Extending Conceptual
Schemas with Business
Process Information
Marco Brambilla, Jordi Cabot and Sara Comai
ABSTRACT
e specication of business processes is becoming a more and more critical
aspect for organizations. Such processes are specied as workow models ex-
pressing the logical precedence among the dierent business activities (i.e., the
units of work). Typically, workow models are managed through specic sub-
systems, called workow management systems, to ensure a consistent behavior
of the applications with respect to the organization business process. However,
for small organizations and/or simple business processes, the complexity and
capabilities of these dedicated workow engines may be overwhelming. In this
paper, we therefore, advocate for a dierent and lightweight approach, con-
sisting in the integration of the business process specication within the system
conceptual schema. We show how a workow-extended conceptual schema
can be automatically obtained, which serves both to enforce the organization
E C S  B P I 67
business process and to manage all its relevant domain data in a unied way.
is extended model can be directly processed with current CASE tools, for
instance, to generate an implementation of the system (including its business
process) in any technological platform.
Introduction
All software systems must include a formal representation of the knowledge of
the domain. In conceptual modeling, this representation is known as the concep-
tual schema of the software system [1]. However, software development processes
for complex business applications usually require the additional denition of a
workow model to express logical precedence and process constraints among the
dierent business activities (i.e., the units of work).
Workow models are usually specied through dedicated languages (e.g.,
Business Process Management Notation–BPMN [2]) and implemented with the
help of specialized workow management systems (WFMSs), for example, see
[3, 4], which are heavy-weight applications focused on the control aspects of the
business process enactment. is is clearly the best option to manage large work-
ow models. However, in some cases organizations may prefer a more lightweight
approach that does not require acquiring a specic workow subsystem.
is paper tackles the problem of dening a light-weight approach to the
implementation of business processes within software applications, without the
use of specialized WFMSs, which represents a relevant issue in several application
scenarios. Indeed. alternative solutions to complete WFMSs can be preferred in
case of simple business requirements, small organizations, or when the business
process needs are going to be drowned into a larger system that is being imple-
mented ad hoc for the organization. In these cases, designing and implementing
the workow using the same methods, notations and tools used to develop the
rest of the system can be convenient and cost eective for the organization.
Along these development lines, some approaches have focused on the im-
plementation of workow models in specic technology platforms, as relational
databases (generally in the form of triggers [5]), Web applications (by means of
hypertextual links and buttons properly placed in Web pages, thus restricting
the user navigation [6]), or Web services (through transformation into Business
Process Execution Language for Web Services–BPEL4WS [7] specications). is
way, the workow denition becomes part of the system implementation and no
specic workow engine is required. However, these approaches can be hardly
generalized to technologies dierent from the ones for which they have been con-
ceived (e.g., to new technology platforms), make dicult a wider adoption of

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