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........ published in NEWSLETTER # 69

By Professor A. Dogac, Middle East Technical University, Ankara (Turkey)

Workflow management systems (WFMS) are enjoying increasing popularity due to their ability to coordinate and streamline complex organizational processes within organizations of all sizes. Organizational processes are descriptions of an organization's activities engineered to fulfill its mission such as completing a business contract or satisfying a specific customer request. Gaining control of these processes allows an organization to reengineer and improve each process or adapt them to changing requirements. The goal of WFMSs is to manage these organizational processes and coordinate their execution.

The first part of the book (NATO ASI SERIES F164) introduces workflow systems, presents the current state of the art as well as of the products, standards, and research. Integration of workflow systems with collaboration tools, scalable and dynamic coordination systems, and transactional support for cooperative applications are also discussed.

The second part of the book introduces the interoperability problem and presents an in-depth treatment of the subject focusing on workflow systems. Since workflow management systems involve heterogeneous information resources, one of the major problems they face is interoperability. Interoperability in large- scale distributed information delivery systems and semantic interoperation issues along with workflow re-use are addressed in this part of the book.

The third part of the book focuses on using workflows through the Internet. Today, the public Internet and corporate intranets have become the ubiquitous communication infrastructure for developing and deploying distributed services on top of heterogeneous computing platforms. In this part of the book, Internet-based workflow systems are presented and the opportunities provided by Internet/intranet technologies to enhance the capabilities of workflow systems are discussed.

The book also includes chapters on some special issues, like security in workflow systems, reducing escalation costs in WFMS, and some recently developed workflow systems prototypes.
Reference books: F134, F164

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