Business process simulation – adoption, usage and user requirements

Dr. Kristina Rosenthal
Philipp Ludwikowski

Business process simulation (BPS) marks an essential Business Process Management (BPM) technique for analyzing business processes and for reasoning about process improvement. As an analytic tool in the BPM practitioners’ toolkit, BPS enables organizations to scrutinize alternative process designs prior to their organizational implementation to reason about design alternatives and prevent costly design and implementation flaws as well as to identify opportunities for process improvement subsequent to process implementation—without having to actually execute the business process (e.g., Dumas et al. 2018, Neumann et al. 2011).

While recognized as a vital technique at the core of BPM, a limited adoption of business process simulation in practical applications is discussed (e.g., van der Aalst 2010). A recent literature review suggests that insights into the use of BPS in practice are scarce and that principle barriers prevent BPS research to transfer to practical applications (Rosenthal, Ternes & Strecker 2018). A current structured inquiry into the adoption and diffusion of BPS in practice and prevalent application purposes, use contexts and user requirements is not available at present.

Hence, the research project aims to contribute to cumulatively compiling a common knowledge base on BPS adoption and usage. First, a further differentiated and detailed understanding of the application of BPS to practical problems including application purposes, use contexts and requirements of (prospective) users is required to better understand existing and possible future application scenarios of BPS. Second, it is important to investigate barriers for BPS adoption to gain an in-depth understanding of those barriers—with the aim to foster transfer of research on BPS to practical applications. A particular focus should be on underlying rationales for the identified barriers to conceive means to overcome those barriers. For investigating the practical applications of BPS, we are planning for combining large-scale studies aiming at a structuring overview with in-depth investigations contributing to a detailed understanding of practical applications of BPS. This behavioral research on BPS usage is expected to form a basis from which to engage in construction-oriented research on approaches to BPS and on BPS tools—which must go together with the aim to overcome limitations of existing BPS approaches.

We are looking for students who are interested in writing their bachelor’s or master’s thesis in this research project (see Abschlussarbeitsthemen, in German).


  • Dumas, M., M. La Rosa, J. Mendling, & H. A. Reijers 2018. Fundamentals of Business Process Management. Springer, New York, NY, USA, 2 edition.
  • Neumann, S., M. Rosemann, & A. Schwegmann 2011. Simulation of Business Processes. In Becker, J., M. Kugeler, & M. Rosemann (eds), Process Management: A Guide for the Design of Business Processes, pages 373–388, Berlin. Springer.
  • van der Aalst, W. M. P. 2010. Business Process Simulation Revisited. In 6th International Enterprise and Organizational Modeling and Simulation Workshop (EOMAS), pages 1–14, Hammamet, Tunisia.


Lehrstuhl EvIS | 07.07.2020