University of Paderborn
Business Information Systems 2
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Prof. Dr. Ludwig Nastansky
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1. Introduction

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:

Both parts of the project are based on practical case examples of Wide Area Workflow Management. In addition, results of empirical studies in different organizations are presented.

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):

Three dimensions of Wide Area Workflow Management

These dimensions build the basic structure from which all further conceptions are derived.

As solution possibilities, three coordination mechanims for WAWM are proposed:

The following drawing shows the different solutions on the levels of strategy, workflow design, workflow runtime, workflow control and underlying technical platforms

Continuum of coordination methods for WAWM