Interstage BPM Version 11 & Cloud

Fujitsu made a couple of press releases last week, announcing two things: a new release of Interstage BPM, Version 11, and our Cloud BPM offering.  This post just contains links to articles on the subject of these announcements.

While there are many small features in the Version 11 release, the two main ones are a significantly extended capabilities in Dynamic BPM and extended tenant management capabilities.  The latter feature helps to support the extended cloud BPM offering which includes a complete BPM design, development, and run-time capability which is free for small teams.

Putting Your Toys Away

You know that book on how everything important is learned in Kindergarten?  Along that same line, before I got into Kindergarten, my mother taught me to that if I put my toys away, I will be able to find them again later.  I am sure there was a lot of crying and whining involved, but like most people I eventually got the point.

Fast forward to the adult world.  How many times have you heard these questions:

  • Where is the latest spreadsheet?
  • Does this document have the latest changes in it?
  • Are your changes in this document?
  • Can you send the copy of the file that contains all the latest updates?

This situation is caused by the worst scourge of our time: the addiction to email.  Continue reading

Process Reification

John Evdemon makes an informative post about the  Zachman Framework and end up on a discussion of  “process reification” which he explains is the action of converting an abstract process into a concrete, executable process.  Such a conversion is often touted as the Holy Grail of BPM.  While such a conversion is often desired, I would remind the reader that it might be better not to convert in the first place:  A Model Preserving Strategy assures that the designer creates an executable model in the first place, and that the model executed is always what the designer drew.

JP Morganthal makes an important post reminding us to Keep Your SOA and BPM Initiatives SeparateContinue reading

Avoid Mouse Candy

Ah the things you learn from an emergency in-house BPM project deployment. If you think that all parts of a high tech company would be well versed and experienced in their own products, then you probably don’t actually work for a high tech company. So I was called in as an “expert” to expedite a very straightforward Human BPM project.

Thursday around 5pm: introduction to project. Friday morning: working prototype to prove the approach would work. Monday morning: the server up and running. Next few days: design and implement the application, including multiple reviews with the various stakeholders. I won’t bore you with all the details, but instead focus on one curious phenomenon that I call “Mouse Candy“. Continue reading

Model Strategy, Round-Trip & Agile Development

We often talk about the process “round trip”. The process lifecycle is explicitly about moving the process through different people with different specializations. The business analyst draws a high-level model and the systems integrator includes details for connecting the systems. Another dynamic is the continual process improvement that occurs when you assess how effective the current process is, make a change at the high level, and take that change through the lifecycle again. Continue reading

Restoration in Progress

Quote for today:

“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.” – Barak Obama, Inauguration Address, 2009

Particularly well put.

The title of this post comes from a sign on an art gallery in Washington DC which was closed for renovations, but which passers-by one after another mistook as promotional material for the new administration. I guess it is a sign of the times.

Green Software?

This post is about another one those thoughts that occur at the clashing point of several different ideas. I travel a bit, and use the laptop a lot, and it always gets HOT. Laptops today are so smart: the fan is dynamically controlled by the heat, and the heat is caused by the amount of calculations you are making at the moment. So you really notice: when you do a function that causes the computer to think, the fan suddenly picks up. It really make you mindful of when the laptop is working, and when it is “resting”. But batteries never last as long as I would like, I am always trying to think of ways to reduce the amount of processing required to do my tasks.

It seems like I am in a losing battle with Microsoft over this. Newer operating system and versions of office see me to provide ever “whizzier” ways to do the same thing. Menus used to just appear, now they have to slide down, or fade in. Often we have discussed whether this is a conspiracy between Microsoft and Intel to get us to buy faster chips and more memory, so that the new machine I have which is 100 times more powerful than the 8 year old one seems to run just about the same with today’s software as the old one did on 8 year old software. All in the name of “progress”.

Honestly speaking, we know that the advances in software are aimed at providing better usability and convenience to the user. Since you have a more powerful machine, why not use it?  The problem is that in designing such systems, we assume that CPU cycles are “free”. If you don’t use a CPU clock cycle, it is gone. But that is not really true: when you stop using the CPU cycles, the chip uses a lot less energy.

That is where “green software” comes in. We measure software on many different benchmarks. Maybe it is time that we started measuring how many CPU cycles it takes to perform certain standard operations. For example, different word processors may take different amounts of CPU time to input the exact same document.  Or they might take different amounts of CPU time to render the same web page.  Shouldn’t we, at some level, be aware of the “cost” of running such software.  To date, CPU cycles are considered so close to free that unless there is a noticeable performance hit, nobody is concerned about saving CPU cycles.  Once we become sensitive to reducing the amount of CPU time, such values could be reduced by 10x or 100x without any noticeable degradation in the use of the software.

I suppose this is all slightly ridiculous to worry about saving a few watts.  In reality the power savings might only add up to a few cents per day per laptop.  Surely there is lower hanging fruit to battle global warming.   That is true, but there is another side of it: the cost of a laptop is not the electricity, but the battery.  If software ran with 1/10 the CPU cycles, then you probably could make do with a significantly less powerful laptop, and this would generally take a lot less power.  Smaller batteries would cost less, and be less harmful to the environment.  Plus, if you are running lots of software at the same time, you could run more, in less memory, on a less powerful machine, if the software was green.

By the way, Fujitsu has a significant effort on green computer hardware.  Our servers are designed to run on less electricity than the same capability server from the competitor.  If you are running a large data center, the cost savings can be significant.  Not a sales pitch here, but simply a reflection that attention to this kind of detail is really important.

Admittedly, the time is not ripe to worry about “Green Software”.  But we should be sensitive to how much “CPU cost” a particular software product takes.  This might be something that only the most sophisticated software is willing to take on as a goal (Linux, you guys listening?)  But don’t pop my bubble: I wish to dream of a time that all the software I need runs reasonably on a laptop that does not keep getting terribly hot when all I am doing is reading and writing email!