ODBASE'08 Keynote speakerRichard Hull
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
Yorktown Heights, NY, USA
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Artifacts in Business Processes: Helping Workflows Become Declarative
Traditional workflow is process-centric, which brings challenges in the areas of easy evolvability, component re-use, distributions of workflows across multiple organizations, the use of broadly-based key performance indicators (KPIs), and provenance. IBM Research has been working on a new approach to workflow design and implementation, which is fundamentally data-centric. In this approach, business operations are first modeled in terms of the business artifacts (or entities, or documents) that flow through the system, along with a high-level view of their life-cycle. Services (or tasks) are used to specify the automated and/or human steps that help move artifacts through their life-cycle, and the services are associated to the artifacts using procedural, graph-based, and/or declarative formalisms. This talk introduces the data-centric approach to workflow, describes a framework and tools currently in use to design and implement data-centric workflows, and overviews a variety of research challenges and opportunities stemming from the data-centric approach, ranging from the theoretical to the practical.