ENPROSO - Enhanced Process Management through Service Orientation

Partners

  • Daimler AG, Research & Development
  • University of Ulm, Insitute of Databases and Information Systems

Description

An important goal of any Service-oriented Architecture (SOA) is to increase the flexibility of IT-supported business processes. In particular, it should be possible to quickly implement new business processes and business services, and to flexibly adapt the corresponding IT applications to changing business needs. In addition, it is crucial to adequately cope with changes in the SOA environment itself. Examples of such changes include modifications of IT services or business objects that are used by IT-supported business processes.

Due to the insufficient interaction between domain experts and system engineers, usually a large gap between business needs on the one hand and information systems on the other hand exists. SOA offers promising perspectives to reduce this gap by aligning services with business requirements in a better way (Business-IT Alignment). Generally, integrated lifecycle support of processes, services, and data objects at both business and technical level constitutes a big challenge for SOA. In practice, no comprehensive information is maintained about these artifacts and their relations to technical implementations. This lack of documentation, in turn, causes severe maintenance problems. For example, when a service (or particular service version) is shut down it cannot be immediately determined, which processes or applications are affected. This makes it difficult to preserve system consistency and to guarantee for the absence of system errors. For instance, a process implementation might crash if the service it uses was shut down or a process might be blocked if actor assignments cannot be resolved.

The variety of services and processes existing in different versions and variants as well as their concurrent use have resulted in high operation and maintenance costs. Services that are not used anymore should therefore be removed in order to avoid and reduce these costs. This, in turn, requires information about the multiple dependencies that exists between the different service versions and their consumers.

In the ENPROSO (Enhanced Process Management through Service Orientation) project we target at high consistency between business requirements on the one hand and their IT-based implementation in process-aware information systems on the other hand. In this context service orientation enables the use of different service versions by numerous processes and consumers respectively. This, in turn, results in a complex network of relationships (see Fig. 1) that need to be controlled.

Fig. 1 Dependencies between business processes and business service versions

Description

An important goal of any Service-oriented Architecture (SOA) is to increase the flexibility of IT-supported business processes. In particular, it should be possible to quickly implement new business processes and business services, and to flexibly adapt the corresponding IT applications to changing business needs. In addition, it is crucial to adequately cope with changes in the SOA environment itself. Examples of such changes include modifications of IT services or business objects that are used by IT-supported business processes.

Due to the insufficient interaction between domain experts and system engineers, usually a large gap between business needs on the one hand and information systems on the other hand exists. SOA offers promising perspectives to reduce this gap by aligning services with business requirements in a better way (Business-IT Alignment). Generally, integrated lifecycle support of processes, services, and data objects at both business and technical level constitutes a big challenge for SOA. In practice, no comprehensive information is maintained about these artifacts and their relations to technical implementations. This lack of documentation, in turn, causes severe maintenance problems. For example, when a service (or particular service version) is shut down it cannot be immediately determined, which processes or applications are affected. This makes it difficult to preserve system consistency and to guarantee for the absence of system errors. For instance, a process implementation might crash if the service it uses was shut down or a process might be blocked if actor assignments cannot be resolved.

The variety of services and processes existing in different versions and variants as well as their concurrent use have resulted in high operation and maintenance costs. Services that are not used anymore should therefore be removed in order to avoid and reduce these costs. This, in turn, requires information about the multiple dependencies that exists between the different service versions and their consumers.

In the ENPROSO (Enhanced Process Management through Service Orientation) project we target at high consistency between business requirements on the one hand and their IT-based implementation in process-aware information systems on the other hand. In this context service orientation enables the use of different service versions by numerous processes and consumers respectively. This, in turn, results in a complex network of relationships (see Fig. 1) that need to be controlled.

Fig. 1 Dependencies between business processes and business service versions

The contributions the ENPROSO project targets at are manifold: First, ENPROSO defines basic concepts for realizing a repository that covers all aspects of a SOA (cf. Fig. 2). In particular, it shall maintain different versions of processes, services and data objects at both business and technical level. Additionally, this repository shall maintain comprehensive information relation to the whole lifecycle of processes and services as well as to the many relation-ships existing between the numerous artifacts.

