Business Process Technology

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    Introduction to the Minitrack on Business Process Technology
    ( 2023-01-03) Leopold, Henrik ; Van Der Aa, Han ; Alexander Reijers, Hajo
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    Supporting Subject Matter Experts as Developers: Towards a Framework for Decentralized Robotic Process Automation Development
    ( 2023-01-03) Eggers, Julia ; Wewerka, Judith ; Viljoen, Altus ; Krcmar, Helmut
    Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has emerged as promising automation technology in recent years. Firms seize RPA for fast and cost-efficient low-code process automation implemented and maintained decentrally in the business units by subject matter experts (SMEs) without IT development experience. However, decentralized RPA projects are reported to frequently fail and be prone to challenges as SMEs struggle to meet their new roles and responsibilities, such as developers or testers. Yet, research lacks an understanding of how challenges related to SMEs' roles and responsibilities unfold and how to address these challenges when executing decentralized RPA projects. To this end, our study employs a Design Science Research approach, drawing on literature and 14 expert interviews, to (1) systematically synthesize the challenges related to SMEs' roles and responsibilities and (2) derive a software development framework for supporting SMEs in their new roles and responsibilities in decentralized RPA projects. Thus, our study contributes to RPA and low-code development research and provides SMEs with guidelines to navigate decentralized RPA projects in practice.
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    Robotic Process Automation from the Design-Capital Perspective – Effects on Technical Debt and Digital Options
    ( 2023-01-03) Ruha, Lauri ; Rinta-Kahila, Tapani ; Penttinen, Esko
    Robotic process automation (RPA) is an instantiation of lightweight automation that allows organizations to automate manual business processes quickly and at low cost without modifying the organization’s underlying deep information-systems structures. While RPA endows organizations with digital options (e.g., automation ability, cost savings), its implementation is bound to incur technical debt (i.e., accumulate unwarranted complexity in the IT architecture). The paper reports on an action research study shedding light on how RPA ties in with these two notions of a firm’s design capital: digital options and technical debt. Findings indicate that RPA can create digital options through improvements in knowledge reach, knowledge richness, and process richness. These benefits come at the cost of accumulating technical debt which stems from additional technical complexity and maintenance obligations.
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    A Tool Supported Method to Generate User Interface Logs
    ( 2023-01-03) Martínez Rojas, Antonio ; Ramirez, Andres ; Gonzalez Enriquez, Jose ; Alexander Reijers, Hajo
    The rise of robotic process automation (RPA) fuels areas like robotic process mining and task mining. Although traditional process mining research can exploit a range of resources (i.e., event logs) to test and benchmark new techniques, that is not the case for robotic process mining. Moreover, benchmark data for RPA needs to incorporate detailed references and properties to elements of the graphical user interface that a software robot is intended to interact with. Therefore, it is not feasible to create such data by hand. To address this omission, the current paper proposes a tool-supported method to generate synthetic event logs for evaluating RPA techniques. To mimic real-life scenarios closely, these logs can be tailored to incorporate variations along a wide range of dimensions. As an application example of the method, the paper describes a case generator tool, which is publicly available, that can be used to benchmark robotic process mining proposals. We also elaborate on further applications of the method in ways that are beneficial to the BPM and RPA communities.
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    Process Mining Meets Visual Analytics: The Case of Conformance Checking
    ( 2023-01-03) Rehse, Jana-Rebecca ; Pufahl, Luise ; Grohs , Michael ; Klein, Lisa-Marie
    Conformance checking is a major function of process mining, which allows organizations to identify and alleviate potential deviations from the intended process behavior. To fully leverage its benefits, it is important that conformance checking results are visualized in a way that is approachable and understandable for non-expert users. However, the visualization of conformance checking results has so far not been widely considered in research. Therefore, the goal of this paper is to develop an understanding of how conformance checking results are visualized by process mining tools to provide a foundation for further research on this topic. We conduct a systematic study, where we analyze the visualization capabilities of nine academic and seven commercial tools by means of a visual analytics framework. In this study, we find that the ``Why?'' aspect of conformance checking visualization seems already be well-defined, but the ``What?'' and ``How?'' aspects require future research.
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    What is Business Process Automation Anyway?
    ( 2023-01-03) Vu, Hoang ; Leopold, Henrik ; Van Der Aa, Han
    Many organizations strive to increase the level of automation in their business processes. While automation historically was mainly concerned with automating physical labor, current automation efforts mostly focus on automation in a digital manner, thus targeting work that is related to the interaction between humans and computers. This type of automation, commonly referred to as business process automation, has many facets. Yet, academic literature mainly focuses on Robotic Process Automation, a specific automation capability. Recognizing that leading vendors offer automation capabilities going way beyond that, we use this paper to develop a detailed understanding of business process automation in industry. To this end, we conduct a structured market analysis of the 18 predominant vendors of business process automation solutions as identified by Gartner. As a result, we provide a comprehensive overview of the business process automation capabilities currently offered by industrial vendors. We show which types and facets of automation exist and which aspects represent promising directions for the future.