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Aspect-Oriented Business Process Management
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6633-8587
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Separation of concerns has long been considered an effective and efficient strategy to deal with complexity in information systems.One sort of concern, like security and privacy, crosses over other concerns in a system. Such concerns are called cross-cutting concerns.As a result, the realization of these concerns is scattered through the whole system, which makes their management difficult.

Aspect Orientation is a paradigm in information systems which aims to modularize cross-cutting concerns.This paradigm is well researched in the programming area, where many aspect-oriented programming languages have been developed, e.g., AspectJ.It has also been investigated in other areas, such as requirement engineering and service composition.In the Business Process Management (BPM) area, Aspect Oriented Business Process Modeling aims to specify how this modularization technique can support encapsulating cross-cutting concerns in process models.However, it is not clear how these models should be supported in the whole BPM lifecycle.In addition, the support for designing these models has only been limited to imperative process models that support rigid business processes.Neither has it been investigated how this modularization technique can be supported through declarative or hybrid models to support the separation of cross-cutting concerns for flexible business processes.

Therefore, this thesis investigates how aspect orientation can be supported over the whole BPM lifecycle using imperative aspect-oriented business process models. It also investigates how declarative and hybrid aspect-oriented business process models can support the separation of cross-cutting concerns in the BPM area.This thesis has been carried out following the design science framework, and the result is presented as a set of artifacts (in the form of constructs, models, methods, and instantiations) and empirical findings.

The artifacts support modeling, analysis, implementation/configuration, enactment, monitoring, adjustment, and mining cross-cutting concerns while supporting business processes using Business Process Management Systems. Thus, it covers the support for the management of these concerns over the whole BPM lifecycle. The use of these artifacts and their application shows that they can reduce the complexity of process models by separating different concerns.

Abstract [sv]

Att separera angelägenheter har länge ansetts som en effektiv och ändamålsenlig strategi för att hantera komplexitet i informationssystem. Sådana angelägenheter, till exempel säkerhet och enskildhet, kan skära tvärs över andra angelägenheter i ett system, och de kallas därför övergripande angelägenheter. Hanteringen av dessa kan vara utspridda genom hela systemet, vilket ökar komplexiteten.

Aspektorientering är ett paradigm som syftar till att modularisera övergripande angelägenheter. Detta paradigm är väl utforskat i programvaruområdet, där många aspektorienterade programmeringsspråk utvecklats. Paradigmet har också undersökts i andra områden som kravhantering och tjänstesammansättning. I ärendehanteringsområdet (BPM) syftar aspektorienterad processmodellering till att inkapsla övergripande angelägenheter i processmodeller. Det är dock inte klart hur dessa modeller bör stödjas i hela ärendehanteringslivscykeln. Dessutom är existerande stöd för att utforma dessa modeller begränsat till tvingande processmodeller som enbart stödjer rigida affärsprocesser. Det har inte heller undersökts hur denna modulariseringsteknik kan stödjas genom deklarativa eller hybridmodeller för att hantera separation av övergripande angelägenheter för flexibla affärsprocesser.

Därför undersöker denna avhandling hur aspektorientering kan stödjas i hela ärendehanteringslivscykeln med hjälp av tvingande aspektorienterade affärsprocessmodeller. Den undersöker också hur deklarativa och hybridaspektorienterade affärsprocessmodeller kan stödja separation av övergripande angelägenheter i BPM-området. Avhandlingens resultat bygger på designvetenskaplig forskning, och de presenteras som en uppsättning av artefakter (i form av konstruktioner, modeller, metoder och instansieringar) och som empiriska iakttagelser.

