2010-02-17

BPM reference model - fragment 06 - BPM and some information technologies

... continued from fragment 05

1.6   BPM and some information technologies
The growing popularity and great potentials of the BPM discipline created the impetus for a new class of enterprise software -- the BPM suite or BPMS (14.3.9) -- a coherent set of software tools for facilitating the implementation of BPM systems. Typical components of BPM suites are the following.
  • Process modelling tool, designer or modeller -- an ergonomic graphical environment for manipulating artefacts such as events, rules, processes, activities, and services.
  • Process testing tool -- an environment for functional testing which allows a process to be "run" with different testing scenarios, e.g. various inputs, various rules, and various responses from the services.
  • Process template repository -- a store of process templates comprising different versions of the templates.
  • Process instance repository -- a store of executing and executed process instances.
  • Work list or task list -- an interface between the BPMS and a human carrying out some activities within processes.
  • Dashboard -- an interface between the BPMS and the humans controlling the execution of processes, e.g. a BPMS administrator (who should know that "everything is working") or a business process owner (who should know "how well everything is working").
  • Process analytics tool -- an environment for analysing audit trails and KPIs to find out historical, current and predictive tendencies of business operations.
  • Process simulation tool -- an environment for performance testing which allows a process to be "run" as for functional testing, but where the dominant considerations are the expenditure of time and other resources.
These components are spread across different parts of the enterprise business system as shown in figure 1.7.
Figure 1.7   Components of a BPM suite

Unfortunately, just managing processes using a BPM suite is still not sufficient because many additional artefacts are not considered. This has lead to the creation of another new class of enterprise software -- Business Process Platform (BPP) -- which attempts to cover more artefacts together. Typical technologies associated with BPP are the following.
  • Business Event Management (BEM), which captures real-time business events and assigns them to their proper processing. Also, BEM is related to Complex Events Processing (CEP) and Event-Driven Architecture (EDA).
  • Business Rules Management (BRM) and Business Decision Management (BDM), which allow the explicit, formal and, preferably, user-friendly handling of business rules. As business rules are often present in many business processes, a BRM can simplify considerably the maintenance of their business logic.
  • Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system and collaboration facilities, which capture, manage, store, preserve and deliver content (documents as well as e-mails, blog posts, forms, etc.) in a collaborative manner. ECM is important since about 70 % of business information is stored in such a way, and many business processes need to handle such types of non-structured information.
  • Master Data Management (MDM), to store, manage and preserve highly-structured data even if they are spread between many databases
  • Configuration Management DataBase (CMDB), to store and manage different configuration information about artefacts.
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), which facilitates the secure management of resources and provides explicit, formal and, preferably, user-friendly handling of business roles.
  • Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), which facilitates the operations control of an enterprise through the processing of audit trails which are produced during the execution of business processes. The BAM aggregates, analyses and presents real-time information about activities.
  • Business Intelligence (BI), which facilitates the analysis of the functioning of an enterprise by processing audit trails. Some KPIs may be derived by BI tools. BI tools collect, integrate, analyse and present business information.
  • Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) (14.3.10), which provides guidance on a) how to construct complex software-intensive systems from a set of universally interconnected and interdependent services and b) how to govern the evolution of such systems.
  • Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), to facilitate inter-service communication within SOA-based environments.
These technologies are spread across different parts of the enterprise business system as shown in figure 1.8. Only the highlights of BPP systems are illustrated. IT governance is not mentioned because it is everywhere.

Now that we have all necessary elements in a BPM-centric "melting pot", let us come back to the two major enablers (discussed in 1.1) for carrying out the optimisation of the enterprise as a whole: 1) better decision making and 2) the ability to implement the necessary changes at the required pace.

The BPM discipline can help with better decision making by providing
  1. a formal and executable description of the business processes, which can be used in different specialised tools such as process modelling tools, process simulation tools and
    process executions tools, and
  2. real data collected during the execution of business processes (audit trails, KPIs), which can be reused for simulation and performance evaluation (using BAM and, mainly, BI).

Figure 1.8   Different technologies associated with BPP

... to be continued in fragment 07 ...

Thanks,
AS
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