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System and Method for Process Discovery based on Movement Patterns of People or Objects

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000198115D
Publication Date: 2010-Jul-26
Document File: 7 page(s) / 278K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

The disclosure at hand involves Workflow Management Systems (WfMSs) and tracking systems to allow to discover business processes based on movement patterns of people and objects.

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System and Method for Process Discovery based on Movement Patterns of People or Objects

The disclosure at hand involves Workflow Management Systems (WfMSs) and tracking systems to allow to discover business processes based on movement patterns of people and objects.

First, Workflow Management Systems (WfMS) support the definition and execution of business processes. A business process definition consists of a set of activities that can either be executed automatically or by a human being. Depending on the definition, these activities can be performed sequentially or in parallel. Some Workflow Management Systems support adding both, automated and human activities to an existing workflow definition after deployment to address ad-hoc requirements.

The definition of a business process or workflow is currently a manual process in most commercially available products. Automated business process discovery from workflow logs is addressed by studies at academia though. See for example research by Prof. van der Aalst et. al.
http://prom.win.tue.nl/research/wiki/

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                        media/publications/mans2008c.pdf). Manually designing business processes is time-consuming and needs to be performed by experts on the subject area, which in most cases requires expertise in both the technical and business setting for the process. Also, it can introduce a semantic gap between the workflow that is actually performed and the one that is modeled by the expert. Process mining technologies as described by v.d. Aalst et al could be used to improve this, but they only cover the interaction between systems, not the direct human-to-human interaction or human-to-environment interaction.

Second, tracking systems allow the discovery of an object or person location at any given time. They range from in-house systems covering the location of objects in buildings to outdoor systems locating objects everywhere in the world.

The problem solved by this method is the automatic discovery of a workflow through the use of information provided by tracking systems combined with context specific data such as information about the physical shape or the organization of the company.

The core idea of the method is as follows: It derives automatically a (possibly partial) definition of a business process from tracking data. The main entity of the workflow, for example the central work piece, and the persons involved in the process are equipped with location sensors. Then, the tracking system records all movement for these objects and people. Later, a matching engine (as proposed by this method) processes this data, optionally in combination with additional data, for example observed computer system input and output or additional sensor data.

To be able to retrieve meaningful assumptions about a workflow modelling and automating the observed proceedings, further data about physical and organizational conditions is needed. Therefore the matching engine must be provided with a context model. This...