Business Process Automation

Networking and Services
Advanced studies
The course combines the disciplines of business process re-engineering (BPR) and service-oriented computing (SOC) to achieve an automation with the help of Internet technologies. Course book: Aalst W., Hee K., Workflow Management: Models, Methods, and Systems, MIT Press, 2004.


03.03.2011 16.00 A111
Year Semester Date Period Language In charge
2011 spring 17.01-25.02. 3-3 English Alexander Norta


Time Room Lecturer Date
Tue 8-10 D122 Alexander Norta 17.01.2011-25.02.2011
Thu 8-10 D122 Alexander Norta 17.01.2011-25.02.2011

Exercise groups

Group: 1
Time Room Instructor Date Observe
Mon 8-10 D122 Alexander Norta 24.01.2011—25.02.2011


Course Description

The target group are students on MSc level with a background in computer science and with a special focus on software engineering, system planning, business automation. The BPA-course combines the disciplines of business process re-engineering (BPR) and service-oriented computing (SOC) to achieve an automation with the help of Internet technologies.

We define BPR as a fundamental reconsideration and radical restructuring of business processes in order to achieve drastic improvements in costs, quality and service. Here, a business process is one focused upon the production of particular products that may either be physical (such as a truck or bridge), or intangible (such as a design or damage assessment for an insurance case), or a mix of intangible with physical elements.

We define SOC as a computer-science discipline that uses web services for developing loosely coupled applications where inter-system dependency is minimized. SOC relies on the technology stack of a service-oriented architecture (SOA) with the core layers XML, SOAP, and HTTP. For the purpose of BPA, we include WS-* languages in SOA, most notably BPEL.

Course Content

Fundamental skills must be acquired during the course for carrying out the exercises and passing the final exam:

  • Understanding the importance of business process management within companies;
  • Modeling of business processes with different notations;
  • Re-engineering business processes from a current state towards a target state, e.g., tackling bottlenecks and better workload distribution, faster completion time;
  • Patterns application for different business-process perspectives, i.e., control-flow, data-flow, organizational resources.
  • Checking of business processes for formal correctness properties, e.g., soundness, boundedness and safeness, invariance, correct termination;
  • Automating re-engineered business processes: with SOC technologies, e.g., specification in SOA and WS-*, using specific SOC setup and enactment applications;

Course Organization

The students will have to complete a running example with the following sequence:

  • Find a business process case out of which a business process is extracted with at least one and-split, one or-split. and at least 20 nodes.
  • Specify abusiness process in accordance with workflow-net formalism, verify it for control-flow correctness, assign resources to the process, check the business process for performance issues like bottlenecks.
  • Reengineer the business process with patterns.
  • Enact the business process with YAWL1 and in a different specification in ActiveBPEL2.

Completing the course

At the end of the course students are required to proof their acquired knowledge in a written exam. Note, for examined who did not participate in the lecture, it will not be possible to collect exercise points for the marking. Additionally, check the course website to know the entire amount of required course literature (besides the main course book) for successful exam studies.