Entity-Centric Operations Modeling for Business Process Management: A Multidisciplinary Review of the State-of-the-Art

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    The entity-based approach for operations modeling was published for the first time three decades ago. Specifically, the notion of entities as the main subjects of processes and entity life-cycle as a technique for dynamic modeling of operations were introduced independently by K. Robinson in 1979, C. Rosenquist in 1982 and M. Jackson in 1983. This modeling work emerged in clear contrast with static entity-relationship modeling found in the data-base tradition. These three pioneer contributions and other substantial research done at the realm of information engineering, structured systems analysis and social sciences in the 80's and 90's have established an important foundation for business operations modeling. On the other hand, Business Process Management (BPM) has continued to receive great attention from practitioners and scholars. Being one of the main hinges between theory and practice of business operations, BPM enjoys contributions from several domains of research such as economics, social sciences, engineering and computing. In spite of its steady growth, the industry side of BPM seems to have evolved somewhat unaware of related progress in the above sister disciplines. Specifically, recent claims on the need to integrate information and activities in process modeling and some rediscoveries of core ideas from entity-based dynamic modeling offer some examples of the disconnection. These and other findings suggest that the BPM field may not have yet fully benefited from the work done in the tradition of structured analysis, information engineering and process theory schools. Furthermore, the possibility of using entity life-cycle for modeling operations addressed by Case Management is an important byproduct. Entity-based life cycle offers a conceptual framework to integrate different types of enterprise operations whose modeling has not yet been reconciled in the BPM tradition. This paper presents an in-depth, multidisciplinary review of the state-of-the-art on entity life cycle modeling. The focus of this review is exclusively on modeling concepts and methodology while tools, programming models and other aspects of entity-life life cycle implementation will be addressed in companion papers. This review should also help pave more holistic approaches to business process modeling.

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Jorge L. C. Sanz, Prabir Nandi. Entity-Centric Operations Modeling for Business Process Management: A Multidisciplinary Review of the State-of-the-Art. International Journal of Software and Informatics, 2013,7(2):273~308

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  • Online: July 29,2013
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