In the spirit of Nygaard’s definition of informatics we consider Business Informatics as a scientific discipline targeting information processes and related phenomena in a socio-economical context including companies, organizations, administrations, and society. Business Informatics is a fertile ground for research with the potential of immense and tangible impact. Or to put it in other words – Business Informatics is research that matters!
The Summer School on Business Informatics aims at providing the participant with lectures broadening the horizon towards selected domains identified as cornerstone of the IEEE Conference on Business Informatics (CBI). Since it is our vision to complement and extend the conference on Business Informatics we plan to pick up the topics of the conference for lectures. After this year the event will change from a 1 day event to a 2-3 day event offering a Summer School as well as a Doctoral Consortium.
Date: Monday July 14th 2014
Organizer: Birgit Hofreiter, Vienna University of Technology (Austria)

Stephane Marchand-Maillet, University of Geneva (Switzerland)

Jaques Savoy, University of Neuchatel (Switzerland)

(in alphabetical order)
Antonia Albani, HSG (Switzerland)

Eric Dubois, CRP Henri Tudor (Luxembourg)

Ulrich Frank, University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany)

Jan Mendling, Vienna University of Economics and Business (Austria)

Alain Wegmann, EPFL (Switzerland)

Location: Geneva, Uni Mail
Registration: A limited number of seats is available on a “first come, first serve” basis.

All participants please send an email to, with name and affiliations.

The school is organised in the frame of the CUSO doctoral program. Support for Swiss PhD students is ensured, following CUSO regulations. Eligible students need also to register on the dedicated site.


09:00 - 11:00 Ulrich Frank: “Toward a Reflected Use of Research Methods in Business Informatics or: About Camels, Lions and other Animate Beings” (slides)
11:00 - 11:15 Coffee Break
11:15 - 12:30 Eric Dubois: “Service Science: A Service System Design Science Research Method?” (slides)
12:30 - 14:00 Lunch
14:00 - 15:30 Jan Mendling: “Three Research Perspectives on Business Process Management” (slides)
15:30 - 15:45 Coffee Break
15:45 - 17:00 Antonia Albani: “Theoretical and Practical Pursuit of Enterprise Engineering” (slides)
17:00 - 18:30 Alain Wegmann: “Systems Thinking and Enterprise Engineering” (slides: set 1, set 2, set 3, set 4)


  • Ulrich Frank, University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany)

    Toward a Reflected Use of Research Methods in Business Informatics or: About Camels, Lions and other Animate Beings

    Time: 09:00-11:00

    Abstract: In recent years, there is a growing demand for explicitly using a research method – both in dissertations and in scientific publications in general. Courses on research methods have become an essential part of many PhD programmes. In recent years, the clear dominance of behaviourist methods has been somewhat qualified by the modest growth of hermeneutic or “Design Science” approaches. Nevertheless, it seems mandatory to opt for a certain given method. While this may be appreciated as a helpful guideline by some, others may regard it as akin to paternalism that jeopardizes their perception of academic freedom. Against this background, the lecture is aimed at three objectives. First, it will provide a motivation for reflecting upon criteria that enable us to compare competing knowledge contributions. Second, it will provide an introduction to basic terms used in philosophy of science - including a brief account of well-known research methods. Finally, the lecture wants to motivate the participants to embrace scientific research as a most joyful and rewarding activity - which includes developing a serious, but relaxed attitude toward research methods.

    Ulrich Frank holds the chair of Information Systems and Enterprise Modelling at the Institute of Computer Science and Business Information Systems at the University of Duisburg-Essen. His main research topic is enterprise modelling, i.e. the development and evaluation of modelling languages, methods and corresponding tools. Further areas of research include research methods, method engineering, models at run time and methods for IT management. He is founder of the international student exchange network IS:link. He is on the editorial boards of the journals Information Systems Architectures, Business & Information Systems Engineering, Journal of Information System Modeling and Design, Software and Systems Modeling and Information Systems and E-Business Management.

  • Eric Dubois, CRP Henri Tudor (Luxembourg)

    Service Science: A Service System Design Science Research Method?

    Time: 11:15-12:30

    Abstract: Like ‘Computer Science’ a few decades ago, ‘Service Science’ deserves some attention today regarding the emergence of a possible new scientific discipline. In this presentation, we explore the potential link existing between service science and design science, considering the service as the focus of the design. Our proposed contribution directly relies on the day-to-day work of our research and technology transfer institution regarding a science-based approach to service innovation. Our preliminary findings are formalized in a macro-process used for governing this type of innovation. The presentation introduces and illustrates its application on a real service innovation case related to a collaborative platform in the construction sector.

