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Subject: RE: Business Process Editor

On today's conference call, somebody mentioned economic
contracts as part of a BPE "layer" (I think).  I am not sure
what the idea was, and do not assume anything, but do want to try
to clarify what I think economic contracts mean in the ebXML metamodel.

(This will take a while, please bear with me...I would also ask Bill
McCarthy and Jim Clark to jump in if you think I messed anything up.)

EconomicContracts are containers for EconomicCommitments,
which are promises to perform EconomicEvents at some
specific time in the future.  The metamodel also as a class
called Agreement that would not contain EconomicCommitments,
but maybe we should add something analogous to commitments
that have no economic significance, like Terms and Conditions.

_Examples: _
Purchase Orders are kinds of EconomicContracts, wherein
LineItems are commitments.  Yearly component contracts
are also EconomicContracts, and so a short-term EconomicContract
can be governed by a longer-term EconomicContract.

My view is that EconomicContracts will be formed by Business
Collaborations and Business Transactions.  That is, there will
be Business Processes created by the Business Process
Editor to form EconomicContracts of various kinds.

Then, if the EconomicContract is a long-term one, some other 
Business Processes could be governed by it.  

I suspect that the business processes for forming EconomicContracts
will want to live in ebXML repositories, but that the EconomicContracts
themselves will not want to live there (except maybe for trading community 
contracts or contracts for use of the repository...)

How EconomicContracts and other economic elements would
be used in the execution of Business Processes:

1. The first and simplest use (I think) will be recognition of when
EconomicContracts are formed and EconomicEvents are 
confirmed.  For example, a contract or even a simple order
may be negotiated over the course of several business
transactions.  It will be important for the business collaboration 
to specify when the contract actually becomes a contract,
that is, the parties mutually agree to it, and then the contract
can go into the internal business systems as (probably) either
a simple or Blanket Order.

Likewise it will be important for business collaborations to
specify when EconomicEvents like receipts have been confirmed.
For example, a supplier may send an ASN, but the delivery
may not be confirmed until the customer sends a Receiving
Advice document.

2. The next use would be what I have called a Business
Collaboration Manager (BCM), which keeps track of the state
of a collaboration as a whole, and can use relationships
among economic elements as its expression vocabulary:
for example, to determine if an EconomicEvent fulfills
a Commitment or not, and take appropriate action if not.
Or to determine if the collaboration as a whole is complete,
that is, if all the commitments are fulfilled and claims
settled.  A BCM could also monitor all the open collaborations,
for unfulfilled commitments, unsatisfied claims, etc.

3. The next level of use would be a long-term contract
manager, that would be like a higher-level BCM to keep
track of the progress of yearly component contracts.
The killer app at this level might be forecast collaboration.


Bob Haugen

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