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Article

M.T. Wynn, H.M.W. Verbeek, W.M.P. van der Aalst, A.H.M. ter Hofstede and D. Edmond

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that process verification has matured to a level where it can be used in practice. This paper reports on new verification…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that process verification has matured to a level where it can be used in practice. This paper reports on new verification techniques that can be used to assess the correctness of real‐life models.

Design/methodology/approach

The proposed approach relies on using formal methods to determine the correctness of business processes with cancellation and OR‐joins. The paper also demonstrates how reduction rules can be used to improve the efficiency. These techniques are presented in the context of the workflow language yet another workflow language (YAWL) that provides direct support for 20 most frequently used patterns found today (including cancellation and OR‐joins). But the results also apply to other languages with these features (e.g. BPMN, EPCs, UML activity diagrams, etc.). An editor has been developed that provides diagnostic information based on the techniques presented in this paper.

Findings

The paper proposes four properties for business processes with cancellation and OR‐joins, namely: soundness, weak soundness, irreducible cancellation regions and immutable OR‐joins and develop new techniques to verify these properties. Reduction rules have been used as a means of improving the efficiency of the algorithm. The paper demonstrates the feasibility of this verification approach using a realistic and complex business process, the visa application process for general skilled migration to Australia, modelled as a YAWL workflow with cancellation regions and OR‐joins.

Originality/value

Business processes sometimes require complex execution interdependencies to properly complete a process. For instance, it is possible that certain activities need to be cancelled mid‐way though the process. Some parallel activities may require complex “wait and see” style synchronisation depending on a given context. These types of business processes can be found in various domains, such as application integration, B2B commerce, web service composition and workflow systems. Even though cancellation and sophisticated join structures are present in many business processes, existing verification techniques are unable to deal with such processes. Hence, this paper plays an important role in making process verification a reality.

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

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Article

Malte Thiede, Daniel Fuerstenau and Ana Paula Bezerra Barquet

The purpose of this paper is to review empirical studies on process mining in order to understand its use by organizations. The paper further aims to outline future…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review empirical studies on process mining in order to understand its use by organizations. The paper further aims to outline future research opportunities.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors propose a classification model that combines core conceptual elements of process mining with prior models from technology classification from the enterprise resource planning and business intelligence field. The model incorporates an organizational usage, a system-orientation and service nature, adding a focus on physical services. The application is based on a systematic literature review of 144 research papers.

Findings

The results show that, thus far, the literature has been chiefly concerned with realization of single business process management systems in single organizations. The authors conclude that cross-system or cross-organizational process mining is underrepresented in the ISR, as is the analysis of physical services.

Practical implications

Process mining researchers have paid little attention to utilizing complex use cases and mining mixed physical-digital services. Practitioners should work closely with academics to overcome these knowledge gaps. Only then will process mining be on the cusp of becoming a technology that allows new insights into customer processes by supplying business operations with valuable and detailed information.

Originality/value

Despite the scientific interest in process mining, particularly scant attention has been given by researchers to investigating its use in relatively complex scenarios, e.g., cross-system and cross-organizational process mining. Furthermore, coverage on the use of process mining from a service perspective is limited, which fails to reflect the marketing and business context of most contemporary organizations, wherein the importance of such scenarios is widely acknowledged. The small number of studies encountered may be due to a lack of knowledge about the potential of such scenarios as well as successful examples, a situation the authors seek to remedy with this study.

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

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Article

Sohei Ito, Dominik Vymětal and Roman Šperka

The need for assuring correctness of business processes in enterprises is widely recognised in terms of business process re-engineering and improvement. Formal methods are…

Abstract

Purpose

The need for assuring correctness of business processes in enterprises is widely recognised in terms of business process re-engineering and improvement. Formal methods are a promising approach to this issue. The challenge in business process verification is to create a formal model that is well-aligned to the reality. Process mining is a well-known technique to discover a model of a process based on facts. However, no studies exist that apply it to formal verification. This study aims to propose a methodology for formal business process verification by means of process mining, and attempts to clarify the challenges and necessary technologies in this approach using a case study.

Design/methodology/approach

A trading company simulation model is used as a case study. A workflow model is discovered from an event log produced by a simulation tool and manually complemented to a formal model. Correctness requirements of both domain-dependent and domain-independent types of the model are checked by means of model-checking.

Findings

For business process verification with both domain-dependent and domain-independent correctness requirements, more advanced process mining techniques that discover data-related aspects of processes are desirable. The choice of a formal modelling language is also crucial. It depends on the correctness requirements and the characteristics of the business process.

Originality/value

Formal verification of business processes starting with creating its formal model is quite new. Furthermore, domain-dependent and domain-independent correctness properties are considered in the same framework, which is also new. This study revealed necessary technologies for this approach with process mining.

Details

Journal of Modelling in Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5664

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Article

Asma Mejri, Sonia Ayachi-Ghannouchi and Ricardo Martinho

The purpose of this paper is to measure the flexibility of business process models. The authors give the notions of flexible process distance, which corresponds to the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to measure the flexibility of business process models. The authors give the notions of flexible process distance, which corresponds to the number of change operations needed for transforming one process model into another, considering the different perspectives (functional, operational, behavioral, informational, and organizational).

