CrossFlow was a 2-year European research consisting of a consortium of seven European institutes. This project investigated and developed the support needed for dynamic cross-organisational workflow management in virtual enterprises with contract-based service matchmaking. As such, CrossFlow can be considered to have conducted an investigation into the intersection of workflow management and electronic commerce technology.
For further information please see the Crossflow web site http://www.crossflow.org/
Nowadays, many organisations form dynamic partnerships in order to deal effectively with changing market requirements. Organisations focus on their core business and outsource secondary activities to other organisations. Growing complexity of products requires co-makership relations between organisations while value chains require tight cooperation between them. Consequently, the creation of virtual organisations has become a major issue. To enable their operation, the information processing infrastructures of the participating organisations need to be linked. The workflow management systems that control the processes in the organisations form an essential element of such cooperation. Linked workflow systems should allow one organisation (the service consumer) to start a process (a service) on its behalf in another organisation (the service provider) and receive the results of this process. As black-box processes are too coarse for tightly cooperating organisations, advanced monitoring and control mechanisms are required as well.
The CrossFlow Approach
The CrossFlow project was an investigation into the support required for enabling cross-organisational workflow in dynamic virtual enterprises. The co-operation in these virtual enterprises is based on dynamic service outsourcing specified in electronic contracts. Service enactment is performed by dynamically linking the workflow management infrastructures of the involved organisations. Extended service enactment support is provided in the form of cross-organisational transaction management and process control, advanced quality of service monitoring, and support for high-level flexibility in service enactment. CrossFlow technology is realised on top of a commercial workflow management platform and applied in two real-world scenarios in the contexts of a logistics and an insurance company.