ICT Support for Enterprise Modelling

Support for Business Process Modelling and Execution:

Web Services for the Integrated Enterprise, OMG Workshop

The OMG Workshop Web Services for the Integrated Enterprise was held at the Hilton City Hotel, Munich /Germany 2003-02-11/13.and was attended by 70 people mostly from Consulting and Solutions Development, as well as from research organisations.

Web Services are on one hand represented by implementation modelling languages with the aim to model and execute transactions. On the other hand, Web Services are executed on a platform - an integrating infrastructure- which contains resources and services such as registry services, directory services, bridges and elements from CORBA, J2EE (JAVA2 Enterprise Edition) or other execution platforms.

The workshop addressed Web Services matching with OMGs concept of the layered Model Driven Architecture (MDA). The MDA provides the concepts of Platform Independent Models (PIMs) and Platform Specific Models (PSMs) . The associated modelling languages for the definition of information centric requirements/design are UML and XML, both de facto industry standards. A well known recent standard candidate for a Web Services language is IBMs Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS).

Selected presentations on Enterprise Collaboration and Business Processes using Web Services:

The research view was provided by Rania KHALAF, IBM Research, with a presentation named Composing Web Services using BPEL4WS. Composition is a key aspect of in service oriented computing enabling the modelling of interaction between services and the subsequent reuse of these models. BPEL4WS is made of a  set of Elements as flow, partner, correlation, activity. Examples of the messaging oriented activity types are  invoke, receive, reply, assemble. BPEL4WS is platform independent and follows the concept of late binding to resources at the execution run time.

The consultants view was presented by Hans-Peter HOIDN, IBM-BSC describing a best possible MDA oriented solution of methodologies and components. He reported several today unresolved issues: Poor tool support of Web Services .A Holistic business view, including human and organisational aspects of the enterprise is missing. Poor semantic content of the modelling language constructs especially with ebXML Business models - large models or process oriented models - can not be properly represented with UML. Missing methodologies for horizontal integration in modelling the information flows and of  vertical integration in mapping the models to the platforms.

A solution for semantic interoperability of services with the MDA approach was reported by A. J. BYRNE from SINTEF. The basic idea is to specify and develop semantic interoperable services using UML activity diagrams and mappings to  BPML/BPEL4WS. Methodology and tool support for the service oriented architecture is provided in the Open Group Project COMBINE (Component Based Interoperable Enterprise System  Development), www.opengroup.org . The Validation has been done with case studies about crisis management and environmental planning systems .

Other workshop topics were: Standardisation, security of Web Services, building of trust and integrating legacy systems. A panel discussion on Web Service Standards revealed a number of requirements namely to insure interoperability on the enterprise level, between Web Services and tools. One standardisation effort of the OMG to put emphasis on processes is an RFP called UML profile for Business Process Definition. A series of further workshops with tutorials on UML, XML and MDA are planned during 2003 in Munich, more details can be found at www.omg.org .

(Martin Zelm)

 
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