This overview describes some of our most important completed projects.
This overview describes some of our most important completed projects.
In an interdisciplinary team of researchers and industry experts (Blue Yonder GmbH, Fraunhofer-Insitut für Intelligente Analyse- und Informationssysteme, Pattern Recognition Company GmbH, Sofware AG, Saarstahl AG), iPRODICT explores an intelligent approach to the semi-automated adjustment and improvement of business processes. In addition to the analysis of collected process data as well as the real-time evaluation of current context information from sensor networks, the optimal process sequence is anticipated in an innovative manner using forecast calculations (iPRODICT). In this way, processes can be individually adapted to the respective context situation by means of big-data analysis methods in real-time. The developed iPRODICT approach is implemented, tested and validated in the form of an integrated prototype within an ambitious application scenario from the process production at the application partner Saar-stahl AG. On the one hand, this should underline the feasibility of the approach and, on the other hand, make the utility potentials, such as the early anticipation of process problems, based on the analysis of large amounts of data measurable.
The project, financed from the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, was launched in September 2014 and is expected to be completed in August 2017.
A thorough analysis of the scientific contributions to SCM planning and practical applications in industry shows that the decision makers are confronted with complex phenomena when modeling uncertainties in different production process parameters. A complete ignorance of such uncertainties or modeling based on false subjective assumptions would lead to undesirable organizational and economic consequences. Big-Data-assisted Predictive Analytics enables the integration of the methodological estimation of ambiguity in production planning. It is also very important to systematically capture the entire process chain for robust production planning under uncertainty in order to ensure the integrity and reliability of the entire information. The research project PRODIGY will examine the feasibility of the integration of the components from Business Process Management and Predictive Analytics, both theoretically and empirically, in order to be able to deal with the resulting uncertainty in production planning more efficiently. The current state of research and technology does not provide a sufficient solution. PRODIGY aimes at the development of a methodological framework as well as an executable prototype for the recording of the required production planning processes. Furthermore, the prediction of the necessary variables, the estimation of the relative uncertainties in these process parameters and the optimization of the defined objectives are to be established in the context of the summarized information on the entire process chain.
The project, carried out in cooperation with the industrial partner Software AG, was launched on April 1st, 2016 and it is expected to be completed in September 2017.
Nowadays, business process models significantly influence the organizational structure and process organization of companies and constitute an important competitive factor. Due to the broad range of tasks covered by business process management, which considers processes from an evolutionary point of view, within a life cycle, variants and versions of process models increasingly emerge within companies. This emergence’s reason lies in the continuous optimization of processes and the corresponding process models. Owing to the considerable number of process models within companies, the development of new processes holds an extensive potential of reuse, analogously to the reference process models.
Therefore, the goal of the SemGo project plan it to implement an efficient reuse of processes and software modules involving an extensive process model repository. Thereby, an identification of similar process models and also process model variants shall be realized by means of tool support and semantic search.
SemGo is finaced by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (ger. BMBF).
A classical issue of Business Process Management (BPM) concerns the optimization of business processes on the base of economic criteria like lead time or use of resources. In the last years the BPM viewing angle extended, in addition to economic factors, also to ecological ones. The idea of optimization of business processes with regard to ecological aspects like energy consumption is summarised under the expression “Green Business Process Management” (Green BPM). One BPM method, which is traditionally used to optimize economic and ecological factors, is the business process simulation. Through simulation it is possible to analyse the impact of changes to a business process on dependent variables such as the energy consumption before the rollout of an optimized process. This has the advantage of minimizing the risk of occurrence of unexpected negative effects after the rollout of the revised process. In this way a new revision would not occur, which is a huge organizational burden for larger companies. The application of simulation studies is often not possible for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) since the necessary technical and methodological competence is missing. Nevertheless, SMEs are also interested in optimizing their processes towards sustainability. The solution to this dilemma lies in the provision of business process management tools that allow SMBs to examine their business processes without profound expertise concerning potential for improvement from the environmental point of view.
