Robinson College of Business - Georgia State University

Richard Welke

Director, Center for Process Innovation

Professor, Computer Information Systems

Email: rwelke at
Personal web site: rwelke dot com

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Welke is director of the Center for Process Innovation, professor and previous chair of the CIS department at Georgia State University (1992-99). Prior appointments include professorships at TU-Delft (Cor Wit Research Professor), Erasmus University and McMaster University (Ontario, Canada). Dr. Welke was co-founder of the information systems discipline’s now-major academic organizations, (ICIS, AIS, TIMS College on IS, and IFIP WG 8.2). He has owned and managed several CASE companies in Canada and the US, and was CIO for two engineering and a start-up company (Parkmobile) in Atlanta, GA. His 100+ papers are published in various books, refereed journals and conference proceedings. Dr. Welke’s past contributions have been in methodology engineering and meta-modeling; his current research is focused on "third-wave" business process management and innovation in service-oriented enterprises. Recently published research is on BAM/CEP (framework and case study), developing business rules specifications for governance and compliance, and SOA adoption among leading IS organizations (SIM APC sponsored).


(most recent courses)
  • CIS 4120:Define and Innovate IT-enabled Business Processes
  • CIS 4140: Implementing IT-Facilitated Business Processes
  • MIT 8699: Business Process Innovation

Best Five Research Publications

(and why)

  • Kumar, K., and R.J. Welke: “Methodology Engineering: A Proposal for Situation Specific Methodology Construction,” Challenges and Strategies for Research in Systems Development, Cotterman, W. and J. Senn (eds.), J. Wiley, Chichester, UK, 1992, pp. 257-266.
Why: This is perhaps the most cited (roughly 4,000 cites) of my papers even though its source is rather obscure. It established the basis for a now-flourishing area of research on methods, methodologies and requirements engineering. The term "methodology engineering" was subsequently co-opted by the Dutch as "method engineering" (even though the previous version of the paper was first published in a Dutch publication). The work actually dates back to the mid-1970's and a first version of it appeared in an earlier paper (Klein, H.K. and R.J. Welke: “An Evaluation of the Finnish PSC Systemeering (Systems Development) Theory,” Report of the Third Scandinavian Research Seminar on Systemeering Models, K. Lyytinen and E. Peltola (ed.), Jyvaskyla, Finland, 1980, pp. 2-37) and before that a working paper. Quickly summarized it says that the methodology you adopt must be aligned with the context and that you can "assemble" a methodology from various components to achieve a better outcome for the organization and the users who "consume" the result.

  • Welke, R.J.: "CASE Repositories: More than another DBMS Application," Challenges and Strategies for Research in Systems Development, Cotterman, W. and J. Senn (eds.), J. Wiley, Chichester, UK, 1992, pp. 181-214.
Why: This is a well-referenced paper, in spite of its obscurity. The paper sets out what is meant by "meta-modeling" and what's needed to represent the many methods (and associated tools) in a "meta" data structure. At the time this was published, there were effectively no meta-models or prescriptions for what they should contain. This, of course, is now a well-known and widely researched area. The paper describes a specific meta-model (OPRR) which subsequently formed the basis for a number of research projects, dissertations and existing meta-modeling tools (notably, MetaEdit).

  • Welke, Richard J., Think Service, Act Process: Meeting today’s demand for innovation and agility, HowDoUPress, 2005, 37p. ISBN: 978-0-9835439-1-6
Why: At the time this book was written (2004) the ideas of business process, agility, innovation and service-thinking were just emerging as complimentary notions, particularly as they relate to IT-enablement. This book (based on an Oratie at TU-Delft) was the first to observe the complimentarity among these ideas and layout an agenda for how to, more broadly, think about the interactions among these oft-separated domains of framing, opinion and enactment.

  • Welke, R., G. Cavalheiro, and A. Dahanayake, “Improving IT-Enabled Sense and Respond Capabilities: An Application of Business Activity Monitoring at Southern International Airlines,” Journal of Cases on Information Technology, 9(4), October-December 2007, pp. 40-56.
Why: The term BAM (business activity monitoring) had been recently coined by Gartner. However, a more serious examination of both its elements and how it applied to business had yet to be published. This paper (done with a student at TU-Delft as part of his Master's thesis) undertook to examine the possibilities of complex event processing (CEP), its application to how business thinks about events and their ability to inform and improve operations, as well as the generic components of CEP and its notification abilities (BAM). While CEP and BAM are now reasonably well-known in industry (although still very new to business academics) when this this paper was first published as a conference proceeding (2007) it was hardly known.

  • Zoet, Martijn, Richard Welke, Johan Versendaal, and Pascal Ravesteyn, “Aligning Risk Management and Compliance Considerations with Business Process Development,” in EC-Web 2009 (Lecture Notes in Computer Science 5692), T. Di Noia and F. Buccafurri (Eds.), Springer-Verlag Berlin, 2009, pp. 157–168.
Why: If one asks the question -- "What can organization's do to mitigate risk by more effectively designing their business processes?," the answers tend to be somewhat hollow and point to such things as risk audits, training, etc. This paper is the first to look at the problem from a process design perspective. While partial solutions had been proposed using Petri net analysis and other techniques, these were found to be limited in their scope and capability. This paper was the first to set out how business rules can be used at the various stages of process design and implementation to address risk. However, it goes beyond this by providing a set of rules classes and types that are defined and then examined in the light of various regulatory and accounting rules (as examples) which are then expert-validated. The work, while perhaps under-appreciated by academics, has formed the basis of chapters for several professional books and publications.

  • Hirschheim, Rudy, Richard Welke and Andrew Schwartz, “Service Oriented Architecture: Myths, Realities, and a Maturity Model,” MIS Quarterly Executive, (9:1), March 2010, pp. 203-213.
Why: Service oriented architecture (SOA) is how the new-current and transformative-next generation of application architectures and associated functional platforms will be assembled. While there has been considerable "hype" and seemingly shared knowledge about SOA, courtesy of a SIM grant it was possible to explore what the actual state of thinking and implementation was regarding SOA. The results were somewhat surprising -- a substantial disconnect between what the "gurus" and very-early adopters were saying and what was the practice in "leading-edge" organizations regarding SOA adoption, use and implementation. While the paper doesn't say it, this seems to be how new IT-related concept uptake happens in general. While it may look like the typical S-curve (learning curve) adoption cycle, there is really an intermediate layer of consultants and early adopters who also, collectively, set a leader agenda and pace to this.

Major Research Grants Received

  • Welke, R., “New Media Cluster Proposal: Center for Digital Commerce Section,” Georgia Research Alliance, Georgia Center for Advanced Telecommunication Technology, $350,000, May 2000.
Why: This was the third grant from the Georgia Research Alliance that helped form the now-Center for Process Innovation as well as funding the GRA Eminent Scholar Chair. This, and several subsequent GRA grants fully paid for the renovation of the space that CEPRIN now occupies.

  • Welke, R., Mathiassen, L. and A. Rai, “Gartner Research Process Assessment,” Gartner, Inc. research grant ($125,000) April 2004
Why: This was the inaugural research project that legitimized the external research focus of CEPRIN while providing an intriguing research problem to work on.

  • Purao, S. (PI), V. Vaishnavi (PI), R. Welke (co-PI),, “Learning to Build Systems of Systems,” NSF/CPATH 3-year research grant ($705,000), July 2007-10.
Why: Aside from being a comparatively large NSF grant, this provided the opportunity to fund a PhD student (Tim Olsen) as well as explore a new way of teaching and learning (PBL) that turned out to be highly successful (well-appreciated and assimilated by the students).