De framtagna artefakterna stödjer modellering, analys, genomförande, konfiguration, övervakning och modifiering av övergripande angelägenheter i affärsprocesser. Artefakterna erbjuder stöd för hantering av dessa angelägeheter för hela ärendehanteringslivscykeln. Användningen av dessa artefakter och deras tillämpningar visar att de kan minska komplexiteten i processmodeller genom att separera övergripande angelägenheter.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University , 2016.
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 16-014
National Category
Computer Systems Computer Science Software Engineering Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-135317ISBN: 978-91-7649-587-2ISBN: 978-91-7649-588-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-135317DiVA: diva2:1044437
Public defence
2016-12-19, L50, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-11-24 Created: 2016-11-03 Last updated: 2016-11-29Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Aspect Oriented Business Process Modelling with Precedence
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Aspect Oriented Business Process Modelling with Precedence
2012 (English)In: Business Process Model and Notation / [ed] Jan Mendking & Mattihas Weidlich, Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2012, 23-37 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Complexity is a major concern which is aimed to be overcome by people through modelling. One way of reducing complexity is separation of concerns, e.g. separation of business process from applications. One sort of concerns are cross-cutting concerns i.e. concerns which are scattered and tangled through one or several models. In business process management, examples of such concerns are security and privacy policies. To deal with these cross-cutting concerns, the aspect orientated approach was introduced in the software development area and recently also in the business process management area. The work presented in this paper elaborates on aspect oriented process modelling. It extends earlier work by defining a mechanism for capturing multiple concerns and specifying a precedence order according to which they should be handled in a process. A formal syntax of the notation is presented precisely capturing the extended concepts and mechanisms. Finally, the relevance of the approach is demonstrated through a case study.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2012
Keyword
Business Process Modelling, BPMN, Aspect Oriented, Separation of concerns
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-82212 (URN)10.1007/978-3-642-33155-8_3 (DOI)978-3-642-33155-8 (ISBN)
Conference
4th International Workshop, BPMN 2012, Vienna, Austria, September 12-13, 2012
Available from: 2012-11-12 Created: 2012-11-12 Last updated: 2016-11-03Bibliographically approved
2. Multi-Perspective Business Process Monitoring
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Multi-Perspective Business Process Monitoring
2013 (English)In: Enterprise, Business-Process and Information Systems Modeling BPMDS 2013 / [ed] Nurcan, S; Proper, HA; Soffer, P; Krogstie, J; Schmidt, R; Halpin, T; Bider, I, Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2013, 199-213 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Monitoring business processes is an important area in Business Process Management. This area not only supports monitoring but also enables flexibility. Thus, it has been investigated in many other areas like Business Activity Monitoring, Exception Handling, Aspect Oriented Business Process Management, etc. These areas require to define how a process instance should be monitored from different perspectives. However, current definitions are coupled to control-flow perspective, which applies some limitations. For example, we cannot define a rule to capture situations in which an account balance is read - regardless of its process. To capture such situations, we propose an approach to define monitoring rules. This approach enables composition of rules in a way to be decoupled from a specific perspective. To validate the result, we implemented a rule editor and a monitoring service, called Observer Service. These artefacts are used to support the definition of monitoring rules and track process instances, correspondingly. Finally, we investigated the validity and relevancy of the artefacts through a banking case study.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2013
Series
, Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, ISSN 1865-1348 ; 147
Keyword
Business Process Management Systems, Service Oriented Architecture, Process Monitoring, Aspect Oriented, Flexibility, Exception Handling
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-96361 (URN)10.1007/978-3-642-38484-4_15 (DOI)000345320000014 ()978-3-642-38483-7 (ISBN)978-3-642-38484-4 (ISBN)
Conference
14th International Conference on Business Process Modeling, Development and Support (BPMDS) / 18th International Conference on Exploring Modeling Methods for Systems Analysis and Design (EMMSAD), Valencia, Spain, June 17-18, 2013
Available from: 2013-11-20 Created: 2013-11-20 Last updated: 2016-11-03Bibliographically approved
3. Aspect Mining in Business Process Management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Aspect Mining in Business Process Management
2014 (English)In: Perspectives in business informatics research: 13th International Conference, BIR 2014, Lund, Sweden, September 22-24, 2014 : proceedings / [ed] Björn Johansson, Bo Andersson, Nicklas Holmberg, Berlin: Springer, 2014, 246-260 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Automatic discovery of process models from event logs is an important and promising area in Business Process Management. Process models document how business processes should be performed, so they capture different concerns related to business processes. Some of these concerns are not limited to one process model, and they are repeated in many others as well, called cross-cutting concerns. Although many works have been done to enable discovering different process models, there is no investigation about how models with cross-cutting concerns can be discovered from even logs. Therefore, this work proposes an approach to enable discovering these models from event logs. The investigation is performed based on a case-study from the banking domain. The result shows how these concerns hinder existing process discovery techniques, and how the proposed approach can solve the problem.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Berlin: Springer, 2014
Series
, Lecture notes in business information processing, ISSN 1865-1348 ; 194
Keyword
Process Mining, Aspect Mining, Process Discovery, Business Process Management, Aspect Oriented
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108614 (URN)10.1007/978-3-319-11370-8_18 (DOI)978-3-319-11369-2 (ISBN)
Conference
13th International Conference, BIR 2014, Lund, Sweden, September 22-24, 2014
Available from: 2014-10-31 Created: 2014-10-31 Last updated: 2016-11-03Bibliographically approved
4. Assessing Aspect Oriented Approaches in Business Process Management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessing Aspect Oriented Approaches in Business Process Management
2014 (English)In: Perspectives in Business Informatics Research: Proceedings, Springer, 2014, 231-245 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Separation of concerns is an important topic in Business Process Modeling. One sort of concerns is cross-cutting, like security, which are repeated in many business processes. These concerns make the models more complex, since concerns are repeated in many process models. The repetition of realization of concerns in process models makes the maintenance cumbersome. Aspect Oriented Business Process Modeling is an approach to address these concerns, which has been investigated recently. However, no set of requirements are defined for such modeling proposals, which makes the evaluation of and comparison between these approaches impossible. Therefore, this paper introduces a set of requirements for the aspect oriented business process modeling, which are used to define an evaluation framework for assessing these modeling approaches. The framework is used to evaluate existing aspect oriented business process modeling proposals. The result shows a comparison between different modeling proposals by clarifying their strengths and weaknesses. It also shows the gap in the area, which can be used as direction for future research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2014
Series
, Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, ISSN 1865-1348 ; 194
Keyword
Business Process Modelling, Aspect Oriented, Requirements, Evaluation
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108615 (URN)10.1007/978-3-319-11370-8_17 (DOI)978-3-319-11369-2 (ISBN)978-3-319-11370-8 (ISBN)
Conference
13th International Conference, BIR 2014, Lund, Sweden, September 22-24, 2014
Available from: 2014-10-31 Created: 2014-10-31 Last updated: 2016-11-03Bibliographically approved
5. Towards Aspect Oriented Adaptive Case Management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards Aspect Oriented Adaptive Case Management
2014 (English)In: IEEE 18th International Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference: Workshops and Demonstrations, IEEE Computer Society, 2014, 143-151 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Separation of concerns has long been an important strategy in the software systems development to cope with the complexity embedded in such systems. The same type of concerns, like security concerns, is often repeated in many modules of a system, which hinders the consistency, re-usability, change and maintenance of the system. Aspect orientation aims to separate and encapsulate these concerns to solve the complexity problem. This paper introduces the use of aspect orientation for case and adaptive case management through changing the rules that govern business processes on the fly. It introduces a taxonomy of such rules based on the declarative workflows approach. It also shows how so-called form-based case management systems could be extended to support aspect orientation to reduce the complexity problem.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE Computer Society, 2014
Keyword
Adaptive Case Management, Aspect Oriented, Business Process, Declarative, State Space
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-111113 (URN)10.1109/EDOCW.2014.30 (DOI)
Conference
EDOCW 2014, Ulm, Germany, 1-2 September 2014
Available from: 2014-12-22 Created: 2014-12-22 Last updated: 2016-11-03Bibliographically approved
6. Agile business process development: why, how and when: applying Nonaka's theory of knowledge transformation to business process development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Agile business process development: why, how and when: applying Nonaka's theory of knowledge transformation to business process development
2014 (English)In: Information Systems and E-Business Management, ISSN 1617-9846, E-ISSN 1617-9854Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The traditional way of business process development is via creating a detailed model of a business process in question, acquiring an IT-system to support it, and then implementing it in the organizational practice. Acquiring a system can be done via designing and manufacturing it by the business itself, or via commissioning it to somebody else. Alternatively, a generic system can be bought and configured according to the business process model created. The traditional approach has a number of risks that become visible only during the latest phase of introducing the system in the organizational practice, e.g., when it becomes clear that the system does not fit the business and/or people who work in it. These risks could be mitigated by using an agile approach to the development of business processes. In agile approach: (a) the phases of process modeling, IT-system design, and manufacturing are merged into one, and (b) instead of using one big cycle, a series of smaller development cycles is used. The paper discusses what is needed to implement the agile approach, and in which business situations the agile approach is the most appropriate. Examples of tools to support agile development are presented and analyzed. The results presented in the paper have been achieved based on the knowledge transformation perspective along the lines suggested by Nonaka in SECI model. The modification of this model has been used to understand the risks and requirements connected to a particular process development strategy.

