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Process architectures and platforms

Process architectures and platforms topic folder

Process Architecture - Why are researchers lagging behind?

When looking at the literature on process architecture, there are some interesting observations that can be made.

Most literature on the topic of process architecture is from around the year 2000, but after that it has become rather quiet in the scientific arena on the topic. This does not mean that no work has been done on the topic. A quick Google search shows that, in practice, there are consultants advising on the topic, large IT companies offer solutions and products to support in the development of process architecture, and several reference process architectures exist.

Of course, the goal of this is to support client companies in the development of their own process architectures. I know of at least four large companies that made a significant effort to develop process architectures.

So, practitioners are heavily using process architecture in practice. Why are scientists not helping?

Use cases identify Process Architecture as a novel area: new and exciting contributions expected

In the previous post, Wil van der Aalst shows that the area of business process architecture is not fully covered by the BPM use cases, which he identified at his keynote at BPM 2012.

During his keynote, Wil van der Aalst explained that he derived the use cases by classifying BPM papers from the past 10 years of BPM. Consequently, his analysis clearly shows that little work has been done in the area of process architecture over the past 10 years. From my personal experience, I strongly support that claim. In particular, I believe that there has been a strong focus on modelling, analysing, and executing single process models, while little attention has been paid to what happens when studying multiple processes that somehow influence each other.

Business process architecture aims to do exactly that: study what happens when processes influence each other. Does this lead to a new notion of 'soundness'? Which modelling concepts and notations can be used to represent the relations between processes? How should processes be organised to make them work together in an optimal manner? These and other questions need to be answered, before we can fully understand processes in their relation to each other.

A new area with many interesting questions: scientific contributions are sought.

Plumbers needed!

If a process is a house and activities are its building blocks, then process architecture and platform is the plumbing that makes a house run smoothly. Therefore, we seek excellent plumbers that understand what it takes to run a house and how to build it in such a way as to minimize discomfort to the tenants (e.g., process designers). Nowadays, process designers need to either specialize in the plumbing or to find walk-arounds to avoid infrastructure pitfalls. Therefore, we call on the BPM community in-the-large to propose new and exciting techniques with the overall aim of "silencing the plumbing pipes". We seek software engineers that can suggest suitable architectures. We call on data specialists to allow smooth integration of components and create useful repositories. We call on AI automated planning experts to provide new results in service composition. We call on security specialists to setup our house alarm system and on complex event process designers to ensure efficient and effective analysis of external events. Finally, we seek empirical evaluation measures, datasets, and benchmarks to testify for the success of our plumbing efforts. The BPM community is starving for new and exciting research ideas as well as industrial use-cases. If you consider yourself an excellent plumber that is not afraid to get your hands dirty, give us your best shot.


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