Extending Business Processes with Mobile Task Support: A Self-Healing Solution Architecture

Extending Business Processes with Mobile Task Support: A Self-Healing Solution Architecture

Rüdiger Pryss (University of Ulm, Germany), Steffen Musiol (University of Ulm, Germany) and Manfred Reichert (University of Ulm, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6178-3.ch005


Process management technology constitutes a fundamental component of any service-driven computing environment. Process management facilitates both the composition of services at design-time and their orchestration at runtime. In particular, when applying the service paradigm to enterprise integration, high flexibility is required. In this context, atomic as well as composite services representing the business functions should be quickly adaptable to cope with dynamic business changes. Furthermore, they should enable mobile and quick access to enterprise information. The growing maturity of smart mobile devices has fostered their prevalence in knowledge-intensive areas in the enterprise as well. As a consequence, process management technology needs to be extended with mobile task support. However, process tasks, hitherto executed in a stationary manner, cannot be simply transferred to run on smart mobile devices. Many research groups focus on the partitioning of processes and the distributed execution of the resulting fragments on smart mobile devices. Opposed to this fragmentation concept, this chapter proposes an approach to enable the robust and flexible execution of single process tasks on smart mobile devices by provisioning self-healing techniques to address the smooth integration of mobile tasks with business processes.
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Many domains crave for the integration of smart mobile devices into business process execution (Pryss et al., 2012; Lenz & Reichert, 2007). Figure 1 shows a simplified healthcare example illustrating this. It depicts a ward round process for which mobile assistance is required (Pryss et al., 2012; Pryss et al., 2014). For instance, Prepare Ward Round constitutes a task whose mobile support would ease daily work of healthcare professionals.

Key Terms in this Chapter

User List Task: The user list task constitutes an element of the delegation service. To be more precise, this task will be used to compute the user lists of the mobile task and its delegation tasks before they will be activated.

Mobile Process: A process that contains tasks executed on mobile devices.

Delegation Service: In the context of mobile task execution, the delegation service is able to delegate task execution to another mobile user at the occurrence of errors. That delegation will be performed automatically without allowing users to decline it.

Validation Task: The validation task constitutes another element of the delegation service. It allows confirming the execution of the backup task, i.e., the backup task may only be confirmed if it provides same information as the failed mobile task. Note that the mobile user responsible for the failed (mobile) task is also responsible for confirming the task.

Entailment Constraint: An entailment constraint defines a dependency between tasks. As examples of such constraints, consider separation of duties (i.e., two particular tasks of a process instance must be executed by different users) and binding of duties (i.e., two particular tasks of a process instance must be executed by the same user).

Instant Shutdown: An instant shutdown means that a user switches off the mobile device without considering the current device state or the state of the application currently running. As a consequence, when re-activating the device, the last state (and data) may be erased. Usually, respective shutdowns are applied if a context switch becomes necessary, in which case the mobile device disrupts the user.

Backup Service: In the context of mobile task execution, the backup service which is run on a stationary device ensures that mobile tasks providing data for subsequent tasks will be executed properly in exceptional situations.

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