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System Concepts and Formal Modelling Methods for Business Processes

Topintzi, E. (2001). System Concepts and Formal Modelling Methods for Business Processes. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


The major quality breakthrough of the 1980s was the realisation by management that business and manufacturing processes are the key to customer service and organisational performance. This thesis is concerned with the overall problem of modelling of business processes. Of special interest is the study of business processes through an interdisciplinary approach that cuts across the boundaries of management and information technology. The overall effort is placed on being able to move from a purely conceptual level of describing a business process to a more formal one, enabling decision making, and driving the analysis away from experience, intuition, and informal debate. The extended review and presentation of the various modelling methodologies given here, serve as a guide to their basic concepts and capabilities. A particular case study - the management of the human resources in a consulting company - has been used in this thesis to enable the evaluation of the modelling techniques. Hence, models have been produced, as well as simulation results to indicate the limitations, the advantages and the information gained. Through this application, the understanding of requirements for modelling analysis and decision making of business processes was acquired.

Particularly, two very important techniques were investigated. System Dynamics and Petri nets provide the answers when process models are geared to deliver not only qualitative but also quantitative results. However, Petri nets provide the mathematical notation and the plethora of analysis tools needed for the validation, verification, and performance analysis of the model. Additionally, two different simulation software packages were used, based on these methodologies; Ithink®, which is based on System Dynamics, and Alpha/Sim®, based on Petri nets theory. The model produced in the case study depicts perfectly the capabilities of the two techniques. Petri nets is not the total business modelling solution, it can be complemented by other methods, such as System Dynamics and discrete-time modelling as shown in Chapter 6. The feasibility of all these modelling techniques lies entirely on the analyst, who should use them alternately to satisfy the requirements of the problem.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: T Technology > T Technology (General)
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering > Electrical & Electronic Engineering
School of Science & Technology > School of Science & Technology Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
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