At a meeting in Tokyo the WfMC and the Japanese Standards Association have announced their intention to synchronise standards for workflow interoperability.
The WfMC's quarterly meetings were scheduled in Japan in response to the upsurge in interest and investment in Workflow technology in Japan. The meetings followed the highly successful Intranet and Groupware Solutions Conference (IGWS) where the WfMC presented alongside the JSA.
The Japanese Standards Association has over 12,000 members from all sectors of industry and commerce, and has established a Groupware Technical Sub Committee in its Information Technology Research and Standardization Center (INSTAC). One of the key objectives of this group is to define a model for the interoperability of Workflow applications between organizations, which has been termed "Inter- Workflow".
The need for Workflow standards in Japan is being driven by user organizations who are keen to be able to link up their processes with those of their customers and suppliers in the context of the close working partnerships for which Japanese industry is famous.
Dr Haruo Hayami of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) and member of the JSA/INSTAC Groupware sub committee commented: "We see a huge opportunity for corporations in Japan to gain the benefits of Workflow, in particular for Electronic Commerce between organizations. We want to use the work of the WfMC's interoperability interfaces to provide a standard for Japanese industry."
The WfMC's interoperability interfaces provide standards for passing work between workflow systems, and are supported by the leading workflow vendors world-wide. Practical demonstrations of interoperability were given at Workflow Canada last June and at the Giga conference in Amsterdam last November.
Consisting of more than 200 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. Early in 1997 the Coalition unveiled an Audit Data Specification designed to provide companies utilizing workflow technology with a consistent mechanism for recording performance data requested from a workflow engine.
In January 1997, the Workflow Management Coalition has published the "Workflow Handbook 1997", which is now available and has been designed as a one-stop source of information for organisations seeking or already committed to implementing workflow systems as part of their IT strategy.
The objective of its activities is to contribute to technological improvement and production efficiency through promoting industrial standardization. JSA activities include publication and distribution of Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) and related foreign standards, sponsoring lectures and seminars, international cooperation and technical consultancy on industrial standardization. Through these activities JSA contributes to the promotion of industrial standardization and quality control.
In recent years the scope of JSA activities has expanded to collaboration with international standardization organizations and harmonization of JIS with international standards. At the same time JSA strives to further promote industrial standards by developing JIS drafts and research and development.
JSA has also undertaken activities as a registration body for ISO 9000 series quality system and others such as environmental management and auditing.
Contact: Tetsu Tada
WfMC Japan Country Contact
1-1-1, Toyosu, Koto-Ku
Tel: +81 3 5546 4592
Fax: +81 3 5546 7808
Contact: Hideshige Hasegawa
WfMC Japan Country Contact
5030 Totsuka-cho Totsuka-Ku
Yokohama 244, Japan
Tel: +81 45 881 7161
Fax: +81 45 865 9543
Last updated: Tue Apr 8 13:03:28 1997 by Austin Tate, AIAI (A.Tate@ed.ac.uk)