The problem of understanding whether a process trace satisfies a prescriptive model is a fundamental conceptual modeling problem in the context of process-based information systems. In business process management, and in process mining in particular, this amounts to check whether an event log conforms to a prescriptive process model, i.e., whether the actual traces present in the log are allowed by all behaviors implicitly expressed by the model. The research community has developed a plethora of very sophisticated conformance checking techniques that are particularly effective in the detection of non-conforming traces, and in elaborating on where and how they deviate from the prescribed behaviors. However, they do not provide any insight to distinguish between conforming traces, and understand their differences. In this paper, we delve into this rather unexplored area, and present a new process mining quality measure, called informativeness, which can be used to compare conforming traces to understand which are more relevant (or informative) than others. We introduce a technique to compute such measure in a very general way, as it can be applied on process models expressed in any language (e.g., Petri nets, Declare, process trees, BPMN) as long as a conformance checking tool is available. We then show the versatility of our approach, showing how it can be meaningfully applied when the activities contained in the process are associated to costs/rewards, or linked to strategic goals.
Published in Proceedings of CAiSE 2019; Rome, Italy; June 2019.