Enabling distributed business process outsourcing (BPO) in an interoperable, scalable and secure way

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In an effort to make their operations increasingly efficient, more and more companies are interested in outsourcing (parts of) their supporting business processes to specialized service providers.

A good example includes billing. In the past, every single company took full ownership of the complete billing process – from creating the invoices to checking the actual payment, and resending the invoice in case of overdue bills. Today, though, that same process is increasingly being outsourced to billing service providers who give short, intermediate updates (such as bill sent, bill resent, or bill paid) while taking care of the underlying and longer-term details.

Yet, in practice, this distributed way of working (with various stakeholders being responsible for one or several aspects of the overall process) does not come without its share of challenges; challenges that have successfully been addressed by the D-BASE consortium.

"Business process outsourcing comes with distributed process flows between various stakeholders and plenty of remote interactions,” explains D-BASE project lead Koen Handekyn (UP-nxt). “For that to work in a systematic and controlled way, a scalable infrastructure is needed. Secondly, we require an interop standard that allows the business process middleware of those stakeholders to talk to one another. And finally, stringent security policies need to be in place. In the framework of D-BASE, we tackled each of those three challenges."

The outcomes

  • A proposed interop standard and framework that supports secure, standardized communication between distributed workflow engines
  • A state-of-the-art cryptographic security approach that uses vouchers
  • A more scalable workflow engine and storage technology

D-BASE Leaflet



D-BASE (Decentralized support for Business Processes in Application Services) is an imec.icon research project.

It ran from 01.01.2014 until 31.12.2015.

Project information


  • UP-nxt
  • Red Hat
  • Noesis Solutions


  • imec - IBCN - UGent
  • imec - DistriNet - KU Leuven
  • imec - COSIC - KU Leuven


  • Project Lead: Koen Handekyn
  • Research Lead: Wouter Joosen
  • Innovation Manager: Stefan Van Baelen
  • Proposal Manager: Bert Lagaisse