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Information Systems Group

Information Systems, Computer Engineering

Summary

Modern business organizations become more and more dependent on their information systems to deal with the complexity and changeability of the context (markets) in which they operate and consequently their internal organization structures. Up-to-date, complete and accurate information has become a necessity to survive in an increasingly competitive world. Developments like dynamic cooperation networks, mass customization of products and services, and end-to-end process control require automated means to control operational business processes, for the simple reason that humans cannot oversee the entire operation in an efficient and effective way anymore. Consequently, business requirements to information systems increase at a dazzling pace.

On the other hand, the rapid developments in information technology give way to application types that simply were not feasible just a few years ago. These developments range from basic computing technology via communication technology and a broad spectrum of data and process management technology to complete frameworks for enterprise information systems and e-business systems. Consequently, technology push forces have a major influence on current developments. The Information Systems Subdepartment focusses on systems to (re)design and support operational business processes in this tension field between business requirements pull and technology push.

Mission of the IS Group

To research and teach design, analysis, and use of advanced information systems for (re)design and support of operational business processes, both within the boundaries of a single organization and across these boundaries in the context of business service networks and industrial supply chains,

  • aiming at a balance between theoretical foundation and practical application,
  • harmonizing the demand pull and technology push developments in the field, and
  • taking business process management and business process intelligence as focal research areas, and healthcare and smart mobility as focal application areas.

Master Programs

Information systems form the basis of the design, improvement and maintenance of business processes. They have grown into the largest and most complex technical products and form a highly integrated part of the operational processes within companies. 

An organization's information system is an essential component and if the system does not function as it should, it brings all other processes to a standstill. Whether multinationals, banks, insurance companies, government ministries, hospitals, travel companies or online shops, none of these can operate without a perfectly functioning information system. 

The integration of IT systems in business processes requires experts who possess knowledge of both computer science and business administration. Our Master's program in Business Information Systems trains those experts. 

The Master's degree program in Business Information Systems (BIS) combines computer science subjects with subjects related to business management and industrial engineering and management sciences. The program covers various aspects:

- The use of models in the design of information systems 

- The implementation of models in information systems 

- The management, specification and analysis of company information systems

Many of the compulsory courses are in the field of computer science and information systems. In the compulsory courses in the field of industrial engineering and management sciences however, the emphasis lies in logistics and operational management.

 

Innovation is essential for the competitive position of companies. Through the development of desirable new products and services, innovation helps to win new customers and strengthens the loyalty of existing ones. Through the courage and perseverance of entrepreneurs, start-ups help address customer needs in entirely new ways. However, many new products and businesses fail or do not deliver the expected results because the competitive environment is dynamic and unstructured, which magnifies wrong managerial choices. The Innovation Management discipline studies the management of innovation processes and contains quantitative and qualitative theories, tools and techniques to make businesses and entrepreneurs more innovative as well as more successful in their innovation activities. Key aspects of the Innovation Management discipline are new product development, strategic marketing, sales and after-sales service management, business intelligence, open innovation, and entrepreneurship. The object of the studies is the new product and business development process. This includes the processes to cooperate with a diverse set of stakeholders and share knowledge with them. 

The Master Innovation Management (MSc IM) is a two-year, 120 ECTS program, that sequels the bachelor's program Industrial Engineering. The MSc IM program is theory-driven and multi-disciplinary, with a project-focus on the firm's innovation process. It conveys scientific theories, tools and techniques to manage and improve innovations both within and across companies. You will learn how to apply the gathered knowledge in industrial applications. In  other words, you will analyze the current innovative performance of a company, explain it in terms of quality, cost and time, and potentially improve this performance by re-engineering innovation processes. You will experience what it means to carry out research yourself, to gain new insights and to apply the acquired knowledge in many projects. This requires combining multi-disciplinary theoretical frameworks with quantitative (i.e., mathematical/statistical) or qualitative (i.e., interview/text-based) methodologies. The MSc IM program makes use of highly interactive lectures, assignments and group work, and the topics are related to state-of-the-art research of the school's professors.

