Business Process Simulation Survival Guide

  • Wil M. P. van der AalstEmail author
Part of the International Handbooks on Information Systems book series (INFOSYS)


Simulation provides a flexible approach to analyzing business processes. Through simulation experiments various “what if” questions can be answered and redesign alternatives can be compared with respect to key performance indicators. This chapter introduces simulation as an analysis tool for business process management. After describing the characteristics of business simulation models, the phases of a simulation project, the generation of random variables, and the analysis of simulation results, we discuss 15 risks, i.e., potential pitfalls jeopardizing the correctness and value of business process simulation. For example, the behavior of resources is often modeled in a rather naïve manner resulting in unreliable simulation models. Whereas traditional simulation approaches rely on hand-made models, we advocate the use of process mining techniques for creating more reliable simulation models based on real event data. Moreover, simulation can be turned into a powerful tool for operational decision making by using real-time process data.


Business Process Problem Definition Business Process Management Concept Drift Process Instance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author would like to thank Joyce Nakatumba, Marc Voorhoeve, Anne Rozinat, Ronny Mans, Hajo Reijers, Michael Westergaard, and Mariska Netjes for their joint work on business process simulation. This work was supported by the Basic Research Program of the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and Computer ScienceEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Business Process Management DisciplineQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.International Laboratory of Process-Aware Information SystemsNational Research University Higher School of EconomicsMoscowRussia

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