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Using virtual worlds for collaborative business process modeling

By Ross A. Brown, Jan C. Recker and Stephen West


Purpose Process modeling is a complex organizational task that requires many iterations and communication between the business analysts and the domain specialists. The challenge of process modeling is exacerbated, when the process of modeling has to be performed in a cross-organizational, distributed environment. In this paper we suggest a 3D environment for collaborative process modeling, using Virtual World technology. Design/methodology/approach We suggest a new collaborative process modeling approach based on Virtual World technology. We describe the design of an innovative prototype collaborative process modeling approach, implemented as a 3D BPMN modeling environment in Second Life. We use a case study to evaluate the suggested approach. Findings Based on our case study application, we show that our approach increases user empowerment and adds significantly to the collaboration and consensual development of process models even when the relevant stakeholders are geographically dispersed. Research limitations implications – We present design work and a case study. More research is needed to more thoroughly evaluate the presented approach in a variety of real-life process modeling settings. Practical implications Our research outcomes as design artifacts are directly available and applicable by business process management professionals and can be used by business, system and process analysts in real-world practice. Originality/value Our research is the first reported attempt to develop a process modeling approach on the basis of virtual world technology. We describe a novel and innovative 3D BPMN modeling environment in Second Life

Topics: 080103 Computer Graphics, 080111 Virtual Reality and Related Simulation, 080602 Computer-Human Interaction, 080603 Conceptual Modelling, Collaborative Process Modeling, BPMN, Second Life, Virtual World Technology
Publisher: Emerald
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1108/14637151111136414
OAI identifier:

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