Business & Information Systems Engineering

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 43–53 | Cite as

A Critical Evaluation and Framework of Business Process Improvement Methods

  • Rob J. B. VanwerschEmail author
  • Khurram Shahzad
  • Irene Vanderfeesten
  • Kris Vanhaecht
  • Paul Grefen
  • Liliane Pintelon
  • Jan Mendling
  • Godefridus G. van Merode
  • Hajo A. Reijers
Research Paper


The redesign of business processes has a huge potential in terms of reducing costs and throughput times, as well as improving customer satisfaction. Despite rapid developments in the business process management discipline during the last decade, a comprehensive overview of the options to methodologically support a team to move from as-is process insights to to-be process alternatives is lacking. As such, no safeguard exists that a systematic exploration of the full range of redesign possibilities takes place by practitioners. Consequently, many attractive redesign possibilities remain unidentified and the improvement potential of redesign initiatives is not fulfilled. This systematic literature review establishes a comprehensive methodological framework, which serves as a catalog for process improvement use cases. The framework contains an overview of all the method options regarding the generation of process improvement ideas. This is established by identifying six key methodological decision areas, e.g. the human actors who can be invited to generate these ideas or the information that can be collected prior to this act. This framework enables practitioners to compose a well-considered method to generate process improvement ideas themselves. Based on a critical evaluation of the framework, the authors also offer recommendations that support academic researchers in grounding and improving methods for generating process improvement ideas. Next to the framework and its critical evaluation, this review investigates the research procedures of the studies that were used to create the framework. Related to this investigation, academic researchers can find additional guidance regarding procedures for building and evaluating new methods.


Business process management Business process redesign Systematic literature review Framework 

Supplementary material

12599_2015_417_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (652 kb)
See separate file 25-6_Vanwersch_Appendix.pdf (PDF 652 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rob J. B. Vanwersch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Khurram Shahzad
    • 2
  • Irene Vanderfeesten
    • 1
  • Kris Vanhaecht
    • 3
    • 4
  • Paul Grefen
    • 1
  • Liliane Pintelon
    • 5
  • Jan Mendling
    • 6
  • Godefridus G. van Merode
    • 7
  • Hajo A. Reijers
    • 8
    • 9
  1. 1.School of Industrial Engineering and Innovation SciencesEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.College of Information TechnologyUniversity of the PunjabLahorePakistan
  3. 3.Department of Public Health and Primary CareKU Leuven, University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Quality ManagementUniversity Hospitals KU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  5. 5.Centre for Industrial Management/Traffic and InfrastructureKU Leuven, University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  6. 6.Institute for Information BusinessVienna University of Economics and BusinessViennaAustria
  7. 7.Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life SciencesMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  8. 8.Department of Mathematics and Computer ScienceEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands
  9. 9.Department of Computer ScienceVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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