Tutorial 2: A Business Process is more than a Workflow

Current approaches (methods, techniques, languages) to business process modeling hardly distinguish between business processes and workflows. Examples of these approaches are Flowcharts, Petri Nets, YAWL, EPC, BPMN, BPEL, UML, and IDEF0. However, reducing a business process to a workflow is only acceptable in the final stage of (re-) designing and (re-) engineering business processes, i.e. the stage at which the process is going to be implemented. As will be demonstrated and clarified, workflow models are hopelessly unsuitable for (re-) designing and (re-) engineering business processes. First, the sheer size of workflow model representations (easily running into dozens of pages) as well as the degree of detail prohibits a normal human being to understand and to overlook the modeled process. Second, workflow models do not show the deep structure of the modeled business processes, i.e. the tree structures of transactions. Third, workflow models do not make a distinction between the essential, ontological, parts of a business process and the supporting infological and datalogical parts. These drawbacks make the validation of process models virtually impossible.
As an alternative and complementary approach, DEMO will be presented and applied. This methodology is based on a sound theory about the construction and operation of organizations. Business processes become insightful structures of ‘atoms’ and ‘molecules’ instead of mind-boggling railroad yards. DEMO models do not suffer from the drawbacks listed above. Moreover, they provide a deep understanding of business processes, clearly distinguished from workflows. At the same time, workflows can be systematically derived from DEMO models.


This is a 3 hours tutorial according to the next program:

  • Analysis of the state of the art in business process modeling
  • The DEMO methodology
  • Example cases and exercises


Dietz, J.L.G.: Generic recurrent patterns in business processes. In: van der Aalst, W.M.P., ter Hofstede, A.H.M., Weske, M. (eds.) BPM 2003. LNCS, vol. 2678, Springer, Heidelberg (2003)

Dietz, J.L.G.: Enterprise Ontology – Theory and Methodology. Springer, Heidelberg (2006)

Dietz, J.L.G.: The deep structure of business processes. In: Communications of the ACM, Vol. 49, No. 5 (2006)




Tuesday, 8 September
(Coffee Break 15:30-16:00)


Jan L.G. Dietz
TU Delft
The Netherlands

Linda Terlouw
Icris BV
The Netherlands

Jan L.G. Dietz

Jan Dietz is full professor in Information Systems Design at Delft University of Technology (The Neth-erlands). He holds a Master degree in Electrical Engineering and a Doctoral degree in Computer Science. He has published over 200 scientific and professional articles as well as several books. His current research interests are in Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Ontology, and Enterprise Governance, the three pillars of Enterprise Engineering. Before his academic career, he has been in business automation for 10 years.
He is the spiritual father of DEMO (Design & Engineering Methodology for Organizations), as well as co-founder and honorary chairman of the DEMO Center of Expertise (www.demo.nl). For developing the emerging discipline of Enterprise Engineering, he chairs the international research network CIAO! (Cooperation & Interoperability – Architecture & Ontology) (www.ciaonetwork.org). He also acts as editor-in-chief of a book series on Enterprise Engineering, published by Springer. He can be reached at j.l.g.dietz(at)tudelft.nl.

Linda Terlouw

Linda Terlouw works as an IT Architect in the field of SOA for Icris BV. She advises large corporations about the gradual migration towards a service-oriented way of thinking and the use of ESB technology for its technical implementation. Before starting Icris BV, Linda worked for several large companies like IBM and Ordina. Linda holds both an MSc in Computer Science and an MSc in Business Information Technology from the University of Twente. Currently she is pursuing a PhD in Computer Science at the Delft University of Technology. The focus of this research is the specification of services working from DEMO models. Her research is part of the CIAO! Program (www.ciaonetwork.org). She can be reached at linda.terlouw(at)icris.nl.