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Ontology Development for Designing and Managing Dynamic Business Process Networks

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1 Author(s)
Therani, M. ; Autonomy, Inc., Sunnyvale

Recent advances in flexible process design and deployment technologies, such as web services and flexible workflow systems, promise the development of flexible intra- and inter-organizational business process networks with potential economic benefits. However, exploiting this potential requires the development of scalable process-management technologies that provide a consistent viewpoint and common language (for describing properties of the process network) to all stakeholders involved in its management. Current approaches to managing such networks requires one to use a babel of languages (in the formal sense) at different levels of abstraction. The development of explicit process ontologies is one of the potentially viable approaches to provide an unified view. In this paper, we discuss the need for process ontologies, propose a task-based ontological framework synthesizing recent research in the fields of AI planning and software engineering, and illustrate the need to link declarative and procedural process representations. We illustrate the use of this ontological framework for managing processes in developing applications for integrating information from disparate information sources in multiple domains. Further, based on this experience, we discuss potential benefits and areas for future research.

Published in:

Industrial Informatics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 2 )