One of my areas of interests has been in model based systems engineering. Given the size and complexity of large scale systems moving from a traditional document based system to one all the artifacts are contained within a model makes sense on many levels. From a maintainability and traceability aspect models have a distinct advantage.
Still models have a ways to go. The ability to execute your model largely does not exist. And if it does, it is dependent upon what added functionalities are offered by the tool manufacturers. After reading the three Gartner articles on Application Architecture it got me to thinking that Application Architects will have the same problem with a model based approach. Whether you are building your models in UML, SysML, BPMN, IDEF, or using a framework such as DoDAF, creating models that allow for execution is difficult or dependent upon what add-ins the tool vendors offer. And most of what I’ve seen has been related to testing parametrics, constraints and requirements, not whether an application can tie together business processes and simulate code execution.
However, in my search for what is being done with executable code, I came across a paper that was presented at the 2016 49th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences entitled “Aligning Architectures of Business and Software: Software Driven by Business Process Models and its User Interface”.
In this paper the authors propose using a business process model (BPM) to drive application software. They demonstrate how they were able to do this using BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation) to drive a JavaFX based execution engine. During the execution of the BPMN business processes the application software needs to access and manipulates business artifacts. But BPMN does not have the comprehensive definition of business artifacts so it is necessary for the execution engine to use simple data structures such as database objects, and Java classes.
The authors still have much more to do, but this is one of the few papers I’ve found where researchers are attempting to map their model to their enterprise or application architecture.
Hoch, R., Kaindl, H., Popp, R., Zeidler, C. 2016. Aligning Architectures of Business and Software: Software Driven by Business Process Models and its User Interface. 2016 49th Hawaii International Conference on System Science.