News Column

"Process Management System, Method, and Computer-Readable Medium" in Patent Application Approval Process

August 26, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- A patent application by the inventors MOHAN, Binu (Woodridge, IL); KAMASANI, Satyanarayana Reddy (Deerfield, IL), filed on March 14, 2013, was made available online on August 14, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application is assigned to Uni-b Solutions Llc.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Every organization establishes operating processes to address organizational needs. To address varying operating needs, the processes differ from each other in motivation, applicability and context, specification, urgency, flexibility, impact (both desired and actual), and frequency.

"Needs are often unanticipated and flexible organizations adapt quickly by establishing new processes to address new or changing needs. However, especially during periods of rapid organizational growth or in the face of abbreviated timelines, creating and managing new and established processes can be complicated due to interdependencies, conflicting or scarce resources, and other reasons that complicate process delivery, execution, and completion. Processes can involve multiple activities, actors, goals, and resources and artifacts. These complications can lead to inconsistencies and inefficiencies in the organization, which increases operational expenses and resource requirements. To adapt, organizations create methods and systems for delivering, executing, and completing the processes to ensure that the processes are aligned to organizational protocols, rules, and needs."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Embodiments of the invention provide a flexible process (hereinafter referred to as a workflow) management system, method, and computer-readable medium that allow organizations to improve the efficiency of existing workflows and improve the delivery of organizational products and services.

"Embodiments include: a business logic layer including a workflow creator configured to define a unified workflow by combining steps of at least two workflows, the unified workflow having associated workflow data including (i) step data associated with each of the steps, the step data including track data that associates each of the steps with a track, and (ii) a business rule, the workflow data having been imported from a non-uniform data format and converted to a uniform data format, a business rules engine configured to select and apply the business rule to the workflow data, and a workflow manager configured to manage the unified workflow based on the selected and applied business rules and a presentation layer configured to output information regarding the managed unified workflow to a display medium.

"Embodiments can cause the computer to further function as a request-response handler configured to (i) accept a request from an external system, the request containing encrypted request data, (ii) forward the request to the business logic layer, (iii) receive a response from the business logic layer, the response containing encrypted response data, and (iv) return the response to the external system.

"Embodiments can cause the computer to further function as a data storage layer configured to store the workflow data, wherein the data storage layer and business logic layer are configured not to store a decrypted copy of the encrypted request data or the encrypted response data.

"The step data for a step can include (i) a trigger condition which, when met, causes the associated step to be triggered, and (ii) a termination condition which, when met, causes the associated step to be terminated.

"The business rules engine can be configured to select and apply a business rule to the step data to change the trigger condition or the termination condition based on the track data. The business rules engine can be configured to select and apply a business rule to the step data to change the trigger condition or the termination condition based on the step data or step data of another step. The business rules engine can be configured to select and apply a business rule to the step data to change the trigger condition or the termination condition based on a timing of at least one of when the unified workflow is initiated, when another step triggers, and when the another step terminates.

"Embodiments can cause the computer to further function as a group rule set manager configured to manage a plurality of sets of group rules, each set being associated with at least one of a plurality of assignable entities. The at least one of the plurality of assignable entities can be defined based on a shared attribute of the assignable entities.

"The presentation layer can be configured to output information regarding the managed unified workflow that is related to a workflow requesting user upon request. The presentation layer can be further configured to output a selection dialog that allows a requesting user to either select a defined tag or create an undefined tag to associate with a workflow request. The presentation layer can be further configured to output an interface that allows an initiating user to view and initiate a plurality of workflows that the initiating user is authorized to initiate based on an employee group of which the initiating user is a member.

"Embodiments can cause the business logic layer can associate or reassociate a step with a track based on a selection of the track by an assignee or approver of another step.

"Embodiments can cause the track data to associate each of the steps with at least one of a plurality of tracks, and each of the plurality of tracks can correspond to one of a plurality of assignable entities responsible for performing the step(s) in the track. The plurality of assignable entities can each have a plurality of members, the members can have a common entity attribute, and the common entity attribute of each track can be different from the common entity attribute of other tracks. The plurality of assignable entities can be entities that are capable of executing a step and are selected from a group consisting of a person, a machine, a system of machines, a department and an office.

