VIVACE: A framework for the systematic evaluation of variability support in process-aware information systems

Autores UPV
Revista Information and Software Technology


Context The increasing adoption of process-aware information systems (PAISs) such as workflow management systems, enterprise resource planning systems, or case management systems, together with the high variability in business processes (e.g., sales processes may vary depending on the respective products and countries), has resulted in large industrial process model repositories. To cope with this business process variability, the proper management of process variants along the entire process lifecycle becomes crucial. Objective The goal of this paper is to develop a fundamental understanding of business process variability. In particular, the paper will provide a framework for assessing and comparing process variability approaches and the support they provide for the different phases of the business process lifecycle (i.e., process analysis and design, configuration, enactment, diagnosis, and evolution). Method We conducted a systematic literature review (SLR) in order to discover how process variability is supported by existing approaches. Results The SLR resulted in 63 primary studies which were deeply analyzed. Based on this analysis, we derived the VIVACE framework. VIVACE allows assessing the expressiveness of a process modeling language regarding the explicit specification of process variability. Furthermore, the support provided by a process-aware information system to properly deal with process model variants can be assessed with VIVACE as well. Conclusions VIVACE provides an empirically-grounded framework for process engineers that enables them to evaluate existing process variability approaches as well as to select that variability approach meeting their requirements best. Finally, it helps process engineers in implementing PAISs supporting process variability along the entire process lifecycle.