Supervisory control service for supporting flexible processes

E.A.P. Santos, R. Francisco, M. Pesic, W.M.P. Aalst, van der

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose – Increasing flexibility and complexity of modern process-aware information systems (PAIS) usually leads to less guidance for its users and consequently requires more experienced users. A flexible PAIS allows users to freely choose a specific execution sequence of activities. However, there are no guarantees that the chosen sequence conforms to established business rules. This context proposes a supervisory control service (SCS), which can be used to support end-users of flexible PAIS during process execution by giving a list of disabled (or enabled) events (activities), i.e. at any point in time a list of possible next steps is given. Design/methodology/approach – The SCS has been implemented in process mining framework (ProM – www.processmining.org) and the experiment that has been performed shows its feasibility. The computational infrastructure already implemented in ProM allows communication with external applications and allows the SCS to be integrated with PAIS that records events. This paper demonstrated that the SCS in ProM can cooperate with PAIS system in order to support users. Findings – The SCS proposed in this paper monitors and restricts execution sequences of activities such that business rules are always obeyed. The system offers support based on business rules but does not limit the user by imposing rigid control-flow structures. Users can adopt this service as a guide to execute activities with a guarantee that business rules are followed and goals are met. The SCS also offers flexibility to users to choose execution sequences. Originality/value – The paper argues that the proposed approach has many advantages on controlling/supporting flexible processes. Supervisory control theory allows an automatic control synthesis instead of the usual manual and heuristic procedures. Thus, new control actions may be rapidly and automatically designed when modifications, such as redefinition of business rules or activities arrangements, are necessary. The flexible processes can be made to behave optimally with respect to a variety of criteria, where optimal means in minimally restrictive way. Keywords: Decision making, Flexible business process, Information systems, Monitoring, Operational decision making, Process-aware information system, Supervisory control
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1007-1024
Number of pages18
JournalIndustrial Management & Data Systems
Volume113
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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