Operations form the base of every organization, whether in manufacturing, service or non-profit industries. Operations Management and Logistics (OML) is a multidisciplinary field that addresses the efficiency and effectiveness of the operations of an organization. OML comprises disciplines such as product development, quality management, logistics, information systems, and human resource management. Operations extend from the performance management of a group of design engineers or building in quality-feedback loops to the precise prediction of production and delivery performance. Supply chain management and the design of information architectures for e-business are also part of operations management.

The key feature of the program is that it takes the interest of students central in terms of choice flexibility. The program offers the students five tracks (plus a special/free track) that consist of courses that belong together and master thesis subjects for which those courses are relevant: 1) Healthcare, 2) Capital Goods, 3) Consumer Goods, 4) Service Operations, and 5) Transportation. While the program still remains as one OML MSc program, the tracks are there to guide the students from the beginning in order to help them choose the most relevant courses for their master’s projects.

PhD Programs

The PhD Program in Industrial Engineering is offered by the School of Industrial Engineering at TU/e, one of the two schools in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences. PhD students in the program perform their PhD projects in one of the four research groups in the school: Information Systems; Operations Planning, Accounting and Control; Innovation, Technology Entrepreneurship and Marketing, and Human Performance Management. Some projects are performed in a collaboration between two or more of these groups.

Courses

Business Information Systems

Lecture

The course consists of four parts, which address respectively an introduction to information system architecture, the architecture of concrete information systems, the role of information technology in the design and implementation of architectures, and the conceptual and methodological aspects of architecture design and analysis. Details are as follows:

Part 1 (3 Lectures): Introduction to Information System Architecture

  • the nature of information systems architecture
  • the role of architecture and architect in the design of complex information systems
  • the levels at and aspects in which architecture can be described
  • architecture styles, architecture patterns and reference architectures

Part 2 (2 Lectures): Architecture of Concrete Systems

  • architecture of data-centric systems
  • architecture of process-centric systems
  • architecture of business function-centric systems

 

Part 3 (2 Lectures): Architecture Embodiment

  • component technology, service technology
  • middleware technology, internet technology
  • data management technology
  • process management technology

 

Part 4 (8 Instructions): Architectures Design and Analysis

  • the aspects from which architecture can be described (data, process, function, communication, platform, organization) and their relationships
  • an architecture specification technique (UML)
  • a practical architecture design approach (method)
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Lecture

In modern businesses, the extraction of information from the data in the information systems has become a competitive advantage. The availability of large amounts of data of different modalities (i.e. big data) often requires the use of advanced analytics, computational models and intelligent methods for discovering the relevant information that a business needs. The theories, methods and the architectures for achieving this goal is termed business intelligence. In this course, students are first introduced to the principles of business intelligence. Afterwards, advanced data analysis methods by using computational intelligence techniques are discussed to deal with business problems. Since significant uncertainty will be present in a business environment, non-probabilistic uncertainty modeling is considered, with a focus on fuzzy systems. Many models must be adaptive to the data and the underlying processes that generate the data. Adaptive and learning models based on neural networks are discussed for exploiting the past information in order to improve the design of information systems for business processes by providing them with knowledge about past business experience and, consequently, to improve their decision support capability. Finally, (multi-objective) optimization of operational processes through nature-inspired meta-heuristics (evolutionary computation techniques such as genetic/memetic algorithms, particle swarm optimization, ant-colony optimization) is considered.

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Lecture

Business Process Management (BPM) is a radical shift from traditional management thinking. Instead of taking an organization's functional decomposition as a starting point to manage the efficiency and effectiveness of operations, BPM focuses on the business processes that cut right through different departments (or even organizations). A business process can be seen as a structured set of activities designed to produce a specified output for a particular customer. As such, an effective and efficient business process is a particularly valuable asset for companies to attract and please its customers. Nowadays, Information Technology must be considered as the key enabler of high-performing business processes.