Design/methodology/approach

The proposed approach is a quantitative-based approach to measure the flexibility of business process models. In this context, the authors presented a method to compute the distance between two process models. The authors measured the distance between a process model and a process variant in terms of the number of high-level change operations (e.g. to insert or delete actors) needed to transform the process model into the respective variant when a change occurred, considering the different perspectives and the flexible features.

Findings

To evaluate the flexibility-measurement approach, the authors performed a comprehensive simulation using an emergency care (EC) business process model and its variants. The authors used a real-world EC process and illustrated the possible changes faced in the emergency department (possible variants). Simulation results were promising because they fit the flexibility needs of the EC process users. This was validated using the authors’ previous work which consists in a guidance approach for business process flexibility.

Research limitations/implications

The authors defined six different distances between business process models, which are summarized in the definition of total process distance. However, changes in one perspective may lead to changes in other perspectives. For instance, adding a new activity may lead to adding a new actor.

Practical implications

The results of this study would help companies to obtain important information about their processes and to compare the desired level of flexibility with their actual process flexibility.

Originality/value

This study is probably the first flexibility-measurement approach which incorporates features for capturing changes affecting the functional, operational, informational, organizational, and behavioral perspectives as well as elements related to approaches enhancing flexibility.

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

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Article

Antonia Albani and Jan L.G. Dietz

Modern enterprises face a strong economical pressure to increase competitiveness, to operate on a global market, and to engage in alliances of several kinds. In order to…

Abstract

Purpose

Modern enterprises face a strong economical pressure to increase competitiveness, to operate on a global market, and to engage in alliances of several kinds. In order to meet the requirements and challenges of participating in such alliances, companies must be able to cooperate effectively and efficiently. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of some major directions in inter‐organizational cooperation.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to cope with the challenges of inter‐organizational cooperation, to share innovative research issues and to facilitate profound discussions about them, the authors organized a series of workshops on Modeling Inter‐Organizational Systems (MIOS‐CIAO!) starting at the annual OTM Federated Conference and Continuing at the Annual CAiSE Conference. This paper summarizes the results of the workshops.

Findings

This paper provides an overview of what has been established and what is going on regarding the cooperation of enterprises in networks. The focus has been on the modeling of cooperation, from the business level down to the implementation level.

Practical implications

This overview is a useful source of knowledge for those who want to have a quick insight in the relevant aspects of cooperation, and in many well‐known modeling approaches and techniques. It is also an inspiring source for those who want to investigate yet unsolved or unsatisfactorily solved problems. Although developments, both in theory and in practice, will go on, no landslides are expected. Particularly for practice, the value of this report will therefore last for a considerable time.

Originality/value

Several core notions in the area of inter‐organizational cooperation are clarified, such as collaboration, cooperation, enterprise network, choreography, and orchestration. The whole process of developing or investigating an enterprise network is covered.

Details

Journal of Enterprise Information Management, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0398

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Article

Christian Janiesch, Martin Matzner and Oliver Müller

The purpose of this paper is to show how to employ complex event processing (CEP) for the observation and management of business processes. It proposes a conceptual…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show how to employ complex event processing (CEP) for the observation and management of business processes. It proposes a conceptual architecture of BPM event producer, processor, and consumer and describes technical implications for the application with standard software in a perfect order scenario.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors discuss business process analytics as the technological background. The capabilities of CEP in a BPM context are outlined an architecture design is proposed. A sophisticated proof‐of‐concept demonstrates its applicability.

Findings

The results overcome the separation and data latency issues of process controlling, monitoring, and simulation. Distinct analyses of past, present, and future blur into a holistic real‐time approach. The authors highlight the necessity for configurable event producer in BPM engines, process event support in CEP engines, a common process event format, connectors to visualizers, notifiers and return channels to the BPM engine.

Research limitations/implications

Further research will thoroughly evaluate the approach in a variety of business settings. New concepts and standards for the architecture's building blocks will be needed to improve maintainability and operability.

Practical implications

Managers learn how CEP can yield insights into business processes' operations. The paper illustrates a path to overcome inflexibility, latency, and missing feedback mechanisms of current process modeling and control solutions. Software vendors might be interested in the conceptualization and the described needs for further development.

Originality/value

So far, there is no commercial CEP‐based BPM solution which facilitates a round trip from insight to action as outlines. As major software vendors have begun developing solutions (BPM/BPA solutions), this paper will stimulate a debate between research and practice on suitable design and technology.

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Article

Constantin Houy, Peter Fettke and Peter Loos

The paper aims at providing a survey of the development of empirical research in business process management (BPM). It seeks to study trends in empirical BPM research and…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims at providing a survey of the development of empirical research in business process management (BPM). It seeks to study trends in empirical BPM research and applied methodologies by means of a developed framework in order to identify the status quo and to assess the probable future development of the research field.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to analyse the development of the research field a systematic literature review of empirical journal articles in the BPM context is conducted. The retrieved literature is analyzed by means of scientometric methods and a developed reference framework.

