Business Process Management (BPM), Workflow and DMS Solutions by COSA

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Activity Debugger

The Activity Debugger is available in the COSA Process Designer and the COSA Context Handler. This tool allows retrieving and eliminating errors in single activities and process instances. For verification of logical consistence and performance of modeled business processes, a separate simulation tool is available.


According to your analysis of the business processes in your company or organization, you must break down the business process into steps. These steps are the so-called activities. An activity represents the smallest logical unit in a business process.


The abbreviation BPMI stands for Business Process Management Initiative ( The BPMI embraces different standards where appropriate, e. g. WfMC, OMG or OASIS and creates new standards where they are missing. The main objectives are promoting and developing complete and royalty-free XML-based standards that cover the complete life cycle of business processes.

business process

A real-life business process is represented as process definition in the COSA Process Designer. During run time, users can derive an arbitrary number of process instances from this process definition in the COSA Worklist Handler. These process instances represent the actual, concrete business processes.

business process diagram

Business processes can be represented as business process diagrams in the COSA Process Designer. In contrast to the mathematical view of the Petri Net theory, the business process diagram representation provides an object-related view of the business process.


COSA BPM is the Workflow component of COSA. In this Workflow Management System, you can represent all business process of your company or organization in a detailed way. Together with the archiving component COSA DM, COSA provides a powerful Document Management System. Under the name COSA government, such a Document Management System is especially adapted to the use in the public authority sector.

COSA C++ Library

The COSA C++ interface named O3C (Object-Oriented OpenCOSA) aims at enabling COSA BPM for any kind of C++-based scripting interfaces. An example for such an interface is Microsoft Visual C. By means of the COSA C++ Library, it is possible to use COSA BPM in Macros and third-party modules (e.g. written in Microsoft Visual C) without a profound knowledge of the technical implementation of COSA BPM.

COSA COM Library

The COSA COM Library is designed to enable COSA BPM for external script engines. The interface is based on the object-oriented C++ Workflow Library named O3C (Object-Oriented Open COSA). The interface architecture is based on the classic COM interface definition. With this technology, customized add-ons to existing graphical user interfaces and new applications can easily be built by using tools like Microsoft Visual Basic.

COSA Control Station

The COSA Control Station is a management cockpit addressing the middle management. Based on pre-definable alerts, the COSA Control Station informs e.g. about resource bottlenecks or SLA infringements and provides functionalities to react to these situations. Reactions might be to redefine roles and responsibilities on a temporary basis or to change process priorities. Since COSA 5.7, the COSA Control Station is available either as stand-alone client or as Context Handler Plug-in.


COSA DM is the archiving component of COSA. It does not only offer numerous functions for inserting, creating, modifying and processing archived objects but also a special tool for searches over all archived objects.

COSA Dossier Manager

By means of the COSA Dossier Manager, you can display archived objects in their dossier context. The actual structure of a paper dossier can be represented in electronic form with all registers, subregisters, files, and so on.

COSA Engine

The COSA Engine is the core component of the Workflow Management System and consists of the COSA Server and a relational database. The COSA Engine controls and manages the BPM system on the server side and provides access to the database. The COSA BPM Database stores all relevant run-time and journal data.

COSA government

COSA government combines the advantages of the Workflow component COSA BPM and the archiving component COSA DM and is especially adapted to the requirements of the public authority sector. Being a modern system for computer-supported document processing, COSA government also enhances the stepwise migration from a paper archive to an electronic archive. The real-life working situation can be represented in electronic form down to the last detail. Among others, this is ensured by the efficient administration of electronic documents as well as the flexible and intuitive handling of the corresponding processes. COSA government provides full support for LINUX platforms.

COSA ImageViewer

In the COSA ImageViewer, you can display archived documents. Various functionalities, like virtual note papers or different symbols enhance efficient processing of electronic documents.

