Policy and Process Discussion
Ken K opens with a very funny cat herding video
Richard – Penn State
2004 Strategic Initiative was developed along with a plan. Purchased the Fujitsu workflow engine on Linux on a Mainframe. Moving 75 Mainframe forms.
2 academic and 1 financial process will be done first.
Will establish a Workflow Governance body. Want to leverage existing policies. Standardize and streamline central approvals. There will be a “Role Steward” who will assign roles, handle DELEGATES (permanent) and PROXIES (temporary).
The Web Role Assigning Tool (WebRAT) is a tool for creating the roles. The Web Stewards put people into the roles.
At MIT how many roles are there for Financials? About 50
Stanford did a business process re-engineering got number of roles down to 85
Barry Walsh – were able to boil down the number of roles since most were hierarchical. The roles don’t change very much. The people change but the actual roles don’t change. IU had the stake-holders take responsibility for defining the key roles and mapping people in offices to those roles.
The flow is different for each department. One department may have subflows that are outside of the official process. There will be one Fiscal Officer Approval role for each department. They allow the department to map their own processes into the system but they don’t care at all about what they do inside of the department.
Make the roles names meaningful in the workflow world: PurchaseOrderApprover, TimeCardApprover, etc.
There is a teeter-totter issue around automatically mapping people into roles. Quite often people cannot be mapped into workflow roles because the titles in HR don’t align with business functions. So people have to be manually mapped into a role. But, when a person leaves, they may abandon a queue in a workflow unless they delegate their functions before they leave. Need to store the mapping of the people by the PVI and then check that the person who is identified by their PVI is still present.
I suggest: Are there a suite of standard processes that we all have to go through because they are mandated by law or other agency that we could jointly develop and share? These would be the back-bone business processes and the departments may do some other stuff. We would document these in a high level language like UML or BPEL and share them. This might act as a jump-start for workflow initiatives. You could take the bundle and say, “these are the basic steps that we must implement…” in discussion with campus.
Ken K, “Jim has a dream…”
Barry Welsh – from the financial side, all institutions are following a suite of standards in one or two ways. He seconds my suggestion.
Federated and Inter-institutional Workflow
Paul Hill – Vendor Purchasing Process
MIT has a list of approved vendors. Purchasers can buy directly from the vendors without going through a purchase request process. They have a B2B workflow that allows people to log in to the vendor system via X509 Digital Certificates. They fill out their shopping cart. The line item detail flows back to an SAP system workflow which finishes the order process.
Grants.gov web site now has a WebService interface http://www.grants.gov/WebServices. You can download all of the source code and build your own little Grants.gov to debug against.
Scott Thorne – OKI and OSIDS
Scott discusses service abstraction through OSIDS.
The Unified Field Theory of Workflow
Final Session. Steve O is taking notes on the EDUCAUSE Wiki.
Bob Morgan – Identity and Privilege management seem closely tied or aligned. How to align the Internet2 efforts with Workflow? How does workflow align with Enterprise Service Bus, Message Oriented Middleware and SOA overall?
Paul Hill – are we ready to start on an authorization roadmap?
Steve – an interesting contrast: Workflow likes to have small decomposable services that does it thing then goes away where as our authentication/authorization systems usually support long big transactions (you log in all day).
Steve (Mellon) – standards are essential. His nightmare – that any meaningful semantic web will require 400 extensions in Firefox. His other nightmare is that there will be a proliferation of Workflow schemes. Not sure that BPEL and WS-* are a solution yet. There is another issue which is that Microsoft’s first product to contain their new workflow product is MS Office which was launched today. Which will win, the top-down version of workflow or the bottom-up version. He is looking for a compelling set of USE CASES for workflow. He would like to see the most horrendous set of USE CASES in the workflow space.
He would like to see a cross-communicatin on workflow between education and financial, etc.
Ken K – tie the use cases to Jim’s flow paradigms and match to Levels Of Assurance needed for that flow paradigm.
RDF and Semantic Web as a way to bridge workflow engines – premature but should be watched. Also, keep in my internationalization – UNICODE, legislative complexities. This might come up from the grid computing side of things.