Conference Paper

Smart Files: Combining the Advantages of DBMS and WfMS with the Simplicity and Flexibility of Spreadsheets.

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Abstract

Even though database management as well as workflow management systems have significant advantages, spreadsheets exchanged by e-mail are still in widespread use for many processes within an enterprise, causing problems such as poor data-quality and lack of process monitoring. This paper analyzes reasons for office-document based workflows (ODBWf) and presents an alternative solution that combines the advantages of DBMS and WfMS with the flexibility and simplicity of office documents. This paper introduces an autonomous mobile document-management-system based on a 'smart' file. This file is executable and contains a managed resource part where files can be stored. Any read/write access to its resource part is managed by the file itself; it controls who can do what and automatically synchronizes changes to other systems such as process-monitoring or business intelligence tools. Proven concepts from DBMS, such as triggers, integrity constraints and multi-user support are utilized to improve ODBWfs without restraining their flexibility.

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