COSA Java Class Library

The purpose of the Java class library is to make the C-based OpenCosa available in Java. This Java Library provides classes and methods that enable programmers to develop individual Java applications and applets that communicate with the Workflow Server.

COSA Lotus Notes Plug-In

The COSA Lotus Notes Plug-In allows processing workflow-related tasks and business processes directly in Lotus Notes. Compared to the Worklist Handler, it provides a reduced range of functionality.

COSA online

COSA online is an Internet information system that enables your customers to identify and solve problems on complex products and services. With COSA online, you can make your knowledge available to well-defined target groups. This includes standardized responses as well as individual queries on special tasks. Furthermore, an Internet portal like COSA online allows smooth and efficient interaction with physically remote staff and thus cuts costs, shortens processing times and increases customer satisfaction.

COSA Outlook Plug-In

The COSA Outlook Plug-In allows processing workflow-related tasks and business processes directly in Microsoft Outlook. Compared to the Worklist Handler, it provides a reduced range of functionality.

COSA Process Designer

The COSA Process Designer serves for modeling the business processes and user hierarchies of a company. Concrete business processes can be modeled either as complete process models or as business process units, so-called proclets in COSA BPM. During run time, authorized users can assemble these proclets to a business process. The COSA Process Designer is rounded off by a GUI Designer and a simulation tool.

COSA ScanView

With COSA ScanView, you can scan documents to integrate them into the electronic archive. You can add single pages to an existing document, scan a complete document or scan more than one document at the same time. To separate pages and documents, you can use barcodes, predefined patchcodes and empty pages. In addition, COSA ScanView supports you in configuring the scanner.

COSA Search Desk

Depending on the size of the electronic archive, it may be difficult to find a specific filing or structure object. To facilitate searches, COSA DM the COSA Search Desk. By means of this tool, you can search for objects according to defined search profiles. Search profiles can be defined individually.

COSA Simulator

With the COSA Simulator, you can verify the run-time behavior of process models already during the modeling phase. This allows avoiding bottlenecks and optimizing cycle times. In addition, the simulation provides detailed results regarding resource consumption and process costs.
Each simulation scenario consists of an arbitrary number of processes, a flexible time schedule for the process handling, the total process volume, the process participants as well as the available resources, i. e. the used system and other materials. As the COSA Simulator is started from within the COSA Process Designer, all required modeling parameters are available in the simulation. Thus, the COSA Simulator allows preparing the Workflow Management System for optimum run-time performance already during the design phase.

COSA System Administration

The COSA System Administration is the graphic user interface of the underlying COSA Database. Each database table is available as intuitive mask. The COSA System Administration enables processing and administering business processes, current data, journal data, users, user hierarchies, access rights, and so on.


The COSA T(ool) A(gent) M(anager) is the central module for the integration of external applications. By means of so-called Tool Agents, you can integrate these applications in COSA BPM. The COSA TAM is available on the client and on the server side. Furthermore, Tool Agents allow defining process attributes and additional GUI elements that can be integrated in business process handling.

COSA Worklist Handler

The COSA Worklist Handler is the user-specific and configurable user front end of COSA BPM. It is available as Windows standard client and as Java applet. Furthermore, plug-ins are available for Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes. In the COSA Worklist Handler, the modeled business processes are executed during run time.


A date on which the process instance should have reached a specific state. Otherwise, the Workflow Management System initializes a predefined action, for example starting a new process that notifies a supervisor.

Document Management System (DMS)

The COSA document management system consists of the product family's Workflow and archiving component. The system allows creating and administering archived objects in a quick and intuitive way. At the same time, the system forwards all required objects to the responsible users at any time. An extensive rights concept makes sure that only authorized users can access specific objects.


The abbreviation stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. Generally speaking, an ERP system serves all departments within a company. An ERP system may include software for manufacturing, order processing, accounting purchasing, warehousing, transportation, human resources, and so on. COSA BPM is integrated into Baan's ERP system.


