introduction model software example hypermedia conclusions references appendix
Business Process Redesign (BPR) is a method to perform organizational change. Instead of functions and departments it takes business processes as the main subject to redesign the way work is done in a particular organization.  [Davenport90,Davenport93,Davenport94,Hammer90,Wastell94] Davenport and Short  [Davenport90] argue that business process redesign should be combined with the capabilities of Information Technology (IT). They show that IT can play two roles in BPR: on the one hand it is an enabler of new process structures. An example would be the use of expert systems to assist bank clerks handling loan requests. On the other hand IT can provide support for the implementation of new process designs. By, for example, simulating the logistic aspects of the redesigned loan request process.

By modelling different redesign alternatives and subjecting them to simulation studies the participants in the business process redesign project can assess the alternatives with respect to the redesign project goals. Possible goals include cost reduction, lead time reduction, raising output quality and improving the quality of worklife. Visualization and animation of the simulation models can provide insight into both the structure and dynamics of the modelled alternatives and thus improve decision making.

In this paper we advocate an integrated presentation of redesign alternatives, visualized simulation experiments and the results of simulation studies in a single active document. Our approach allows authors to write hypermedia documents with embedded simulation models and experiments. These documents can be viewed on the Internet, or on a company Intranet, using an adapted Internet Web browser.

Our system has been implemented using the hush  [Hush] hypermedia framework developed at the Vrije Universiteit. This framework provides support for multimedia user interfaces, a discrete event simulation library  [SIM] and embedding of applications in the Web  [Applications,Animate]. To model business processes we use Logistics-based Business Modelling (LBM)  [Gerrits95]. The class library BPSIM (Business Process Simulation) facilitates the modelling of business processes using LBM and provides additional support for embedding and running simulations on the Web.


In the following sections we will introduce the concepts underlying logistics-based business modelling and we will describe the software support for simulating business processes, in particular the classes provided by the BPSIM library. We will present an example illustrating the construction of a business process model and its visualisation in a hypermedia environment. Then, we will briefly characterize the hypermedia environment and its relation to the World Wide Web. And, finally, we will discuss the merits and limitations of our approach.
introduction model software example hypermedia conclusions references appendix