Most of our research is funded by third-parties. This overview describes some of our most important projects.

Basic-Oriented Research

PluralistiQue – Pluralistic Quality Evaluation of Business Models

Enterprise modeling has been shown to be a promising instrument for business structuring. To do so, business models need an adequate quality. However, the examination of the past’s experience has shown that the model quality was interpreted, conceptualized and operated inconsistently and that generally valid instruments for quality determination and improvement were still missing.

The research project PluralistiQue follows the approach to determine the quality a posteriori by a discourse between all involved developers, which will lead to more specific and enhanced tools for the quality measurement and improvement. Therefore, part of this project is the conceptual elaboration of discourse-orientated methodologies for businesses. For this purpose, concrete quality discourses from theory and practice are reconstructed and examined. They will induce recommendations for action and guidance for further discourses.

Besides the relevance in theory and practice of business modeling, this approach is especially of importance for the German Information Systems community, because of the past’s disregard of evaluating results on the Design Science approach.

On this account, project PluralisiQue could lead to a sustainable improvement of the German Information Systems on an international scale.

The project PluralistiQue is financed by the DFG.

RefMod-Mine – Big Data in business process management


Cyber-physical manufacturing systems equipped with sensor systems support automated production processes with many variants in low quantities. This support entails large volumes of highly complex data, which provides detailed information about actual business and production processes. When structured, analyzed, and consolidated, Big Data can provide a solid basis for process enhancements and the further development of the manufacturing executions systems (MES). The process libraries at smart factories can easily attain a volume of anywhere from a thousand to ten thousand individual models. Even with established modeling and business process management tools, management is still a cost and resource intensive endeavor. Therefore, many companies find it increasingly difficult to take all possible side effects into account and react flexibly to process changes.For better comparing various process models, we have been developing a prototype software tool called RefMod-Miner (Reference Model Miner). The prototype comprises current approaches and technologies from business information systems research for the detailed analysis of model and entity data, which enables the automatic alignment in different application scenarios, for example, process mining, compliance tests, and process model upgrades. RefMod-Mine supports the company in the analysis of process variants. Through the identification of different process variants, it can recognize duplicates of model fragments and generate inductive reference models. The similarities between the process models are then visualized using matrices. Potential groupings within the process libraries are readily identified by the color-coding of similarity values, with each element of the matrix indicating the similarity to the model named in the column or line heading.
In the context of this project the NSCM-Algorithm, a N:M semantic clustering process matcher was developed and received the “Outstanding Matcher Award 2013″ at the Business Process Management Conference (BPM) in Peking.
The RefMod-Mine is financed by the DFG.

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RMK – Reference modeling with reference model catalogs

RMKWithin the Information Systems field, information modeling is a vital instrument to develop information systems. However, the modeling process is often resource-consuming and faulty. As a way to overcome these failures and to improve and to accelerate the development of enterprise-specific models, the concept of reference modeling has been introduced. Reference models are conceptual frameworks and may be used as blueprints for information systems development. They play an increasingly important role in business engineering and utilization of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.
An overall concept of reference modeling is the construction of company-specific information models based on prefab models and model components. This concept relies on the idea to reuse general reference models in many different contexts.

The conceptional core of the project consists of so called reference model catalogs. A reference model catalog allows the systematic access to an amount of reference models. Existing methods for the reuse of reference models are based on the presumption, that appropriate reference models have to be constructed. The approach in this project is grounded on the hypothesis, that already many reference models for different applications exist. Appropriate methods have to be deployed which take the available knowledge about the reference models into account.
Reference model catalogs have a highly theoretical and practical relevance. In a concrete situation of a modeling project the selection of reference models is a central question. Reference model catalogs allow to realize a high degree of usefulness while they build a link between the construction and use of reference models. Furthermore reference model catalogs allow to classify existing work on reference models in order to prevent extensive double-work due to construction and to identify unattended domains of reference modeling.
On the one hand this research project gives a theoretical foundation for the instrument reference model catalog. On the other hand process models for creating and using reference model catalogs will be conceived. In order to validate the deployed methods, concrete reference model catalogs are developed and a software-prototype for managing reference model catalogs will be implemented.

This research project was funded by the DFG from September 2004 to August 2006.

