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Process Mining in Flexible Environments

Christian Günther
PhD Thesis. Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, 2009.


This thesis presents our research into the application of process mining in the context of flexible environments. Thus, in contrast to traditional approaches, which expect processes to be well-structured, limited in scope, and tightly controlled by an information system, our research aims to extend the applicability of process mining to a considerably wider range of processes. Many information systems for supporting processes nowadays allow their users to deviate significantly from prescribed process definitions, or to change these on the fly. Furthermore, there are many processes which are not strictly enforced, but merely observed by an information system. Finally, every sufficiently complex activity or piece of machinery implements a process, be it explicitly encoded or prescribed, or emerging implicitly from patterns of use or external constraints. The objective of our research is to develop process mining techniques that are suitable for the analysis also of these less-structured, flexible processes. In this context, the results of process mining have the potential to be far more useful and beneficial, since the actual behavior of flexible processes is often not well-understood in practice, but captured in event logs.

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