Tool development for business process architecture description

The idea of this thesis is to develop tool support for the Business Process Architecture Language (BPAL) we are currently developing. The development 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. Tool support is a necessary component of such techniques.

The thesis research involves

  1. Study of business process architecture, modelling tools, and the research on BPAL to determine the tool requirements;
  2. Design of alternative concrete syntaxes (i.e., notations) for BPAL;
  3. Experimentation to determine the best alternative;
  4. Implementation of the selected alternative in a tool (e.g., Archi tool);
  5. Demonstration on a case-study;
  6. Evaluation of the tool requirements.

The research might require some collaboration with researchers/students from ALARCOS, in particular with respect to activities 2 and 3.

A pilot study for the thesis is available and can be found here

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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