INSPIRE will create an intelligent support tool to increase the success-rate of Business Process Reengineering by providing real help in process modelling, design and implementation, and by explicitly taking the human factor into account at all stages of the BPR initiative. INSPIRE uses formal models of business processes to represent the knowledge needed to reason about them. As well as supporting standard process and performance representation/simulation, it encourages participation in BPR by supplying simple icon-based process modelling schemes, animation of performance simulation, qualitative performance indicators, and real help and intelligent advice, all easily understood by non-experts.
The INSPIRE project will build a BPR support toolset comprising a base of IDEF-type process views, automatic workflow generation, dynamic simulation and quantitative performance indicators, into which will be built a number of innovative features designed to render the BPR process accessible to non-experts and to support the implementation of re-designed processes. A natural language front end will be built to allow a user to enter process data without being forced to draw boxes, arrows etc. Iconic process representations will be used to make formal diagrams more intuitively understandable. Explicit information on skills required and available will be associated with diagrams. The simulation module will feature fuzzy, qualitative performance indicators besides standard numeric ones. Dynamic simulation of processes will be animated to make them comprehensible to non-specialists. At the core of the tool, generic formal process models will used to represent process data, allowing coherence between different views to be enforced, and supporting diagnosis and explanation features. An implementation planner will be developed to support the change process, built on a case based reasoning engine and a library of BPR best practice. This module will provide explicit information about the skills and personnel available and required for the change, set realistic milestones and targets for the changeover period, as well as provide criteria for the evaluation of a newly implemented business process.
INSPIRE will run for 30 months. The consortium contains two major manufacturing end-users (a shipyard and a steel cord supplier), two management consultancies that are specialists in BPR and three software providers. The first period covers software specifications and user requirements. Market Intelligence is also undertaken during this period. Throughout this period, the software partners will communicate frequently with the end users, so that the specifications for the software modules can be built in the same time frame. Thereafter software prototypes are built taking account of the results. At the same time, the consortium's initial exploitation plans are drawn up. These plans will be updated and revised throughout the project. Once the requirements and specifications are drawn up and agreed, system integration will take place in the business premises of the software partner (TXT) responsible for technical coordination and quality assurance. During system integration, and as soon as a useably stable prototype can be released, the first pilot BPR initiatives begin and run for 6 months. These comprise real BPR activities using the INSPIRE tool and approach in both manufacturing end user sites, each supported by a consultancy. The end users will test and validate the tool and supply feedback to software partners on errors, usability, functionality, robustness and performance. From this point, seminars and demonstrations are performed to interest potential customers and gather feedback. Software refinements will be undertaken during the first BPR pilot, and will comprise corrections to and extensions of the software resulting from end user feedback. The second field trials start immediately after the first have been completed. These take the same form as the first trials, but are longer and more extensive reflecting the advanced development status of and improved end user expertise with the tool. Throughout this period there will be a constant cycle between end users and software partners of feedback and successive new releases of the tool. The end users will produce a User Manual for the tool forming the basis of the documentation for the commercial system. A workpackage follows, dedicated to software finalisation and product, focussing final product package definition and the performance and look-and-feel of the tool ready for commercial exploitation.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
9700 AT Groningen
WC2R 2LS London
NE28 6EQ Wallsend