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Petri Nets for Modeling Business Processes - Potentials, Deficits and Recommendations.

von Uthmann, Christoph; Becker, Jörg

In: Colloquium on Petri Net Technologies for Modelling Communication Based Systems, Berlin, October 21-22, 1999, pages 127-167. 1999.

Abstract: Petri Nets could - from the methodical point of view - meet the demands of Business Process Management. However, they are - despite of their capacity and long, worldwide recognition - widely judged as too complex for being used in that area. The Petri Net discussion is indeed dominated by syntactical and formal questions. Corresponding with this the quality of models is often just understood in terms of the accordance with syntactical rules or the fulfillment of mathematically provable and abstract dynamic properties. The core intended purpose of business process models is, however, to serve as a (graphical) communication basis for all involved persons for different purposes of modeling. In BPM is a different quality thinking demanded: For BPM-purposes it is not sufficient to deal with processes as sequences of states and state transitions on an abstract level supposing the relevance and usability is implicitly obvious. To use Petri Nets for BPM it is asked for concrete directions how to transform typical questions of Business Process Management in graphical models of good ``Fitness for Use''. Analysing the complexity perception relating to Petri Nets in terms of the Guidelines of Modeling - a Project which deals with the assurance of quality of business process models - it is reflected on (non methodical) points which must be worked on for making Petri Nets more accurate for the purposes of BPM: Extracting the interesting out of Petri Nets in terms of BPM, Making managers appreciate Petri Nets and Guidelines of using Petri Nets. Approaching the ``best practice'' of BPM core deficits of Petri Nets in terms of these points are discussed. Recommendations are given to overcome these deficits and with that to take appropriately advantage of the high potential of using Petri Nets in BPM. Instrumentalizing these recommendations there is given a framework of guidelines for transforming typical questions of Business Process Management into petri net models of good quality.

Keywords: Business Process Modeling, Simulation, Guidelines of Modeling.

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