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Keywords:

  • Process-aware Information Systems;
  • Object-aware Process Management;
  • Data-driven Process Execution

Abstract

Companies increasingly adopt process management systems (PrMS) that offer promising perspectives for more flexible and efficient process execution. However, there still exist many processes in practice which are not adequately supported by contemporary PrMS. We believe that a major reason for this deficiency stems from the unsatisfactory integration of processes and data in existing PrMS. Despite emerging approaches that address this integration, a unified and comprehensive understanding of object-awareness in connection with process management is still missing. To remedy this deficiency, we extensively analyzed various processes from different domains which are not adequately supported by existing PrMS. As a major insight we learned that in many cases comprehensive process support requires object-awareness. In particular, process support has to consider object behavior as well as object interactions, and should therefore be based on two levels of granularity. Besides this, object-awareness requires data-driven process execution and integrated access to processes and data. This paper presents the basic properties of object-aware processes as well as fundamental requirements for their operational support. It further introduces our PHILharmonicFlows framework which addresses these requirements and enables object-aware process management in a comprehensive manner. Finally, we evaluate this framework along several process scenarios. We believe that a holistic approach integrating data, processes and users offers promising perspectives in order to overcome the numerous limitations of contemporary PrMS. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.