"Embodiments can cause the step data to include track data that associates each of the steps with one track of a plurality of tracks, the track corresponds to one of a plurality of assignable entities responsible for performing the step(s) in the track. The unified workflow can proceed over steps in more than one track.

"Embodiments further include: a method of managing a unified workflow for performing a task, the unified workflow combining steps of at least two workflows, the unified workflow having associated workflow data including step data associated with each of the steps, the step data including track data that associates each of the steps with one track of a plurality of tracks and the track corresponding to one of a plurality of assignable entities responsible for performing the step(s) in the track, the method comprising: assigning to the step data at least one of (i) a trigger condition which, when met, causes an associated step to be triggered, and (ii) a termination condition which, when met, causes the associated step to be terminated and linking the associated step with one or more other steps based on the assignment of step data.

"Embodiments can cause the method to reassign at least one step to a different track, wherein reassigning at least one step is based on one of the step data of another step, the track data of another track and the track data of the track including the at least one step.

"Embodiments can cause the method to manage the unified work flow including: reassigning the trigger condition and/or the termination condition of the associated step in the track to be associated with the one or more other tracks, eliminating at least one step of similar steps in one or more tracks or consolidating a plurality of steps into a single step.

"Because of the flexibility and extensibility of embodiments, many business workflows can be managed by embodiments. For example, any paper-based process can be completely replaced and managed by systems of embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"Various exemplary embodiments of a workflow management system to which aspects of the invention are applied will be described in detail with reference to the following drawings in which:

"FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram showing an exemplary logical architecture representing a system of embodiments;

"FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an exemplary multi-tier architecture that can support the system;

"FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram showing an exemplary embodiment of the system running in a multi-tiered architecture;

"FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram showing an exemplary hardened on-demand embodiment in which customer data is not stored outside of a protected silo;

"FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram showing an exemplary hardened embodiment in which batch workflow data can be securely imported into or exported from the workflow management system;

"FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram showing an exemplary multi-tenant embodiment that can manage separate logical database structures;

"FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram showing an exemplary embodiment supporting downstream single sign-on (SSO);

"FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram showing an exemplary authentication model of an embodiment;

"FIG. 9A is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary, simple linear business workflow such as a new-hire onboarding process showing each operating task when a new employee is hired in an organization;

"FIG. 9B is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary, simple linear business workflow such as a voluntary termination process showing each operating task when an employee voluntarily terminates employment with the organization;

"FIG. 10 are flow diagrams illustrating the traditional approach to workflows;

"FIG. 11 is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary viewable instance of a single global workflow object that is created, managed, and maintained as a unified workflow according to an embodiment;

"FIG. 12 is a schematic diagram showing an exemplary unified workflow object of an embodiment;

"FIG. 13 is a schematic diagram showing an exemplary unified workflow object with steps that are associated with more than one track;

"FIG. 14 is a schematic diagram showing an exemplary workflow with two tracks and shared steps;

"FIG. 15A is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary data import that populates assignable entity attributes into a database;

"FIG. 15B is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary group rule sets applied by the business rules engine of an embodiment;

"FIG. 16 is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary workflow execution algorithm based on a workflow object of an embodiment;

"FIG. 17 is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary linear unified workflow of an embodiment;

"FIG. 18 is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary parallel unified workflow of an embodiment;

"FIG. 19 is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary decision-based unified workflow of an embodiment;

"FIG. 20A is a UI diagram showing an exemplary context-sensitive workflow initiator interface of an embodiment;

"FIG. 20B is a UI diagram showing in further detail exemplary workflows that the director can initiate based on the director's employee groups and/or assignable entity attributes in the exemplary context-sensitive workflow initiator interface; and

"FIG. 21 is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary method for determining and displaying a context-sensitive workflow initiator interface of an embodiment.

"FIG. 22 is a schematic diagram illustrating an exemplary display operating with a decision-based unified workflow."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: MOHAN, Binu; KAMASANI, Satyanarayana Reddy. Process Management System, Method, and Computer-Readable Medium. Filed March 14, 2013 and posted August 14, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=1135&p=23&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140807.PD.&OS=PD/20140807&RS=PD/20140807

Keywords for this news article include: Uni-b Solutions Llc, Information Technology, Information and Data Storage.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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