Tag Archives: workflow

Advanced CAMP – Enterprise Workflow 2nd day

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.

Advanded CAMP – Afternoon Session

Case Studies

My presentation

I have posted separately here: Educause CAMP Enterprise Workflow Case Study

You can also find it onmy EDUCAUSE Profile Page

Manish Devjani – NYU

NYU is using Oracle Workflow as a stand-alone system. They have several automated workflows in place: Budget Integration Application (Modification, Submission, Capital Projects, Grants), Personnel Action Submission System, Tuition Remission App, Webcard App (fund raising), Adminstrative Tools (Change Management System ModTrak, Project Management ProjTrak, ITS Services Tracking ServTrak)

The Workflow engine is embedded in the NYU portal. Authentication goes against the NYU LDAP Services.

The workflow system generates a lot of data: email notifications, logs. Issues around when do you purge, what must you archive, what are the retention policies/requirements?

Joe Sharp – Microsoft’s Workflow Strategy

Window’s Workflow Foundation – reduction of all of the various workflow efforts within Microsoft (six different engines) to one. The workflow engine was designed to be embedded inside of other solutions. The Workflow engine compiles workflows as .Net assemblies.

BizTalk Server – “premium BPM server”. Use in B2B, EAI, BPM scenarios. BizTalk Server comprised of: (bottom up) Adapters, Transformation, Messaging, Orchestration, Accelerators. Side Bars: Design Tools (down left side), BAM and Admin Tools (down right side).

“UML is lacking in the class diagram capabilities”. “Microsoft held the OMG at an arm’s length”.

WinFX: Windows Workflow Foundation,

Workflow will replace Orchestration in the BizTalk server.


Advanced CAMP – Enterprise Workflow Morning Session

I’m in Burlington Vermont – just after the flood – attending the EDUCAUSE Advanced Camp on Workflow Models and Technologies. This meeting has a wiki space at Internet2.

Paul Hill, Bob Morgan – Opening Presentation

Discussion around “what is workflow”

Is there a difference between Human Workflow and Business Process Orchestration?

Industry will use the term workflow loosely – it can mean a generic business process, it can mean document management, it can mean orchestration…

A good qoute. The previous paradigm was humans trying to get the most out of the computer. “Workflow is about the computer getting the most out of the human elements” When you do have to touch a human, make that as efficient as possible.

Workflow and Middleware

(1)To extend the workflow across multiple system, processing must interact with AuthN/Z and directory services using existing MWare infrastructure.

(2)Workflow can be used to facilitate the management of IdM and AuthN/Z systems. Sun made recent announcements about adding workflow to their IdM system.

Microsoft Published an Architecture journal that was focused on Workflow.

Approval processes in privilege management systems

Persona A can have role B with approval of person C. Tom Barton states that a good privilege management system alleviates the needs for the workflow for approval.

Other areas: Shibboleth approval processes. Virtual Organizations (VO). If VOs have the same need for workflow as real organizations, how do you deploy a workflow solution across a Virtual Organization?

WS-BPEL as presented by Joe Sharp, Architect, Microsoft. Connected Systems Division.

Orchestration vs. Choreography :

Orchestration: Execution order of web services interactions, describes process flow, includes internal and external webservices, process is always controlled by one party.

Choreography: Between different parties. Peer to Peer. Tracks the sequence of messages involving multiple parties and sources. Public message exhanges, not executable process.

BPEL standard does not yet support the definition of industry standard BPEL languages.

BPEL is Web services specific. It is WSDL only. The efforts today is focused on the execution language. The choreography portion is not in focus at this point in time. New efforts are spinning up to deal with the choreography portion. BPEL 2.0 should be out later this year.

Open source BPEL products: Twister, bexee

BPEL “Opportunities” – Compensation Patterns – the ability to roll back transactions based on a failure at a future point in time. Some portions should be rolled back, others may not. Compensation means doing another business transaction to compensate for a business traction that really occurred. Since in workflow, the business transactions occur and the events really occur. You cannot “undo” the cutting of check or the digging of a trench. You have to trigger a second business process to request a refund or fill the trench.

Karl Frank – Borland and OMG

Specialized in modeling business process – contributor to UML 2 and 2.1, BPDM, etc.

UML2.X – State Transition Diagram and Activity Diagram are related to workflow business process modeling.

Model Driven Architecture – capture the required business functionality without contamination of implementation specifics.

Merger with BPMI (Business Process Management Institute) – Business Process Definition Metamodel, Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN). These do not separate out Orchestration from Choreography.

UML Behavior Diagrams – Statemachines for Workflow artifacts. What state is the loan application in?

BPMN model does not generate BPEL out of the box. You need to know which parts of BPMN are implemented in the BPEL specification.

Scott Thorne, Architect MIT and OKI

Reasons for doing workflow: the business process will probably outlive the technical implementation therefore having a generic model is important. Allows developers to focus on application specific technologies not rewriting infrastructure functions.

When you are designing you Web services, spend the time to be sure that you have vetted the designs with a wide variety of consumers to plan for changes in the future.

OKI Project Site

Education Commons dot Org

James Dalziel, Director, Macquarie ELearning Centre of Excellence(MELCOE), Macquarie University

MAMS – Identity and access management – leading Shibboleth rollout 500K+ identities. Developing Sharpe and Autograph

LAMS – eLearning workflow system


RAMP (Research Activityflow and Middleware Priorities)

  1. Part 1 – Authorization – generalized library using XACML
  2. Part 2 – Activityflow – “People-based workflow” for eResearch. Especially concurrent multi-actor multi-step workflows. Demonstrator of re-usable activityflows (builds on LAMS 2 core). Theoretical review of workflow standards and concepts
  3. Part 3 – Authorization/Activityflow fusion exploration.

LAMS – based on new field of “Learning Design” based on IMS Learning Design specification. Goes beyond that. Web app (J2EE+Flash) Open source (GPL). Any teacher could create and run. Core concepts of LAMS are not e-learning specific. Concurrent multi-actor, multi-step workflow systems. LAMS community site with about 1300 community developed flows.

I’m very intrigued with the LAMS project. Could we use this for Architecture requirements gathering? Here is our standard workflow(s). Here are the steps that we follow.

LAMS v2 – provides a modular architecture for building different kinds of people-based worklfow systems. Separation of workflow core engine from workflow object definitions.

Starting up RAMS – Research Activity Management System. A new suite of activity tools appropriate for research based activities. Currently vaporware.

Brian McGough, UITS – Kuali Enterprise workflow (KEW)

Started out as OneStart Workflow. Worked with Cornell and changed name to Kuali Enterprise Workflow.

They have a Java API and a Web Services API. Java is most used client. There is an Edoc Lite (for non-programmers) – easy to use, XML document definition, for form based workflow.

KEW is a general-purpose electronic routing infrastructure (workflow engine) designed to facility the automation of mediated business processes.

Routing is based on E-Docs.

In order to make workflow decisions based on payload content (content based routing), you need to map the content within your payload in a semantically neutral way.

Rules – application routing data stored in workflow. Prevents client application from writing screens and logic to maintain their routing data. Routing data for multiple apps housing in a single location, can be managed from a single place. Rule functions driven by java/xml components.

KEW 3.0 is moving towards industry standards: BPEL and ESB.