Configurable Process Modelling


Business process configuration deals with the problem of managing families of business process models, i.e. business process models that are similar to one another in many ways, yet differ in some other ways from one organization or industry to another. For example this problem arises in the context of multinational companies that need to localize their business processes to different legislations, or best-practices in a given domain. Re-designing process models every time from scratch is often not a viable option, due the high costs involved.

Process configuration proposes to address this problem by integrating similar process models in a single, configurable model, where variation points between the various alternatives are explicitly documented. Business analysis can then configure this model to their needs by removing those process fragments that are irrelevant, thereby reusing proven practices.

This presentation will first show the advantages of process configuration over traditional modeling techniques through the use of a real-life example. Next, it will focus on three main shortcomings affecting current approaches for managing configurable process models: i) error-prone configuration; ii) lack of decision support and iii) limited configuration expressiveness, and will present a viable solution to these issues. Finally, it will discuss research issues that still need to be addressed to enable the large-scale adoption of configurable process models.


Marcello La Rosa is Senior Lecturer and member of the BPM Research Group at Queensland University of Technology. His research interests include process configuration, management of large process model repositories and Service-Oriented Architectures (SOA). Marcello also offers professional training and consultancy services in the areas of BPM and SOA. He is actively involved in the development of YAWL - the most mature community-based open-source BPM system.