Tuesday, 16 April 2013 03:05

Goal & Target Audience

The goal of this book is to address flexibility needs of computerized processes and to provide an overview of flexibility issues in process-aware information systems (PAISs) including challenges, methods and technologies. The field of process-aware information systems is a highly interdisciplinary area with the involvement of many different stakeholders like enterprise architects, enterprise system managers, business (process) analysts, process owners, change managers, risk managers, quality managers, software engineers, software architects, and chief technology officers.

This book does not intend to cover all aspects of the field. Its focus is on technological and methodological issues, whereas managerial issues are outside its scope. Not only the involved stakeholders, but also the reasons for launching business process management initiatives are manifold and may include process documentation, reorganization of processes, process monitoring and controlling, process improvement, process automation, quality management (e.g., ISO 9000), benchmarking, or knowledge management. The focus of this book is on the operational support for business processes using PAISs. In addition, this book puts emphasis on flexibility issues related to the different phases of the process lifecycle (i.e., modeling, execution and evolution), and it presents methods and technologies to address these challenges.

The discussion of methods and technologies is not intended to be exhaustive, instead representative approaches will be presented. Most of the technologies described in this book are already available in open source software or commercial process management systems. Formal representations are used only where they really necessary and helpful. To foster understandability, this book is complemented with numerous examples derived from different real-world case studies, which are partially simplified for the sake of accessibility. To further improve readability, examples are highlighted by grey boxes.

Our primary target groups are

  • Researchers, PhD students and Master students who are working in the field of information systems in general and process-aware information systems in particular. This book will help them to better understand flexibility aspects of process-aware information systems as well as related challenges, methods and technologies.
  • professionals specialized in business process management (BPM) who want to obtain a good understanding of flexibility challenges in BPM and their solutions (i.e., the state-of-the-art).

Moreover, this book (or selected chapters thereof) is designed as a course book for graduate courses on business process management. To support this goal a series of exercises is provided at the end of each chapter. Teaching slides and solutions for most of the exercises are provided for teachers on this website. Moreover, the website provides pointers to further readings. Additional information regarding the described systems and technologies (e.g., screencasts), including download links for selected systems and screencasts, can be found on the website as well.

This book is written to be self-contained in order to be attractive for our target groups. However, an understanding of basic concepts and principles of information systems is helpful.

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To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.

_ Winston Churchill