The users of the WfMS are the workflow participants. They are characterized
by profiles that match against the roles required by the process models.
Each user connected to the system can see three types of information:
The work list of pending activities, i.e. the list of activities that the user is
required to perform.
The process list, i.e. the list of processes that the user has started with
The catalogue, i.e. the list of process models that the user can instantiate
A WfMS is the computerized facilitation or automation of a business process,
in whole or in part (Hollingsworth 1995). A workflow management system
provides procedural automation of a business process by management of the
sequence of work activities and the invocation of appropriate human or IT
resources associated with the various activity steps.
The enactment of a business process by means of a workflow system can
be divided into two phases:
A build time phase in which the business process is first analysed and
then modelled producing a process definition.
A run time phase during which one or more instances of the business
process are enacted requiring interaction with workflow participants.
Workflow participants can be either humans or software components
represented by IT tools or specific applications.
The development of a WfMS requires interaction with several types
of actors as shown in Figure 21.2. It receives from the process engineers
information on the process to enact and interacts with users that can start
processes or perform activities.
The specification of the system demands mainly enactment function-
alities and the basic monitoring interfaces. Another important interface is
the one that enables the definition of processes.
One of the requirements of the system is to be open to integration with
other systems. There are standards or proposed standards that cover the
above interfaces. We look into them in more detail in the next section.
Since workflow systems are becoming more and more popular, there are
several standards or proposed standards. The main standard body is the
Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC) (http://www.wfmc.org), which is a
consortium of the main vendors of workflow applications.