XSIM - Business process management across phases on XML basis
Business process management across phases on XML basis
Motivation and goals of the research project:
Observers can see a strong worldwide increase of internet-based e-business, globalized business activities, and ever closer networking, also in terms of Industry 4.0. As a result, business processes increasingly take place across companies. This also concerns the corresponding flow of documents and data. A critical success factor in the realization of complex value-added chains is the successful planning, management, and control of business processes that are usually implemented with IT. In practice, one usually focuses on individual phases of process management or the involved documents or processes themselves. Little research and practical implementation has been performed on the possibility of continuous (i.e. across phases) modeling, analysis, and implementation of business processes, including integration of the electronic exchange of structured documents and data. For this purpose, the XSIM project analyzes the possibilities of business process management (BPM) across phases, in particular with respect to cross-business use, e.g. as part of Industry 4.0. This is done on the basis of XML-based higher Petri nets, since XML has established itself as the standard for the exchange of structured data, in particular in the inter-business area, and it is suitable both for the structuring of the information to be exchanged and for use in business process modeling and implementation. A comprehensive BPM is developed and implemented which also permits the integration of XML-based document management. In the prototype implementation, the focus lies on simulation (based on the modeling of business processes, XML documents, XML schemes, and filter schemes). This prototype in particular allows for the simulation of previously modeled business processes together with integrated XML document management.
Innovations and practical relevance:
In particular as part of Industry 4.0, the exchange of data between businesses as well as the direct application of business processes across businesses is becoming more important. Since XML is the standard for exchanging inter-business data, it offers a good starting point for both exchanging the data and letting common business processes run. Of particular interest is the possibility of using inter-phase methods to achieve homogeneity within a business but also between different businesses.
Development of a prototype:
In addition to embedding into the inter-business Industry 4.0 context, the development of a prototype for business process management across phases with focus on simulation is particularly relevant for the project. The basic components of this tool are described in the following illustration (1). Based on this architecture, we are currently developing a Petri net modeling tool model based on a previous research project, which is already being used in teaching in the area of business process modeling. The focus currently lies on equipping it with a functionality for modeling XML networks, which is a basis for a simulation with XML documents as a token. For demonstration purposes, smaller simulations can already be performed manually. The following illustration (2) shows the current prototypes XSIM.