An Ontological Analysis of Integrated Process Modelling

  • Peter Green
  • Michael Rosemann
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1626)


Process modelling has gained prominence in the information systems modelling area due to its focus on business processes and its usefulness in different business improvement methodologies. However, process modelling techniques are not without their criticisms. This paper proposes and uses the Bunge-Wand-Weber (BWW) representation model to analyse the four views – process, data, function, and organisation - provided in the Architecture of Integrated Information Systems (ARIS) popularised by Scheer [39, 40, 41]. The BWW representation model attempts to provide a theoretical base on which to evaluate and thus contribute to the improvement of information systems modelling techniques. The analysis conducted in this paper prompts some propositions. Among others, it confirms that the process view alone is not sufficient to model all the real-world constructs required. However, even when considering all four views in combination, problems may arise in representing all potentially required business rules, and specifying the scope and boundaries of the system under consideration, and employing a “top-down” approach to analysis and design.


  1. [1]
    van der Aalst, W.M.P.: Formalization and Verification of Event-driven Process Chains. In: Backhouse, R.C., Baeten, J.C.M. (eds.): Computing Science Rep. 98/01. University of Technology, Eindhoven (1998)Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    Bansler, J.P., Bodker, K.: A reappraisal of structured analysis: Design in an organizational context. ACM Transactions on Information Systems 11 (1993) 2, 165–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. [3]
    Banville, C., Landry, M.: Can the field of MIS be disciplined? Communications of the ACM 32 (1989) 1, 48–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. [4]
    Batra, D., Hoffer, J.A., Bostrom, R.P.: Comparing representations with relational and EER models. Communications of the ACM 33 (1990) 2, 126–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    Becker, J., Rosemann, M., Schütte, R.: Business-to-business process integration: Functions and methods. In: Galliers, R. et al. (eds.): Proceedings of the 5th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS "97), Vol. II, Cork, Ireland (1997), 816–827Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    Benbasat, I., Weber, R.: Research commentary: Rethinking “diversity” in information systems research. Information Systems Research 7 (1996) 4, 389–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. [7]
    Bunge, M.: Treatise on Basic Philosophy: Volume 3: Ontology I: The Furniture of the World, Reidel, Boston (1977)Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    Chen, P.P.-S.: Entity-Relationship Model: Towards a Unified View of Data. ACM Transactions on Database Systems 1 (1976) 1, 9–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. [9]
    Curran, Th., Keller, G.: SAP R/3 Business Blueprint. Prentice Hall, New Jersey (1998)Google Scholar
  10. [10]
    Curtis, B., Kellner, M.I., Over, J.: Process Modeling. Communications of the ACM 35 (1992) 9, 75–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. [11]
    Davenport, T.H.: Process Innovation. Reengineering Work through Information Technology, Boston (1993)Google Scholar
  12. [12]
    Davenport, T.H., Stoddard, D.B.: Reengineering: Business Change of Mythic Proportions? MIS Quarterly 18 (1994) 2, 121–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. [13]
    Ellison, M., McGrath, G.M.: Recording and analysing business processes: An activity theory based approach. The Australian Computer Journal 30 (1998) 4, 146–152Google Scholar
  14. [14]
    van Es, R.: Dynamic Enterprise Innovation, 3rd ed., Ede (1998)Google Scholar
  15. [15]
    Floyd, C.: A comparative evaluation of system development methods. In: Information Systems Design Methodologies: Improving the Practice, North-Holland, Amsterdam (1986), 19–37Google Scholar
