Visualisation of Process Data

Problem

Today’s information systems log vast amounts of data. These collections of data (implicitly) describe events (e.g., placing an order or taking a blood test) and, hence, provide information on the actual execution of business processes. The analysis of such data provides an excellent starting point for business process improvement. This is the realm of process mining, an area which has provided a repertoire of many analysis techniques. Despite the impressive capabilities of existing process mining algorithms, dealing with the abundance of data recorded by contemporary systems and devices remains a challenge. Of particular importance is the capability to guide the meaningful interpretation of “oceans of data” by process analysts. To this end, insights from the field of visual analytics can be lever aged.

Goal

The goal of this research is to develop a new data visualisation framework that allows stakeholders to quickly and efficiently understand key issues in their processes.

Research Questions

The key questions in this research include:

  • How can we visually synthesize data captured in an event log in such a way that allow stakeholders to extract relevant and accurate information about what has happened in a fast and efficient manner?
  • How can we manipulate data in an event log and display them in such a way that allow one to detect anomalies intuitively?
  • How can we balance between the need to have a flexible visualisation framework with ease of use?

 Outcome

In collaboration with researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology, we have managed to develop and implement a visualisation framework that allows one to view what has happened as a movie. Using the concept of maps, our framework allows one to generate different movies from the same set of event log, thus allowing users to view what has happened from multiple perspectives.

In particular, our framework allows the reconstruction of event logs as states and the visualisation of these states in sucession, leading to an animated history of a pro-
cess. This framework is customisable in how a process state, partially defined through a collection of activity instances, is visualised: one can select a map and specify a projection of events on this map based on the properties of the events.

This framework has been implemented as a plug-in to the open-source ProM tool (called “Log On Map Replay”).

For further information, please refer to the following journal article:

M. de Leoni, S. Suriadi, A. H. M. ter Hofstede, Wil M. P. van der Aalst. Turning Event Logs into Process Movies: Animating What Has Really Happened. Software and Systems Modelling, 15: 707, 2016.