Design tool aids BPaaS companies to assure correct execution of decentralized workflows

Do you want to increase your value as a SaaS oriented software company by growing into the space of business process outsourcing, but face questions with regards to the specification and execution of decentralized business workflows? IBCN-iMinds developed a tool for service providers who want to evolve to a BPaaS (Business Process as a Service) model to define monitoring and assure correct execution of decentralized business process workflows that result from business process outsourcing.

The tool is an extended version of the generic Eclipse BPMN2 modeler. Other tools like Activiti, Camunda and Imixs-Workflow who also extended this generic Eclipse plugin have proven its ease of extensibility and compatibility with the BPMN 2.0 specification. BPMN or Business Process Model and Notation is a graphical notation, that was initially used for describing centralized business  processes, but now offers constructs for decentralized workflows as well. With more than 70 implementing BPMN engines and frameworks, it is fair to say that it is one of the most adopted standards (other well-known standards are BPEL and WS-CDL). 

The tool allows business users to design decentralized workflows. During this design step, it is possible to import workflow APIs from third parties. The API specifies which operations are allowed on the workflow (e.g. start, stop or get progress) and in which order these operations can be executed (e.g., you cannot stop a workflow before it has been started.). This agreement on the interface can be part of a service-level agreement (SLA). Additionally, the decentralized workflow can be annotated with monitoring points, for i.e. checking if the workflow that is being outsourced or processed by third parties is progressing according to the SLA. Alternatively, it is possible to define monitoring rules that describe under which conditions monitoring points should be set. 

At design time, the tool provides feedback to the designer about possible problems that can occur during execution. These problems can be that parts of the workflow are never executed or the order of interactions between workflows are ambiguously described. Decentralized workflows are executed isolated from each other. Even if the workflows behave correctly, poorly described decentralized workflows, can lead in some cases to unpredictable and unwanted executions. Therefore, it is preferred to detect these issues proactively during design time.

For more information about this tool, contact the corresponding authors:

jonas.anseeuw@intec.ugent.be, gregory.vanseghbroeck@intec.ugent.be and bruno.volckaert@intec.ugent.be

References

  • http://www.bpmn.org/#tabs-implementers
  • http://ode.apache.org/ws-bpel-20.html
  • https://www.w3.org/TR/ws-cdl-10
  • https://www.eclipse.org/bpmn2-modeler
  •  http://activiti.org
  •  https://camunda.com
  •  www.imixs.org
  •  http://www.bpmn.org
 
 

 

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