    Prof. Dr. Eric Dubois received the M.S. degree in computer science from the University of Namur, Belgium, in 1981 and the degree of ‘Docteur-Ingenieur en Informatique’ from the Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine, Nancy, France, in 1984. Since 2000, in Luxembourg he works at the Public Research Centre Henri Tudor where he is the managing director of the “Service Science & Innovation” department ( Previously he worked with Philips Research Laboratory, University of Namur and SWIFT. He is visiting professor at the University of Namur and is teaching at the University of Luxembourg. Besides management activities, Dr. E. Dubois is active in the software engineering and information system fields for about 25 years. His specific focus is on the requirements engineering (RE) topic where he published over 100 papers with specific interests in business services and security requirements engineering. Recent interests are in Service Science and Innovation.

  • Jan Mendling, Vienna University of Economics and Business (Austria)

    Three Research Perspectives on Business Process Management

    Time: 14:00-15:30

    Abstract: Business process management is an area of research that integrates computer science, information systems research, operations management and management science. This richness of perspectives is a benefit and a burden at the same time. This talk introduces an integrated view of business process management and investigates which research perspectives are fruitful to investigate particular facets. For each of the three identified perspectives, we point to established research standards that help to organize and position one’s own research paper in the area of business process management.

    Prof. Dr. Jan Mendling is a Full Professor and head of the Institute for Information Business at Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (WU Vienna), Austria. His research areas include Business Process Management, Conceptual Modelling and Enterprise Systems. He has published more than 200 research papers and articles, among others in ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, IEEE Transaction on Software Engineering, Information Systems, Data & Knowledge Engineering, and Decision Support Systems. He is member of the editorial board of three international journals, one of the founders of the Berlin BPM Community of Practice (, organizer of several academic events on process management, and member of the IEEE Task Force on Process Mining. His Ph.D. thesis has won the Heinz-Zemanek-Award of the Austrian Computer Society and the German Targion-Award for dissertations in the area of strategic information management.

  • Antonia Albani, HSG (Switzerland)

    Theoretical and Practical Pursuit of Enterprise Engineering

    Time: 15:45-17:00

    Abstract: Enterprise engineering is an emerging discipline that studies enterprises from an engineering perspective. The first paradigm of this discipline is that enterprises are purposefully designed and implemented systems. Consequently, they can be re-designed and re-implemented, if there is a need for change. The second paradigm of enterprise engineering is that enterprises are social systems. This means that the system elements are social individuals, and that the essence of an enterprise’s operation lies in the entering into and complying with commitments between these social individuals. Enterprise engineering is rooted in both the organizational sciences and the information system sciences. The mission of the discipline of enterprise engineering is to combine (relevant parts from) the organizational sciences and the information systems sciences, and to develop theories and methodologies for the analysis, design, and implementation of future enterprises. In this lecture, the main concepts, theories and methodologies paramount to the theoretical and practical pursuit of enterprise engineering will be introduced and discussed.

    Antonia Albani is an Assistant Professor of Business Administration with special emphasis on Information Management at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor in the area of Information Systems Design at the Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. She holds Master and PhD degrees in Computer Science. Antonia Albani is a cofounder of the research network Cooperation & Interoperability – Architecture & Ontology (CIAO!) ( and member of the CIAO! executive board. She worked in IT consulting and was CEO and cofounder of an Internet start-up in the area of business process outsourcing. Her main research interests are in Enterprise Engineering with special focus on service innovation and service engineering.

  • Alain Wegmann, EPFL (Switzerland)

    Systems Thinking and Enterprise Engineering

    Time: 17:00-18:30

    Abstract: In this session, we work on a concrete and real project example in which the goal is to align business and IT. With this example, we illustrate how to define “alignment” and how to design this alignment. Then, we extract systems principles that underlie this alignment in enterprise engineering and enterprise architecture. We conclude by presenting the existing methods used for business analysis and / or IT analysis, and we explain their relations with the identified systems principles. Concretely, we use SEAM to develop our example, and we show homeostasis and Vickers’ appreciative systems as examples of systems principles. We then discuss how SEAM and these principles compare to, for example, BMG and Archimate. By attending this session, you will gain a concrete understanding on how to design business and IT alignment and a theoretical understanding on the principles underlying all these methods.

    Alain Wegmann worked for 15 years at Logitech in development (Switzerland), manufacturing (Taiwan) and marketing (US). In 1997, he joined EPFL as a professor. He leads a laboratory in which the relation between system thinking and enterprise architecture is studied. A practical method, called SEAM, was developed. This method is used to analyze and to design business and IT strategies. SEAM is applied in teaching and in consulting. SEAM illustrates the application of systems thinking in enterprise engineering.


Cap Gemini
Swiss National Science Foundation
Conference Univseritaire de Suisse Orientale
Republique et Canton de Genève
University of Geneva