Fig. 2 Enproso SOA repository

Second, in ENPROSO we are developing a multi-layer modeling method to implement process-aware and service-oriented information systems in a consistent and maintainable way (cf. Fig. 3). All model layers cover process aspects like control flow, data objects, business rules, business services, and organizational model at different levels of granularity. The first layer starts with the business perspective and its models, which are then refined towards a technical implementation at the IT level. In particular, process or service changes have to be approved by domain experts or business units, before they are technically realized by the IT department on a specific platform. One challenge is to map activities from the business level to those at the technical level and vise versa as well as to maintain these relationships. For ex-ample, when adding, deleting or modifying activities within a business process model, this adoptions should be easy mappable to the corresponding workflow implementation. Note that such mapping is by far not trivial since workflow specification are usually more fine granular than business process models, and there is no 1:1 mapping between business activities and workflow activities in general.

Generally, it is a complex task to identify the relations between business process activities and corresponding technical activities in the IT-implementation. Therefore, a traceable documentation of dependencies is fundamental for closing the gap between business process models and their corresponding IT-implementation. Particular challenges are to maintain such depen-dencies and to guarantee the consistency between the different model layers.

Fig. 3 : Levels of Process Modeling and other aspects

Partners

  • Daimler AG, Research & Development
  • University of Ulm, Insitute of Databases and Information Systems

Funding

  • Daimler AG

Duration

  • 2009 - 2011

Funding

  • Daimler AG

The contributions the ENPROSO project targets at are manifold: First, ENPROSO defines basic concepts for realizing a repository that covers all aspects of a SOA (cf. Fig. 2). In particular, it shall maintain different versions of processes, services and data objects at both business and technical level. Additionally, this repository shall maintain comprehensive information relation to the whole lifecycle of processes and services as well as to the many relation-ships existing between the numerous artifacts.

Fig. 2 Enproso SOA repository

Duration

  • 2009 - 2011

Second, in ENPROSO we are developing a multi-layer modeling method to implement process-aware and service-oriented information systems in a consistent and maintainable way (cf. Fig. 3). All model layers cover process aspects like control flow, data objects, business rules, business services, and organizational model at different levels of granularity. The first layer starts with the business perspective and its models, which are then refined towards a technical implementation at the IT level. In particular, process or service changes have to be approved by domain experts or business units, before they are technically realized by the IT department on a specific platform. One challenge is to map activities from the business level to those at the technical level and vise versa as well as to maintain these relationships. For ex-ample, when adding, deleting or modifying activities within a business process model, this adoptions should be easy mappable to the corresponding workflow implementation. Note that such mapping is by far not trivial since workflow specification are usually more fine granular than business process models, and there is no 1:1 mapping between business activities and workflow activities in general.

Generally, it is a complex task to identify the relations between business process activities and corresponding technical activities in the IT-implementation. Therefore, a traceable documentation of dependencies is fundamental for closing the gap between business process models and their corresponding IT-implementation. Particular challenges are to maintain such depen-dencies and to guarantee the consistency between the different model layers.

Fig. 3 : Levels of Process Modeling and other aspects

Publications

| 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 |

2015

Bauer, Thomas and Buchwald, Stephan and Tiedeken, Julian and Reichert, Manfred (2015) A SOA Repository with Advanced Analysis Capabilities - Improving the Maintenance and Flexibility of Service-Oriented Applications. In: 17th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems (ICEIS 2015), Barcelona, 27 - 30 April 2015, pp. 238-248. file

2014

Bauer, Thomas and Buchwald, Stephan and Tiedeken, Julian and Reichert, Manfred (2014) Erhöhung der System-Stabilität und -Flexibilität durch ein SOA-Repository mit Analysefähigkeiten. Technical Report 32, Hochschule Neu-Ulm. file
Bauer, Thomas and Buchwald, Stephan and Tiedeken, Julian and Reichert, Manfred (2014) Konzeption eines SOA-Repository mit Analysefähigkeiten. In: Proceedings Informatik 2014, Stuttgart, Germany, September 22-26, 2014, Lecture Notes in Informatics (LNI) P-232, Koellen-Verlag, pp. 1565-1576. file

