Title: Integrating simulation and enactment models: a reality check
See Agenda Item
As organizations grow larger and the complexity of their business processes increases, it becomes important to use information systems that can use software tools to control, coordinate, execute and monitor their processes. There are different vendors that offer such business process management software and services to automate a company’s business processes, enhance their visibility and control, and provide support for continuous improvement. Business process simulation plays an important role for analyzing processes for continuous improvement. Here simulation is used to study the dynamic behavior of processes over time, thereby showing how the performance of processes or resources can be influenced by changes in the system or environment.
Business Process Simulation is usually used to support strategic decision making in companies, where the objective is to move the organization towards achieving its long term goals. Here simulation helps to understand how a particular decision affects long term behavior of the process. However, these kinds of simulation experiments are not useful to support management or operational decision making, where short term behavior of processes is to be analyzed.
For short term simulations, we can use information readily made available from the business process management system itself, without the need for additional modeling. The BPMS will have knowledge of the process structure definition, the current state of the process instances and the history records of the process execution, all of which can be used to run short- term simulation experiments. The process structure definition will contain information about the control flow and the data flow. The current state of process instances can be used to load the initial state of the simulation model, and analyzing history records may give us simulation relevant properties such as arrival rate of instances, execution time of activities, etc.
This thesis is an attempt to explore the current simulation capabilities in the BPM Suite jBPM (whose core is a light weight, extensible workflow engine that allows execution of business processes using the BPMN 2.0 specification) and also investigate whether such short term simulation experiments can be supported by the tool.