COSA allows accessing external user data via an LDAP connection. This means that you do not need to transmit data between two user administrations but that you can access this data directly. COSA uses the OpenLDAP API, but you can also implement other solutions like ADSI, DAP, NIS or individual solutions.


If one or several steps of a business process must be executed repeatedly, this is called a loop.

modeling mode

The modeling phase is subdivided into a technical and a business-related phase. In the business-related modeling mode, the following functionality is not available: activity scripts (client and server side), task definition scripts, attribute definitions, competencies.

multi-company support

COSA BPM provides multi-company support. This means that multiple companies can work independently on one COSA Server and Database with several companies and data sets. The access to company-specific data is only allowed for users that are assigned to this company.

offline processing

In COSA DM, you can export parts of the electronic archive. The data is stored in an XML format an can be processed in the Offline Explorer.


The application programming interface (based on the C programming language) of the Workflow Management System.

organization model

Structure that represents either the hierarchical structure or the role-oriented structure of a company or authority. An organization model consists of roles (groups) and users. Optionally, users can be defined as supervisors.


Collection of all related models and definitions in the COSA Process Designer. All package elements are stored and compiled together. Packages are stored in XPDL format.

Petri net

Business processes can be represented as Petri Nets in the COSA Process Designer. This representation type is based on the rather mathematical Petri Net theory. Petri nets are represented as directed graphs. A directed graph consists of nodes that are connected by arrows (transitions that have a direction). During execution, a token moves from one state to another and controls the execution state. Business processes can also be designed as object-oriented business process diagrams.

process definition

A process definition is the theoretical structure of a business process that is modeled in the COSA Process Designer. Process definitions can be represented either as Petri Net or as business process diagram. You can also model exchangeable units of business processes, so-called proclets.

process instance

A process instance is derived from the underlying process definition and represents the actual business process during run time. You can derive more than one process instance from a process definition. This means, that there is a 1:n relation between a process definition and a process instance.


A proclet is a business process unit that is modeled in the COSA Process Designer. During run time, authorized users can assemble proclet definitions to an executable process. In addition, such proclet compositions can also be changed during processing. This ensures that business processes can be adapted flexibly to changing run-time conditions.


A role (group) comprises an arbitrary number of subordinate roles and users. A role can represent a hierarchical level of a company or authority or it can reflect a competency-oriented collection of roles and users.


COSA differentiates between synchronous and asynchronous subprocesses. A synchronous subprocess is started by a call activity from within the main process. The main process execution is stopped and can only be continued, when the subprocess has been finished. In contrast to a synchronous subprocess, an asynchronous subprocess is launched or continued by a so-called trigger. Then, this subprocess runs independently of the main process.


In COSA BPM, if an asynchronous subprocess is called by a trigger, the main process execution can be continued independently of the subprocess. A trigger call can start either a new process instance or an executable work item of an already existing process instance. In COSA DM, you can define triggers that start actions in COSA BPM based on events in COSA DM.

version control

The COSA version control makes sure that you can always retrieve the number of existing versions, when objects were changed, what was changed, and so on.


The WfMC (Workflow Management Coalition) is a consortium of scientists and business experts that promotes the use of Workflow by creating generally accepted standards. As founding member, COSA fully corresponds to the rules and definitions set up by the WfMC (see For example, all workflow-relevant data is stored in XPDL. This XML-based format was especially developed for archiving business processes.

Workflow Management System

A Workflow Management System (WMS) supports automated business processing according to defined rules. COSA BPM supports highly structured flows of work (for example dealing with insurance damages and orders, making offers) and less structured workflows that can be adapted flexibly to changing run-time conditions.

work item

A work item is a user related activity instance that is visible in the user's Worklist Handler. The Workflow Management System schedules an activity instance to all authorized users. This means that one activity instance can have more than one work item. There is a 1:n relation between activity instances and work items.


XPDL is an XML format created by the BPMI for archiving business processes.

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Business Process Management (BPM) and Workflow Solutions by COSA - The BPM Experts