Although a number of approaches to optimize business processes in terms of environmental objectives have been proposed in research, many of the techniques suffer from the poor availability of necessary data or skilled personnel that are familiar with the method. With GreenFlow we aim at developing an approach to optimize business processes with regard to the consumption of energy or natural resources. The approach will be easy-to-apply and draw from the principles of the design patterns originally proposed by Erich Gamma. The so-called Ecological Workflow Patterns (EWPs) are intended to provide information on good and bad practice in terms of ecological process design that can easily be applied to existing processes to find ecological shortcomings that should be revised to foster eco-friendly processes. To provide a proper tool support, the patterns will be implemented in state-of-the-art BPM tools such as the ARIS platform which not only allows to evaluate existing processes, but to include the Ecological Workflow Patterns in the initial stage of process design.
GreenFlow is financed by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research and is expected to be completed within September 30, 2017.
Project partner: Software AG
Various types of charts have become established in business process management in order to visually illustrate the processes of a company. Particularly in the early design phase of process models, these diagrams are often sketched in workshops. The simplicity of sketching and the intuitive handling contribute to the popularity of this method. Compared to digital modeling with dedicated software, the sketching of diagrams has a major disadvantage: sketches can now be photographed and thus stored digitally, but they are not recorded in their semantics in order to be further defined in existing digital modeling tools. The project INDIGO closes this gap. Based on a photo of a hand-sketched process diagram, a digital machine-readable process diagram is created using DeepLearning. These diagrams can be invited, processed and integrated into the existing process landscape by means of adapted interfaces in the modeling tools of the industrial partner Software AG.
The project, financed by Software Campus, was launched on April 2016 and is expected to be complete at the end of September 2017.
Demographic change is accompanied by an aging population. Expecially physically challenging occupations can only be exercised into advanced age if they are adequately healthy. Thus, systems which enable an ergonomic and preventive workplace design are extremely necessary.
This is where the project PREFLOW starts. A textile-based assistance system in the form of intelligent clothing should be developed in order to analyze work processes in physically demanding professions. Taking into account data protection, individual work steps are examined during the execution in order to determine their risk potential with regard to non-ergonomic movements.In order to support the health of the employees during the work steps, the intelligent clothing’s proposals for risk-minimizing behaviour are communicated via direct feedback (audio-visual, tactile). On the basis of the ergonomic data obtained, improvements of the work processes and the connected workflow management systems, an optimization of the work sequences as well as risk assessments of workplaces are to be carried out.
The connection between the recording of ergonomic data during the work process by means of intelligent clothing with its immediate evaluation and the immediate feedback of a possible risk and possibly risk-reducing behaviors is a unique innovation for keeping healthy during working hours.
The project coordinator is the Informations-Technologie für Menschen GmbH (ITfM). PREFLOW is carried out in cooperation with the ITP GmbH – Society for intelligent texile products and the University of Kassel. Associated partners are: Volkswagen AG – Vertrieb Originalteile (Ersatzteillogistik), Unabhängiges Datenschutzzentrum Saarland, Bayern Innovativ – Gesellschaft für Innovation und Wissenstransfer mbH, DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung GmbH – Werk Kassel.
PREFLOW, financed by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, has been launched in April 2015 and will be brought to a successful conclusion within July 2017.
Many production companies have to use hazardous substances during their manufacturing process. In order to prevent environmental damages and health risks the European Union established legal upper limits for the usage of critical substances. To ensure their compliance, enterprises have to document all hazardous ingredients and need to exchange this information with partners within their production chain and final consumers.
SiCoCheC is a project, which aims to reduce additional work and costs by simplifying the data exchange and documentation effort of product’s ingredients. Therefore, SiCoCheC uses cloud computing techniques and a database that will store and validate all important information about the composition of (intermediate) products. However, to prevent product imitation sensitive data is only stored temporarily. This makes it possible for partners and final consumers to access information about the product composition by using e.g. barcodes and serial numbers.
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 was financed by the DFG.
Enterprise modeling deals with the illustration of operational and organisational stuctures, in other words, with an enterprise’s processes and stuctures. These models are mainly used for analysis and documentation purposes – during process optimisation, for instance – and they are essential to most enterprises particularly during introduction and management of information systems. Process models are often still manually developed, which is complex and pron to error on the one side, but very subjective on the other because both the requirements and the final model depend on the modeler’s personal background and goal.
Already existing models can be used to develope new ones in order to save time and costs. These “reference models” represent common practices in the respective sector and can be adapted in order to fulfil the enterprise’s requirements. Consequently, an enterprise benefits from the well-known best practices by saving time and effort.
