Workflows without engines: Modeling for today's heterogeneous information systems



Workflow modeling has been able to handle requirements down to the point where the specifica-tion 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 applica-tions of different ages, provided by various vendors, on diverse technologies. 'Running� a busi-ness workflow thus means orchestrating several applications that were not designed to work to-gether. 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 scenar-ios. Special care has been taken to ensure that end-users are able to contribute throughout the process.


Information Systems Design


Informing Science + Information Technology Education (InSITE), June 2006

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