2011) A Modeling Paradigm for Integrating Processes and Data at the Micro Level. In: Proc. 12th Int'l Working Conference on Business Process Modeling, Development and Support (BPMDS'11), London, June 2011, LNBIP 81, Springer, pp. 201-215. file
Künzle, Vera and Reichert, Manfred (2011) PHILharmonicFlows: Research and Design Methodology. Technical Report UIB-2011-05, University of Ulm. file
Künzle, Vera (2011) Towards a Framework for Object-aware Process Management. In: 1st Int'l Symposium on Data-driven Process Discovery and Analysis (SIMPDA'11), PhD Seminar, Campione d'Italia, Italy, June 29 - July 1, 2011. (Accepted for Publication) file

2010

Künzle, Vera and Reichert, Manfred (2010) Herausforderungen bei der Integration von Benutzern in Datenorientierten Prozess-Management-Systemen. EMISA Forum, 30(1): 11-28, Koellen-Verlag. file
Künzle, Vera and Weber, Barbara and Reichert, Manfred (2010) Object-aware Business Processes: Properties, Requirements, Existing Approaches. Technical Report UIB-2010-06, University of Ulm. file

2009

Künzle, Vera and Reichert, Manfred (2009) Towards Object-aware Process Management Systems: Issues, Challenges, Benefits. In: Proc. 10th Int'l Workshop on Business Process Modeling, Development, and Support (BPMDS'09), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, June 2008, LNBIP 29, Springer, pp. 197-210. file
Künzle, Vera and Reichert, Manfred (2009) Herausforderungen auf dem Weg zu datenorientierten Prozess-Management-Systemen. EMISA Forum, 29(2): 9-24. file
Künzle, Vera and Reichert, Manfred (2009) Integrating Users in Object-aware Process Management Systems: Issues and Challenges. In: Proceedings BPM'09 Workshops, 5th Int. Workshop on Business Process Design (BPD'09), Ulm, Germany, September 2009, LNBIP 43, Springer, pp. 29-41. file