Discovery and analysis of e-mail-driven business processes

Stuit, M. & Wortmann, H., Apr-2012, In : Information Systems. 37, 2, p. 142-168 27 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

E-mail is used as the primary tool for business communication and collaboration. This paper presents a novel e-mail interaction mining method to discover and analyze e-mail-driven business processes. An e-mail-driven business process is perceived as a human collaboration process that consists of interactions between people who may each play different roles. The notion of message threads (i.e. sets of e-mail messages that are replies to each other) is used as the fundamental building block to construct the interactions in the e-mail-driven business process. The proposed method adopts an interaction-centric business process modeling language to visualize the discovered e-mail-driven business process. The method identifies message threads from an e-mail archive, and constructs an interaction-centric process model based on the temporal order and similarity of the threads. Process-related information is extracted from e-mail header fields. A software tool, named E-mail Interaction Miner, implements the proposed method. A case study is used to apply and evaluate the method on a set of e-mails collected from a Dutch gas transport company. The evaluation results are discussed. These results comprise business process improvement opportunities for the case organization, and contributions to theory and language development. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-168
Number of pages27
JournalInformation Systems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2012


  • Business process discovery, Process mining, E-mail logs, Human collaboration and interaction, Message threads, Case study, TASK MANAGEMENT, VERIFICATION

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