Managing business processes is an inherently cyclic endeavor, which passes through different phases. The course on Business Process Management considers each of the following phases:

  • Identification: the problem to distinguish which processes in organizations require priority to be managed.
  • Discovery: the elicitation and specification of the way that operational processes are carried out.
  • Diagnosis: the understanding of a process structural ability to fulfill the requirements it must meet
  • Design: the planned action to increase the performance and/or conformance of business processes by changing its elements
  • Execution: the execution of business processes using advanced IT, such as workflow management systems
  • Control: the day-to-day monitoring of a business process to detect operational problems and violations of regulations
  • The course offers students various methods, techniques and tools to carry out these phases, which include: process modeling with high-level Petri nets, process mining, process simulation, redesign best practices, product-based design theory, the use of reference models, industrial modeling tools, and the BPM maturity framework.
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Lecture

This course focuses on enterprise information systems that are driven by models, i.e., instead of constructing code these systems are assembled, configured or generated using a model-driven approach. Of particular interest are so-called "process-aware" information systems. Typical examples are workflow management systems and the process engines of ERP, CRM, PDM and other enterprise information systems. Starting point for the course are the process modeling techniques taught in the Bachelor phase. In particular it is assumed that the students are able to model in terms of (high-level) Petri nets and are able to make object models. Reading materials to refresh main concepts will be provided. 

The first part of the course focuses on the modeling and implementation of workflows. Different languages and systems are presented. Using the so-called workflow patterns students need to compare and evaluate languages and systems. Moreover, students need to model and implement non-trivial workflows in a specific workflow management system (e.g., Bizagi and YAWL). It should be noted that although the focus is on pure workflow management systems, the knowledge and experience will also applicable to other process-aware information systems. 

The second part of the course focuses on the analysis of workflows using Petri net theory. One of the topics is workflow verification, i.e., How to automatically identify design errors and correct them? Here different tools are being used and, among others, the SAP reference model and its errors are used as examples. This requires an introduction to concepts such as WF-nets, various soundness notions, free-choice nets, reduction rules, etc.

The final part of the course considers how process-aware information systems interact with their “environment” of processes, systems, and applications. The topics include modeling and enacting service-oriented and data-driven process interactions in complex scenarios, and ensuring consistent process execution and data across different processes and applications in case of failures.

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Lecture

Organizations are constantly trying to improve the way their businesses perform. To this end, managers have to take decisions on changes to the operational processes. However, these changes are never without consequences and often high costs are involved. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that these decisions are supported by a thorough analysis of all possible consequences on the organization.

To gain insights into the consequences of decisions on an operational process, one often resorts to simulation studies. In these studies, simulation models are made of the operational process under consideration, taking into account the necessary elements, such as costs, resources and activities. These simulation models are then executed with different parameters, to gain insights into the consequences of different decisions on the basis of which a final decision is made. 

It is clear that the construction of simulation models of an operational process is a far from trivial task. Deciding which elements of the operational process to take into account and which not is key to getting useful simulation results.

In this course, we use a discrete event simulation tool called Arena to execute simulations. This tool allows for the graphical definition of a simulation model, together with complex definitions of queue types, resource availability and so on.

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Lecture

We study models of contemporary data intensive systems and their practical use. These models are among: Graph databases, Data warehousing and online analytical processing (ROLAP, MOLAP, etc.), Document databases (NoSQL, JSON stores, etc.), Parallel and distributed data processing (MapReduce, etc.), and Deductive databases (Datalog).