Keyword
Agile development, Business Process, Knowledge transformation, SECI model
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-110947 (URN)10.1007/s10257-014-0256-1 (DOI)
Available from: 2014-12-19 Created: 2014-12-19 Last updated: 2016-11-03Bibliographically approved
7. Static Weaving in Aspect Oriented Business Process Management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Static Weaving in Aspect Oriented Business Process Management
2015 (English)In: International Conference on Conceptual Modeling (ER), Springer Publishing Company , 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Separation of concerns is an important topic in business process modelling that aims to reduce complexity, increase the re-usability and enhance the maintainability of business process models. Some concerns cross over several business processes (known as cross-cutting concerns), and they hinder current modularization techniques to encapsulate them efficiently. Aspect Oriented Business Process Modelling aims to encapsulate these concerns from business process models. Although many researchers proposed different aspect-oriented business process modelling approaches, there is no analysis technique to check these models in terms of soundness. Thus, this paper proposes a formal definitions and semantics for aspect-oriented business process models, and it enables the analysis of these models in terms of soundness at design time through defining a static weaving algorithm. The algorithm is implemented as an artefact that support weaving aspect-oriented business process models. The artefact is used to analyse different scenarios, and the result of analysis reveals the situations that can introduce different problems like deadlock. In addition, an example of such scenario is given that shows how the artefact can detect the problems at design time. Such analysis enables process modellers to discover the problems at design time, so the problems will not be left to be discovered at runtime - which apply a lot of costs to correct them.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Publishing Company, 2015
Keyword
Business Process Modelling, Aspect Orientation, Weaving
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122881 (URN)10.1007/978-3-319-25264-3_41 (DOI)978-3-319-25264-3 (ISBN)
Available from: 2015-11-11 Created: 2015-11-11 Last updated: 2016-11-03
8. Enhancing Aspect-Oriented Business Process Modeling with Declarative Rules
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Enhancing Aspect-Oriented Business Process Modeling with Declarative Rules
2015 (English)In: International Conference on Conceptual Modelling (ER), Springer Publishing Company , 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

