Summary of the contribution
Process performance indicators (PPIs) allow the quantitative evaluation of business processes (BPs), providing essential information for decision making. However, PPI management is not only restricted to the evaluation phase of the BPM lifecycle, but also includes a number of steps that must be carried out throughout the whole lifecycle. PPIs need to be defined, the corresponding BPs must be instrumented, PPI values have to be computed, then they can be monitored and analysed using techniques such as business activity monitoring or process mining, and finally, a PPI redefinition can be required in case of the evolution of either the associated BPs or the PPIs themselves. It is common practice today that BPs and PPIs are usually modelled separately using graphical notations for the former and natural language for the latter. This approach makes PPI definitions simple to read and write, but it hinders maintenance consistency between BPs and PPIs. It also requires their manual translation into lower–level implementation languages for their operationalisation, which is a time–consuming, error– prone task because of the ambiguities inherent to natural language definitions. In this article we present Visual ppinot, a graphical notation for defining PPIs together with BP models aimed at facilitating and automating PPI management. This is mainly achieved by means of the following features. First, Visual ppinot is based on the ppinot metamodel, which provides a precise and unambiguous definition of PPIs, thus allowing their automated processing in the different ac- tivities of the lifecycle. Second, Visual ppinot provides traceability by design between PPIs and BPs because PPIs must be explicitly connected to BP elements, thus avoiding inconsistencies and promoting their co–evolution. Finally, Visual ppinot enables a definition of PPIs that is independent of the platforms used to support the PPIs in the BP lifecycle, which reduces vendor lock–in and allows definitions of PPIs encompassing several information systems. In addition, it improves current state–of–the–art proposals in terms of expressiveness and of providing an explicit visualisation of the link between PPIs and BPs. The reference implementation, developed as a complete tool suite, has allowed its validation in a multiple-case study, in which five dimensions were studied: expressiveness, precision, automation, understandability, and traceability.