Specifically, the specification defines what information is to be recorded by a workflow engine regarding the events that occur during a given workflow enactment. The specification also defines a consistent format for that information to be displayed in once it is requested from a workflow engine.
Today, many businesses implementing workflow technology need to understand the true nature of what is occurring within their business processes, which may span multiple workflow enactment services. Through the audit data specification, workflow users requesting audit information from any engine that conforms with the specification will be able to receive the data in a consistent format. That data can serve as the foundation for a company's process analysis metrics and simulation tools which can aide in projecting business process reengineering changes.
Workflow users in process oriented industries, such as insurance and banking, should benefit greatly from provisions called for in the specification. Through the analysis of the data produced by products that conform to the specification, workflow implementors can apply process analysis metrics for situations such as hastening or slowing down particular processes as well as for predicting potential process bottlenecks.
"The audit interface specification is essential to the long term health and growth of the workflow marketplace for vendors and customers," said Michael Strenge, co-founder of theWorkflow Solutions Group, consultants to the workflow industry and a WfMC member.
Strenge went on to add, "As companies deploy multiple workflow products, the audit specification provides an opportunity for them to buy and deploy the right product for the right business environment, and still collect a consistent set of metrics for continuous improvement and performance measurement across their organization. Likewise, vendors who conform to the specification remain competitive, even where other workflow products have previously been established with the company. Everybody wins."
The audit data specification is a subset of the WfMC's Administration and Monitoring Tools Interface (Interface 5). The principles behind the audit data specification are being mirrored in other WfMC-generated standards efforts, including the workflow API (Interface 2) and workflow interoperability (Interface 4) specifications.
Consisting of more than 180 members in 25 countries, the Coalition has quickly become established as the primary standards body for this rapidly expanding software market. In November 1995, the Coalition published its workflow application programming interface (Interface 2) specification designed to give users increased flexibility in implementing standards-based workflow systems. In November 1996, the Coalition also published its workflow interoperability specification (Interface 4) designed to ensure that businesses can exchange and process work from two or more workflow engines.
In January 1997, the Workflow Management Coalition has published a book (The Workflow Handbook 1997), which is now available and has been designed as a one-stop source for organisations seeking or already committed to implementing workflow systems as part of their IT strategy.
Workflow Management Coalition Office
Avenue Marcel Thiry 204, 1200 Brussels,Belgium;
Tel: +32 2 774 96 33. Fax: +32 2 774 96 90
Or contact one of the Country Contacts
Last updated: Tue Apr 8 13:04:16 1997 by Austin Tate, AIAI (A.Tate@ed.ac.uk)