A recommendation system for predicting risks across multiple business process instances


Conforti, R., Leoni, de, M., La Rosa, M., Aalst, van der, W.M.P. & Hofstede, ter, A.H.M. (2015). A recommendation system for predicting risks across multiple business process instances. Decision Support Systems, 69, 1-19. In Scopus Cited 29 times.

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This paper proposes a recommendation system that supports process participants in taking risk-informed decisions, with the goal of reducing risks that may arise during process execution. Risk reduction involves decreasing the likelihood and severity of a process fault from occurring. Given a business process exposed to risks, e.g. a financial process exposed to a risk of reputation loss, we enact this process and whenever a process participant needs to provide input to the process, e.g. by selecting the next task to execute or by filling out a form, we suggest the participant the action to perform which minimizes the predicted process risk. Risks are predicted by traversing decision trees generated from the logs of past process executions, which consider process data, involved resources, task durations and other information elements like task frequencies. When applied in the context of multiple process instances running concurrently, a second technique is employed that uses integer linear programming to compute the optimal assignment of resources to tasks to be performed, in order to deal with the interplay between risks relative to different instances. The recommendation system has been implemented as a set of components on top of the YAWL BPM system and its effectiveness has been evaluated using a real-life scenario, in collaboration with risk analysts of a large insurance company. The results, based on a simulation of the real-life scenario and its comparison with the event data provided by the company, show that the process instances executed concurrently complete with significantly fewer faults and with lower fault severities, when the recommendations provided by our system are taken into account.

Keywords: business process management, risk management, risk prediction, job scheduling, work distribution, YAWL.