  16. [16]
    Georgakopoulos, D., Hornick, M., Sheth, A.: An Overview of Workflow-Management: From Process Modeling to Workflow Automation Infrastructure. Distributed and Parallel Databases 3 (1995) 2, 119–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. [17]
    Green, P.: Use of Information Systems Analysis and Design (ISAD) Grammars in Combination in Upper CASE Tools–An Ontological Evaluation. In: Siau, K., Wand, Y., Parsons, J. (eds.): Proceedings of the 2nd CAiSE/IFIP8.1 International Workshop on the Evaluation of Modeling Methods in Systems Analysis and Design (EMMSAD’97), Barcelona, Spain (1997), 1–12Google Scholar
  18. [18]
    Hammer, M.: Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate. Harvard Business Review 68 (1990) 7-8, 104–112Google Scholar
  19. [19]
    Hammer, M., Champy, J.: Reengineering the Corporation. A Manifesto for Business Revolution, New York (1993)Google Scholar
  20. [20]
    Hirschheim, R., Klein, H.K., Lyytinen, K.: Information Systems Development and Data Modeling: Conceptual and Philosophical Foundations. Cambridge University Press, New York (1995)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  21. [21]
    Hirschheim, R., Klein, H.K., Lyytinen, K.: Exploring the intellectual structures of information systems development: a social action theoretic analysis. Accounting, Management and Information Technologies 6 (1996) 1/2, 1–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. [22]
    Iivari, J., Hirschheim, R., Klein, H.K.: A paradigmatic analysis contrasting information systems development approaches and methodologies. Information Systems Research 9 (1998) 2, 164–193.Google Scholar
  23. [23]
    Jablonski, St., Bussler, Chr.: Workflow Management, Thomson, London et al. (1996)Google Scholar
  24. [24]
    Karam, G.M. & Casselman, R.S.: A cataloging framework for software development methods. IEEE Computer, Feb. (1993), 34–46Google Scholar
  25. [25]
    Langner, P., Schneider, C., Wehler, J.: Petri Net Based Certification of Event driven Process Chains. In: Desel, J., Silva, M. (eds.): Application and Theory of Petri Nets 1998. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 1420. Springer-Verlag, Berlin (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. [26]
    Leymann, F., Roller, D.: Workflow-based Applications. IBM Systems Journal 36 (1997) 1, 102–133Google Scholar
  27. [27]
    Loos, P., Allweyer, Th.: Process Orientation and Object-Orientation–An Approach for Integrating UML and Event-Driven Process Chains. Institut für Wirtschaftsinformatik. Paper 144. Saarbrücken (1998)Google Scholar
  28. [28]
    Meinhardt, St., Popp, K.: Configuring Business Application Systems. In: Bernus, P., Mertins, K., Schmidt, G. (eds.): Handbook on Architectures of Information Systems. Springer-Verlag, Berlin (1998), 651–666Google Scholar
  29. [29]
    Mylopoulos, J.: Characterizing Information Modeling Techniques, In: Bernus, P., Mertins, K., Schmidt, G. (eds.): Handbook on Architectures of Information Systems. Springer-Verlag, Berlin (1998), 17–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. [30]
    Olle, T.W., Hagelstein, J., Macdonald, I.G., Rolland, C., Sol, H.G., Van Assche, F.J.M., Verrijn-Stuart, A.A.: Information Systems Methodologies: A Framework for Understanding. Addison-Wesley, Wokingham (1991)Google Scholar
  31. [31]
    Parsons, J., Wand, Y.: The object paradigm as a representational model. Working Paper. The University of British Columbia. Vancouver (1992), 1–22Google Scholar
  32. [32]
    Peterson, J.-L.: Petri Net Theory and the Modeling of System, Prentice-Hall, NJ (1981)Google Scholar
  33. [33]
    Petri, C. A.: Kommunikation mit Automaten, Bonn (1962) (in German)Google Scholar
  34. [34]
    Reisig, W.: Petri Nets: an introduction. Springer-Verlag, Berlin (1985)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  35. [35]
    Rosemann, M.: Komplexitätsmanagement in Prozeβmodellen. Gabler-Verlag, Wiesbaden (1996) (in German)Google Scholar
  36. [36]
