Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI
Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI

Trends in BPM Research (Sommersemester 2019)

Dozent: Prof. Dr. Mathias Weske (Business Process Technology) , Dr. Luise Pufahl (Gastdozenten oder Dozenten der Uni-Potsdam)

Allgemeine Information

  • Semesterwochenstunden: 2
  • ECTS: 3
  • Benotet: Ja
  • Einschreibefrist: 26.04.2019
  • Lehrform: Vorlesung
  • Belegungsart: Wahlpflichtmodul
  • Lehrsprache: Englisch

Studiengänge, Modulgruppen & Module

IT-Systems Engineering MA
  • IT-Systems Engineering
    • HPI-ITSE-A Analyse
  • IT-Systems Engineering
    • HPI-ITSE-E Entwurf
  • IT-Systems Engineering
    • HPI-ITSE-K Konstruktion
  • IT-Systems Engineering
    • HPI-ITSE-M Maintenance
  • BPET: Business Process & Enterprise Technologies
    • HPI-BPET-K Konzepte und Methoden
  • BPET: Business Process & Enterprise Technologies
    • HPI-BPET-S Spezialisierung
  • BPET: Business Process & Enterprise Technologies
    • HPI-BPET-T Techniken und Werkzeuge
  • SAMT: Software Architecture & Modeling Technology
    • HPI-SAMT-K Konzepte und Methoden
  • SAMT: Software Architecture & Modeling Technology
    • HPI-SAMT-S Spezialisierung
  • SAMT: Software Architecture & Modeling Technology
    • HPI-SAMT-T Techniken und Werkzeuge
Data Engineering MA


Business process management (BPM) is the field of research where concepts and technologies are developed to discover, model, execute, monitor, analyze, and improve organizational processes. Business process technology group is engaged in versatile sub-topics of BPM, such as efficient use of resources and decisions in business processes. Related fields like process mining, complex event processing, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are explored to exchange the mutually beneficial concepts. Further, the challenges of inter-organizational interactions are addressed through process choreographies and blockchains.

•    The objective of the course is to present current research trends in BPM and to give insights into the work of researchers. You will get to know techniques for approaching research life. This will support you to define your own research topics, e.g. for your master thesis.
•    There will be two guest talks from well-established start-ups (Synfioo, Lana-Labs) based in Berlin, working in related research areas that will highlight the industrial aspects of the research topics.

The following topics will be discussed in this course:

(1) Resource Management:

What is a resource? In Business Processes resource are an essential part and refer to mostly human resources (employee, roles) but also non-human resources (hard- and software components, time). Without resources, businesses could not execute their processes at all and an efficient use is directly correlated to the profit of the business. In BPMN exist multiple concepts that help in allocating the right resource to the corresponding business step (activity): For human resources exist the concept of lanes which represent the role, or the use of data objects and their attributes to model non-human resources. In Operation Research exist resource allocation patterns that define different steps to successfully find a feasible resource-to-business-step allocation depending on the business case. However, these concepts only support a so-called “greedy” allocation logic that is easy to implement and understand, but severely limited in their efficiency. This part of the lecture focuses on the more advanced and complex allocation strategies which are not yet supported by existing business process modeling.

(2) Fragment-based Case Management:

One of the main drivers in BPM research is to increase the flexibility of the processes that can be modeled and supported by process management systems. Case Management is one recent example which aims at supporting knowledge intensive work, in which the course of the case evolves during its execution, depending on data objects and user decisions. In this part of the lecture you will be introduced to case management in general and to the fragment-based Case Management approach specifically. A fragment-based case model consists of structured parts - i.e. process fragments – that are flexibly combined at run-time based on data conditions. The approach is supported by the Chimera case engine, an ongoing implementation project in our group, which is currently used to realize the SMile project, a national funded project to innovate the last mile logistics of parcels.

(3) Decisions in Business Processes:

A company's value chain is directly affected by how well it designs and coordinates enterprise decision making. Therefore, we present decision modeling complementary to business process modeling. Coupling the two disciplines comes with various challenges. For instance, the interplay of decisions and processes must be consistent. Hence, we will introduce a set of consistency criteria and different methods for checking them. Additionally, decision-aware compliance checking verifies semantic properties of business processes while considering complementary decision logic. In this part of the lecture, you will learn about formalization of processes and decisions, model checking methods, and symbolic data abstractions. Further, you will see how these techniques are applied for compliance checking.

