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Modeling transactions in the FUNSOFT net approach to process management

: Deiters, W.

Leymann, F.; Schenk, H.-J.; Vossen, G. ; Internationales Begegnungs- und Forschungszentrum für Informatik -IBFI- Schloß Dagstuhl, Wadern:
Transactional workflows : Dagstuhl-Seminar 15.07. - 19.07.96
Wadern: IBFI, 1996 (Dagstuhl-Seminar-Report 152)
Dagstuhl Seminar "Transactional Workflows" <1996, Wadern>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer ISST, Institutsteil Dortmund ()
business process management; Geschäftsprozeß; management; process transactions; Prozeßtransaktion

In our approach we aim at supporting various phases of what we call the "life-cycle of business processes." The phases are: 1.A modeling phase, the definition of explicit descriptions of the processes; 2. An analysis phase, the validation and verification of models in order to detect problems, errors and bottlenecks and to optimize the model, and; 3. An enactment phase, in order to support the processes to be carried out (workflows) by appropriate IT-tools. In order to provide support for these phases FUNSOFT nets, a high level Petri net language, are being used in an approach that distinguishes between different representations. On a user level representation different views emphasizing different aspects of process models are offered. These view representations are mapped and integrated onto an internal representation for analysis and enactment purposes. An application of FUNSOFT nets revealed further requirements in order to appropriately describe and manage process models. These req uirements are: (1) the identification of an atomic sphere for certain activity schedules within a process model (described by net parts in a FUNSOFT net) (2) the possibility to deal with conditions that make it necessary to stop and roll back process parts (that means to abort and roll back the firing of net parts.) For supporting these requirements the FUNSOFT nets are being extended by the concept of FUNSOFT net transactions. In order to keep the resulting nets comprehensible in size (in terms of net nodes) new net elements (non-refined and refined transaction agencies) have been introduced on the user level representation. These transaction agencies identify the atomic sphere (the net part that should be run under transactional properties). Second, startup and termination conditions are introduced in order to distinguish objects that are needed for starting or terminating a transaction from those objects that are seen as intermediate inputs or outputs. For the latter objects the is o lation property is released. Furthermore, they encompass definitions for abort and recovery. A transaction can be aborted due to time constraints (if a specified time limit is exceeded), due to internal abortion trigger (conditions defined in the process model),or due to external abortion trigger (abort by an authorized user of the process management system). The required behavior of FUNSOFT transactions is achieved by inapping transaction agencies onto nets in the internal process model representation. That means for each transaction agency new net parts are generated that ensure the required transactional properties. These net parts are integrated with those net parts from the user level representation defining the remaining process schedule. By that the resulting nets are kept comprehensible for understanding process models on the user level representation while the required transactional properties are ensured on the internal process representation. A first version of the transac ti on concept for FUNSOFT nets has been implemented in the CORMAN prototype for process management.