S-BPM is a formal notation system for modeling and executing business processes. Because of its close approximation of natural speech and its formal definition, S-BPM can be understood by both people and machines. S-BPM and Metasonic® Suite, which is based on S-BPM, thus form the ideal communication platform between business and IT.
S-BPM models consist of subjects (actors in the process), three different types of predicates or actions (send, receive, internal action) and objects that can be sent or manipulated. An object or business object might be, for instance, an electronic shopping cart with all its order items. The object "shopping cart" would first be created and filled during an online purchase and then sent to the supplier with the message "Order." S-BPM process models are always modeled in two views.
· The communication view: Shows the process as a whole, i.e. how the subjects in the process interact and what messages they exchange.
· The internal subject view: Shows the internal behavior of a subject or actor, i.e. what actions are carried out and how the subjects respond to communication or how communication is initiated. A subject's internal behavior consists of a series of states, of which there are three types (send, receive, execute action).
Modeling elements in the communication view:
|A subject corresponds to an actor or participant in a business process. A subject has an internal behavior and communicates with other subjects. It represents a participant in the process.|
|A message serves for the exchange of information between subjects or actors. Business objects can be attached to messages.|
The second view in which S-BPM processes are modeled is the "internal behavior" of an actor or subject. A subject's behavior is a defined sequence of states. The subject starts in one state and transitions to a subsequent state when the condition required to transition is fulfilled (for instance, when a certain message arrives or an internal function achieves a result). A subject transitions to subsequent states during the course of the process and on the basis of certain conditions until it reaches its end state. There are three state types for subjects in S-BPM: "Send," "Receive" and "Internal function" or action.
Modeling elements in the internal behavior of a subject:
|With a receive state the user's own subject receives messages (with business objects) from other subjects.|
|With a send state the user's subject sends messages (with business objects) to other subjects.|
|A function state corresponds to an internal action of the subject, if it is a closed action by a process participant. Business objects are processed here.|
An actor or a subject is thus a defined sequence of states in the process that are linked to one another via transitions. Each transition can be assigned a condition. For instance, a message must have arrived (receive state), a message must have been sent (send state) or an action must have been completed with a specific result (function state) in order to transition into the subsequent state. Thus, when the customer's message "Order" with the object "shopping cart" arrives at the supplier, the supplier transitions from its receive state "Waiting for order" to the next state, e.g. the function state "Process order."