Rigor and Relevance – theoretically founded, proven in practice!
At the Department of Information Systems, we apply an application-oriented research perspective (“relevance”) while ensuring the theoretical and methodological foundations of our research projects (“rigor”). The projects are mostly externally funded and thus realized in cooperation with a variety of partners from companies to associations to ministries.
Use the links in the picture to get an overview of our current research and application areas.
Research in the Department of Information Systems focuses on the areas “Technology-Driven Transformation Processes”, “Modeling, Optimization and Management of Processes”, “Models and Methods of Applied Operations Research” and “Intelligent Data Analysis”. We analyze interdisciplinary issues from an information systems perspective and consider current practical challenges as follows:
- Technology-Driven Change Processes / Economic Implications
The Department of Information Systems accompanies computer science by analyzing technology-driven changes scientifically. Based on adequate theories, we realize empirical research designs as well as application-oriented research questions. One of our current corner stones is the analysis of change processes in healthcare. For instance is the transformation of healthcare towards technology-assisted home care within the framework of inter-sectoral healthcare concepts (“integrated care”). Further areas of interest are education, media, music, transport and logistics as well as selected services and Business-to-Business industries. Our research thus contributes to reflect transformation processes and to better understand their causes and progressions. Entrepreneurial actors learn through this support in addressing current challenges.
- Process Modeling/ Optimization / Management
A core are of research at the Department of Information Systems is the systematic and method-based identification, modeling, analysis and optimization of activity sequences by means of business process management. Business process management may be useful for almost all industries and applications as to ensure efficient usage of resources and to create a range of services efficiently and effectively. Besides the reflection of new action and design options by current information and communication technologies, we focus on the following methodological approaches:
Customer-oriented Business Process Management: The customer's perspective is considered only insufficiently in traditional approaches of business process management. Thus, we expand the focus in this field from provider-related processes (in the context of potential design and provision of services) to upstream and downstream demand and usage processes. We work on new conceptual foundations and specific methods of a more customer-oriented business process management.
Service Engineering: In a digital and interlinked society, technology-assisted services and so-called "hybrid value bundles" are of central importance. In the context of "Service Engineering", services are systematically developed employing customer-oriented process management. Apart from increasing efficiency resulting from alternative implementation options, we are especially interested in less discussed parameters such as effectiveness and customer satisfaction, customer loyalty as well as price acceptance and willingness to pay.
- Applied Operations Research
Operations Research respectively Management Science refers to the development and use of quantitative models and methods to support complex decisions. Our approaches and theories are based on applied mathematics, business administration and computer science. In the Department of Information Systems, we follow an application-oriented perspective, i.e., our focus is on supporting quantitative decisions in business practice. To this end, we consider the integration of quantitative models in the environment of decision support systems. From a methodological point of view, we combine current approaches of optimization, simulation, data mining and prediction. In particular, concepts and methods of Operations Research for planning and control of transportation services are developed. Exemplary fields of interest are vehicle routing and scheduling, optimizing duties of drivers or pilots, and for enhancing airline revenue management. We also employ these methods for optimizing our school’s timetable and room planning as to ensure that particular classes do no overlap.
- Intelligent Data Analysis
Intelligent data analysis deals with the analysis of large, complex, historical data sets in order to generate knowledge about the characteristics of business processes. For this purpose, methods of statistics, business intelligence and data mining are used. An exemplary research project is the analysis of historical data for revenue management of airlines. By combining information about supply, the observed demand, competitors’ offers and economic indicators, we characterize the market behavior in order to support better planning of future services. Another example from the airline area is the conceptual design and implementation of delay mining. By characterizing typical circumstances of delays, insights for more robust and efficient planning can be derived. We also analyze large amounts of traffic data in metropolitan areas as to make last-mile deliveries more efficient, robust and customer-friendly. A third example is from the area of health care, where valuable insights can be generated with the help of data mining considering patient data, care pathways and quality indicators.
Areas of application
The aforementioned methodological approaches are usually implemented according to specific challenges. The department’s application areas are in the fields of mobility, health care, media and education, because companies and organizations in these areas are particularly affected by transformation processes.
The concept of Learn-Service-Engineering combines established concepts from the areas "Service Engineering" and "Software Engineering". It describes the interdisciplinary provision and systematic use of principles, methods and tools for the development of new teaching and learning services. Learning services are based on the interactive collaboration of professors and students as well as on the collaboration of our department and external companies and institutions. In particular, problem- and technology-based teaching and learning methods (“Blended and E-Learning”) are developed and used.
- Airline Revenue Management
In revenue management or yield management, methods of Operations Research are used for demand management as to realize the maximum possible amount of revenue. In practice, especially the demand with the highest expected willingness to pay is of interest. This type of management has been successfully employed for service companies, such as airlines, in the hotel industry and with car rental agencies.
Examples of new concepts in revenue management are the integration of concepts of customer relationship management in long-term yield management and the usage of competitive information. Also of interest are integrated alignment of resources in airline alliances and dealing with complex models and small numbers in the practical application of revenue management.
- Public / Urban Transportation
Public Transportation: Research projects on robust efficiency are dealing with the planning of vehicle schedules and rosters in public transport. The effects of robust planning are investigated based on various planning levels and stages such as vehicle and crew scheduling. The researchers at the department analyze historical delay data and develop mathematical optimization models and methods. They validate results by using simulation and develop planning systems and algorithms. Thus, it is possible to build vehicle and crew schedules that are resistant to short-term changes and accidents. Overall, a cost-effective and therefore robust plan development is envisioned.
Intelligent Urban Transportation: The increasing population density in urban areas requires intelligent planning and control of the mobility of people and goods. Research projects on city logistics deal with the trade-off between efficiency and reliability in the urban delivery of goods. The focus is on the processing of large, historical data sets for dynamic and stochastic shortest path and vehicle routing operations. Here, a holistic approach is pursued, from data collection through data aggregation using data mining towards adapted methods of Operations Research. The research focus is complemented with studies on the planning and management of innovative, automated shared mobility services, such as car sharing and bike sharing systems.
- Healthcare Management / Health-IT
Health care systems worldwide are facing enormous challenges caused by austerity measures, privatization, new technologies and demographic change. At the Department of Information Systems, we identify and analyze drivers of change and underlying mechanisms within the health care field and put an emphasis on Health-IT. Current issues are discussed by expert panels. This includes both the reflection of new business models and their influence on the development of the field as well as specific areas such as integrated, inter-sectoral managed care or new organizational forms in drug delivery. In healthcare management, innovative business models are also reflected with regard to how they enable IT-supported health care at home, which is particularly relevant for elderly people who aim to spend the majority of their time at home although being chronically ill. However, in addition to potential economic opportunities, we also seek to understand why these business models diffuse only narrowly in Germany. Therefore, we also emphasize so-called obstacles to innovation and diffusion barriers and analyze how they can be overcome. The related research projects are part of the focus area “DynAge” (Excellence Initiative II: http://www.fu-berlin.de/en/sites/dynage/) in cooperation with several research partners, including the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.