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ICT Enabled Process Innovation


Part I

The course ICT enabled process innovation will focus on the role of processes and process thinking in organisations with respect to ICT. Information and Communication technologies can radically change the way companies are carrying out their business. Yet, implementing the latest system alone is not the magic pill for business success. On the contrary, process innovation starts with a thorough understanding of the strategy, process and structure of an organization before the right ICT technology can be selected and implemented. To further complicate matters most ICT driven organizations and environments have a tendency to change continuously adding additional complexity to ICT enabled process innovation. Process thinking is correctly considered as one of the most important approaches to performance improvement. It is the precondition for the quality standards of the new ISO 9000:2000 series or the EFQM-norm (Total Quality Management): Quality is the result of mastered processes. Furthermore, process oriented companies encounter fewer problems when introducing integrated IT–platforms such as of workflow and knowledge management (Corporate and Business Portals) as well as enterprise resource planning (ERP). The management of European companies spend more and more time on the planning and execution of projects that aim to establish a flexible process organisation. They focus increasingly on decisive core processes, accelerated processes and rationalised resource deployment. The central questions that have to be answered are: which strategic framework of conditions has
to be defined for process oriented organisations, how to identify the vital core processes and how to link between strategic and operative management, which role a process owner assumes and what a process oriented organisation looks like. Additionally, how can ICT enable a process oriented organisation. Next to analysing and optimising business processes efficiently, it is imperative to establish a process competence that enables a company to act dynamically. ICT can play a major role in achieving this. Last but not least, the introduction of process oriented organisation has to deal with its acceptance by the concerned staff members and thus with aspects of change management.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Have an understanding of the evolution of process thinking and the basic concepts BPR, BPM & BPO.

  • Be able to elaborate and analyse strategies and identify and prioritise core processes.

  • Be able to analyse, optimise and redesign basic business processes.

  • Have an understanding of the important role of ICT in process innovation and automation.

  • Understand the basic concepts of change management and the social dynamics of a process management project.


Group presentation I : 30%
Group presentation II 30%
Exam: 40%


Hammer, & Stanton “How Process Enterprises Really Work” in Harvard Business Review, Nov-Dec 1999.
Majchrzak & Wang “Breaking the functional mind-set in process organisations” in Harvard Business Review Sept-Oct 1996

Part II

We have established in part one that process oriented thinking and the (re)engineering of business processes can change the way that companies carry out their business. In this second part we will focus on the process engineer, as an agent of this change, and provide him or her with a scientically sound set of engineering methods and tools. During the course, the participants will become familiar with the look-and-feel of one formal approach to business process modelling, based on Petri nets, and gain hands-on experience with the tools supporting that approach in a realistic case study.

Learning objectives

By the end of this course the student should :

  • understand the approach of formal business process modelling and analysis with Petri nets

  • have an understanding of the theory behind Petri nets

  • be able to create a Petri net model in a more or less realistic case

  • be able to analyze that model to establish the properties of the process design even before implementation, i.e. on the “drawing board”

  • be familiar with CPN Tools, a tool for creating and analyzing Coloured Petri nets.

  • understand the institutions and downstream operations of financial markets, the subject area of the case study

Texts and other materials

We will use the book “Work on management. Models, methods and tools”, W. van der Aalst, K. van Hee, MIT Press, 2002. Furthermore, before each exercise class handouts will be provided with additional information, exercises and case assignments.


Exercise class : 35 %
Exam (written) : 65 %
Exercise class will be graded based on:

  • presence during class

  • the exercises and assignments handed out before the beginning of each exercise class

  • the Petri net model of the running case (the Clearing and settlement process), that must be handed in before the end of the course.