    Rosemann, M.: Managing the Complexity of Multiperspective Information Models using the Guidelines of Modelling. In: Fowler, D., Dawson, L. (eds.): Proceedings of the 3rd Australian Conference on Requirements Engineering (ACRE ‵98). Geelong, Australia (1998), 101–118Google Scholar
  37. [37]
    Rosemann, M., zur Mühlen, M.: Evaluation of Workflow Management Systems–a Meta Model Approach. Australian Journal of Information Systems 6 (1998) 1, 103–116Google Scholar
  38. [38]
    Saeki, M.: Object-Oriented Meta Modelling. In: Papazoglou, M.P. (ed.): Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Object Oriented and Entity Relationship Modelling. Berlin (1995), 250–259Google Scholar
  39. [39]
    Scheer, A.-W.: ARIS-Business Process Frameworks. 2nd edn. Springer-Verlag, Berlin (1998)Google Scholar
  40. [40]
    Scheer, A.-W.: ARIS–Business Process Modeling. 2nd edn. Springer-Verlag, Berlin (1998)Google Scholar
  41. [41]
    Scheer, A.-W.: Business Process Engineering. 3rd edn. Springer-Verlag, Berlin (1998)Google Scholar
  42. [42]
    Scherr, A. L.: A new approach to business processes. IBM Systems Journal 32 (1993) 1, 80–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. [43]
    Seligmann, P.S., Wijers, G.M., Sol, H.G.: Analyzing the structure of I.S. methodologies: An alternative approach. In: Maes, R. (ed.): Proceedings of 1st Dutch Conference on Information Systems (1989), 1–28Google Scholar
  44. [44]
    Sinha, A.P., Vessey, I.: End-user data modeling: An ontological evaluation of relational and object-oriented schema diagrams. Working Paper. Indiana University. Indiana (1995)Google Scholar
  45. [45]
    Verbeek, M.: On Tools & Models. In: van Es, R. (ed.): Dynamic Enterprise Innovation. 3rd edn. Ede (1998)Google Scholar
  46. [46]
    Wand, Y., Wang, R.: Anchoring Data Quality Dimensions in Ontological Foundations. Communications of the ACM 39 (1996) 11, 86–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. [47]
    Wand, Y., Weber, R.: A model of control and audit procedure change in evolving data processing systems. The Accounting Review LXIV(1) (1989), 87–107Google Scholar
  48. [48]
    Wand, Y., Weber, R.: An ontological evaluation of systems analysis and design methods. In: Falkenberg, E.D., Lindgreen, P. (eds.): Information System Concepts: An In-depth Analysis. North-Holland (1989), 79–107Google Scholar
  49. [49]
    Wand, Y., Weber, R.: An ontological model of an information system. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering 16 (1990) 11, 1281–1291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. [50]
    Wand, Y., Weber, R.: Mario Bunge's Ontology as a formal foundation for information systems concepts. In: Weingartner, P., Dorn, G.J.W. (eds.): Studies on Mario Bunge's Treatise. Rodopi, Atlanta (1990), 123–149Google Scholar
  51. [51]
    Wand, Y., Weber, R.: A unified model of software and data decomposition. In: DeGross, J., Benbasat, I., DeSanctis, G., Beath, C.M. (eds.): Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS ‵91) (1991), 101–110Google Scholar
  52. [52]
    Wand, Y., Weber, R.: On the ontological expressiveness of information systems analysis and design grammars. Journal of Information Systems 3 (1993) 4, 217–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. [53]
    Wand, Y., Weber, R.: On the deep structure of information systems. Information Systems Journal 5 (1995), 203–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. [54]
    Weber, R.: Ontological Foundations of Information Systems, Coopers & Lybrand Accounting Research Methodology. Monograph No. 4. Melbourne (1997)Google Scholar
  55. [55]
    Weber, R., Zhang, Y.: An analytical evaluation of NIAM's grammar for conceptual schema diagrams. Information Systems Journal 6 (1996) 2, 147–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Green
    • 1
  • Michael Rosemann
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of CommerceUniversity of QueenslandIpswichAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Information SystemsUniversity of MuensterMuensterGermany

Personalised recommendations