BPM: The Number One Priority
Business Process Management (BPM) has been again perceived as the number one business priority by CIOs internationally as stated by the most recent Gartner Group report in 2008. BPM has emerged from the convergence of a number of previous streams including Business Process Reengineering, Operations Management, Quality Management and Workflow Management to become a mature, disciplined and comprehensive approach to promote IT–enabled process improvements. BPM needs to be seen from different levels ranging from strategic alignment and BPM governance through cultural and educational issues, to BPM methodologies related to process modelling and improvement. It also covers reliable and flexible process execution and monitoring solutions. IT innovations such as service–oriented architectures, advanced workflow management systems and an increased process–awareness in Enterprise Systems provide numerous IT–related opportunities for increased process management capabilities.
Business Process Management has been developed out of previous process–centred management concepts (e.g. BPR), Quality Management and process–focused IT solutions into a holistic management practice. It is centred on the believe that processes should become first–class citizens and be valued as assets with high impact on the performance and conformance of an organisation. BPM comprises strategic alignment, governance, methods, IT, people and culture. It covers process program and process portfolio management, and its project management is didicated the entire process lifecycle including process identification, modelling, analysis, improvement, implementation, operations, control and change.
BPM Research at QUT
The Business Process Management Group at QUT is part of the Enterprise Systems Cluster, one of four research clusters within the Faculty of Science and Technology. It is one of the largest BPM research groups with significant third–party funded research projects and major industry linkages. The core of the BPM Group is located in the heart of Brisbane City at 126 Margaret Street, providing convenient access for industry partners
The BPM Group at QUT is a vibrant research team consisting of more than 40 members. It combines expertise from Business, Information Systems and Computer Science. This internationally unique expertise enables us to approach BPM–related issues in a multi–disciplinary way. The team consists of 4 Professors/Assoc. Professors, further academic staff, Postdoctoral researchers, research assistants, and more than 18 research students (PhD, Masters, Honours). We maintain close links with other research groups within the Faculty of Science and Technology. For example, we work with multimedia experts on issues related to process visualisation and with Information Systems researchers on issues related to enterprise culture and process change. We also have a very close collaboration with QUT´s Faculty of Creative Industries as part of an ARC Centre of Excellence. The focus here is on the application of BPM in the Screen Business.
A core strength and a key differentiator of QUT´s BPM group is its close links with national and international thought leaders in this domain. We are delighted with the commitments made to our research group by our Adjunct Professors Prof Wil van der Aalst, TU Eindhoven, The Netherlands, Iris Vessey and Lutz Heuser, Vice President SAP Research, Walldorf, Germany. Further research collaborations exist among others with Prof. Ron Weber, Dean of The Faculty of IT, Monash University, BPM pioneer Prof. Tom Davenport, Babson College, Boston, MA, USA, Prof. Joerg Becker, European Research Center for Information Systems, Muenster, Germany, and A/Prof. Michael zur Muehlen, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ, USA. Together with the Technical University of Eindhoven, we form the BPMCenter.org, the worldwide largest community of BPM researchers. A number of other BPM research centres are affiliated with this initiative.
Our BPM Research Portfolio
Members of the BPM group are conducting applied research on the entire business process lifecycle. On the business–related side of the BPM continuum ranging from a strategic focus to technical issues related to process execution, we are currently developing a BPM maturity model, which facilitates a standardized assessment of BPM capabilities. A focus of the BPM group is on process modelling and process execution with a concentration on the design of models, which are intuitive, scalable, configurable and executable. Special areas of research are business process modelling in the large, the configuration of reference process models and the ontological analysis of process modelling techniques. The BPM group is widely known for its work on ‘building blocks’ for workflow management, i.e. the identification and analysis of workflow patterns. The unique, innovative and open–source based workflow management system YAWL provides comprehensive support for the workflow patterns and is the most tangible summary of many of our related research projects.
Selected Research Projects
The BPM research group is involved in a number of large third–party funded research projects. Among other, the BPM Group is an integral part of the first ARC Centre of Excellence at QUT, which is focused on Cultural and Media Studies and coordinated by the Faculty of Creative Industries. As a part of the ARC Research Network Enterprise Information Infrastructure, a team of QUT researchers currently conducts a global study on the major issues of Business Process Management, which will lead to an applied research agenda. Two large ARC Discovery projects are being conducted within the BPM Group related to the development of configurable and executable reference models and executable business process definition languages. Furthermore, the group is engaged in five ARC Linkage projects with industry. The industry partners in these projects are SAP, Water Corporation, WA, and SWS Pty Ltd, Sydney. Our joint projects with SAP in the areas of BPM and Enterprise Integration have led to a number of US and European patent applications.
Members of QUT´s BPM Group are among the most active and productive authors of BPM research publications worldwide. Besides publishing a high number of articles in prestigious academic and professional forums, researchers of the BPM Group have most recently edited a number of books including:
- Becker, Kugeler, Rosemann: Process Management, 2nd ed., Springer–Verlag, Berlin et al. 2005. (also available in German, Chinese and Russian)
- Green, Rosemann: Business Systems Analysis with Ontologies. IDEA, 2005.
- Dumas, ter Hofstede, van der Aalst: Process–Aware Information Systems. Bridging People and Software Through Process Technology. John Wiley & Sons, 2005.
Furthermore, our researchers are members of the editorial board of several journals including the Business Process Management Journal, Information & Management and the Journal of Database Management. Many of our papers including a series of technical papers can be downloaded from our web pages.
BPM for the Real World
As much as QUT strives to be a university for the real world, the research of the BPM is very much grounded in real world problems and requirements. QUT´s outstanding BPM expertise motivated among others SAP to headquarter its global corporate research in the area of Business Process Management and Modelling in their Brisbane office. The close collaboration with SAP is manifested by a number of joint research projects, scholarships, patent applications and publications. Further major industry partners include Ergon Energy and Suncorp. In the context of the YAWL initiative we currently collaborate with M2 Investments Sarl, a Swiss–based private equity firm, and first:telecom, one of its operating companies, with a view to making the open source YAWL system commercial strength. Members of QUT initiated the Australian Community of Practice on Business Process Management (http://bpm–collaboration.com). This community meets on a quarterly base and involves managers responsible for BPM from organisations such as the AMP, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Centrelink, Coles–Myer, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, DEST, Energy Australia, Ergon Energy, GWF, IAG, IP Australia, NAB, Powerlink, Smiths–Aerospace and Suncorp. A number of our industry partners are funding scholarships for research students related to Business Process Management. We are regularly conducting business process improvement projects involving experienced post–graduate students. Among others, the following organisations have hosted this so far – BP, CITEC, Department of Primary Industries, Ergon Energy, Ipswich City Council, Pauls, Qld Health, Qld Transport, Suncorp, and QUT.
BPM Professional Education
Our Research group is locally known for industry events on current BPM issues. These seminars are typically attended by 100 participants and combine presentations by external experts with updates on our latest research outcomes. In addition to this, we are conducting a range of Corporate Professional Education Programs on Business Process Management with or without academic credit for the participants (www.bpm–training.com). Most recently, we conducted seminars for Ergon Energy, Pivotrail , Australian Federal Police, Department of Education, Mincom, Infosys and RoadTek. Further knowledge transfer takes place through collaborative research projects and consulting services. This also includes a wide range of seminars on issues such as BPM maturity, business process modelling, workflow management or seminars on emerging modelling techniques such as BPMN. QUT will host the most important international conference on Business Process Management in September 2007.
Business Process Management Research Group
Faculty of Science and Technology
Queensland University of Technology
Level 5 / 126 Margaret Street
Brisbane Qld 4000, Australia