Effective role resolution in workflow management

Dajun Zeng, J. Leon Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Workflow systems provide the key technology to enable business-process automation. One important function of workflow management is role resolution, i.e., the mechanism of assigning tasks to individual workers at runtime according to the role qualification defined in the workflow model. Role-resolution decisions directly affect the productivity of workers in an organization, and consequently affect corporate profitability. Therefore it is important to develop effective policies governing these decisions. However, there has not been a formal treatment of role-resolution policies in the literature. In this paper, we analyze role-resolution policies used in current workflow practice and propose new optimization-based policies that utilize online batching. Through a computational study, we examine three workflow-performance measures including maximum flow-time, average workload, and workload variation under these policies in different business scenarios. These scenarios vary by overall system load, task-processing-time distribution, and the number of workers. Based on computational results, we obtain the following insights that can help guide the selection of role-resolution policies, (a) As the overall system load increases, the benefit of using batching-based online optimization policies becomes more significant, (b) Processing-time variation has a major impact on workflow performance, and higher variation favors optimization-based policies. (c) Online optimization has the potential to reduce average workload significantly, and to reduce workload variation significantly as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-387
Number of pages14
JournalINFORMS Journal on Computing
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2005

Fingerprint

Processing
Industry
Profitability
Automation
Productivity
Workflow management
Workload
Workers
Batching
Scenarios
Flow time
Qualification
Business process
Performance measures
Time variation

Keywords

  • Online batching
  • Role resolution
  • Workflow management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Management Science and Operations Research

Cite this

Effective role resolution in workflow management. / Zeng, Dajun; Zhao, J. Leon.

In: INFORMS Journal on Computing, Vol. 17, No. 3, 06.2005, p. 374-387.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Zeng, Dajun ; Zhao, J. Leon. / Effective role resolution in workflow management. In: INFORMS Journal on Computing. 2005 ; Vol. 17, No. 3. pp. 374-387.
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