Distributed and Parallel Databases

, Volume 12, Issue 2–3, pp 163–191 | Cite as

The Application of Workflow Technology in Semantic B2B Integration

  • Christoph Bussler


Workflow Management Systems (WFMSs) are often used in context of B2B integration as a base technology to implement business-to-business (B2B) integration processes across enterprises. In this context the notion of “distributed inter-organizational workflows” is introduced to indicate the collaboration of enterprises on a process level. This notion requires a thorough examination presented in this article since WFMSs were not designed with inter-enterprise distribution as one of the design goals. At a closer look, the proposed use of WFMSs in context of B2B integration is often very naïve and inappropriate. Consequently it does not address the real requirements found in enterprises. Enterprises do not share common workflow definitions, let alone common workflow instance execution state and have no intent to do so due to competitive knowledge protection. Furthermore, trading partner specific business rules within enterprises are not accounted for leading to an unwanted “explosion” of workflow definitions. This article clarifies the notion of “distributed inter-organizational workflows” as well as private and public processes. Based on this definition, the appropriate use of WFMSs is shown in context of an overall B2B integration solution that allows enterprises to protect their competitive knowledge while participating in B2B integration.

business-to-business integration private and public process business rules workflow management transformation message exchange patterns B2B standards 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph Bussler
    • 1
  1. 1.Oracle CorporationRedwood ShoresUSA

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