Modeling Extraneous Activity Delays in Business Process Simulation

June, 2022


Business Process Simulation (BPS) is a common approach to estimate the impact of changes to a business process on its performance measures. For example, BPS allows us to estimate what would be the cycle time of a process if we automated one of its activities. The starting point of BPS is a business process model annotated with simulation parameters (a BPS model). Several studies have proposed methods to automatically discover BPS models from event logs via process mining. However, current techniques in this space discover BPS models that only capture waiting times caused by resource contention or resource unavailability. Oftentimes, a considerable portion of the waiting time in a business process is caused by extraneous delays, e.g. a resource waits for the customer to return a phone call. This paper proposes a method that discovers extraneous delays from input data, and injects timer events into a BPS model to capture the discovered delays. An empirical evaluation involving synthetic and real-life logs shows that the approach produces BPS models that better reflect the temporal dynamics of the process, relative to BPS models that do not capture extraneous delays.

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