Findings

The steadily growing number of published articles in empirical BPM research shows an increase in interest in the research field. Research interests, applied methodologies, the underlying research paradigm and the level of maturity of empirical BPM research differ depending on regional aspects. BPM gains importance in the industry as well as in the public administration context.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are based on a sample of 355 articles and not on an exhaustive amount of available empirical research contributions. Nevertheless, significant analyses can be conducted. Future research could apply the developed reference framework for further literature reviews in order to be able to compare the findings and to measure progress.

Originality/value

The presented literature review gives an overview of trends in empirical BPM research. The developed and strictly applied reference framework supports a systematic analysis of contributions and can thus draw a significant picture of the state‐of‐the‐art of the research field. To the best knowledge of the authors no such survey has currently been undertaken.

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

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Article

Bokyoung Kang, Jae‐Yoon Jung, Nam Wook Cho and Suk‐Ho Kang

The purpose of this paper is to help industrial managers monitor and analyze critical performance indicators in real time during the execution of business processes by…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to help industrial managers monitor and analyze critical performance indicators in real time during the execution of business processes by proposing a visualization technique using an extended formal concept analysis (FCA). The proposed approach monitors the current progress of ongoing processes and periodically predicts their probable routes and performances.

Design/methodology/approach

FCA is utilized to analyze relations among patterns of events in historical process logs, and this method of data analysis visualizes the relations in a concept lattice. To apply FCA to real‐time business process monitoring, the authors extended the conventional concept lattice into a reachability lattice, which enables managers to recognize reachable patterns of events in specific instances of business processes.

Findings

By using a reachability lattice, expected values of a target key performance indicator are predicted and traced along with probable outcomes. Analysis is conducted periodically as the monitoring time elapses over the course of business processes.

Practical implications

The proposed approach focuses on the visualization of probable event occurrences on the basis of historical data. Such visualization can be utilized by industrial managers to evaluate the status of any given instance during business processes and to easily predict possible subsequent states for purposes of effective and efficient decision making. The proposed method was developed in a prototype system for proof of concept and has been illustrated using a simplified real‐world example of a business process in a telecommunications company.

Originality/value

The main contribution of this paper lies in the development of a real‐time monitoring approach of ongoing processes. The authors have provided a new data structure, namely a reachability lattice, which visualizes real‐time progress of ongoing business processes. As a result, current and probable next states can be predicted graphically using periodically conducted analysis during the processes.

Details

Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 111 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-5577

Keywords

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Article

Wirat Jareevongpiboon and Paul Janecek

The purpose of this paper is to propose a solution to the problem of a lack of machine processable semantics in business process management.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a solution to the problem of a lack of machine processable semantics in business process management.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper introduces a methodology that combines domain and company‐specific ontologies and databases to obtain multiple levels of abstraction for process mining and analysis. The authors valuated this approach with a real case study from the apparel domain, using a prototype system and techniques developed in the Process Mining Framework (ProM). The results of this approach are compared with similar research.

Findings

Semantically enriching process execution data can successfully raise analysis from the syntactic to the semantic level, and enable multiple perspectives of analysis on business processes. Combining this approach with complementary research in semantic business process management (SBPM) can provide results comparable to multidimensional analysis in data warehouse and on line analytical processing (OLAP) technologies.

Originality/value

The approach and prototype described in this paper improve the richness of semantics available for open‐source process mining and analysis tools like ProM, and the richness and detail of the resulting analysis.

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Article

Faramak Zandi and Madjid Tavana

The rapid intensification of the internet and electronic commerce diffusion has given rise to electronic business process management (e‐BPM) which enhances the overall…

Abstract

Purpose

The rapid intensification of the internet and electronic commerce diffusion has given rise to electronic business process management (e‐BPM) which enhances the overall connectivity of the business processes. However, when confronted by the range of e‐BPM best practices (e‐BPMBPs), organizations struggle to identify the one most appropriate to their needs. The paper aims to address these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper proposes a novel fuzzy group multi‐objective method for e‐BPMBP evaluation and selection. First, a fuzzy group linear assignment method is used to rank the e‐BPMBPs drawing on the four perspectives of a balanced scorecard (BSC). Second, a fuzzy group real options approach is used to estimate the financial values of the ranked e‐BPMBPs. Third, a four‐objective assignment model is used to select the optimal e‐BPMBP in deferral time with respect to their rankings, financial values, and a series of pertinent constraints.

Findings

The contribution of the proposed method is threefold: it is grounded in the four perspectives of a BSC, it considers imprecise or vague judgments which lead to ambiguity in the decision process, and it uses a meaningful and robust multi‐objective model to aggregate both qualitative judgments and quantitative data. A case study is presented to demonstrate the applicability of the proposed framework and to exhibit the efficacy of the procedures and algorithms.

Originality/value

The novel fuzzy group multi‐objective framework for e‐BPMBP evaluation and selection proposed in the paper takes into consideration (1) the qualitative and quantitative criteria and their respective value judgments; (2) the verbal expressions and linguistic variables for qualitative judgments which lead to ambiguity in the decision process; and (3) imprecise or vague judgments.

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

Keywords

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