Subject-Oriented Business Process Management

Decentralized processing of information and loose coupling of applications are foundational concepts for web computing and related technologies. On the other hand, centralized control is still widely regarded as the paradigm of choice when modelling and executing business processes on top of these technologies. As a consequence, most process applications are inflexible and difficult to adapt and maintain.

This keynote introduces Subject-oriented Business Process Management (S-BPM), a stakeholder-centric, communication-based approach to process management. In contrast to approaches based on centralized control flow, S-BPM modularizes processes into separate viewpoints, each of which describes the behaviour of a different process participant (or “subject”). A single overall process model emerges from the interconnection of the partial viewpoints via messages. Such a clear separation of concerns, combined with the very simple notation of S-BPM, allows domain experts to readily model their work procedures from their own, “subjective” perspective. Changes in the process can be localized and encapsulated in a single module of the process without necessarily affecting others. This is a major departure from traditional approaches where process models are typically monolithic and therefore difficult to change.

The keynote provides an introduction to the innovative concepts, tools and applications of S-BPM, highlighting its benefits with respect to traditional approaches such as BPMN. In particular, results from an EU FP7 project are shown where S-BPM is used as the backbone of next-generation Internet of Things (IoT) applications in manufacturing. An example application is reported in which wearable human sensors and machine actuators are integrated via S-BPM process models.


Udo Kannengiesser is a researcher in business process management with over 15 years of experience in modelling dynamic processes and developing agile process management systems.
He has published more than 60 research papers in the fields of business process management, information systems, design science and artificial intelligence. His work on the FBS process framework of design has become a major reference for design researchers worldwide and has been applied in various design disciplines including business process design. He obtained his PhD from the University of Sydney (Australia) and worked as a research scientist at National ICT Australia. He is currently a senior research engineer at Metasonic GmbH (Germany), where he leads research projects related to agile process management.
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