Flexible workflow runtime for agile business environments

Interorganizational collaboration in virtual enterprises is based on dynamic requirements and agile organizational setups. Business processes need to address these constraints both on the design-time (setup and modelling of business) and run-time perspective (operation/execution of business).

ComVantage addresses this challenge with the Industrial App Framework (IAF) that offers design-time and run-time support. At design-time the business process models (created beforehand as described in result #3 and #4) are exposed as Linked Data based on a vocabulary for model interoperability and are used to create a mobile tool chain for the user leveraging two innovative concepts: generic apps and app orchestration. On one side, each step of the business process is tagged with specific requirements for the UI, navigational behaviour and backend data structures. On the other side, a pool of generic apps is offered as generic building blocks of the new workflow. Each generic app features an atomic set of functionality: one screen for e.g. form-based data input or chart-based data visualization. At first, generic apps from the pool are assigned to each business process step based on the closest match of requirements and constraints.

Afterwards, those apps are adapted to the specific usage context by adapting for instance the corporate design and the use of data backends. Finally, the adapted apps are orchestrated to App Ensembles with respect to the navigational model of the target business process. At run-time, the IAF supports the deployment of App Ensembles to target devices, manages the execution of subsequent business process steps and eases further adaptation and maintenance of the workflow.

ComVantage uses pre-defined generic apps instead of creating customized UI’s from scratch as the result benefits from intuitive UI’s with matured usability and functionality. Furthermore, generic apps can be reused also in other application contexts and can be easily improved and enhanced over time. Maintenance of workflows and UI is facilitated as well as updates can be performed on business process level and the app orchestration reuses all the beforehand created definitions, adaptation and mappings again. Apps in the App Ensemble can later be easily replaced by others which may be better suited or more specifically adapted without changing the business process.