Vertical Alignment of Process Models – How Can We Get There?

  • Matthias Weidlich
  • Alistair Barros
  • Jan Mendling
  • Mathias Weske
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 29)


There is a wide variety of drivers for business process modelling initiatives, reaching from business evolution and process optimisation over compliance checking and process certification to process enactment. That, in turn, results in models that differ in content due to serving different purposes. In particular, processes are modelled on different abstraction levels and assume different perspectives. Vertical alignment of process models aims at handling these deviations. While the advantages of such an alignment for inter-model analysis and change propagation are out of question, a number of challenges has still to be addressed. In this paper, we discuss three main challenges for vertical alignment in detail. Against this background, the potential application of techniques from the field of process integration is critically assessed. Based thereon, we identify specific research questions that guide the design of a framework for model alignment.


process model alignment business-IT gap model consistency model correspondences 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Ramackers, G.J.: Integrated Object Modelling. PhD thesis, Leiden University, Thesis Publishers, Amsterdam (1994)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Grover, V., Fiedler, K., Teng, J.: Exploring the Success of Information Technology Enabled Businessprocess Reengineering. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management 41(3), 276–284 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rolland, C., Prakash, N.: Bridging the Gap Between Organisational Needs and ERP Functionality. Requirements Engineering 5(3), 180–193 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Henkel, M., Zdravkovic, J., Johannesson, P.: Service-based processes: Design for business and technology. In: Aiello, M., Aoyama, M., Curbera, F., Papazoglou, M.P. (eds.) ICSOC, pp. 21–29. ACM, New York (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Koehler, J., Hauser, R., Küster, J.M., Ryndina, K., Vanhatalo, J., Wahler, M.: The Role of Visual Modeling and Model Transformations in Business-driven Development. Electr. Notes Theor. Comput. Sci. 211, 5–15 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Rosemann, M.: Preparation of Process Modeling. In: Process Management: A Guide for the Design of Business Processes, pp. 41–78. Springer, Heidelberg (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    OMG: Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) 1.1(January 2008)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bergholtz, M., Jayaweera, P., Johannesson, P., Wohed, P.: A Pattern and Dependency Based Approach to the Design of Process Models. In: Atzeni, P., Chu, W., Lu, H., Zhou, S., Ling, T.-W. (eds.) ER 2004. LNCS, vol. 3288, pp. 724–739. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Andersson, B., Bergholtz, M., Edirisuriya, A., Ilayperuma, T., Johannesson, P.: A Declarative Foundation of Process Models. In: Pastor, Ó., Falcão e Cunha, J. (eds.) CAiSE 2005. LNCS, vol. 3520, pp. 233–247. Springer, Heidelberg (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Decker, G.: Bridging the Gap between Business Processes and existing IT Functionality. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Design of Service-Oriented Applications (WDSOA), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 17–24 (2005)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Frank, H., Eder, J.: Towards an Automatic Integration of Statecharts. In: Akoka, J., Bouzeghoub, M., Comyn-Wattiau, I., Métais, E. (eds.) ER 1999. LNCS, vol. 1728, pp. 430–444. Springer, Heidelberg (1999)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mendling, J., Simon, C.: Business Process Design by View Integration. In: [28], pp. 55–64Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Küster, J.M., Koehler, J., Ryndina, K.: Improving Business Process Models with Reference Models in Business-Driven Development. In: [28], pp. 35–44Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Dijkman, R.M.: A Classification of Differences between Similar Business Processes. In: EDOC, pp. 37–50. IEEE Computer Society, Los Alamitos (2007)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Dijkman, R.M.: Diagnosing differences between business process models. In: Dumas, M., Reichert, M., Shan, M.-C. (eds.) BPM 2008. LNCS, vol. 5240, pp. 261–277. Springer, Heidelberg (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Dijkman, R.M., Quartel, D.A.C., Pires, L.F., van Sinderen, M.: A Rigorous Approach to Relate Enterprise and Computational Viewpoints. In: EDOC, pp. 187–200. IEEE Computer Society, Los Alamitos (2004)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    van Dongen, B.F., Dijkman, R.M., Mendling, J.: Measuring Similarity between Business Process Models. In: Bellahsene, Z., Léonard, M. (eds.) CAiSE 2008. LNCS, vol. 5074, pp. 450–464. Springer, Heidelberg (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Li, C., Reichert, M., Wombacher, A.: On Measuring Process Model Similarity based on High-level Change Operations. In: Li, Q., Spaccapietra, S., Yu, E., Olivé, A. (eds.) ER 2008. LNCS, vol. 5231, pp. 248–264. Springer, Heidelberg (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Soffer, P.: Refinement equivalence in model-based reuse: Overcoming differences in abstraction level. J. Database Manag. 16(3), 21–39 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Basten, T., van der Aalst, W.M.P.: Inheritance of Behavior. Journal of Logic and Algebraic Programming (JLAP) 47(2), 47–145 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ebert, J., Engels, G.: Observable or Invocable Behaviour - You Have to Choose. Technical Report 94-38, Department of Computer Science, Leiden University (December 1994)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Schrefl, M., Stumptner, M.: Behavior-consistent specialization of object life cycles. ACM Trans. Softw. Eng. Methodol. 11(1), 92–148 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Weidlich, M., Decker, G., Weske, M., Barros, A.: Towards Vertical Alignment of Process Models - A Collection of Mismatches. Technical report, Hasso Plattner Institute (2008),
  24. 24.
    Hohpe, G., Woolf, B.: Enterprise Integration Patterns: Designing, Building, and Deploying Messaging Solutions. Addison-Wesley, Reading (2003)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Grossmann, G., Schrefl, M., Stumptner, M.: Classification of business process correspondences and associated integration operators. In: Wang, S., Tanaka, K., Zhou, S., Ling, T.-W., Guan, J., Yang, D.-q., Grandi, F., Mangina, E.E., Song, I.-Y., Mayr, H.C. (eds.) ER Workshops 2004. LNCS, vol. 3289, pp. 653–666. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Henkel, M., Zdravkovic, J.: Supporting development and evolution of service-based processes. In: ICEBE, pp. 647–656. IEEE CS, Los Alamitos (2005)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Davis, F.D.: Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS Quarterly, 319–339 (September 1989)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Eder, J., Dustdar, S. (eds.): BPM Workshops 2006. LNCS, vol. 4103. Springer, Heidelberg (2006)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Weidlich
    • 1
  • Alistair Barros
    • 2
  • Jan Mendling
    • 3
  • Mathias Weske
    • 1
  1. 1.Hasso Plattner InstitutePotsdamGermany
  2. 2.SAP ResearchCEC BrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Humboldt-Universität zu BerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations