Flexible Support System for Email-based Processes: An Empirical Evaluation

Thomas Burkhart; Julian Krumeich; Dirk Werth; Peter Loos(2012)
In: International Journal of E-Business Development (IJED), In: 3, 2, World Academic Publishing, Hong Kong, S. 77-85

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In many companies, a majority of business processes take place via email communication. Large enterprises have the possibility to operate enterprise systems for a successful business process management. However, these systems are not appropriate for SMEs, which are the most common enterprise type in Europe. Thus, the European research project Commius addresses the special needs of SMEs and characteristics of email communication, namely highly flexibility and unstructuredness. Within the research project, the prototype COPA was developed as an email-based workflow solution. In the course of this paper, we presented an evaluation of the prototype that was led by three stated hypotheses demonstrating the utility, quality, and efficacy of COPA in practice. As a result, all hypotheses could be verified due to the significantly faster and easier execution of the evaluation workflow as well as the higher satisfaction of the subjects regarding their achieved workflow result in contrast to a common none-COPA supported workflow execution. Furthermore, subjects agreed with general statements on COPA and judged the integration into the existing email landscape as a very useful feature. Consequently, COPA seems to be a feasible approach to manage email-based business processes in SMEs.