Browse Prior Art Database

Method for efficient work item processing in Business Process Management system Disclosure Number: IPCOM000216988D
Publication Date: 2012-Apr-27
Document File: 5 page(s) / 110K

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


This article describes a method to improve the processing of work items in business processes by defining an aggregator, which enables the process step for business rules application and work item batch processing. It also connects different instances of the process for more efficient business results

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 50% of the total text.

Page 01 of 5

Method for efficient work item processing in Business Process Management system

In Business Process Management (BPM) system, a workflow definition, which includes the steps required to complete the business

process, the sequence of steps and the owners (usually in roles) who will complete the steps, can be designed and deployed. Users can create instances of the workflow definition to initiate and handle their work following the business process . The to-do on steps of workflow instances will be assigned to owners as work items. But work items on the same step of different workflow instances are not related and organized in any way, so step owners need to repeatedly process them with similar responses and cannot easily refer to other work items to decide how to handle the one currently at hand.

An example can be the expense reimbursement process that may exist in any company. Usually the company has a reimbursement process defined so the employees can initiate reimbursement request and get compensation for their expense following the steps required in the process. Each request will be an instance of the workflow definition and be processed independently as shown in the Figure 1 below.

Figure 1. Traditional work item processing model in expense reimbursement process

As work items for the same step of different workflow instances are going to the same step owner (usually represented by a role such as reviewer, approver, auditor etc.), the role will receive a number of work items that equals to the number of the workflow instances. In a heavy loaded system like the expense reimbursement system in a large company, there maybe thousands of


Page 02 of 5

workflow instances initiated for processing every day. It will be inefficient to handle the work items one by one.

In addition, due to the independence of each workflow instance, it is difficult to put related information from different workflow instances together and apply policies or business rules across them. For example, if a policy requires that the team building expense by a department in one week cannot exceed $500, the reviewer will need to manually find out how much has been reimbursed by the department in the week when handling a team building reimbursement request.

The idea to resolve the problems described above is adding an aggregator on to the workflow step definition when design the process. The aggregator can define some aggregating policy for how to merge or accumulate the work items from different process instances on the step, and also provide a mechanism to store aggregated work items and dispatch them for processing as needed . The aggregating policy defines which work item is appropriate for aggregating and when it is ready for processing. For example, in the reimbursement case above, an aggregating policy could be that reimbursement requests for team building expense need to be aggregated by department and by week, and another one could be that Taxi expense rei...