The application of workflow technology in semantic B2B integration. (English) Zbl 1010.68602

Summary: Workflow Management Systems (WFMSs) are often used in context of B2B integration as a base technology to implement business-to-business (B2B) integration processes across enterprises. In this context the notion of ”distributed inter-organizational workflows” is introduced to indicate the collaboration of enterprises on a process level. This notion requires a thorough examination presented in this article since WFMSs were not designed with inter-enterprise distribution as one of the design goals. At a closer look, the proposed use of WFMSs in context of B2B integration is often very naive and inappropriate. Consequently it does not address the real requirements found in enterprises. Enterprises do not share common workflow definitions, let alone common workflow instance execution state and have no intent to do so due to competitive knowledge protection. Furthermore, trading partner specific business rules within enterprises are not accounted for leading to an unwanted ”explosion” of workflow definitions. This article clarifies the notion of ”distributed inter-organizational workflows” as well as private and public processes. Based on this definition, the appropriate use of WFMSs is shown in context of an overall B2B integration solution that allows enterprises to protect their competitive knowledge while participating in B2B integration.


68U99 Computing methodologies and applications
68P15 Database theory
68M14 Distributed systems


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