Interflow Application Model: The Design of Cross-Organizational Workflow Processes and Distributed Operations Management
Groupware Technical Sub Comittee 1, The Japanese Standards Association
Workflow management systems are being deployed in enterprises as a new kind of information infrastructure, helping to streamline and automate office work processes. A key feature of these systems is that they automate the workflow itself. Such a system can predefine the routine work procedures with the relevant information, the role of the participants at each step of the work, and application software required to process each step. Then each new case is automatically assigned to the participants in proper sequence, information is delivered to the people needing it, and applications are launched as needed. The system automatically performs this management, thereby helping to eliminate human error and streamlining information flow, so that the work can be performed efficiently.
Workflow systems like this are today being used in a variety of fields. They range from relatively small-scale tasks such as handling business trip paperwork, supply orders and other in-house forms, to larger jobs such as managing the progress from order receipt to delivery, or even larger workflows on the scale of tracking financial transactions in the banking industry.
This document covers the concepts, terminology, general structure of a workflow management system, its major functional components and the interfaces and information interchange flows between them. It identifies the areas appropriate for standardisation and illustrates the potential interoperability scenarios which may be supported through the use of common standards. It also discusses, where appropriate, the applicability of existing standards to workflow management systems and their integration with other standard IT services. It does not cover wider aspects of business process engineering which lie outside the use of information technology to support the business process.