Keynotes

EXCITING KEYNOTES AT BPM 2021

In the tradition of our conference series, BPM 2021 features three top-notch keynotes with different perspectives on business process management.

Hajo Reijers
Full Professor in the Department of Information and Computing Sciences of Utrecht University
Title: What Have the Romans ever Done for Us? The Ancient Antecedents of Business Process Management
Abstract: The origins of Business Process Management (BPM) are often traced back to the Business Process Reengineering wave in the 1990s, as well as to the Total Quality Management movement of the 1980s. However, at the start of the 20th century, Frederick Taylor already concerned himself with analyzing activities to find the “one best way” to perform work. Still earlier, in the 18th century, Adam Smith and others identified the division of labor principle, which is still important for the design of modern business processes. Undoubtedly, it is possible to identify earlier precursors to the concepts that have to come to underpin BPM. After all, people have been manufacturing products, as well as administering their activities since the dawn of history. On the occasion of the 19th edition of the BPM conference series, BPM 2021, I like to focus on a special episode of human history. Since this edition is organized in the eternal city of Rome, I find it both appropriate and exciting to reflect on how the ancient Romans thought about work. I like to show the principles they applied in organizing and innovating their work processes. To demonstrate the links between ancient and modern practices, I will use as a backbone for my keynote a set of redesign heuristics, which I compiled more than 15 years ago. The message of my talk is that there are striking parallels between how the ancient Romans thought about organizing and improving work processes and how we do so in our day. At the same time, there are important differences, notably due to the advent of digital information and communication technologies in our modern time. If I manage to let my audience marvel about the accomplishments of the ancient Romans, then I will be quite pleased. I will try and link the contents of my presentation with the archaeological and historic evidence still available to us today. These pointers hopefully inspire people to visit the sites of the ancient Roman world and learn more about its history. If my audience also realizes that BPM is an evolving discipline that is tightly interwoven with the history of humankind, then I will be delighted. I hope that my keynote stimulates researchers to reflect on the concepts and technologies that underpin BPM, inspires them to expand their knowledge basis, and encourages them to present their work at future editions of the BPM conference series – wherever they take place. In the end, all roads lead to Rome…

Bio: Hajo Reijers is a full professor in the Department of Information and Computing Sciences of Utrecht University, where he leads the BPM & Analytics group. He is also a part-time professor at Eindhoven University of Technology. Previously, he worked for many years as a consultant for Accenture and Deloitte, and headed a research group at Lexmark. His interest in both the academic and the applied side of BPM is reflected in much of his work. His well-known redesign heuristics for process improvement are a case in point, just as his work on the practical application of process mining. More recently, he has been working on techniques that help streamline Robotic Process Automation projects. On these and other topics, he published more than 250 scientific papers, chapters in edited books, and articles in professional journals. Hajo’s keynote will provide a historic perspective on the discipline of BPM. Make sure to attend his talk if you like to learn how the ancient Egyptians organized their workforce, how the guilds in the Middle Ages perfected case management, and how the Duke of Wellington beat Napoleon’s forces by superior process management.
Stefanie Rinderle-Ma
Full Professor at the Department of Informatics, Technical University of Munich, Germany
Title: Process Automation and Process Mining in Manufacturing
Abstract: Process automation and process mining are (interconnected) key technologies with respect to digital transformation. Hence, expectations are high, in particular, in challenging application domains such as manufacturing that combine systems, machines, sensors, and users. Moreover, manufacturing processes operate at a high level of collaboration, e.g. in inter-factory or cross-organizational settings. This paper investigates the following questions: 1) How to automate manufacturing processes? 2) What are the specifics with respect to the involvements of humans? 3) How do the automation strategies impact process mining options and vice versa? For 1), we discuss two starting positions in practice, i.e., legacy automation and greenfield automation. For 2), we discuss the range of automation options with respect to human involvement, i.e., non-interactive automation, robotic process automation, supportive process automation, and interactive process automation. For 3), the different automation settings and strategies are examined with respect to data collection and integration capabilities. Conversely, process mining is discussed as technology to further process automation in manufacturing. The paper builds on more than a decade of experience with process automation in manufacturing. We built an orchestration engine based on which 16 real-world manufacturing processes have been realized so far, resulting in various benefits for the companies such as traceability, flexibility, and sustainability. The investigation of the manufacturing domain also sheds light on other challenging scenarios with similar requirements such as health care and logistics.

Bio: Stefanie Rinderle-Ma is a full professor for Information Systems and BPM at the Department of Informatics, Technical University of Munich, Germany. Before Stefanie worked as full professor at the University of Vienna, Austria. Stefanie‘s research interests include flexible and distributed process technology and digitalized compliance management. She is area lead of the upcoming Austrian Center of Digital Production 2, focusing on smart processes and tangible data for SMEs. Stefanie will talk about “Bringing Process Technology from Lab to Factory”. Her keynote will share experiences and insights on her group’s journey starting from the EU project ADVENTURE and arriving at the actual adoption of process technology at the factory site. The keynote will reflect on possible roadblocks and pitfalls and elaborate on new research directions arising along the way, including sensor-aware process analysis and interactive process automation. The keynote will be illustrated by selected real-world use cases that demonstrate how process technology becomes the enabler of crucial industry needs such as interoperability, advanced production data analysis, and compliance management, particularly for SMEs.
Giuseppe De Giacomo
Full Professor in Computer Science and Engineering at University of Roma La Sapienza
Title: Artificial Intelligence-based Declarative Process Synthesis for BPM
Abstract: Artificial intelligence is recently studying processes that autonomously take decisions and re-program themselves to act strategically in reaction to unexpected outcomes in a nondeterministic partially controllable environment. These studies are developing synergies among reactive process synthesis and verification in Formal Methods, AI planning, MDPs with non-Markovian rewards and dynamics, model learning, i.e., learning environment dynamics from trace, and reinforcement learning. The talk will look into these studies and discuss their special relevance for BPM, building on the already established connections in declarative process management.

Bio: Giuseppe De Giacomo is full professor in Computer Science and Engineering at University of Roma La Sapienza. His research activity has concerned theoretical, methodological and practical aspects in different areas of AI and CS, most prominently Knowledge Representation, Reasoning about Actions, Generalized Planning, Autonomous Agents, Service Composition, Business Process Modeling, Data Management, and Integration. He is AAAI Fellow, ACM Fellow, and EurAI Fellow. He has got an ERC Advanced Grant for the project WhiteMech: White-box Self Programming Mechanisms (2019-2024). He was the Program Chair of ECAI 2020.

Giuseppe will talk about “Artificial Intelligence-based declarative process synthesis for BPM”.  
Artificial intelligence is recently studying processes that autonomously take decisions and re-program themselves to act strategically in reaction to unexpected outcomes in a nondeterministic partially controllable environment. These studies are developing synergies among AI planning and reactive synthesis and verification in Formal Methods, MDPs with non-Markovian rewards and dynamics, model learning, i.e., learning environment dynamics from traces and reinforcement learning. The talk will look into these studies and discuss their special relevance for BPM, building on the already established connections in declarative process management.