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Subject: Business Collaboration Patterns discussion starting

Over in the CC-BP Methodology and Analysis group, 
we are starting a discussion of Business Collaboration

These are common, repeated and stereotypical 
business conversations happening at the Business
Collaboration level of the UMM-ebXML metamodel.
UMM already contains Interaction Patterns at the
Business Service level and Transaction Patterns
at the Business Transaction level.  See the first 
document on the BP Resources and References page:
(watch for word wrap).  The transaction patterns
are in Chapter 4.

The Transaction Patterns in particular make
it much easier for business process modelers
to do their work:  e.g. the business transactions
have already been modeled, or "leave the
modeling to us".

Business Collaboration Patterns are intended
to take this same "already modeled" state
up to the collaboration level.  (Collaborations
are groups of transactions.)

The first pattern we will start with is called
Order-Fulfillment-Settlement.  (This is probably
the only one that will get done by our Feb 17
due date.)

Order-Fulfillment-Settlement is probably the
most common business collaboration pattern.
It is characteristic of economic exchanges
between companies.

I'll first describe this pattern in (maybe annoyingly)
abstract terminology from the UMM "Economic
Elements".  Then I'll describe an example in
more everyday terms.

By "Order", we mean a type of EconomicContract 
which contains group of Commitments between 
trading partners, for example a Purchase Order 
where the Line Items are Commitments. 

Commitments are promises to execute specific 
EconomicEvents in the future: for example,
an Order Line Item often represents a commitment
from a supplier to delivery some goods, and a
reciprocal commitment from the customer to
pay for them.

EconomicEvents are transfers of ownership from
one trading partner to another:  for example,
delivering the goods, or making the payment.

Fulfillment means a relationship where an EconomicEvent
fulfills a Commitment: for example, delivery of the goods
fulfills the commitment to deliver.  Or, if this is a prepay
scenario, making the payment fulfills the commitment
to pay.

Settlement means a relationship where one EconomicEvent
compensates for a previous EconomicEvent in the same
collaboration.  I use "settlement" as the last term in 
the name of the pattern, because payment might not
be the last transaction.  Also, the relationship here is
between one EconomicEvent and another, although
the final transaction could also be the fulfillment
of a commitment.  The distinction is because if
(for example) the supplier only delivers part of the
committed goods, the customer is only obligated to
pay for the goods received, not the whole quantity
on the order line item.  (Or settlement could mean
settling claims rising from disputes or penalties.)

At the most abstract level, this is pretty close to a
universal business pattern.  However, there are
many variations:  prepayment or postpayment,
payment through an intermediary, shipment 
from an intermediary, etc.

Also, many things can go wrong:  commitments
may not be fulfilled, or may be only partially
fulfilled, or may be fulfilled late.  Advanced 
notifices of shipments and payments may
not jibe with that was actually received.

We want to capture in the pattern as many
of the things that can go wrong as seems
useful, and leave slots in the pattern for
business process modelers to specify
remedial actions.

The deliverable will be a business process
model (hopefully defined using the Business
Process Editor) along with a description
of the pattern and some of the many variations.

None of above will be complete or perfect
by Feb 17.  

If you want to help, the discussion will be
carried on this list: ebxml-ccbp-analysis@lists.ebxml.org
and on Wednesday conference calls which will be
announced on that list.

Current participants in alphabetical order:
  Jamie Clark
  Jim Clark
  Bob Haugen
  Ann Hendry
  Bill McCarthy
  Karsten Riemer
  Nita Sharma
  David Welsh

We need examples.  We'll start with Dave Welsh's
Nordstrom.com drop-ship scenario.  More are

We will use Bill McCarthy's REA semantic model
as our reference (it is the reference model behind
the economic elements in UMM).

This activity will also feed into the parallel discussion
of what kinds of collaboration choreography expressions
ebXML needs to support.  The collaboration patterns and
examples will be sources of business requirements.

Thanks for your attention,
Bob Haugen  

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