2013

Bauer, Thomas and Buchwald, Stephan and Reichert, Manfred (2013) Improving the Quality and Cost-effectiveness of Process-oriented, Service-driven Applications: Techniques for Enriching Business Process Models . In: Service-Driven Approaches to Architecture and Enterprise Integration. pp. 104-134. file

2012

Buchwald, Stephan (2012) Erhöhung der Flexibilität und Durchgängigkeit prozessorientierter Applikationen mittels Service-Orientierung. Phd thesis, University of Ulm. file

2011

Buchwald, Stephan and Bauer, Thomas and Reichert, Manfred (2011) Bridging the Gap Between Business Process Models and Service Composition Specifications. Idea Group Referenc, In: Service Life Cycle Tools and Technologies: Methods, Trends and Advances. pp. 124-153. file
Buchwald, Stephan and Bauer, Thomas and Reichert, Manfred (2011) Flexibilisierung Service-orientierter Architekturen. Technical Report UIB-2011-01, University of Ulm. file
Buchwald, Stephan and Bauer, Thomas and Reichert, Manfred (2011) Flexible Prozessapplikationen in Service-orientierten Architekturen - Ein Überblick. EMISA Forum, 31(3): 32-58. file

2010

Buchwald, Stephan and Bauer, Thomas and Reichert, Manfred (2010) Durchgängige Modellierung von Geschäftsprozessen in einer Service-orientierten Architektur. In: Modellierung'10, Klagenfurt, Austria, March 2010, Lecture Notes in Informatics (LNI) 161, Koellen-Verlag, pp. 203-211. file
Buchwald, Stephan and Tiedeken, Julian and Bauer, Thomas and Reichert, Manfred (2010) Anforderungen an ein Metamodell für SOA-Repositories. In: 2nd Central-European Workshop on Services and their Composition (ZEUS'10), Berlin, Germany, 25-26 February 2010, 563, pp. 17-24. file
Buchwald, Stephan and Bauer, Thomas (2010) Modellierung von Service-Aufrufbeziehungen zwischen prozessorientierten Applikationen. EMISA Forum, 30(2): 32-48. file

2009

Buchwald, Stephan and Bauer, Thomas and Pryss, Rüdiger (2009) IT-Infrastrukturen für flexible, service-orientierte Anwendungen - ein Rahmenwerk zur Bewertung. In: 13. GI-Fachtagung Datenbanksysteme für Business, Technologie und Web (BTW'09), Münster, Germany, Lecture Notes in Informatics (LNI) P-144, Koellen-Verlag, pp. 524-543. file
Buchwald, Stephan and Bauer, Thomas and Reichert, Manfred (2009) Durchgängige Modellierung von Geschäftsprozessen durch Einführung eines Abbildungsmodells: Ansätze, Konzepte, Notationen. Technical Report UIB-2009-12, University of Ulm. file

Master & Bachelor Theses

| 2011 | 2010 | 2009 |

2011

Finkenzeller, Florian (2011) Versionsübergreifende Konsistenzsicherung - Konzeption und Realisierung von Konsistenzanalysen in einer SOA. Diploma thesis, University of Ulm. file

2010

Rechtenbach, Steve (2010) Durchgängige Modellierung: Vorgehen und Funktionalität im GPM-Tool. Diploma thesis, University of Ulm. file
Schmitzl, Jochen (2010) Durchgängige Modellierung von prozessorientierten Anwendungen mit BPMN 2.0. Master thesis, Universität Ulm. file
Tiedeken, Julian (2010) Konzeption und Realisierung eines logisch zentralen SOA-Repositories. Diploma thesis, University of Ulm. file

2009

Enderle, Ralf (2009) Frühe fachliche Modellierung ausführungsrelevanter Prozess-Aspekte - Prozessmodellierung in Zeiten von SOA. Diploma thesis, Universität Ulm. file