Process automation in the cloud

Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Michael Adams
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Dr Chun Ouyang
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Process automation refers to digital technology-enabled automation of complex business processes in modern organisations. Business Process Management Systems (BPMS) are dedicated to providing support to process automation. Thus they play a key role in today's enterprise digital transformation and a myriad of BPMS exists.

Cloud computing, as a major computing paradigm emerging over the last decade, has evolved into one of the most widely used computing resource platforms. It is shifting the deployment of BPMS from traditional on-premise models to the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) paradigm, thus aiming to deliver Process Automation as a Service (PAaaS) to organisations in the cloud.

However, traditional BPMS are designed to serve a single organisation on premise but not for multiple organisations in a cloud environment. To support provision of PAaaS, it is necessary to establish the design of a new paradigm to address the open issues and challenges imposed by the need of migrating BPMS into the cloud.

Research activities

The research topics below can be scoped to cater for different types of research student projects.

You will primarily conduct the following student topics in the School of Information Systems at QUT and may also have a chance to collaborate with researchers from our external academic partners:

  • Design of generic and scalable system architecture to support elastic PAaaS.
  • Architectural solution built on and empowered by micro-services infrastructure.
  • Performance evaluation framework for Cloud-based BPMS.
  • Workload balancing strategies to support (stateful) process execution.
  • SLA, pricing model, and computing cost for PAaaS.
  • System reliability issues such as data management, access control and security.


As a result of our research, we expect to acheive the following outcomes:

  • a (generic) cloud-based BPMS architecture to support scalability and reliability
  • a performance evaluation framework for cloud-based BPMS and PAaaS
  • an approach for measuring and/or predicting the workload for cloud-based BPMS
  • workload distribution strategies and/or algorithms for cloud-based BPMS.

Skills and experience

For you to be considered for this project, we expect you to have the following attributes:

  • familiarity within the fields of cloud computing, service computing and preferably process automation (or workflow management)
  • problem-solving and logical thinking capabilities
  • reasonable writing and computer programming skills.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.