Evaluating data-centric process approaches: Does the human factor factor in?

H.A. Reijers, I.T.P. Vanderfeesten, M.G.A. Plomp, P.M.E. Van Gorp, D. Fahland, W.L.M. Van der Crommert, H.D. Diaz Garcia

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Business Process Management field addresses design, improvement, management, support, and execution of business processes. In doing so, we argue that it focuses more on developing modeling notations and process design approaches than on the needs and preferences of the individual who is modeling (i.e., the user). New data-centric process modeling approaches are taken as a relevant and timely stream of process design approaches to test our argument. First, we provide a review of existing data-centric process approaches, culminating in a theoretical classification framework. Next, we empirically evaluate three specific approaches with regard to the claims they make. We had participants representative of actual users try out these approaches on realistic scenarios via a series of workshops. Participants assessed to what extent quality claims from the literature could be recognized within the workshop sessions. The results of this evaluation substantiate a number of claims behind the approaches, but also identify opportunities to further improve them. Most prominently, we found that the usability aspects of all considered approaches are a source of concern. This leads us to the insight that usability aspects of process design approaches are crucial and, in the perception of groups representative of actual users, leave much to be desired. In that sense, our research can be seen as a wake-up call for process modeling notation designers to consider the usability side—and as such, the interest of the human modeler—more than is currently the case.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649–662
Number of pages14
JournalSoftware & Systems Modeling
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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