Source: http://www.netstorm.no/Company/technologies/netstorm/flowscape.aspx
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Project FlowScape

Vivid business process management using FlowScape workflow engine in marine industry implementations


The FlowScape project is an attempt to empower business domains, that normally are out of reach in terms of cost, with expert system enabled process management solutions.

The term "cost" mentioned in our objective may to some sound less than glorious when it comes to research and development, maybe more like a job for hired efficiency consultants. So let's try another perspective. Man entering space is hardly front page matter anymore, but low-cost moon cruising for the general public would certainly be mentioned. And while "waiting" we will be able to see a number of technologies that we once read of, finally accessible to the public, aided by new science and significant development of the original ideas. As some technologies are getting available to an increasingly larger number of buyers, there's always the "long tail" that has interested the marketing guys in the late Internet days, when even lower cost per client will open new and significant markets segments.
Feet on solid ground, we are putting together a set of ideas with some established basis, to develop a technology that has potential of uniquely bringing software of our mentioned objective to a new market segment. Our pilot target is management of ship owners' quality improvement activity, with focus on their management of process anomaly, particularly non-conformance reporting related to vessels.

You will probably see from the enterprise application diagram that several pieces look like familiar technology, actually dating back to the 1980s when the idea of artificial intelligence (AI) led to the first successful expert systems, having a knowledge database, interpreter and so on. It is also evident from the model that web applications and especially Web Services has come around in the late years making enterprise implementations of such technology considerably more convenient.

However, while some out-of-the-box technologies and development platforms will lower development costs and IT production costs, we have to be able to lower the customers' overall costs significantly to achieve our goal of empowering the medium-sized businesses with expert Business Process Management (BPM) systems.

We believe that our chosen pilot target, big ship owners, is a representative case among similar requirements in a number of medium businesses. From our market research and knowledge of ship owning businesses we found no implementations of the "big" BPM systems (IBM etc.), but a handful substantially limited quality improvement systems of rather fixed layout, consisting of a simple database and a few reports. Users of such legacy systems unanimously complain that workflow setup is hard or impossible to modify, as a consequence of limited system design.

The users will need systems that are flexible in terms of function while providing a swift and intuitive interface with workflow implementation. This will be voiding the requirement of today's full scale BPM systems, of having a considerable staff size for design, production, expert advice and other support.

We think NetStorm is about to crack the code of high availability expert BPM systems. This task is not trivial to us in terms of system development and it will require a significant amount of resources alone at research, to land our ideas safely.

In the following you will find a few samples of abilities that need substantial R&D.



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Diagram of a FlowScape enabled enterprise environment


Deployment of FlowScape applications in an enterprise