ADEPTevolution - Schema Evolution in Workflow Systems

Description

The use of enterprise-wide standard software (e.g., ERP systems) often leads to a rigid implementation of the business processes. Respective software systems lack the necessary flexibility since process adaptations are expensive, time-consuming, and error-prone. However, the ability to quickly react to business process changes and to adapt process-oriented application systems accordingly is indispensable for any enterprise to stay competitive in its market.

Process changes range from ad-hoc modifications of single business cases to evolutionary changes of whole business process. The former are required, for instance, to deal with exceptional situations. The latter become necessary, for example, when new laws come into effect, optimized or restructured business processes shall be implemented, or rapid reactions to a changed market are required. Adaptive workflow technology offers a promising approach in this context.

Especially for long-running workflows  it is desirable to propagate workflow type changes (i.e., changes of the related WF schema) to running workflow instances (of this type) as well. Very challenging in this context is to correctly and efficiently adapt a (potentially) large collection of workflows which may be in different states and to which various ad-hoc changes may have been previously applied. In the latter case we do not only have to care about the current state of respective workflow instances, but must also cope with structural and semantical conflicts that may exist between workflow type and workflow instance changes.

 

Fig. 1: Schema Evolution and Related Instance Migrations

The overall project goal was to develop a comprehensive approach for workflow schema evolution and change propagation in (adaptive) workflow systems. In particular, we addressed fundamental issues related to the following fields: 

  • Comprehensive correctness criteria for dynamic workflow changes (e.g., compliance of workflow instances with a modified workflow schema)

  • Design and implementation principles for adaptive workflow models 

  • Efficient compliance checks as well as eficient and automatic migration of compliant workflow instances to a changed schema

  • Adequate treatment of non-compliant and semi-compliant workflow instances

  • Common support of changes at the workflow type and the workflow instance level 

  • Propagating workflow type changes to "unbiased" as well as "biased" workflow instances (i.e., instances without and instance with preceding ad-hoc modifications) 

  • Treatment of state related, structural and semantical conflicts that may exist between workflow type and workflow instance changes

  • Architecture and implementation of adaptive workflow technology 

Besides practical issues the very important aspect of our work was its formal style and rigour. We developed fundamental axioms and theorems for the correct treatment of dynamic and concurrent workflow changes. We consider this as indispensable in order to come to a comprehensive and implementable solution for adaptive workflow technology.

The developed concepts have been prototypically implemented in a powerful software demonstrator. The respective tool was presented at events like BPM'03, ICDE'05, CAiSE'06, and CeBit'06. An integrated implementation of the described features with other advanced process support functions is accomplished within the ADEPT2 project.

 

 Fig 2. Implemented Software Demonstrator

Partners

  • Institute of Databases and Information Systems

Funding

  • This research project was partially funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; DFG)

Duration

  • 2001 - 2004

Additional Information

Publications

| 2014 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 |

2014

Kreher, Ulrich (2014) Konzepte, Architektur und Implementierung adaptiver Prozessmanagementsysteme. Phd thesis, University of Ulm. file

2010

Rinderle-Ma, Stefanie and Reichert, Manfred (2010) Advanced Migration Strategies for Adaptive Process Management Systems. In: 12th IEEE Conference on Commerce and Enterprise Computing (CEC' 10), Shanghai, China, November 2010, IEEE Computer Society, pp. 56-63. file

2009

Dadam, Peter and Reichert, Manfred and Rinderle-Ma, Stefanie and Goeser, Kevin and Kreher, Ulrich and Jurisch, Martin (2009) Von ADEPT zur AristaFlow BPM Suite - Eine Vision wird Realität: "Correctness by Construction" und flexible, robuste Ausführung von Unternehmensprozessen. EMISA Forum, 29(1): 9-28, Koellen-Verlag. file
Reichert, Manfred and Rinderle-Ma, Stefanie and Dadam, Peter (2009) Flexibility in Process-aware Information Systems. LNCS Transactions on Petri Nets and Other Models of Concurrency (ToPNoC), Special Issue on Concurrency in Process-aware Information Systems. , LNCS 5460, Springer, Vol. 2, pp. 115-135. file
Reichert, Manfred and Dadam, Peter and Rinderle-Ma, Stefanie and Jurisch, Martin and Kreher, Ulrich and Goeser, Kevin (2009) Architecural Principles and Components of Adaptive Process Management Technology. Lecture Notes in Informatics (LNI) P-151, Koellen-Verlag, In: PRIMIUM - Process Innovation for Enterprise Software. pp. 81-97. file

2008

Rinderle-Ma, Stefanie and Reichert, Manfred and Weber, Barbara (2008) Relaxed Compliance Notions in Adaptive Process Management Systems. In: Proceedings 27th Int'l Conference on Conceptual Modeling (ER'08), Barcelona, Spain, October 2008, LNCS 5231, Springer, pp. 232-247. file

