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Conversation support for business process integration

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3 Author(s)
Hanson, J.E. ; IBM T. J. Watson Res. Center, Yorktown Heights, NY, USA ; Nandi, P. ; Kumaran, S.

Business process integration and automation (BPIA) has emerged as an important aspect of the enterprise computing landscape. Intra-enterprise application integration (EAI) as well as the inter enterprise integration (B2B) are increasingly being performed in the context of business processes. The integration scenarios typically involve distributed systems that are autonomous to some degree. From the BPIA perspective, the autonomy refers to the fact that the systems being integrated have their own process choreography engines and execute internal business processes that are private to them. In the case of B2B integration, the systems being integrated are fully autonomous, while various levels of autonomy exist in systems partaking in EAI. We present a new paradigm for business process integration. Our approach is based on a conversation model that enables autonomous, distributed BPM (Business Process Management) modules to integrate and collaborate. Our conversation model supports the exchange of multiple correlated messages with arbitrary sequencing constraints and covers the formatting of messages that are to be sent as well as the parsing of the messages that have been received. The crux of our conversation model is the notion of a conversation policy, which is a machine-readable specification of a pattern of message exchange in a conversation. Our model supports nesting and composition of conversation policies to provide a dynamic, adaptable, incremental, open-ended, and extensible mechanism for business process integration. We discuss the current implementation of this conversation model and early experience in applying the model to solve customer problems. The implementation utilizes distributed object technology.

Published in:

Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference, 2002. EDOC '02. Proceedings. Sixth International

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