Workflows without Engines: Modeling for Today’s Heterogeneous Information Systems

Cristina Costa, Paulo da Cunha
InSITE 2006  •  Volume 6  •  2006
Workflow modeling has been able to handle requirements down to the point where the specification gets executed on a specialized engine. Present day information systems, however, pose new challenges. Data and decision logic are spread out across a collection of heterogeneous applications of different ages, provided by various vendors, supported on diverse technologies. “Running” a business workflow thus means orchestrating several applications that were not designed to work together. Middleware and other technological solutions can be used to engineer coordination and communication between the systems, but, at a higher level, modeling techniques must be adjusted so that their inputs and deliverables fit this new “engineless” execution environment. We describe an approach we have used to bring together generic information systems design and workflow-specific concerns to produce an architecture that easily maps into today’s heterogeneous scenarios. Special care has been taken to ensure that end-users are able to contribute throughout the process.
workflow, heterogeneous systems, requirements, modulation
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