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QuOD: An NLP Tool to Improve the Quality of Business Process Descriptions

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From Software Engineering to Formal Methods and Tools, and Back


[Context and Motivation] In real-world organisations, business processes (BPs) are often described by means of natural language (NL) documents. Indeed, although semi-formal graphical notations exist to model BPs, most of the legacy process knowledge—when not tacit—is still conveyed through textual procedures or operational manuals, in which the BPs are specified. This is particularly true for public administrations (PAs), in which a large variety of BPs exist (e.g., definition of tenders, front-desk support) that have to be understood and put into practice by civil servants. [Question/problem] Incorrect understanding of the BP descriptions in PAs may cause delays in the delivery of services to citizens, or, in some cases, incorrect execution of the BPs. [Principal idea/results] In this paper, we present the development of an NLP-based tool named QuOD (Quality Analyser for Official Documents), oriented to detect linguistic defects in BP descriptions and to provide recommendations for improvements. [Contribution] QuOD is the first tool that addresses the problem of identifying NL defects in BP descriptions of PAs. The tool is available online at

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This work was possible thanks to the seminal work of Stefania Gnesi and co-authors on the usage of rule-based NLP techniques for detecting ambiguity and other quality issues in requirements specifications [17].

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Correspondence to Alessio Ferrari .

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Ferrari, A., Spagnolo, G.O., Fiscella, A., Parente, G. (2019). QuOD: An NLP Tool to Improve the Quality of Business Process Descriptions. In: ter Beek, M., Fantechi, A., Semini, L. (eds) From Software Engineering to Formal Methods and Tools, and Back. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 11865. Springer, Cham.

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