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Application-Oriented Research

APPsist – CPS-integrated assistance and internet services for mobile and context-sensitive knowledge and performance support in the context of a smart production

AppsistAPPsist aims at developing AI-based knowledge and support system for the smart production that support workers in their interaction with production facilities. Central to the APPsist approach is the use of context information such as machine and production state, process information, and dynamic user behavior, all of which are essential to provide highly tailored and personalized content that is dynamically adapted for different end devices. By filling gaps in qualification, the system additionally supports the continuing education of users in their area of operation.

APPsist does not solely focus on technical aspects, but also includes the capturing and formalization of personal and organizational expertise and the didactical and methodological improvement of the content for assistance and knowledge constructing services. Concepts are created and evaluated in strong cooperation with medium sized enterprises.

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and part of the framework program “AUTONOMIC in Industry 4.0”.

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ARGUMENTUM is a search engine, designed to support lawyers at finding useful information and case studies.

argumentumLawyers usually have to spend a lot of time finding relevant text passages in books, journals and comments to substantiate their argumentation. Therefore, professional online databases can already be a relief. However, most of juristic databases only allow full-text search, which often leads to imprecise or even useless results. At project ARGUMENTUM, we cooperate with the Europäischen EDV-Akademie des Rechts and some faculties at the Saarland University like the Institut für Rechtsinformatik and the professional chair of theoretical philosophy to develop a search engine that provides suitable argumentation patterns for specific questions of law – e.g. by browsing the publications of the Federal Constitution Court – to decrease the lawyers’ seek time.

ARGUMENTUM launched on June 2012 and is promoted for 3 years by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung.

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BauVOGrid – Grid-based platform for virtual organizations in the construction industry

BauVoGridSuccess-oriented planning, development and building can only be achieved by an effective collaboration between all involved businesses. Therefore, virtual organizations – supported by domain-specific and cross-company information systems – play an important role during the decision making process in the building industry.

BauOVGrid aims to determine structure, operations and interoperability of virtual organizations to specify causalities for general templates. These templates can than be used to facilitate the management of virtual collaborations.

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CustomB2B – Customizing as a B2B-Serive

CustomB2BDespite the economic relevance of Business-to-Business and technology-driven services, there is still a lack of scientific research in this area. This is particular obvious at the interface of standardized and customized services.
CustomB2B is performed in cooperation with the University of Koblenz-Landau, the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena and the Assembly & Test Europe GmbH and takes this research deficit into account. Our focus was on the acquisition, analysis, documentation and (re-)design of customer integrated innovation processes to identify potentials for standardisation and increasing productivity. In this respect, we chose the software development and engineering industry, as a target group for building recommendation models that will improve the design of strategies and services.

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Einheitlicher Ansprechpartner (EA) 2.0 – Redesign of E-Government Processes

Many governmental processes suffer from a lack of efficiency, which often results in long handling times and confusion for applicants. The reasons for this are ambiguous competencies and work sequences as well as media disruptions and inconsistent data exchanges.
Within the scope the EGovG (E-Government Gesetze), EA 2.0 aims to build a reference model for governmental processes, which offer services from a single source – in this context especially for entrepreneurs. Furthermore, EA 2.0 leads to optimized, standardized and well-protocolled processes that don’t suffer from media disruptions. The latter is achieved by only using electronic transactions and a central file management. This will not only reduce the handling time and costs, but also lead to more applicants’ satisfaction.

Green RoSe – Resource-oriented Engineering of IT Service Management Processes

In Green Rose (2012-2014) methods, concepts and procedures were developed that enable the resource-efficient creation and provision of IT services in large data-centers. Existing concepts for IT Service Management such as ITIL and CoBIT were used as a basis and a number of ITIL processes were extended with ecological considerations. Furthermore, a reference model for the application of energy-efficient IT Service Management was developed to help service providers with delivering eco-friendly IT services. A software prototype supported the application of the developed methods when a new IT service is created or delivered.

IWi-Handbook for Business Process Engineering

Process-orientated development approaches for Information Systems have been established increasingly over the past years. While early attempts only followed the conceptual idea of process-orientation, they hardly supported the usage of methodological tools for the process design. That has changed over the intervening years. Nowadays there exist many different methods, models, tools and artifacts that support the process management holistically and lead to the following questions:

  • What artifacts for process-orientated IS modelling do exists?
  • What is the artifact’s contribution in terms of achieving the general objective?
  • What artifacts can be combined beneficially or are mutually exclusive?
  • While knowledge regarding these questions could already be gathered in practice, there is still a lack of a consistent documentation and systematization. Therefore, substantiated propositions about the effective and efficient usage of methodological tools for the process design are still missing.

