Conceptual modeling of workflows
Workflow management is emerging as a challenging area for databases, stressing database technology beyond its current capabilities. Workflow management systems need to be more integrated with data management technology, in particular as it concerns the access to external databases. Thus, a convergence between workflow management and databases is occurring.
In order to make such convergence effective, however, it is required to improve and strengthen the specification of workflows at the conceptual level, by formalizing within a unique model their “internal behavior” (e.g. interaction and cooperation between tasks), their relationship to the environment (e.g. the assignment of work task to agents) and the access to external databases.
The conceptual model presented in this paper is a basis for achieving convergence of workflows and databases; the workflow description language being used combines the specification of workflows with accesses to external databases. We briefly indicate how the conceptual model presented in this paper is suitable for being supported by means of active rules on workflow-specific data structures. We foresee an immediate application of this conceptual model to workflow interoperability.
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