Business Process Intelligence

Business Process Intelligence

M. Castellanos (Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, USA), A.K. Alves de Medeiros (Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands), J. Mendling (Queensland University of Technology, Australia), B. Weber (University of Innsbruck, Australia) and A.J.M.M. Weijters (Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-288-6.ch021
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Business Process Intelligence (BPI) is an emerging area that is getting increasingly popular for enterprises. The need to improve business process efficiency, to react quickly to changes and to meet compliance is among the main drivers for BPI. BPI refers to the application of Business Intelligence techniques to business processes and comprises a large range of application areas spanning from process monitoring and analysis to process discovery, conformance checking, prediction and optimization. This chapter provides an introductory overview of BPI and its application areas and delivers an understanding of how to apply BPI in one’s own setting. In particular, it shows how process mining techniques such as process discovery and conformance checking can be used to support process modeling and process redesign. In addition, it illustrates how processes can be improved and optimized over time using analytics for explanation, prediction, optimization and what-if-analysis. Throughout the chapter, a strong emphasis is given to describe tools that use these techniques to support BPI. Finally, major challenges for applying BPI in practice and future trends are discussed.
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1. Introduction

Business Process Intelligence (BPI) refers to the application of Business Intelligence (BI) techniques to business processes (Grigori et al., 2004). In this context, BI refers to technologies, applications, and practices for the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of business information and also sometimes to the information itself. The purpose of BI is to support better business decision making (Power 2007). The data source for BI is a so-called data warehouse, i.e., a special data base where an organization stores important historical data. Most of the time the data is collected from different information systems as used in an organization. Data analysis and data mining can be performed using this data. The goal is to translate the data to useful business information that can support the decision making process of the organization. If the data warehouse also contains information about the processes within an organization it is called a process data warehouse (Casati at al., 2007) and can be used as source for BPI analysis.

BPI is an emerging area, that is quickly gaining interest due to the increasing pressure companies are facing to improve the efficiency of their business processes and to quickly react to market changes in order to be competitive in this highly dynamic Internet era. In addition, the need to meet regulatory compliance has recently strengthened this trend (e.g., Sarbanes-Oxley (Sarbanes-Oxley Act 2002)). The large number of buzzwords like Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), Business Operations Management (BOM), Business Process Intelligence (BPI), Process Mining, and Business Operations Intelligence (BOI) is a good indication of the interest of vendors to monitor and analyze business activities to gain insight into the operation of their business and ultimately on their effect on the business goals. In the past the focus of workflow tools has been mostly on process modeling and automation. However, today most vendors of business process management (BPM) suites have extended their portfolio with BPI functionality (e.g., IBM, SAP, Tibco, Oracle, Pallas Athena, Lombardi, webMethods).

Process-aware information systems (PAIS) such as WFM, ERP, SCM and CRM systems are recording business events occurring during process execution in event logs (Dumas et al., 2005). Typically, event logs contain information about start and completion of activities and the resources that executed them. In many cases relevant data (like the values of data fields linked to tasks) is recorded too. Sometimes, there is no, or only a very primitive process model available. However, in many situations it is possible to gather information about the processes as they take place. For instance, in many hospitals, information about the different treatments of a patient are registered (date, time, treatment, medical staff) for reasons like financial administration. This kind of information in combination with appropriate (mining) techniques can also be used to get more insight in the health care process.

BPI exploits this process information by providing the means for analyzing it to give companies a better understanding of how their business processes are actually executed. It supplies support in the discovery of malfunctions and bottlenecks and helps identifying their causes. Therefore, BPI often triggers process improvement or reengineering efforts. BPI not only serves as a tool for improving business processes performance, but also fosters changes by facilitating decision-making. In addition, BPI is used to monitor the alignment of operational business processes with strategic business goals and to give the visibility that regulatory compliance requires. Furthermore, BPI is not restricted to the analysis of historical data, but can also be used to optimize future efforts (e.g., through predicting future problems). To provide for the above, BPI comprises several application areas, which are detailed in the following.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Process Monitoring: Refers to the monitoring of running process instances to inform users about critical events.

Process Mining: Is the discovery of information based on event logs. Process discovery, conformance checking, critical factor analysis and prediction qualify as process mining techniques.

Conformance Checking: Compares an event log with a (process) model to check for undesired behavior.

Critical Factor Analysis: Analyses past process executions to identify the main factors determining specific process behaviors (with respect to the process metrics).

Event Log: An event log records business events from process-aware information systems (PAIS) such as WFM (Workflow Management), ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), SCM (Supply Chain Management) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems. Typically, event logs contain information about start and completion of activities, their ordering, resources which executed them and the process instance they belong to.

Process Analysis: Refers to the analysis of past process executions with respect to process performance metrics.

Prediction: It is the application of data mining and forecasting techniques to estimate future behaviors of a process.

Process Discovery: Refers to the analysis of business events recorded in event logs to discover process, control, data, organizational, and social structures.