There are already reference models for some sectors or divisions but, because of the lack of sufficiently high quality reference models, most enterprises cannot benefit from their advantages. Thus, there is a high need for the development of new reference models, which can be developed either deductive, namely on the base of general theories and principles, or inductive, namely through the analysis of individual enterprise models.
RefMod@RunTime aimed to the creation of a new method for the inductive development of reference models. Unlike the current approachs, the execution semantics of the initial models should be taken into account. In each individual model, possible executions were identified and compared in order to work out similarities within the models’ amount. From these sequences, through the process mining method, it was possible to generate a new model, which could be used as temporary reference model. The second part of the project was carried out in cooperation with the industrial partner and was dedicated to gaining practical experience with this method. This means from one side discovering if inductive methods are interesting and practicable for the user and how high their acceptance is. From the other side, common application scenarios should be found in the field of IT consulting.
The implementation period for RefMod@RunTime ended on February 29, 2016. The project was finaced by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Partners: Software Campus, Scheer Group GmbH.
APPsist aims at developing AI-based knowledge and support system for the smart production that supports 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 behaviour, 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 is part of the framework program “AUTONOMIC in Industry 4.0”.
Lawyers 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 such as 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.
Success-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.
Despite 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.
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.
The 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:
KEG 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 Centres 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.
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.
The potential of new telecommunications technologies for planning, implementing and executing 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.
eBusiness-Lotse Saar was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and supported small and medium sized enterprises on the introduction and usage of modern information and communication technologies to increase their competitiveness. It was one of 38 nation-wide regional Competence Centres and was part of the Federal Government’s “e-competence network for companies” action program. Building on the three areas of information, consulting and qualification, saar.IS and the DFKI 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 and Green-IT, like regional events in cooperation with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Saarland, articles in print media, booklets and webpages. Furthermore saar.IS offers independent and competent consulting in all questions concerning electronic commerce as well as qualification through seminars, courses and workshops.
The project, financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (ger. BMWi), was launched in October 2012 and brought to a successful conclusion in September 2015.
The project “LinAprom” aims to gain information and support for the design and execution of business processes by analyzing textual data. The amount of textual data in unstructured form is growing steadily, especially in the operational environment. They originate from a variety of different data sources – for example email messages, ticket-texts, social media channels – and differ greatly in terms of semantics, syntax and structure: whereas email messages usually contain syntactically complete sentences, data from ticket-texts can be less concrete and syntactically freer. At the same time, the volume of business process models is also increasing, partly due to the increasing use of reference process models. These models contain texts in element identifiers (so-called labels), which are used to describe activities, entered states, and process resources. In other words, they contain information on the facts described in a model. The analysis of textual data in documents and process models, as well as the interpretation of the information contained therein, results in a wide range of applications for holistic business process management. In the project context, the following two application scenarios are examined: modeling support and execution support. The modeling support of business processes was demonstrated in the form of an innovative software tool which, on the basis of textual information in process models, demonstrates correspondences between individual elements and partial graphs and thus contributes to an effective model design. As part of the execution support component, an action-supporting prototype was implemented to verbally analyse incoming IT support requests and to derive direct predictions from the impacted process. These include, for example, predictions for the remaining time until the problem solution and the necessary process steps.
LinAprom was launched in April 2015 and brought to a successful conclusion in September 2016. The project, carried out in cooperation with SAP SE, was financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (ger. BMBF).
The Institute for Business Informatics supported the cooperation project “IT-Neuausrichtung des Saarlandes” developed by the state government of Saarland under the leadership of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Ministry of Finance. The project was linked to the modernization measures already undertaken in the context of e-government and was intended to continue the future-oriented orientation of the IT infrastructure of the country. “IT-Neuausrichtung des Saarlandes” was initiated in 2009 when a working group of the Saarland regional government developed a project for a new development of the IT structures in the state administration and presented it to the Secretary of State.
The project itself was launched in October 2010 by the Secretary of State. After an IST-survey of all IT-components of the state administration and cooperations partners followed their evaluation as well as the working-out of optimisation purposes and the exploration of cooperation possibilities with universities and municipalities.
Objectives and areas of investigation of the project are:
The Institute of Business Informatics cooperated to the project from January to March 2014.
Within the project “It-New development of the Saarland”, it was decided to commission the Institute for Business Informatics to examine the possibilities for the integration of an e-payment system for region and municipalities. The Lighthouse project “E-Payment” aimed to create an effective and efficient e-payment solution for managing payment processes within the administration. Methodologically, the work was based on the concepts of piloting innovative solutions.
