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Workflow Introduction

BPM and Workflow eBook Series

Cover: Introduction to BPM and Workflow
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Why are Workflow Standards Relevant?
Organizations making an investment in workflow software want to be sure that their investment is going to be protected. With standards users can have confidence that essential criteria will be met, hence reducing the risk involved. This clearly becomes of paramount importance when workflow systems are required to interoperate with those of other organizations whenever business processes are conducted across organizational boundaries.

Workflow Standards Framework
The Workflow Management Coalition has developed a framework for the establishment of workflow standards. This framework includes five categories of interoperability and communication standards that will allow multiple workflow products to coexist and interoperate within a user's environment. More technical details are available in the WfMC document  Workflow Reference Model. (PDF Doc of original specification).


Workflow Reference Model Diagram

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Workflow Reference Model

Workflow Reference Model Diagram 2010


Workflow Reference Model

In order to progress these objectives, the following WfMC working groups have been established:

Working Groups   Objectives
Reference Model & Glossary
Specify a framework for workflow systems, identifying their characteristics, functions and interfaces. Development of standard terminology for workflow systems.
Process Definition Tools Interface (1)
Definition of a standard interface between process definition and modeling tools and the work flow engine(s).
Workflow Client Application Interface (2)
Definition of APIs for client applications to request services from the workflow engine to control the progression of processes, activities and work-items.
Invoked Application Interface (3)
A standard interface definition of APIs to allow the workflow engine to invoke a variety of applications, through common agent software.
Workflow Interoperability Interface (4)
Definition of workflow interoperability models and the corresponding standards to support interworking.
Administration & Monitoring Tools Interface (5)
The definition of monitoring and control functions.
To develop the Coalition's policy on product conformance against its specifications and agree an approach to vendor certification.

Public documents relating to these interfaces can be found at WfMC

What is the Workflow Management Coalition?

The Workflow Management Coalition, founded in August 1993, is a non-profit, international organization of workflow vendors, users, analysts and university/research groups. The Coalition’s mission is to promote and develop the use of workflow through the establishment of standards for software terminology, interoperability and connectivity among BPM and workflow products. Comprising more than 250 members worldwide, the Coalition is the primary standards body for this software market.

Workflow Standards Framework

The Coalition has developed a framework for the establishment of workflow standards. This framework includes five categories of interoperability and communication standards that will allow multiple workflow products to coexist and interoperate within a user’s environment. Technical details are included in the white paper entitled, “The Work of the Coalition,” available at www.wfmc.org.

Why should you join the WfMC?

  1. Gain Access to Members-Only Research and Q&A Forums

  2. Participate in Members-Only “Brown Bag” Networking Sessions and Industry Speaker Series

  3. Receive Free Admission to Business Process Focused Events and Programs (a Benefit Worth $1,000s Annually)

  4. Access to Access to the Industry’s Largest Research Library on Business Process Modeling, Workflow, BPMS

  5. Assistance in Product Certification and Conformance, as well as Requirements Analysis and Procurement Strategy 

Being a member of the Workflow Management Coalition gives you the unique opportunity to participate in the creation of standards for the workflow industry as they are developing. Your contributions to our community ensure that progress continues in the adoption of royalty-free workflow and process standards.



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