Strategic alignment of business process architecture

The idea of this thesis is to investigate how the Business Process Architecture Language (BPAL) we are currently developing, can be used in the analysis of strategic fit within an organisation. Strategic fit is the condition in which the organisation is able to realise its strategies. The business processes of an organisation are an important component of the enterprise architecture needed to realise the organisational strategies. The question is how can models of business process architecture (developed using BPAL) contribute to the analysis of strategic fit.

The development of BPAL is a joint effort of UGentMIS (Prof. Geert Poels) and the ALARCOS research group of the University of Castilla-La Mancha (Prof. Francisco Ruiz, Prof. Felix Garcia, Prof. Mario Piattini). A good starting point for the research is a recent paper co-authored by Geert Poels, as an output of a joint research project with the ALARCOS research group of the University of Castilla-La Mancha (Ciudad Real, Spain). You can download the paper here:

BPAL is a modelling language that can be used to describe the ‘system’ of business processes in an organisation. Contrary to BPMN, it does not focus on a single process, but on the interplay of different work processes and on their role within the organisation’s enterprise architecture. After having developed a conceptualisation (i.e., ontology) and meta-model for business process architecture, the current research focuses on modelling and analysis techniques. An analysis technique for strategic alignment is an important element of the envisioned toolset.

The thesis research involves

  1. Study of business process architecture, strategic alignment, and the research on BPAL to determine the requirements for a good solution;
  2. Design of a BPAL model-based strategic fit analysis technique, starting from a generic strategic fit analysis technique, i.e., the Process-Goal-Alignment technique (see;
  3. Implementation of the technique in a modelling tool for BPAL;
  4. Demonstration of the developed technique on a case-study;
  5. Evaluation of the solution requirements.

For activity 3, some collaboration with other thesis students (from UGent or ALARCOS) will be required.

By Geert Poels

Geert Poels is head of UGentMIS, which he founded in 2005. He is Professor of Management Information Systems (since October 1, 2012) and member of the professorial staff of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University (since October 1, 2002). He is member of the University Research Council. He also teaches and directs master dissertation research at IC Institute (Beersel, Belgium). Within UGentMIS he coordinates the Enterprise Modelling research cluster. His personal research and research together with academic scholars, companies, post-doctoral researchers, PhD students and Master students relates to six lines of research: (1) Design of a Business Process Architecture Description Language – with colleagues from UCLM, Spain; (2) Automated modelling of User Stories and Behaviour-Driven Design scenarios – with colleagues from SLU, United States & UGent PhD students Abhimanyu Gupta and Anis Amna; (3) Ontological analysis and design of Value Models and their integration into Enterprise Architecture – with colleagues from The Open University of The Netherlands and UNIBZ, Italy; in collaboration with the Dutch company VDMbee; and with Master students from IC Institute; (4) Redesigning the conceptual model of COBIT for IT Governance – with colleagues from Antwerp Management School; in collaboration with PwC and ISACA & UGent PhD student Dirk Steuperaert; (5) Enterprise Modelling for tactical information systems design, the 'informal enterprise', and capability management – with professors Renata Petrevska and Mijalche Santa from the universities of Bitola/Prilep and Skopje, Macedonia, respectively, and with Master students from IC Institute; (6) Enterprise Modelling for digital innovation – with UGent/VUB post-doctoral researcher Michaël Verdonck, UGent Master students and colleagues from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Apart from these research lines, Geert Poels supervises UGent PhD research on digital marketplaces (Thomas Derave), technology disruption (Patrick Luyts), cybersecurity (Hossein Abroshan, Steve Ahouanmenou), enterprise systems (Adnan Kraljic, Tarik Kraljic), and GDPR (Georgios Georgiadis, Abdel-Jaouad Aberkane). In the period 2005-2020 he was promoter of 13 completed PhD research projects (11 at UGent and 2 at KU Leuven), while currently he is promoter of 11 ongoing PhD projects. Mid 2020 he has 126 publications listed in Web of Science with an h-index of 15. His Scopus h-index is 19. His Google Scholar h-index is 32 with over 3600 citations recorded.

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