When managing a set of inter-related business processes, typically a number of concerns can be distinguished that are applicable to more than one single process, such as security and traceability. The proper enforcement of these cross-cutting concerns may require a specific configuration effort for each of the business processes involved. Aspect-Oriented Business Process Modelling is an approach that aims at encapsulating these concerns in a model-oriented way. However, state-of-the-art techniques lack efficient mechanisms that allow for the specification of concerns in such a way that they can be executed in parallel to other parts of the process. Moreover, existing techniques exclusively focus on the formulation of mandatory concerns. To address these limitations, this paper provides a new approach to encapsulate both optional and mandatory concerns, which can be executed concurrently with other process functionalities. One core element of the new approach is that it extends current Aspect-Oriented Business Process Modelling approaches with declarative rules. The approach is explained, formally grounded with precise semantics, and used accordingly to implement the artefacts that support the enactment of a business process in the proposed fashion. The execution environment is applied to a case from the educational domain to demonstrate the feasibility and usefulness of the underlying concepts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Publishing Company, 2015
Keyword
Business Process Modelling, Aspect Orientation, Cross-Cutting Concerns, Declarative Rules
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122810 (URN)10.1007/978-3-319-25264-3_8 (DOI)978-3-319-25264-3 (ISBN)
Available from: 2015-11-11 Created: 2015-11-10 Last updated: 2016-11-03
9. Supporting Aspect Orientation in Business Process Management: From Process Modeling to Process Enactment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Supporting Aspect Orientation in Business Process Management: From Process Modeling to Process Enactment
2015 (English)In: Journal of Software and Systems Modeling (online), ISSN 1619-1366, E-ISSN 1619-1374Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Coping with complexity is an important issue in both research and industry. One strategy to deal with complexity is separation of concerns, which can be addressed using Aspect-Oriented paradigm. Despite being well researched in Programming, this paradigm is still in a preliminary stage in the area of Business Process Management (BPM). While some efforts have been made to introduce aspect orientation in business process modelling, there is no holistic approach with a formal underlying foundation to support aspect-oriented business process design and enactment, and this gap restricts Aspect-Oriented paradigm from being practically deployed in the area of BPM. Therefore, this paper proposes a sound systematic approach which builds on a formal syntax for modelling aspect-oriented business processes and a Petri-net-based operational semantics for enacting these processes. The approach enables the implementation of software system artefacts as a proof of concept to support design and enactment of aspect-oriented business processes in practice. The approach is demonstrated using a banking case study, where processes are modelled using a concrete notation that conforms to the proposed formal syntax and then executed in a state-of-the-art BPM system where the implemented artefacts are deployed.

Keyword
Business Process Management, Aspect-Oriented Decomposition, Process Modeling, Process Enactment, Weaving, Cross-Cutting Concerns
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122883 (URN)10.1007/s10270-015-0496-7 (DOI)
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Available from: 2015-11-11 Created: 2015-11-11 Last updated: 2016-11-03

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