Designing Process Guidance Systems
Process knowledge is a vital prerequisite for employees to execute organizational processes successfully in the course of their daily work. However, the lack of process knowledge, especially of novice users, and the need for support pose a challenge to employers. Inspired by research on spatial knowledge and navigation, we conceptualize three process knowledge types addressing the needs of employees during their process execution. On the basis of these process knowledge types and decision support and guidance research, we derive three theoretically grounded design principles for process guidance systems to support employees’ process execution. We instantiate the design principles and evaluate the resulting artifacts in a focus group study, a laboratory experiment, and in a field study. The results demonstrate the positive effects of process guidance systems on users’ process knowledge and process execution performance. Our study contributes to research and practice by proposing a new conceptualization of process knowledge and a nascent design theory for process guidance systems that builds on theories of spatial knowledge and navigation, as well as decision support research.
Awareness of Problem
We explored issues related to process knowledge and process execution by conducting a series of expert interviews with open questions. In total eight employees of the case company were interviewed. The expert interviews revealed that the employees experience difficulties in properly executing processes due to a lack of process knowledge. In particular, one of the interviewees requested some “guidance, claiming the system which needs to be used in a particular business process step”.
Systematic Literature Review
The systematic literature review serves to identify existing research on decision support and guidance research addressing the three concepts guidance, explanations, and decision aids. Based on the findings, a taxonomy of guidance design features is derived and research gaps discussed.
Synthesis of design principles based on empirical findings
Derived ten meta-requirements based on existing desicion support and guidance research. The meta-requirements inform three design principles.
Instantiation of design principles as a prototype
We instantiated the design in the form of an artifact for the case company’s procurement department that focuses on structured, document-centric business processes specified by the department.
Qualitative evaluation of the artifact (focus group)
We performed two focus group workshops with employees of the case company to evaluate the instantiated prototype.
Focus group analysis
The workshops’ positive results show that the proposed and instantiated functionalities described in the DPs have some validity, which indicates the usefulness of the PGS artifact . Moreover, we found the need for a further meta-requirement.