Business Process Intelligence: Refers to the application of Business Intelligence (BI) techniques to business processes.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Jorge Cardoso, Wil van der Aalst
Chapter 1
Tiziana Margaria, Bernhard Steffen
The one thing approach is designed to overcome the classical communication hurdles between application experts and the various levels of IT experts.... Sample PDF
Business Process Modeling in the jABC: The One-Thing Approach
Chapter 2
Huy Tran, Ta’id Holmes, Uwe Zdun, Schahram Dustdar
This chapter introduces a view-based, model-driven approach for process-driven, service-oriented architectures. A typical business process consists... Sample PDF
Modeling Process-Driven SOAs: A View-Based Approach
Chapter 3
Stefan Jablonski
This chapter presents a process modeling approach for holistic process management. The main idea is that domain specific process models are required... Sample PDF
Process Modeling for Holistic Process Management
Chapter 4
Matthias Kloppmann, Dieter Koenig, Simon Moser
This chapter introduces a set of languages intended to model and run business processes. The Business Process Modeling Notation 1.1 (BPMN) is a... Sample PDF
The Dichotomy of Modeling and Execution: BPMN and WS-BPEL
Chapter 5
Chun Ouyang, Michael Adams, Arthur H.M. ter Hofstede
Due to the absence of commonly accepted conceptual and formal foundations for workflow management, and more generally Business Process Management... Sample PDF
Yet Another Workflow Language: Concepts, Tool Support, and Application
Chapter 6
Modelling Constructs  (pages 122-141)
Ekkart Kindler
There are many different notations and formalisms for modelling business processes and workflows. These notations and formalisms have been... Sample PDF
Modelling Constructs
Chapter 7
Kwanghoon Kim, Clarence A. Ellis
This chapter introduces the basic concepts of information control net (ICN) and its workflow models. In principle, a workflow model is the... Sample PDF
ICN-Based Workflow Model and its Advances
Chapter 8
Manfred Reichert, Peter Dadam
In dynamic environments it must be possible to quickly implement new business processes, to enable ad-hoc deviations from the defined business... Sample PDF
Enabling Adaptive Process-Aware Information Systems with ADEPT2
Chapter 9
Macello La Rosa, Marlon Dumas, Arthur H.M. ter Hofstede
A reference process model represents multiple variants of a common business process in an integrated and reusable manner. It is intended to be... Sample PDF
Modeling Business Process Variability for Design-Time Configuration
Chapter 10
Cesare Pautasso
Model-driven architecture (MDA), design and transformation techniques can be applied with success to the domain of business process modeling (BPM)... Sample PDF
Compiling Business Process Models into Executable Code
Chapter 11
Cinzia Cappiello, Barbara Pernici
This chapter illustrates the concept of repairable processes and self-healing functionalities and discusses about their design requirements.... Sample PDF
Design of Repairable Processes
Chapter 12
Web Process Adaptation  (pages 245-253)
Kunal Verma
Adaptation is an important concept for Web processes. The author provides an overview of adaptation with respect to control theory and how it is... Sample PDF
Web Process Adaptation
Chapter 13
Carlo Combi, Giuseppe Pozzi
Time is a very important dimension of any aspect in human life, affecting also information and information management. As such, time must be dealt... Sample PDF
Temporalities for Workflow Management Systems
Chapter 14
Karsten Ploesser, Nick Russell
This chapter discusses the challenges associated with integrating work performed by human agents into automated workflows. It briefly recounts the... Sample PDF
The People Integration Challenge
Chapter 15
Dimka Karastoyanova, Tammo van Lessen, Frank Leymann, Zhilei Ma, Joerg Nitzche, Branimir Wetzstein
Even though process orientation/BPM is a widely accepted paradigm with heavy impact on industry and research the available technology does not... Sample PDF
Semantic Business Process Management: Applying Ontologies in BPM
Chapter 16
Hernani Mourao, Pedro Antunes
In this chapter the authors propose a solution to handle unexpected exceptions in WfMS. They characterize these events deeply and recognize that... Sample PDF
Using WfMS to Support Unstructured Activities
Chapter 17
Guillermo Jimenez
In this chapter the authors introduce the role of a business process engineer (BPE) and necessary competencies to define, simulate, analyze, and... Sample PDF
Business Process Engineering
Chapter 18
Christoph Bussler
This chapter introduces the application of process management to business-to-business (B2B) integration and enterprise application integration... Sample PDF
B2B and EAI with Business Process Management
Chapter 19
Paul Grefen
This chapter is devoted to automated support for interorganizational business process management, that is, formation and enactment of business... Sample PDF
Systems for Interorganizational Business Process Management
Chapter 20
Guido Governatori, Shazia Sadiq
It is a typical scenario that many organisations have their business processes specified independently of their business obligations (which includes... Sample PDF
The Journey to Business Process Compliance
Chapter 21
M. Castellanos, A.K. Alves de Medeiros, J. Mendling, B. Weber, A.J.M.M. Weijters
Business Process Intelligence (BPI) is an emerging area that is getting increasingly popular for enterprises. The need to improve business process... Sample PDF
Business Process Intelligence
Chapter 22
Diogo R. Ferreira
This chapter introduces the principles of sequence clustering and presents two case studies where the technique is used to discover behavioral... Sample PDF
Applied Sequence Clustering Techniques for Process Mining
Chapter 23
Kamal Bhattacharya, Richard Hull, Jianwen Su
This chapter describes a design methodology for business processes and workflows that focuses first on “business artifacts”, which represent key... Sample PDF
A Data-Centric Design Methodology for Business Processes
Chapter 24
Laura Sanchez, Andrea Delgado, Francisco Ruiz, Felix Garcia, Mario Piattini
The underlying premise of process management is that the quality of products and services is largely determined by the quality of the processes used... Sample PDF
Measurement and Maturity of Business Processes
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