Business process simulation : how to get it right?


Aalst, van der, W.M.P., Nakatumba, J., Rozinat, A. & Russell, N.C. (2008). Business process simulation : how to get it right?. (Computer science reports, No. 0821). Eindhoven: Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, 25 pp. Read more: Medialink/Full text



Although simulation is typically considered as relevant and highly applicable, in reality the use of simulation is limited. Many organizations have tried to use simulation to analyze their business processes at some stage. However, few are using simulation in a structured and effective manner. This may be caused by a lack of training and limitations of existing tools, but in this paper we will argue that there are also several additional and more fundamental problems. First of all, the focus is mainly on design while managers would also like to use simulation for operational decision making (solving the concrete problem at hand rather than some abstract future problem). Second, there is limited

support for using existing artifacts such as historical data and workflow schemas. Third, the behavior of resources is modeled in a rather naive manner. This paper focuses on the latter problem. It proposes a new way of characterizing resource availability. The ideas are described and analyzed using CPN Tools. Experiments show that it is indeed possible to capture human behavior in business processes in a much better way. By incorporating better resource characterizations in contemporary tools, business process simulation can finally deliver on its outstanding promise.