Browse Prior Art Database

Employment of an Auto-Responder to Assist with Decisions and Routing within a Workflow Process

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000014559D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Jun-19
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19
Document File: 2 page(s) / 66K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Modern "workflow" software enables computing systems to manage state and sequence within modeled business processes. Facilities exist for "calls" to entities external to that software, and the associated returns can be used for branching decisions within a process model. In cases where a call can be made and returned in a fairly-atomic, simple fashion without user intervention, the external target could be considered to be a sort of "auto-responder".

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  Employment of an Auto-Responder to Assist with Decisions and Routing within a Workflow Process

   Disclosed is an approach for the assistance of decision-making or branching within process models maintained by "workflow" software packages. Of particular interest are cases in which pertinent data is not "contained" within a workflow process, but must be accessed and examined by an external entity in order to drive model branching. While external "callouts" are common and basic to workflow software, they are typically used when process models require processing of passed-down "container" data. The special case cited here arises when process models need to make decisions based on data beyond their "reach".

Toward this, a lightweight "auto-responder program" whose function is to access nonlocal data and return an appropriate response is proposed. Such a program may be realized in a variety of languages and/or programming paradigms (such as message flows for message-oriented middleware). The returned data may be attached to "transition conditions" imposed in workflow models, thereby assisting with their "where to next" decisions. What distinguishes the "auto-responder" from other applications in an integrated system is that it exists only for the evaluation of information for the use of the workflow software. No other application has that specialized role, so no overlap of function occurs. The program is further set apart by its implementation goals of simplicity, short life, relative invisibility with respect...