StPowla: a service based environment for integrated business processes and policies

Businesses typically structure their activities with workflows, which are often implemented in a rather static fashion in their IT systems.

Nowadays system requirements change rapidly as businesses try to maintain their competitive edge, and hence a predominant need arises for the IT systems to present the same agility. StPowla is an approach that marries services oriented architecture, policies and workflows to provide businesses with this agility at execution time of their workflows. In particular StPowla and its support architecture allow for workflows to dyamically change based on policies and then to be implemented through automatically selected services.

In the tutorial we will first illustrate the integration of Business Process Management and the Service Oriented Architecture as a promising solution to the design and development of the software systems of the future.

As a second point we will treat policies and policy conflict. Policies permit to express in a descriptive way the finer details of the business process and to modify system behaviour at operation time. However, the insertion of new policies, possibly by different actors, may lead naturally to inconsistencies, a problem that has been recognized and termed policy conflict. In StPowla, new policies can be checked for consistency before actual insertion in the policy set.

The third part of the tutorial presents the environment to model, deploy, and run StPowla business processes. Besides supporting the use of services with different service levels in the business process, the environment itself is based on a service oriented architecture, orchestrating a workflow engine, a policy server and a service broker.

Throughout the tutorial we illustrate the StPowla concepts with the support of a loan negotiation process, case study of the EU project Sensoria.