Logo - springer
Slogan - springer

Computer Science | The European BPM Round Table

The European BPM Round Table

An Interview with Wil van der Aalst 

Wil van der Aalst
Business Process Management (BPM) is probably that field in computer science with the highest impact on the way large and medium-size enterprises work. Prof. Wil van der Aalst, Springer author and according to Google scholar the highest ranked European computer scientist, recently launched the “European Round Table” Initiative. On this occasion, we could ask him a couple of questions.

Together with a couple of renowned colleagues, you recently launched the BPM round table initiative across Europe. What was your motivation to do so? Why now? 

Wil van der Aalst: In The Netherlands we already had a BPM round table where people from industry (end users, consultants, and software vendors) regularly meet with BPM researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology to discuss new BPM technologies and challenges. The cross-fertilization of real-life problems and state-of-the-art techniques has shown to be valuable from both a practical and scientific point of view. Since we were aware of similar initiatives in other countries, we decided to lift this to the European level. The European BPM round table is supported by EIT ICT Labs which aims to turn Europe into the global leader in ICT innovation. Colleagues all around Europe responded very positive to this new initiative. More than 20 round tables distributed across 14 countries joined forces for this initiative.

What are your expectations for this initiative? How do you get practitioners and companies involved? 

Europe is globally leading in the area of Business Process Management (BPM) but this is not always visible for non-experts. By joining forces across Europe we hope to make this more visible and get the attention of decision makers. Practitioners are eager to get involved as many organizations are struggling to support their processes using IT.

What are the attendees’ expectations? What is the first feedback?  

The attendees expect to see innovative applications of BPM technologies and learn from each other’s experiences. We are still in the process of compiling the program, but it is designed in such a way that both practitioners and researchers reflect on shared problems and applications. An example is BPM in healthcare where one can find interesting challenges and many potential improvements.

What exactly are the information needs of practitioners? 

Business Process Management (BPM) research resulted in a plethora of methods, techniques, and tools to support the design, enactment, management, and analysis of operational business processes. However, it is not easy to introduce these advanced techniques in organizations having short-term priorities. Moreover, software vendors and consultants are often trying to hype new buzzwords. This is confusing for end-user organizations. As the BPM discipline is maturing, this will improve.

How do Springer’s books help to fulfill these needs? 

Recently, Springer published various books on BPM and related topics such as process mining. It is clear that there is currently no other vendor providing such a complete collection of books. Springer is also publishing the annual BPM conference proceedings (http://bpm-conference.org). The BPM workshop proceedings are also published in the new series called “Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing”. LNBIP provides a good platform for quickly disseminating new BPM research.

Are there Springer books you would especially recommend to the audience?