References and Shortcuts (« existing tasks ») are two forms of re-use of data and tasks. They allow users to repurpose already existing tasks and processes. They differ by their use case:
When a reference is used, EPC creates a copy of the original activity in the process where it is referenced while maintaining a link between the original and the reference. The reference can be modified, and all modifications remain specific to the reference without affecting the original; analysts can then compare the reference to its original generic activity. When the original is modified, its references are not automatically updated. In EPC's upcoming new release, users will have the option to set the synchronization by property or attribute between the reference and its original activity.
Company ABC has an HR department responsible for the employee yearly reviews process. HR sets the standards and methodologies to follow during the reviews; however, each department manager's responsibility is to conduct the yearly review of their resources. Therefore, HR creates a generic review process. John, the process modeler for the quality department, is creating his department's Resource management process. At one point, he needs to show that the yearly review needs to be conducted since the roles and responsibilities and some modifications are needed compared to the generic review process. John must now opt for a reference and then adapt it to his department's needs. This will show HR which departments use their process and how they are doing it "locally." When company-wide standards and methodologies are updated, they can be pushed down to the reference copies.
When a shortcut is used, EPC creates an "image" of the original activity in the process where it is a "shortcut." When users see a shortcut in their process, they are actually seeing the image of an activity from another process and not a local "copy" like in references. Shortcuts cannot be modified, and they always remain an accurate image of their original generic activity. When the original activity is modified, all its shortcuts become an image of the new version.
Company XYZ has a legal department that owns and is responsible for conducting all necessary legal reviews. The Procurement department's process modeler, Suzy, wishes to model their procurement process, which requires all legal documents (contracts, terms, conditions, etc.) to be reviewed and approved by the legal department according to the legal review process before issuing a purchase order. Suzy creates the first phases of her process: RFP, Supplier selection, etc.… she also creates the last pars of her process: Issue a PO, but now she needs to show that the purchase flow has to go through the legal review process after the initial phases and before the PO. Since the legal review process is owned and conducted by the legal department (and not by the procurement department), Suzy creates a shortcut to the legal review process. In terms of flow, this means that once the supplier has been identified and the offer selected, the selection and responsibility are transferred to the legal department, who, after their review, will transfer back to the procurement department with an approval or rejection.