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Monitoring in a Workflow Management System Disclosure Number: IPCOM000012600D
Original Publication Date: 2003-May-19
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-May-19
Document File: 6 page(s) / 32K

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Proposes materialized query tables as a means for workflow management systems for providing monitor support

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Monitoring in a Workflow Management System

1. Introduction Workflow management systems [1] support the definition and execution of business processes. The major constructs in drawing processes are activities and control connectors. The activities describe the tasks to be performed, and the control connectors describe the potential sequence in which the activities are to be carried out. Figure 1 shows schematically the structure of such a process graph.

Figure 1 Process Model

    Activities are represented as named circles; the name typically describes the purpose of the activity. Activities come in various flavors to address the different tasks that may need to be performed. They may have different activity implementations to meet these diverse needs. Program activities are performed by an assigned program, process activities are performed by another process, and blocks implement a macro with a built-in do-until loop.

    Control connectors are represented as arrows; the head of the arrow describes the direction in which the flow of control is moving through the process. The activity where the control connector starts is called the source activity; where it ends is called the target activity.

    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.

    The runtime component of the workflow management system creates process instances based on the selected process model and interprets these process instances according to the underlying process graph. For each activity, the runtime component determines which users should carry out the activity and assign a work

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item to each of the users, When a user selects the work item, the associated activity implementation is carried out. After completion of an activity, the next activity is processed. This navigation through a process instance is repeated until the last activities within the process graph have been reached.

    Workflow management systems typically support administrative users with the capability for requesting information about an object or a set of objects. Frank Leymann and Dieter Roller, Production Workflow: Concepts and Techniques [1] call this support monitoring. This includes functions to take snapshots of the workflow management system's throughput or to track the amount of work that is created and processed by users and organizations.

    Typically monitoring is carried out by some user requesting the information; however monitoring could also be done by having an application periodically requesting particular monitor functions.

    It is not necessary that the results of monitoring are up-to-date to the last second; in fact it is quite often desirable that the results are the...