Modelling Business Process Variants using Graph Transformation Rules

Christine Natschläger, Christine Natschläger, Verena Geist, Verena Geist, Christa Illibauer, Christa Illibauer, Robert Hutter, Robert Hutter


Business process variability is an active research area in the field of business process management and deals with variations and commonalities among processes of a given process family. Many theoretical approaches have been suggested in the last years; however, practical implementations are rare and limited in their functionality. In this paper, we propose a new approach for business process variability based on well-known graph transformation techniques and with focus on practical aspects like definition of variation points, linking and propagation of changes, as well as visual highlighting of differences in process variants. The suggested concepts are discussed within a case study comprising two graph transformation systems for generating process variants; one supports variability by restriction, the other supports variability by restriction and by extension. Both graph transformation systems are proven to be globally deterministic, but differ regarding their complexity. The overall approach is being implemented in the BPM suite of our partner company.


  1. Aalst, W. v. d. (2013). Business process management: A comprehensive survey. ISRN Software Engineering, 2013:1-37.
  2. Aeneis (2014). aeneis Handbuch. intellior AG, aeneis 5.7 edition.
  3. Axon IVY (2015). Axon.ivy 5.1 - Designer Guide. ivyTeam AG.
  4. Bizagi (2014). Bizagi BPM Suite - User Guide. Bizagi.
  5. Doehring, M., Zimmermann, B., and Karg, L. (2011). Flexible workflows at design- and runtime using BPMN2 adaptation patterns. In Abramowicz, W., editor, Business Information Systems, volume 87 of LNBIP, pages 25-36. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
  6. Ehrig, H., Ehrig, K., Prange, U., and Taentzer, G. (2006). Fundamentals of Algebraic Graph Transformation. Springer.
  7. Gottschalk, F. (2009). Configurable Process Models . PhD thesis, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven.
  8. Hallerbach, A., Bauer, T., and Reichert, M. (2009). Guaranteeing soundness of configurable process variants in provop. In IEEE Conference on Commerce and Enterprise Computing (CEC), pages 98-105.
  9. Hallerbach, A., Bauer, T., and Reichert, M. (2010). Capturing variability in business process models: The provop approach. Journal of Software Maintenance and Evolution: Research and Practice, 22:519-546.
  10. Natschläger, C., Kossak, F., and Schewe, K.-D. (2015). Deontic BPMN: a powerful extension of BPMN with a trusted model transformation. Software & Systems Modeling, 14(2):765-793.
  11. Natschläger, C. and Schewe, K.-D. (2012). A flattening approach for attributed type graphs with inheritance in algebraic graph transformation. Electronic Communications of the EASST, 47.
  12. Prologics (2014). FireStart Tutorial - Modellierung & Ausführung. Prologics.
  13. Recker, J., Rosemann, M., van der Aalst, W., JansenVullers, M., and Dreiling, A. (2006). Configurable reference modeling languages. In Fettke, P. and Loos, P., editors, Reference Modeling for Business Systems Analysis, pages 22-46. IGI Global, Pennsylvania.
  14. Reichert, M. and Weber, B. (2012). Enabling Flexibility in Process-Aware Information Systems: Challenges, Methods, Technologies. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
  15. Rosa, M. L., van der Aalst, W., Dumas, M., and Milani, F. (2013). Business process variability modeling: A survey. Technical report, Queensland University of Technology.
  16. Scheer (2015). Scheer BPaaS. Scheer.
  17. Signavio (2015). Benutzerhandbuch. Signavio.
  18. Varró, D., Varró-Gyapay, S., Ehrig, H., Prange, U., and Taentzer, G. (2006). Termination analysis of model transformations by Petri nets. In Corradini, A., Ehrig, H., Montanari, U., Ribeiro, L., and Rozenberg, G., editors, Graph Transformations, volume 4178 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 260-274. Springer Berlin / Heidelberg.
  19. Weber, B., Reichert, M., and Rinderle-Ma, S. (2008). Change patterns and change support features - enhancing flexibility in process-aware information systems. Data and Knowledge Engineering, 66(3):438-466.

Paper Citation

in Harvard Style

Natschläger C., Geist V., Illibauer C. and Hutter R. (2016). Modelling Business Process Variants using Graph Transformation Rules . In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Model-Driven Engineering and Software Development - Volume 1: MODELSWARD, ISBN 978-989-758-168-7, pages 65-74. DOI: 10.5220/0005665800650074

in Bibtex Style

author={Christine Natschläger and Verena Geist and Christa Illibauer and Robert Hutter},
title={Modelling Business Process Variants using Graph Transformation Rules},
booktitle={Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Model-Driven Engineering and Software Development - Volume 1: MODELSWARD,},

in EndNote Style

JO - Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Model-Driven Engineering and Software Development - Volume 1: MODELSWARD,
TI - Modelling Business Process Variants using Graph Transformation Rules
SN - 978-989-758-168-7
AU - Natschläger C.
AU - Geist V.
AU - Illibauer C.
AU - Hutter R.
PY - 2016
SP - 65
EP - 74
DO - 10.5220/0005665800650074