Universal artifacts: A new approach to business process management (BPM) systems

Yutian Sun, Jianwen Su, Jian Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


In most BPM systems (a.k.a. workflow systems), the data for process execution is scattered across databases for enterprise, auxiliary local data stores within the BPM systems, and even file systems (e.g., specification of process models). The interleaving nature of data management and BP execution and the lack of a coherent conceptual data model for all data needed for execution make it hard for (1) providing Business-Processas- A-Service (BPaaS) and (2) effective support for collaboration between business processes. The primary reason is that an enormous effort is required for maintaining both the engines and the data for the client applications. In particular, different modeling languages and different BPM systems make process interoperation one of the toughest challenges. In this article, we formulate a concept of a "universal artifact," which extends artifact-centric models by capturing all needed data for a process instance throughout its execution. A framework called SeGA based on universal artifacts is developed to support separation of data and BP execution, a key principle for BPM systems. We demonstrate in this article that SeGA is versatile enough to fully facilitate not only executions of individual processes (to support BPaaS) but also various collaboration models. Moreover, SeGA reduces the complexity in runtime management including runtime querying, constraints enforcement, and dynamic modification upon collaboration across possibly different BPM systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2886104
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalACM Transactions on Management Information Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


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