Models for Supporting the Analysis and Redesign of Business Processes

Funding agency:  Information Technology Research Centre, Ontario

Principal investigators:
E. Yu, Faculty of Information Studies,  U. of Toronto
J. Mylopoulos, Dept. of Computer Science,  U. of Toronto
Y. Lesperance, Dept. of Computer Science,  York University
H. Levesque, Dept. of Computer Science,  U. of Toronto
R. Reiter, Dept. of Computer Science,  U. of Toronto

Duration: 1995-1998

Project outline

Business process redesign is now widely recognized as one of the key levers for business competitiveness and survival. While the payoffs for redesigning work processes and relationships can be enormous, the risks and uncertainties are also considerable. The use of appropriate models that can provide support for describing, analyzing, and redesigning processes can potentially greatly improve the chances of success.

Most business process models (e.g., activity/data flow models, state charts, etc.) have originated from traditional systems analysis, where processes could be assumed to be relatively stable and mechanistic. These modeling techniques are ill-equipped to deal with business and organizational environments in which processes are incompletely specified, involve multiple parties with different interests, evolve at different rates, and consist numerous elements having many variations and special cases. Understanding, analyzing, and redesigning business processes therefore require modeling techniques and tools that go beyond those offered by traditional systems analysis.

This project builds on previous work by the participants on reasoning about action and agent programming, requirements modeling and organization modeling, and knowledge base management for work on large evolving business process models and their active instances within an organizational context. Its objective is to apply the approaches and results obtained in previous work to business process modeling, analysis, and design, and to render the conceptual frameworks concrete by building computer-based tools (or extending/refining existing ones). The project is developing prototype tools to support the validation and verification of process models, and to support the modeling, analysis, and redesign of the strategic relationships that lie behind business processes.

Keywords:  Process redesign and analysis, organization modelling, business process modelling

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