Farash Roomi MCS-2006:15, pp. 45. TEK/avd. för interaktion och systemdesign, 2007.
In Multi-agent System (MAS), all agents communicate with each other by sending messages to each other in an expressive agent communication language. Agent communication language (ACL) , defines type of messages and their meaning that agents can exchange. Messages that agents communicate have semantic meanings
which can be proposition, rules or actions . In other words, multi-agent system is an association of synchronized, autonomous agents, which interact with each other in achieving common goals (objectives).
On the other hand, Web services are the services in the shape of software components accessible on the internet, which provide useful information to users, businesses and organizations. The Web service model uses WSDL, an XML format responsible for the service interfaces description along with the binding details to specific protocols. UDDI, a protocol responsible for publishing and finding services, services details and descriptions etc. SOAP, an XML message based envelop format which has the bindings to specific protocols (e.g. HTTP, SMTP etc). These services are invoked over the www (World Wide Web) using the SOAP/XMLP protocol.
A Workflow can be defined as “The automation of a business process, in whole or part, during which documents, information or tasks are passed from one participant to another for action, according to a set of procedural rules” . It has many advantages like improved efficiency, better process control, improved customer service, flexibility and business process improvement .
Due to rapid advancements in technology and growing needs of business environment, there is a need of adaptive workflow, which could accommodate itself with the changes that occur in the business processes. Traditionally, workflow management systems have not been designed for dynamic environments requiring adaptive response. Currently, the need for adaptive workflow is being driven by the demands of e-commerce in both B2B and B2C space. Adaptive workflows respond to changing conditions through adaptive change.
The aim of this thesis is to suggest an adaptive work flow model that can help in eliminating problems in e-commerce domain by using agent based approach. In e-commerce there is always a problem of searching the right item (e.g.construction material) in less time without involving the contractors etc who search for the items with the specifications told by the customers, as the current system does not support the good search. The customers search each time for the required items (e.g. construction material) and stop their search when they have found the desired item according to their budget, cost and quality attributes with up to date market cost about the required items to purchase (construction material).
In e-commerce workflow system, in purchasing the required items (construction material), there are processes involved (Order Capture, Order Process, Order Fulfillment) which do not address the adaptability attribute in case of exception  or when there is a change in business environment which make changes in the business processes, consequences of which can be in the shape of failure of business objective (unsuccessful business transaction). The proposed approach somehow can eliminate the problem described above and suggests an adaptive workflow system by introducing agents with each of the processes (Order Capture, Order, Process, and Order Fulfillment). A proposed way to design adaptive work flow is explained with the help of agents. Some work is done to relate this framework with web services to provide refined search and purchasing in order to take care of user needs. But still there is need of more research to explore this area of e-commerce workflow system.