Current workflow management systems (WFMS) mostly focus on tasks performed within a single organization at one location. To integrate the information flow along the value-add chain and thus overcome ineffiencies caused by structure and media breaks, concepts and solutions for the interaction of distributed WFMS are benefitial. Therefore the project has two main goals:
2. Challenges and conceptual solutions
WFMS within a single organization at one location are based on the following prerequisites:
A) All actors, routing paths and storage locations in the workflow are known.
B) Legal, organizational and security aspects are under control of a single management.
C) Hardware, operating systems and workflow management applications are mostly homogeneous.
As we connect WFMS between distributed organizations, these prerequisites are no longer given. Although organizations are willing to cooperate with others via computer-aided workflow management, they mostly insist on the confidentiality of internal information. Hence, there have to be strategies for cooperation without giving up autonomy.
To describe the new challenges we distinguish three dimensions of Wide Area Workflow Management (WAWM):
These dimensions build the basic structure from which all further conceptions are derived.
As solution possibilities, three coordination mechanims for WAWM are proposed: