Event Driven Process Chain – Symya Williams

April 20, 2011

The direct origination of Event Driven Process Chain (EPC) cannot be pin point. However there are two commonly told histories of this type of process modeling. One is that EPC originates from an old essential system analysis technique. This analysis technique is known as Event Driven Process (EDP). EDPs include both unplanned and planned responses. These “systems are interactive; they act on things beyond their control and these eternal things act on them.”5 Due to its interactive nature and basis in EDP, EPCs “have become an established industry standard since a decade.” 1 The other, is that a professor by the name of Wihlem-August Scheer at the Institut für Wirtschaftsinformatik at the Universität des Saarlandes begin using the EPCs within the framework of ARIS.

Functions and events are the main requirements for Event Driven Process Chains. Functions happen because of events and functions cause events to happen. This flow of requirements is defined as a sequence of alternating events and functions. Other requirements included are organizational units, information, material or resource objects, logical connectors, logical relationships (branch vs. merger, fork vs. join, and OR), control flow, information flow, organization unit assignment and process path. Simple EPCs can be represented mathematically through the following:

A five-tuple (E, F, C, ℓ, A)
– E is a finite (non-empty) set of events,
– F is a finite (non-empty) set of functions,
– C is a finite set of connectors
– ℓ [X] C → {Ʌ, XOR, V} is a function which maps each connector onto a connector type.
– A • (ExF) [X] (FxE) [X] (ExC) [X] (CxE)[X] (FxC)[X] (CxF) [X] (CxC) is a set of arcs.2
This is not the only way EPCs are represented. Normally they are viewed graphically which look similar to flow charts.

There are different types of Even Driven Process Chains. The most common are oEPCs and eEPCs. oEPCs are Object Oriented Event Driven Process Chains. They are used to achieve a more powerful description of a business process. This is accomplished by extending the base model of an EPC by incorporating “class function as outputs and functions’ pre-conditions.”4 eEPCs or Extended Event Driven Process Chains differs from a regular EPC because it focuses more on resources. However the downside to eEPC is that there are “no formal semantics or verifications tools.”3

Since Event Driven Process Chain is graphically similar to a flow chat or workflow there are plenty of tools available for production. In the beginning the main modeling tools used with EPCs were SAP R/3 and ARIS. The use of ARIS is still prominent with the ARIS Toolset, a free modeling told called ARIS Express. There is SemTalk which a Microsoft Visio add on. SemTalk has the ability to import EPCs that have already been created. Other tools include Communication Structured Analysis (CSA), ABC FlowCharter flow charts, ADONIS, Mavim Rules, Business Process Visual Architect and Bonapart. Some but not all of these tools may support the integration tool that was produced in 2002. EPML or Event Driven Process Chain Mark Up Language is unlike the other tools because it “provides standardized tags for the main EPC elements as well as some attributes such as “descriptions” and “positions.”1

When businesses use EPCs there can either be high leveled or detailed. The more detailed the EPC is the more EPCs one can have for any particular process. These detailed processes can show how one function can cause multiple events, or how one event can cause multiple functions. EPCs are relative easy to make and understand however due to it not being standardized those working on a process can make multiple ones at the same time that are correct, but look totally different. This is why there has been a movement to try and get EPML set as the industry standard to make this simple business process model even simpler. The cause-effect relationship of Event Driven Process Chain makes it easy for businesses to use it in modeling as a focal point for development of systems and with the definition of workflows. Not only can EPCs be used for modeling than can also be used in implementation of reengineering.

1. Fillies, Christian and Weichardt, Dr. Frauke. “On Ontology-based Event-driven Process Chains.” SemTalk. http://semtalk.com/pub/semtalkepk.pdf

2. Gottschalk, Florian, Aalst, Wil M. P. van der, and Jansen-Vullers, Monique H. “Merging Event-driven Process Chains. Technische Universiteit Eindhoven University of Technology. http://wwwis.win.tue.nl/~wvdaalst/publications/p474.pdf

3. Hee, Kees Van, Oanea, Olivia, and Sidorova, Natalis “Colored Petri Nets to Verify Extended Driven Process Chains.”Technische Universiteit Eindhoven University of Technology. http://www.win.tue.nl/~sidorova/05/coopis05.pdf

4. Loos, Pete and Allweyer, Thomas. “Process Orientation and Object Orientation An Approach for Integrating UML and Event-Driven Process Chains (EPC).” Publication of the Institut fur Wirtschaftsinformatik. March 1998.

5. McMenamin, Stephen M. and Palmer, John F. Essential Systems Analysis. New York: Yourdon, 1984.


2 Responses to “Event Driven Process Chain – Symya Williams”

  1. Jason Chuang said

    This is a very unique topic on how there is not a direct link or way on how it was started yet shows 2 different scenarios to see how it has transformed into what it is now.

  2. I find it interesting that there is also a mathematical representation for this concept. I could see this as possibly being useful (in development and testing) when integrating systems.

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