The Analysis of a Real Life Declarative Process

Søren Debois, Tijs Slaats

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This paper reports on a qualitative study of the use of declarative process notations used in a commercial setting. Specifically, we investigate the actual use of a system implemented in terms of DCR graphs for the Danish "Dreyer Foundation" by our industry partner Exformatics A/S. The study is performed by analysing logs of actual use of the system. By the study we seek to illuminate the currently open -- and heavily debated! -- research question of whether the claimed advantages in conciseness and flexibility of declarative models over more traditional flow-based notations are significant in practice. Studies investigating this question have typically focused on understandability for users, driven by lab experiments and workshops with practitioners unfamiliar with the paradigm. In the present study, we (1) attempt to assess qualitatively whether users employed the flexibility granted them by the declarative model, and (2) use process discovery techniques to examine if a perfect-fitness flow-based model representing the main business constraints is in fact easy to come by. For (1), we find evidence in various forms, most notably an apparent change in best practices by end-users allowed by the model. For (2), we find no such model. We leave as a challenge to the community the construction of a flow-based model adequately representing the business constraints and supporting all observed behaviour by the users, whether by hand or by mining.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2015 Symposium on Computational Intelligence and Data Mining (CIDM)
Place of PublicationIEEE
PublisherIEEE Computer Society Press
Publication date2015
Pages1374 - 1382
ISBN (Print)978-1-4799-7560-0
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event2015 IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence and Data Mining - Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 7 Dec 201510 Dec 2015


Conference2015 IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence and Data Mining
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
CityCape Town
Internet address


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