Adaptive Time- and Process-Aware Information Systems

Lanz, Andreas (2017) Adaptive Time- and Process-Aware Information Systems. PhD thesis, Ulm University.

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For the digitized enterprise the proper handling of the temporal aspects of its business processes is vital. Delivery times, appointments and deadlines must be met, processing times and durations be monitored, and optimization objectives shall be pursued. However, contemporary Process-Aware Information Systems (PAISs)--the go-to solution for the computer-aided support of business processes—still lack a sophisticated support of the time perspective. Hence, there is a high demand for a more profound support of temporal aspects in PAISs. Accordingly, both the specification and the operational support of temporal aspects constitute fundamental challenges for the further development and dissemination of PAISs. The aim of this thesis is to propose a framework for supporting the time perspective of business processes in PAISs. As PAISs enable the design, execution and evolution of business processes, the designated framework must support these three fundamental phases of the process life cycle.

The ATAPIS framework proposed by this thesis essentially comprises three major com-ponents.

First, a universal and comprehensive set of time patterns is provided. Respective time patterns represent temporal concepts commonly found in business processes and are based on empirical evidence. In particular, they provide a universal and comprehensive set of notions for describing temporal aspects in business processes. Moreover, a precise formal semantics for each of the time patterns is provided based on an in-depth analysis of a large set of real-world use cases. Respective formal semantics enable the proper integration of the time patterns into PAISs. In turn, the latter will allow for the specification of time-aware process schemas.

Second, a generic framework for implementing the time patterns based on their formal semantics is developed. The framework and its techniques enable the verification of time-aware process schemas regarding their temporal consistency, i. e., their ability to be successfully executed without violating any of their temporal constraints. Subsequently, the framework is extended to consider advanced aspects like the contingent nature of activity durations and alternative execution paths as well. Moreover, an algorithm as well as techniques for executing and monitoring time-aware process instances in PAISs is provided. Based on the presented concepts, it becomes possible to ensure that a time-aware process instance may be executed without violating any of its temporal constraints.

Third, a set of change operations for dynamically modifying time-aware process instances during run time is suggested. Respective change operations ensure that a modified time-aware process instance remains temporally consistent after the respective modification. Moreover, to reduce the complexity involved when applying multiple change operations a sophisticated approximation-based technique is presented. Overall, the developed change operations allow providing the flexibility required by business processes in practice.

Altogether, the ATAPIS framework provides fundamental concepts, techniques and algorithms for integrating the time perspective into PAISs. As beauty of this framework the specification, execution and evolution of business processes is supported by an integrated approach.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: DBIS Research > Master and Phd-Thesis
Depositing User: Prof. Dr. Manfred Reichert
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2017 11:33
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2017 11:33

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