Workflow Management Coalition

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Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC) is a consortium formed to define standards for the interoperability of workflow management systems. It was founded in May 1993 with original members including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu, ICL, Staffware and approximately 300 software and services firms in the business software sector. [1]

Since its founding, the use of XML has become more widespread and today its focus is principally around process definition file interchange, using the standard XPDL. The other WfMC-created standard in use today is Wf-XML, an extension of the ASAP protocol. In contrast with BPEL, XPDL is not a compiled executable programming language, but a process design format for storing the visual diagram and process syntax of business process models, as well as extended product attributes.

Workflow Management Coalition topics[edit]

Workflow Reference Model[edit]

The Workflow Reference Model was published first in 1995 and still forms the basis of most BPM and workflow software systems in use today. It was developed from the generic workflow application structure by identifying the interfaces which enable products to interoperate at a variety of levels. All workflow systems contain a number of generic components which interact in a defined set of ways; different products will typically exhibit different levels of capability within each of these generic components. To achieve interoperability between workflow products a standardised set of interfaces and data interchange formats between such components is necessary. A number of distinct interoperability scenarios can then be constructed by reference to such interfaces, identifying different levels of functional conformance as appropriate to the range of products in the market.

XPDL (XML Process Definition Language)[edit]

An XML based language for describing a process definition, developed by the WfMC. Version 1.0 was released in 2002. Version 2.0 was released in Oct 2005. The goal of XPDL is to store and exchange the process diagram, to allow one tool to model a process diagram, and another to read the diagram and edit, another to "run" the process model on an XPDL-compliant BPM engine, and so on. For this reason, XPDL is not an executable programming language like BPEL, but specifically a process design format that literally represents the "drawing" of the process definition. Thus it has ‘XY' or vector coordinates, including lines and points that define process flows. This allows an XPDL to store a one-to-one representation of a BPMN process diagram. For this reason, XPDL is effectively the file format or "serialization" of BPMN, as well as any non-BPMN design method or process model which use in their underlying definition the XPDL meta-model (there are presently about 60 tools which use XPDL for storing process models.)

In spring 2012, the WfMC completed XPDL 2.2 as the fifth revision of this specification.[2] XPDL 2.2 builds on version 2.1 by introducing support for the process modeling extensions added to BPMN 2.0.[3]

BPSim[edit]

The Business Process Simulation (BPSim) framework is a standardized specification that allows business process models captured in either BPMN or XPDL to be augmented with information in support of rigorous methods of analysis. It defines the parameterization and interchange of process analysis data allowing structural and capacity analysis of process models. BPSim is meant to support both pre-execution and post-execution optimization of said process models. The BPSim specification consists of an underlying computer-interpretable representation (meta-model) and an accompanying electronic file format to ease the safeguard and transfer of this data between different tools (interchange format).

Wf-XML[edit]

Wf-XML is designed and implemented as an extension to the OASIS Asynchronous Service Access Protocol (ASAP). ASAP provides a standardized way that a program can start and monitor a program that might take a long time to complete. It provides the capability to monitor the running service, and be informed of changes in its status. Wf-XML extends this by providing additional standard web service operations that allow sending and retrieving the “program” or definition of the service which is provided. A process engine has this behavior of providing a service that lasts a long time, and also being programmable by being able to install process definitions.

Awards[edit]

The Workflow Management Coalition sponsors three annual award programs.

  1. The "Global Awards for Excellence in BPM & Workflow" recognizes organizations that have implemented particularly innovative workflow solutions.[4] Every year between 10 and 15 BPM and workflow solutions are recognized in this manner. WfMC publishes the case studies in the annual Excellence in Practice series.[5]
  2. WfMC inaugurated a Global Awards program in 2011 for Adaptive Case Management case studies to recognize and focus upon ACM use cases.[6] Adaptive Case Management, also known as Dynamic or Advanced Case Management, is a new technological approach to supporting knowledge workers in today's leading edge organizations. These awards are designed to highlight the best examples of technology to support knowledge workers. In 2012 nine teams were awarded top honors at the ACM Live Event and are featured in the book, "How Knowledge Workers Get Things Done." In 2013, WfMC updated the program to “WfMC Awards for Excellence in Case Management” to recognize the growing deployment of Production Case Management and the winning teams are featured in the book "Empowering Knowledge Workers."
  3. The Marvin L. Manheim Award For Significant Contributions in the Field of Workflow is given to one person every year in recognition of individual contributions to workflow and BPM standards. This award commemorates Marvin Manheim who played a key motivational role in the founding of the WfMC.

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