The project IWi-Handbuch des Business Process Engineering focuses on the following objectives:

  • The identification, systematization and documentation of existing knowledge regarding the process management. These should lead to a theoretical foundation of Business Process Engineering, which will also result in the initialization of the research area Empirical Business Process Engineering.
  • An adequate machine-understandable representation of the theoretical knowledge that leads to (semi-) automated analyses and processing.

MIRROR – A set of applications, that enables employees to learn lessons from their own and others experiences to perform better in the future

MirrorThe focus of Mirror is the creation of an easily used set of applications (Mirror apps), that enable employees to learn lessons from their own and others experiences to perform better in the future. The project facilitates learning ‘on the job’, at the workplace, through collaboration and reflection technologies.
The overall objective of MIRROR is to empower and engage employees to reflect on past work performances and personal learning experiences in order to learn in “real-time” and to creatively solve pressing problems immediately. MIRROR shall help employees to increase their level and breadth of experience significantly within short time by capturing experiences of others. A prerequisite for exploring innovative solutions in this context is to rely on the human ability to efficiently and effectively learn directly from tacit knowledge – without the need for making it explicit.
Specifically, MIRROR will provide the following output:

  • Conceptual models of holistic continuous learning by reflection, which incorporates the essential ingredients of training critical thinking, awareness of emotions, (collaborative) knowledge construction, creative problem solving and innovation.
  • Within a so-called “AppSphere”, a bundle of real-time, interoperable learning applications can be used to support the collaborative and social work environment of the employees.
  • Prove of learning effectiveness through evaluation within five testbeds.

KEG Saar – Competence Centre For Electronic Business Operations

KEG-SaarKEG Saar supports small and medium sized enterprises on the introduction and usage of modern information and communication technologies to increase their competitiveness. It is one of 22 nation-wide regional Competence Centers, that have been sponsored by the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Arbeit over the last five years. It is part of the Federal Government’s “Information Society Germany” action program. Building on the three areas of information, consulting and qualification, KEG Saar developed numerous activities that aimed to increase the regional companies’ awareness of the Internet and electronic business. These include up-to-date information about all fields of application of electronic commerce, like regional events in cooperation with the Industrie- und Handelskammer Saarland, articles in print media, booklets and webpages. Furthermore KEG Saar offers independent and competent consulting in all questions concerning electronic commerce as well as qualification through seminars, courses and workshops.

PRISMA – Process and Resource-oriented Integrated Smart Metering Architecture

The field of Green Business Process Management (Green BPM) has established as a proper discipline in research about environmental issues in IT and IT-related business processes. Green BPM means defining, implementing, executing and improving business process in corporations with the aim to support environmental objectives.
During the PRISMA project (2013-2015), a concept to measure the energy consumption of applications running on a desktop or mobile computer was developed. Later on the concept was implemented in a software-prototype (PRISMA EnergyManager) that can be used to acquire the consumption of operating system threats (e.g. applications) divided into static, application-exclusive and display consumption. The energy consumption was measured by using a smart meter (desktop computer) or the drain rate of a laptop battery in combination with a regression model. The data was used to provide a visual description of the ecological sustainability of the observed processes within a Green BPM administration portal that was developed during the project. The PRISMA EnergyManager and the Green BPM administration portal serve as a necessary technology to be able to reduce the energy consumption of process tasks.

The results of the project were presented at prestigious conferences such as ICIS, HICSS or MKWI.

PROWIT – A process-oriented telecommunications service, based on Web 2.0 technologies

ProwitThe potential of new telecommunications technologies for planning, implementing and excecuting business processes is far away from beeing exhausted. This is due to the fact that the integreation of communications services in business applications is often virtually absent. Therefore, project PROWIT focuses on using and expanding existing communications and cooperations services like Web 2.0 applications to develop new contextual and ubiquitous ones.

PROWIT was launched in January 2009 and was brought to a successful conclusion in December 2011.