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This chapter is from the book

6 Business Process and Information Modeling

6.1 Overview

Business process models define how business processes are described. Business processes represent the "verbs" of electronic business and can be represented using modeling tools. The specification for business process definition enables an enterprise to express its business processes so that they are understandable by other enterprises. This enables the integration of business processes within an enterprise or between enterprises.

Business process models specify business processes that allow business partners to collaborate. While business practices vary from one organization to another, most activities can be decomposed into business processes that are more generic to a specific type of business. This analysis, utilizing business modeling, will identify business processes and business information Meta Models that can likely be standardized. The ebXML approach looks for standard reusable components from which to construct interoperable processes.

6.2 Business process and information meta model

The UMM Meta Model is a mechanism that allows Trading Partners to capture the details for a specific business scenario using a consistent modeling methodology. A Business Process describes in detail how Trading Partners take on roles, relationships and responsibilities to facilitate interaction with other Trading Partners in shared collaborations. The interaction between roles takes place as a choreographed set of business transactions. Each business transaction is expressed as an exchange of electronic Business Documents. Business Documents MAY be composed from re-useable Business Information Objects (see "Relationships to Core Components" under 8.2.3 "Interfaces" below). At a lower level, Business Processes can be composed of re-useable Core Processes, and Business Information Objects can be composed of re-useable Core Components.

Figure 5.2-1FIGURE 6.2-1 UMM Meta Model and the ebXML Business Process Specification Schema

The UMM Meta Model supports a set of business process viewpoints that provide a set of semantics (vocabulary) for each viewpoint and forms the basis of specification of the artifacts that are recommended to facilitate Business Process and information integration and interoperability.

An additional view of the UMM Meta Model, the ebXML Business Process Specification Schema , is also provided to support the direct specification of the set of elements required to configure a runtime system in order to execute a set of ebXML business transactions. By drawing out modeling elements from several of the other views, the ebXML Business Process Specification Schema forms a semantic subset of the UMM Meta Model. The ebXMLBusiness Process Specification Schema is available in two stand-alone representations, a UML version, and an XML version.

The only part of the UMM Meta Model that is currently mandatory for use in ebXML is the semantic subset represented by the ebXML Business Process Specification Schema. As UN/CEFACT finalizes and evolves the UMM, it is anticipated that other parts of the UMM Meta Model may also become mandatory.

The relationship between the UMM Meta Model and the ebXML Business Process Specification Schema can be shown as follows:

The ebXML Business Process Specification Schema supports the specification of business transactions and the choreography of business transactions into Business Collaborations. Each Business Transaction can be implemented using one of many available standard patterns. These patterns determine the actual exchange of Business Documents and signals between Trading Partners to achieve the required electronic transaction. To help specify the patterns the UMM provides a set of standard patterns, and the ebXML Business Process Specification Schema provides a set of modeling elements in support of those patterns. The ebXML specification of a Business Process is referred to as a Business Process Specification. The Business Process Specification serves as primary input for the formation of Collaboration Protocol Profiles (CPP's) and Collaboration Protocol Agreements (CPA's).

This can be shown as follows:One of the key benefits of using a single consistent modeling methodology is that it is possible to compare models to avoid duplication of existing Business Processes.

Figure 5.2-2FIGURE 6.2-2 Relationship of Business Process Specification and CPP/CPA

To further facilitate the creation of consistent Business Process and information models, ebXML will define a common set of Business Processes in parallel with a Core Library. It is possible that users of the ebXML infrastructure may wish to extend this set or use their own Business Processes.

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