In recent years, workflow management systems have become an accepted technology to support automation in process-centric environments. Lately, organizations concentrate more and more on their core business processes while outsourcing supporting processes to other organizations, thereby forming virtual enterprises. The organizations forming the virtual enterprise operate in a B2B e-commerce setting in which provider organizations perform e-services for consumer organizations. To apply workflow management technology in these virtual enterprises, current workflow management systems need to be extended to offer support for cross-organizational processes. Transaction support, already considered an important issue in intra-organizational workflow management systems, must be extended to deal with the cross-organizational aspects as well. This paper presents a high-level, compensation based transaction model and a flexible architecture to support this transaction model, as required by cross-organizational workflow processes. Characteristic of the model is the flexibility in rollback semantics by combining rollback modes and rollback scopes. This is supported by a dynamically composed architecture that is configured using the agreements that are specified in an electronic contract that has been established between the participating organizations. The transaction model supported by the dynamically composed architecture is implemented in a prototype system, based on commercial workflow management technology.
- DB-WFM: WORKFLOW MANAGEMENT