This book offers a comprehensive introduction to workflow management, the management of business processes with information technology. By defining, analyzing, and redesigning an organization's resources and operations, workflow management systems ensure that the right information reaches the right person or computer application at the right time. The book provides a basic overview of workflow terminology and organization, as well as detailed coverage of workflow modeling with Petri nets. Because Petri nets make definitions easier to understand for nonexperts, they facilitate communication between designers and users. The book includes a chapter of case studies, review exercises, and a glossary.
The traditional view of information systems as tailor-made, cost-intensive database applications is changing rapidly. The change is fueled partly by a maturing software industry, which is making greater use of off-the-shelf generic components and standard software solutions, and partly by the onslaught of the information revolution. In turn, this change has resulted in a new set of demands for information services that are homogeneous in their presentation and interaction patterns, open in their software architecture, and global in their scope. The demands have come mostly from application domains such as e-commerce and banking, manufacturing (including the software industry itself), training, education, and environmental management, to mention just a few.
Future information systems will have to support smooth interaction with a large variety of independent, multi-vendor data sources and legacy applications running on heterogeneous platforms and distributed information networks. Metadata will play a crucial role in describing the contents of such data sources and in facilitating their integration.