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Workflows in Dynamic Environments-- Can they be managed

Workflows in Dynamic Environments –

Can they be managed?

Shazia W. Sadiq

Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

The University of Queensland

QLD 4072 Australia

email:shazia@csee.uq.edu.au

Abstract: Business environments have become exceedingly dynamic

and competitive in recent times. Workflow technology is currently one

of the most promising fields of research in business process automation.

However, workflow systems to date do not provide the flexibility

necessary to support the dynamic nature of business processes. In this

paper we primarily present the issues and challenges related to

managing workflows in dynamic environments, and provide feasibility

considerations for the automation of this process. We also present an

analysis of workflow modifications and potential solutions in this

regard.

1The Challenge

Recent technological advancements have made it possible for organizations to automate their business processes extensively. Specialized information systems have emerged, which are tailored to specific functional divisions of organizations. At the same time, there have been giant leaps in connectivity, owing to advancement in communication infrastructure and protocols. Organizations now seek to achieve higher goals by consolidating their specialized, but distributed and often disconnected resources. The introduction of the workflow paradigm, after considerable maturity of information systems, database management, and networking infrastructure, was the next logical step in business process automation.

A Workflow is defined as the automation of a business process, in whole or part, during which documents, information or tasks are passed from one participant to another for action, according to a set of procedural rules [WFM Coalition 1998]. Even though every business process will have some f
orm of ‘flow of work’, there are of course, certain processes which are more suited for automation with workflow technology.

A Workflow is defined as the automation of a business process, in whole or part, during which documents, information or tasks are passed from one participant to another for action, according to a set of procedural rules [WFM Coalition 1998]. Even though every business process will have some form of ‘flow of work’, there are of course, certain processes which are more suited for automation with workflow technology.

Workflows have been classified in many ways. The trade press classifies workflows into three categories: Ad-hoc, Production, Administrative, on the basis or repetitiveness, predictability and functionality. [Georgakopoulos et al., 1995]

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