In the first step, requirements analysis and inventory were carried out. This was done in the form of a workshop for the elaboration and definition of requirements for an e-payment solution. The aim was to find out, in cooperation with the stakeholders of the state administration and the municipalities of Saarland, which payment procedures are to be processed electronically in the future. On the one hand, existing possibilities had to be identified and, on the other, possible problem areas. In this context, existing processes, restrictions and possible cooperations had to be discussed. The first milestone therefore included the definition of the pilot project. As a direct result, a requirement catalog was created, which served as a basis for further action.
Based on the catalog of requirements, the first pilot phase of the project could be started. The drafting of a rough concept made it necessary to analyze already existing payment systems and possibilities of the local and regional administrations as well as other places. In this context, a first overview of processes and corresponding systems was to be surveyed.
Based on this, the development of the pilot rough concept could be started and refined. The content of this milestone were technical specifications and the preparation of a coarse granular project plan.
The second pilot phase consisted in the development of a pilot detailed concept. A process analysis would have also been carried out in cooperation with the project participants in the municipal and state administration as well as other bodies. On the basis of the results of the detailed analysis, a more precise SOLL design could be created. This included the detailed description of the process steps in the departments using electronic payment systems. At the same time, a data architecture and a corresponding business logic were developed. Taking these preliminary work into consideration, the screening and the evaluation could already take place in the market of existing suitable e-payment solutions. At the end of this phase, a detailed project plan with responsibility distribution and process plans was available.
The final phase of the project consisted in the collection and preparation of the previously obtained analysis and results data. This led to a professional development of an e-payment solution at the technical concept level (technical specifications). The final result of this phase was a recommendation to implement an e-payment solution.
Every year, the police in Saarland record about 33,000 traffic accidents. Around 28,000 of these are the so-called “simple” accidents, which means accidents without personal injuries, without alcohol influence, without serious property damage and accidents which are not regarded as criminal offenses. All accident data are currently recorded on the spot using handwritten notes, sketches and photographs, and are subsequently entered into the police case processing system (POLADIS). There, further police processing takes place on the basis of the recorded data. In this context, media breaks can occur, which can lead to unnecessary additional costs and data-entry errors.
In order to relieve the workforce of administrative tasks, the project VU-App investigated optimization potentials by the use of mobile terminals to record traffic incidents. A mobile solution was developed on the basis of the system HybridForms, tested by the Saarland’s police and further potentials of current AI technologies were analyzed.
The project involved the Ministry of the Interior and Sports Facilities, the State Police Presidium Saarland with its Infrastructure Service Provider, the Landesbetrieb Data and Information, the Police Inspection Saarlouis, Microsoft Deutschland GmbH, icomedias GmbH, Accenture Deutschland GmbH and Avanade Deutschland GmbH.
In addition to the reduction of data-entry errors, VU-App allows a considerable time-saving, since an interface with POLADIS eliminates the need for manual data collection. Through this digitization step, an integral process improvement can thus be made possible. According to initial estimates, time savings can occur in the double-digit percentage range. At the same time typing mistakes are avoided, which means that the quality of data will be considerably better.
The project, which had been launched on July 1, 2016, was completed after 5 months, in November and, in the same month, the results of its Proof of Concept were presented at the national IT-Gipfel in Saarbrücken.
The usability of operational application software has a decisive role in the selection of appropriate systems and is an important differentiating feature. Testing and continually improving the usability of such software systems require high costs and expenses. In order to develop potential savings, within the project RUMTIMe were developed methods and concepts for the dynamic improvement of the usability of software during the runtime as well as analysis for the long-term improvement of usability on the basis of process mining methods. The main results of this project were, among other things, the development of a real-time usability improvement framework for the ad-hoc evaluation of user interaction data as well as the resulting dynamic improvement to the individual needs of the individual users. The concept developed has been divided into three phases:
The user interaction data are forwarded to an in-memory database by means of a tracking script. Among other things, information about the system usage of the user is collected, which is the basis for the later analyses.
Using the collected data, appropriate metrics can be calculated and used to improve the usability of the software application. In this process, process-related metrics are calculated by means of process mining.
This phase provides a dynamic adjustment or improvement of the application based on the previously calculated metrics and on the results from the process mining analysis.
The project was launched in May 2015 and brought to a successful conclusion in September 2016.