We discuss why these models were introduced, their relative advantages and disadvantages, how to use them in practice, and, at a high level, how they are implemented. Unlike the subject Database Technology (2ID35) which focuses primarily on systems internals and their efficient implementation at a lower level, the primary goal of this subject is to develop the practical ability to engineer non-trivial data intensive applications based on a solid understanding of the underlying engineering principles. Towards this goal, hands-on practical assignment(s) using contemporary frameworks and technologies are a central component of the course.

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Lecture

The E-Business course addresses the architecture (structure) and systems (technology) for support of e-business. Business and organization aspects are also discussed. The focus is on inter-organizational business operation in which information and communication technology is an enabling factor. E-commerce, most significantly business-to-business e-commerce, is an important category of e-business in this respect. The first part of this course follows the BOAT framework to place e-business elements in perspective, distinguishing the business, organizational, architecture and technology aspects. These can be placed in a demand pull or technology push context. At the business and organization aspects, attention is paid to e-business paradigms like dynamic service outsourcing and highly dynamic supply chains. A pivotal point in this course is the architecture aspect of the framework, covering the mapping of organization architectures to information system and technology class architectures. Attention is paid to architecture and technology standards in the e-business field. Important technology classes are placed into perspective and essential characteristics are discussed. Emphasis is on the analysis of complex e-business structures. This is also reflected in the group assignment to be completed by the students enrolled in this course.

Recent developments will also be addressed, e.g., cloud computing, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), Service Level Agreement (SLA), and interoperability.

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Lecture

The engineering history has taught us well that it is essential to have a clear understanding of the problem and the requirements of the solution system in order to successfully design and implement the right solution. This course focuses on the methods and practices that are used to identify the needs and to define information systems & technology (IST) solutions that will maximize the value delivered by an organization to its stakeholders. It provides an understanding of the organizational and managerial issues related to the elicitation, analysis, specification, verification, validation and management of IST requirements. It discusses methods and practices that are applied not only for the development of innovative commercial software systems but also for the implementation of enterprise information systems. These systems support functions and business processes in various domains, including healthcare, logistics, financial services, and other industries particularly in the service environment. 

The student groups will develop and verify requirements of a software (information) system or a specific part of it. This will significantly help in reinforcing the theoretical concepts and methods discussed during the lectures and in understanding the requirements engineering problems that can be encountered in the business environment.

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People

Have you met...
People

Oktay Turetken is an Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). His research interest centers around the topic of ‘business model engineering’ in an information systems/business process management (BPM) context, with special focus on the operational design and implementation of service-dominant business models using BPM methods and tools, and the organizational capabilities related to the strategic, people and cultural factors (i.e. soft factors of BPM) that influence an organization’s ability to redesign and manage business and process models. Current research projects focus on Business Model Engineering, Maturity Models in Business Process Management, Digital Transformation/Innovation.

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Editors

Have you met...
People

Oktay Turetken is an Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). His research interest centers around the topic of ‘business model engineering’ in an information systems/business process management (BPM) context, with special focus on the operational design and implementation of service-dominant business models using BPM methods and tools, and the organizational capabilities related to the strategic, people and cultural factors (i.e. soft factors of BPM) that influence an organization’s ability to redesign and manage business and process models. Current research projects focus on Business Model Engineering, Maturity Models in Business Process Management, Digital Transformation/Innovation.

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Have you met...
People

Prof.dr.ir. Remko Helms is a full-professor in Information Systems at Open University in Heerlen since 2013. He studied applied physics at Fontys Hogeschool and received his bachelor degree cum laude. After that he received his master (cum laude) from Eindhoven University of Technology in Management Science & Industrial Engineering.

In 1996 Remko started to work as a business consultant for M.I.S. Organisatie-ingenieurs, and later EDS, supporting business and information managers in the introduction and implementation of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems. Soon he started a PhD in early 1997 at Eindhoven University Technology and wrote a dissertation on Product Data Management as enabler for Concurrent Engineering. After receiving his PhD in 2002 he continued working as a business consultant and late 2003 he decided to continue a full time academic career at Utrecht University (till April 2016).

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