(4) Event Handling in Process Enactment:

Business processes today are often run in a distributed environment with several participants. Events are a form of message/signal exchanges between the partners. Also, processes can receive events from external sources like a sensor or a traffic API. The information carried by the events are then used to improve the flexibility or decision making of the process. An event processing platform connects to different event sources, operates on event streams and notifies the event consumers about specific event occurrences. However, there are various aspects to consider while using events in business processes, for example, event binding, event subscription, event abstraction, and event consumption. This part of the lecture will focus on such issues and the current state of research in the area of event handling for business process enactment.

(5) Process Mining Methodology:

Data is everywhere nowadays, and organizations are striving for better techniques and methods to gain value from data. But how can data be used to provide insight on day to day operational processes? Process Mining is the discipline bringing data analysis to BPM. Process mining provides techniques to discover and analyze processes based on the real behavior, recorded in information systems. However, in order to exploit process mining capabilities, many steps have to be taken, from extracting and preparing data to performing various analysis techniques, to deploying results for process improvement and facilitating decision making. Each of these involved phases require efficient concepts as well as complementary technology. Process mining research concerns development and improvement of techniques to provide the right methods and tools for each step ensuring the realization of valuable result.

(6) Natural Language Processing:

Automated techniques for the analysis of business processes provide a wide range of valuable opportunities for organizations. Among others, they allow to check for business process compliance, to identify redundant activities within an organization, and to identify operational overlap between two business processes. Traditionally, the input to such techniques are process models. That is, these techniques build on the formally specified relationships between the activities of process models to perform their analyses. This, however, means that these analysis techniques cannot be applied to less structured forms of process documentation such as textual process descriptions. Realizing that a considerable share of process documentation is based on natural language text in many organizations, this part of the lecture will focus on how Natural Language Processing techniques can be leveraged and applied in a process analysis context.

(7) Business Process Choreographies and Blockchains:  

In this lecture, we (i) learn about BPMN choreography models – a notation to describe the interactions in inter-organizational processes. Choreographies focus on the message exchange between collaborating parties and are executed without a central coordinator. Blockchain technology (especially in conjunction with smart contracts) can be used to control and coordinate a collaboration without centralizing it. Therefore we (ii) introduce blockchain technology in the lecture's second half. Using its distributed ledger, a blockchain is able to replicate a state in a peer-to-peer network. Smart contracts are programs that run transparently and tamper-proof on the blockchain. However, Blockchains bear some disadvantages. As a teaser for the next lecture we will have a brief discussion on blockchain-based choreographies and the technologies’ drawbacks.

(8) Blockchain-Based Choreographies:

We pick up where we left off in the previous lecture and introduce the notion of blockchain-based choreographies. This extension to BPMN choreography diagrams significantly enhances their expressiveness with a specific focus on blockchain capabilities such as shared data and logic. We show how these diagrams can be translated into smart contract code that enforces the choreography, including several pitfalls and limitations encountered. The lecture will close with a brief excursion into the field of legal informatics where we will discuss how smart contracts relate to actual legal contracts used in law today, and whether choreography diagrams might be a suitable abstraction to model them.


No requirements for this lecture. The bachelor lecture POIS is helpful for the lecture.


Mathias Weske: Business Process Management: Concepts, Languages, Architectures. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012, 2007.

More literature will be published during the lecture.

Lern- und Lehrformen

The lecture will be held by the PhD students of our chair. Each PhD student will cover one lecture appointment.

There will be two guest talks from Berlin-based start-ups working in related research areas.


The final exam will be an oral exam.


Date Topic Lecturer
Overview of the course
+ Organizational Details
Mathias Weske
Sankalita Mandal
15.04.2019 Intro to BPM Luise Pufahl
29.04.2019 Resource Management Sven Ihde
06.05.2019 Case Management Luise Pufahl
13.05.2019 Process Models and Decision Models Kimon Batoulis
20.05.2019 Event Handling for Business Processes Sankalita Mandal
27.05.2019 Guest Talk: Event handling in Industry Synfioo
03.06.2019 Process Mining Kiarash Diba
17.06.2019 Guest Talk: Process mining in Industry Lana Labs
24.06.2019 Natural Language Processing Henrik Leopold
01.07.2019 Introduction to Business Process Choreographies and Blockchains Stephan Haarmann
08.07.2019 Blockchain-Based Choreographies Jan Ladleif
15.07.2019 Summary