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Fire Now, Fire Later: Alarm-Based Systems for Prescriptive Process Monitoring

Predictive process monitoring is a family of techniques to analyze events produced during the execution of a business process in order to predict the future state or the final outcome of running process instances. Existing techniques in this field are able to predict, at each step of a process instance, the likelihood that it will lead to an undesired outcome.These techniques, however, focus on generating predictions and do not prescribe when and how process workers should intervene to decrease the cost of undesired outcomes. This paper proposes a framework for prescriptive process monitoring, which extends predictive monitoring with the ability to generate alarms that trigger interventions to prevent an undesired outcome or mitigate its effect. The framework incorporates a parameterized cost model to assess the cost-benefit trade-off of generating alarms. We show how to optimize the generation of alarms given an event log of past process executions and a set of cost model parameters. The proposed approaches are empirically evaluated using a range of real-life event logs. The experimental results show that the net cost of undesired outcomes can be minimized by changing the threshold for generating alarms, as the process instance progresses. Moreover, introducing delays for triggering alarms, instead of triggering them as soon as the probability of an undesired outcome exceeds a threshold, leads to lower net costs.


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