Negotiation Enabled Workflow (New): Support for Flexible Business Processes by Workflow Management Systems

Initial Situation

Since the 90’s companies are increasingly using workflow management systems to streamline operations in the office. With the help of such systems waiting times of documents can be avoided, reduces cycle times of the process and reduce costs. While marketable systems for supporting standardized experts are well suited, their possible uses in flexible business processes are limited. Such flexible business processes are characterized by many case-specific details, exceptional situations and variants of the process that cannot be predicted in full. The "Negotiation Enabled Workflow" (New) focuses on these flexible business processes that cannot be adequately supported by traditional workflow systems or groupware.


New waives flow models, which are imperative in traditional workflow management systems and forms the business process instead by a chain of customer-supplier relationships. In order to this, it distinguishes between beneficiaries (customers) and service development (suppliers), whereby the customer authorizes the supplier to continue the process. New supports editing and execution of this customer-supplier relationship between two agents of flexible business processes. At the first occurrence of this relationship the parties go through four stages of a communication protocol.
During the evaluation phase, the current processor (customer) is looking for an employee who fits into this specific case for further processing (supplier). If this employee was found, during the negotiation phase the two involved parties agree on how to proceed in the considered individual case and what information is needed for further processing. In the performance phase, the supplier receives the information and processes the transaction in the agreed manner. If necessary, during the acceptance phase the work result will be sent to the customer, who has now the opportunity to give a feedback about the work of the supplier.


  • Customer-supplier-relationship: flexibility, which is achieved through the representation of the business process in a concatenated customer-supplier relationship;
  • Distributed modeling of workflows: modeling by those individuals who are actually involved in the business process;
  • Temporal coincidence of modeling and execution of workflows: The problem of preliminary modeling is treated by performing the modeling of a customer-supplier relationship at the first execution of the transaction;
  • Modeling by cooperating, negotiation and agreement: The participation of the affected processors will be ensured so that all necessary detailed information is available in the modeling.


Scientific Partners

Technische Universität München, Chair for Information Systems (Prof. Dr. Krcmar)


Prof. Dr. Helmut Krcmar