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Eindhoven University of Technology Faculty of Technology Management Department of Information and Technology P.O. Box 513 5600 MB Eindhoven The Netherlands w.m.p.v.d.aalst@tm.tue.nl. Workflow Management Systems : Functions, architecture, and products. Wil van der Aalst. Outline.

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workflow management systems functions architecture and products
Eindhoven University of Technology

Faculty of Technology Management

Department of Information and Technology

P.O. Box 513

5600 MB Eindhoven

The Netherlands

w.m.p.v.d.aalst@tm.tue.nl

Workflow Management Systems: Functions, architecture, and products.

Wil van der Aalst

outline
Outline
  • Architecture
  • Staffware
  • Other systems:
    • Oracle BPEL
    • COSA
    • FLOWer
    • SAP workflow
focus on classical workflow management systems but
Focus on "classical" workflow management systems, but ...

Four types of "workflow-like" systems:

  • Information systems with hard-coded workflows (process& organization specific).
  • Custom-made information systems with generic workflow support (organization specific).
  • Generic softwarewith embedded workflow functionality (e.g., the workflow components of ERP, CRM, PDM, etc. systems).
  • Generic softwarefocusing onworkflow functionality (e.g., Staffware, MQSeries Workflow, FLOWer, COSA, Oracle BPEL, Filenet, etc.).
interfaces
Interfaces

Weak!

Demo’s

Published in Handbook

examples of systems
Examples of systems
  • COSA (demo)
  • Staffware
  • FLOWer
staffware
Staffware
  • Leading workflow management system (typically 25 percent of the global “pure” workflow market).
  • Staffware PLC is headquartered in Maidenhead UK and has offices in 19 countries.
  • Focus on performance and reliability rather than functionality (e.g., infinite scalability, fault tolerance, etc.)
  • In the remainder, we present a small case study that is used to:
    • introduce the design tool and modeling language of Staffware,
    • show the management/administrator tools of Staffware,
    • demonstrate the end-user’s view of Staffware, and
    • show the need for analysis.
a small case study double check dc

checkA

pay

register

checkB

reject

A small case study: Double Check (DC)
  • Processing of insurance claims involving registration, two checks, and a payment of rejection
  • Five tasks:
    • register (register insurance claim)
    • checkA (check insurance policy)
    • checkB (check damage reported)
    • pay (pay for the damage)
    • reject (inform customer about rejection)
  • Registration is followed by two checks which can be handled in parallel.
  • Each of the checks results in “OK” or “not OK”.
  • If both are OK, pay otherwise reject.
  • Three roles: register (for task register), checks (for both checks), and pay/reject (for final tasks).
building blocks
Building blocks

start

stop

step (i.e., task)

wait (i.e., AND-join)

event step

condition (i.e., XOR-split)

complex router (OR-join/AND-split)

automatic step

basic semantics of a step
Basic semantics of a step

AND-split

OR-join

Same for complex routers, conditions (input: OR, output: each branch is AND), other types of steps, etc.

advanced semantics
Advanced semantics

withdraw construct

time-out construct

staffware the manager administrator s view
Staffware: The manager/administrator’s view

Monitoring and managing processes and cases

Managing users/groups

analysis of staffware processes
Analysis of Staffware processes

6 runs (8 sequences) are possible!

example audit trails
Example audit trails

One not OK

Both OK

example audit trails 2
Example audit trails (2)

Both not OK (seq)

Both not OK (par)

slide49
Four types of "workflow-like" systems:
  • Information systems with hard-coded workflows (process& organization specific).
  • Custom-made information systems with generic workflow support (organization specific).
  • Generic softwarewith embedded workflow functionality (e.g., the workflow components of ERP, CRM, PDM, etc. systems).
  • Generic softwarefocusing onworkflow functionality

SAP Business Workflow/Webflow (SAP AG)

FLOWer (Pallas Athena)

Oracle BPEL (Oracle)

Staffware (TIBCO)

COSA (COSA GmbH)

slide50

SAP Business Workflow/Webflow (SAP AG)

Staffware (TIBCO)

Oracle BPEL (Oracle)

COSA (COSA GmbH)

FLOWer (Pallas Athena)

cosa control flow perspective
COSA: Control flow perspective
  • Based on Petri nets
  • Lots of functionality
cosa resource perspective
COSA: Resource perspective
  • One of the most powerful tools on the market.
  • Multiple dimensions and rules.
bpel 4ws business process execution language for web services
BPEL(4WS) – Business Process Execution Language for Web Services
  • Compromise between IBM and Microsoft.
  • Merges WSFL and XLANG.
  • Two styles of working: graph based and structured.
  • Expressive but complex language.
  • Support by many vendors: IBM Websphere, Oracle BPEL, and at least 16 more products.
  • In April 2003, BEA Systems, IBM, Microsoft, SAP AG and Siebel Systems submitted BPEL4WS 1.1 to OASIS.
  • Version 2.0 will have subtle but significant differences.
  • Two flavors: executable and abstract (non-executable)
constructs
Primitive activities

invoke, invoking an operation on some web service;

receive, waiting for a message from an external source;

reply, replying to an external source;

wait, waiting for some time;

assign, copying data from one place to another;

throw, indicating errors in the execution;

terminate, terminating the entire service instance; and

empty, doing nothing.

Structured activities

sequence, for defining an execution order;

switch, for conditional routing;

while, for looping;

pick, for race conditions based on timing or external triggers;

flow, for parallel routing; and

scope, for grouping activities to be treated by the same fault-handler.

Activities can be nested.

Can be connect though links.

Constructs
oracle resource perspective
Oracle: Resource perspective
  • Not part of BPEL (cf. BPEL4people).
  • Oracle specific task implementations.
  • Close to programming.

See Pattern-based Evaluation of Oracle-BPEL (v.10.1.2), N.A. Mulyar, 2005.

sap control flow perspective
SAP: Control flow perspective
  • Two views: native view and EPC view.
  • Block structured.

e.g. sequence:

slide63

parallel routing

three types of choices

sap resource perspective
SAP: Resource perspective
  • Organizational units have positions that may or may not be occupied.
  • Positions may be associated to multiple jobs (kind of role).
  • You can assign a task to
    • an organizational unit, if it is to apply to all subordinate positions
    • a job, if it is to apply to all positions described by the job
    • a position, if it is to apply to those persons (employees) or users who hold the position
    • a person (employee), if it is to apply to this person
flower control flow perspective
FLOWer: Control flow perspective
  • Block structured (similar to BPEL) but with excellent support for multiple instances.
  • Can be generated from Protos.
  • Case handling principle.
flower resource perspective
FLOWer: Resource perspective
  • Three roles for step in the process (execute, redo, skip).
  • Hierarchies can be defined independent of process.
  • Various was to view/distribute work.