2006

Rinderle, Stefanie and Kreher, Ulrich and Lauer, Markus and Dadam, Peter and Reichert, Manfred (2006) On Representing Instance Changes in Adaptive Process Management Systems. In: Proc. First IEEE Workshop on Flexibility in Process-aware Information Systems (ProFlex'06) (in conjunction with WETICE'06 ), Manchester, England, IEEE Computer Society Press, pp. 297-302. file
Rinderle, Stefanie and Reichert, Manfred and Jurisch, Martin and Kreher, Ulrich (2006) On Representing, Purging, and Utilizing Change Logs in Process Management Systems. In: Proc. 4th Int'l Conf. on Business Process Management (BPM'06), Vienna, Austria, LNCS 4102, Springer, pp. 241-256. file

2005

Reichert, Manfred and Rinderle, Stefanie and Kreher, Ulrich and Dadam, Peter (2005) Adaptive Process Management with ADEPT2. In: Proc. Int'l Conf. on Data Engineering (ICDE'05), Tokyo, Japan, IEEE Computer Society Press, pp. 1113-1114. file
Rinderle, Stefanie and Reichert, Manfred (2005) On the Controlled Evolution of Access Rules in Cooperative Information Systems. In: Proc. 13th Int'l Conf. on Cooperative Information Systems (CoopIS'05) [Best Paper Award], Agia Napa, Cyprus, LNCS 3760, Springer, pp. 238-255. file

2004

Lauer, Markus and Rinderle, Stefanie and Reichert, Manfred (2004) Repräsentation von Schema- und Instanzobjekten in adaptiven Prozess-Management-Systemen. In: Proc. Workshop Geschäftsprozessorientierte Architekturen (Informatik'04), Germany, Lecture Notes in Informatics (LNI) P-51, Koellen-Verlag, pp. 555-560. file
Rinderle, Stefanie and Reichert, Manfred and Dadam, Peter (2004) Flexible Support of Team Processes by Adaptive Workflow Systems. Distributed and Parallel Databases, 16(1): 91-116, Springer. file
Rinderle, Stefanie and Reichert, Manfred and Dadam, Peter (2004) Correctness Criteria for Dynamic Changes in Workflow Systems: A Survey. Data & Knowledge Engineering, 50(1): 9-34. file
Rinderle, Stefanie and Reichert, Manfred and Dadam, Peter (2004) On Dealing with Structural Conflicts between Process Type and Instance Changes. In: Proc. 2nd. Int'l Conf. Business Process Management (BPM'04), Potsdam, Germany, LNCS 3080, Springer, pp. 274-289. file
Rinderle, Stefanie and Reichert, Manfred and Dadam, Peter (2004) Disjoint and Overlapping Process Changes: Challenges, Solutions, Applications. In: Proc. 11th Int'l Conf. on Cooperative Information Systems (CooplS'04), Agia Napa, Cyprus, LNCS 3290, Springer, pp. 101-121. file
Rinderle, Stefanie (2004) Schema Evolution in Process Management Systems. Phd thesis, Uni Ulm. file

2003

Reichert, Manfred and Rinderle, Stefanie and Dadam, Peter (2003) On the Common Support of Workflow Type and Instance Changes under Correctness Constraints. In: Proc. 11th Int'l Conf. Cooperative Information Systems (CooplS '03), Catania, Italy, LNCS 2888, Springer, pp. 407-425. file
Reichert, Manfred and Rinderle, Stefanie and Dadam, Peter (2003) A Formal Framework For Workflow Type And Instance Changes Under Correctness Constraints. Technical Report UIB-2003-01, Universität Ulm. file
Rinderle, Stefanie and Reichert, Manfred and Dadam, Peter (2003) Evaluation of Correctness Criteria for Dynamic Workflow Changes. In: Proc. 1st Int'l Conf. on Business Process Management (BPM '03), Eindhoven, Netherlands, LNCS 2678, Springer, pp. 41-57. file
Rinderle, Stefanie and Dadam, Peter (2003) Schemaevolution in Workflow-Management-Systemen. Informatik-Spektrum, 26(1): 17-19. file
Rinderle, Stefanie and Reichert, Manfred and Dadam, Peter (2003) Supporting Workflow Schema Evolution By Efficient Compliance Checks. Technical Report UIB-2003-02, Universität Ulm. file
Rinderle, Stefanie and Reichert, Manfred and Dadam, Peter (2003) On Dealing With Semantically Conflicting Business Process Changes.. Technical Report UIB-2003-04, University of Ulm. file

2002

Bauer, Thomas and Reichert, Manfred (2002) Dynamische Änderung von Serverzuordnungen in verteilten Workflow-Management-Systemen. Datenbank-Spektrum, Vol. 4, pp. 59-67. file
Rinderle, Stefanie and Reichert, Manfred and Dadam, Peter (2002) Effiziente Verträglichkeitsprüfung und automatische Migration von Workflow-Instanzen bei der Evolution von Workflow-Schemata. Informatik - Forschung und Entwicklung, Springer, Vol. 17, pp. 177-197. file
Rinderle, Stefanie and Reichert, Manfred and Dadam, Peter (2002) Effiziente Verträglichkeitsprüfung und automatische Migration von Workflow-Instanzen bei der Evolution von Workflow-Schemata. Technical Report UIB-2002-01, Universität Ulm. file