JBees – an adaptive and distributed framework for workflow systems
To accommodate the rapidly evolving business environment, there is a need for flexible Workflow Management Systems (WfMS) that can cope with changes in the requirements as well as changes in the external constraints that impact business processes. In this paper, we describe the architecture of our WfMS called JBees that addresses these issues. JBees is an agent-based WfMS system, which uses Coloured Petri nets (CPN) as its process definition formalism. The combination of collaborating agents and the CPNformalism enables a flexible and adaptive system with the possibility of simulation and analysis of the process model in order to identify potential inconsistencies or bottlenecks. Its distributed architecture facilitates interoperability with other organisations (important especially for organisations that want to outsource some tasks) and can enhance reliability. An example is used to show the adaptability of the system and how hierarchically defined workflow sub processes may be distributed across multiple hosts.