An integrated approach based on execution measures for the continuous improvement of business processes realized by services

A. Delgado, B. Weber, F. Ruiz, I. García-Rodríguez de Guzmán and M. Piattini

Information and Software Technology 56(2):134–162, 2014.

Abstract. 

Context

Organizations are rapidly adopting Business Process Management (BPM) as they focus on their business processes (BPs), seeing them to be key elements in controlling and improving the way they perform their business. Business Process Intelligence (BPI) takes as its focus the collection and analysis of information from the execution of BPs for the support of decision making, based on the discovery of improvement opportunities. Realizing BPs by services introduces an intermediate service layer that enables us to separate the specification of BPs in terms of models from the technologies implementing them, thus improving their modifiability by decoupling the model from its implementation.

Objective

To provide an approach for the continuous improvement of BPs, based on their realization with services and execution measurement. It comprises an improvement process to integrate the improvements into the BPs and services, an execution measurement model defining and categorizing several measures for BPs and service execution, and tool support for both.

Method

We carried out a systematic literature review, to collect existing proposals related to our research work. Then, in close collaboration with business experts from the Hospital General de Ciudad Real (HGCR), Spain, and following design science principles, we developed the methods and artifacts described in this paper, which were validated by means of a case study.

Results

We defined an improvement process extending the BP lifecycle with measurement and improvement activities, integrating an execution measurement model comprising a set of execution measures. Moreover, we developed a plug-in for the ProM framework to visualize the measurement results as a proof-of-concept prototype. The case study with the HGCR has shown its feasibility.

Conclusions

Our improvement vision, based on BPs realized by services and on measurement of their execution, in conjunction with a systematic approach to integrate the detected improvements, provides useful guidance to organizations.

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Barbara Weber