Browse Prior Art Database

Supporting Expiration of Activities in Workflow Systems

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000123819D
Original Publication Date: 1999-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-05
Document File: 3 page(s) / 94K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Leymann, F: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

1. Introduction. Workflow systems support the definition and execution of business processes. Those business processes are made up of a set of activities. The sequence in which these activities are executed is specified via control connectors. These activities are carried out by users. If they are not completed in a specified time frame, notification may take place; that means an alert is sent to a specified person indicating that the activity has not yet been completed. Regardless whether notification is active or not, the activity must be explicitly completed via appropriate actions.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Supporting Expiration of Activities in Workflow Systems

   1.  Introduction

   Workflow systems support the definition and execution of
business processes.  Those business processes are made up of a set of
activities.  The sequence in which these activities are executed is
specified via control connectors.  These activities are carried out
by users.  If they are not completed in a specified time frame,
notification may take place; that means an alert is sent to a
specified person indicating that the activity has not yet been
completed.  Regardless whether notification is active or not, the
activity must be explicitly completed via appropriate actions.

   In some cases, processing of an activity is no longer
necessary, if a certain time has passed.

   This software patent application proposes a method to
address the possibility that activities expire.

   2.  State of the Art

   Dependent on the implementation of an activity, several
activity types are differentiated: process activities are
implemented via a sub-process, or program activities via
executables, such as programs or DLLS.  Information activities have
no implementation at all; they are just used to convey some
information.

   When an activity is processed in the course of navigating
through the process, the workflow system generates work items for
selected users.  These work items are made available to those
selected users via a graphical end user interface.  When a user
selects such a work item, the appropriate activity implementation is
invoked.  For a program activity the appropriate executable is
invoked, for a process activity the specified sub process is
started, and for an information activity the appropriate information
is displayed.

   When the user does not complete the assigned activity in
time, appropriate notification takes place, if it has been defined
for the activity.  In any case, the activity is not completed until
the user starts the activity or a process administrator finishes the
activity by some other means.

   3.  Problem Statement

   Figure 1 shows a business process where an activity is no
longer of interest after a certain time frame or when the other
parts of the process has completed.

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