Model Strategy & Analytics

A by-product of automating work is the records is made that indicate precisely when each task is started and completed. Analytic information about how your organization is working can actually be far more valuable than the cost savings derived from the automation. A lot can be learned from this analysis that can help you improve your organization. Some claim that this is the principle benefit of BPM.

In an earlier post, I introduced the concept of a “Model Preserving Strategy” versus a “Model Transforming Strategy” and defined them as two approaches that a BPMS can take in the lifecycle of a business process.  This post delves into how process analytics are effected by model strategy. Continue reading

Model Strategy: Preserving vs. Transforming

It started out as a casual conversation over drinks at the Oct 2008 BPM Tech Show in DC, late in the afternoon, after the tutorials and presentations had finished. We wanted to know: “why is there such a variation in different BPM systems?” This expanded into a breakfast meeting the following morning on the topic of “What are advantages/ disadvantages of either preserving or transforming a BPM model?” We found that most existing systems tend to follow one of two possible strategies. Existing BPM Systems (and their associated methodologies) can be categorized as supporting either a “Model Transforming Strategy” or a “Model Preserving Strategy”.

It was remarkable how passionate people were about their position. Continue reading

BPMN is still useful for small businesses

I received by email a couple questions today, repeated below with my answers.

I am an independent software developer turned architect / business analyst. Over the last year or so I have found quite a bit of work by going into businesses and explaining them how their own internal processes work (through made up flowcharts and long winded explanations).

Question 1: Do you think the BPMN is overkill for documenting a small businesses BP? Continue reading

Directly Executing BPMN

The article “Why BPEL is not the holy grail for BPM” presents a scenario for implementation which is difficult for BPEL based products to actually execute. It presented a particular product based on BPEL that was not able to execute this diagram.  What about products that are based on executing the BPMN directly without conversion? Continue reading

BPMN Modeling and Reference Guide

There is a new book on BPMN modelling called “BPMN Modeling and Reference Guide” by Stephen A White and Derek Miers.  It was launched at the Gartner BPM Summit event in Washington DC last week.

Net Take Away: This is a great resource for those coming up to speed on BPMN.  It uses a lot of practical examples of process diagram, starting from simple ones and working toward the more complex ones. Continue reading

BPMN 2.0 Should Remain Focused on Notation

I am watching a number of comments being placed about a new effort for BPMN 2.0. Vishal Saxena says that the BPMN 2.0 metamodel should maintain this flexibility that BPMN 1.0/1.1 has. No argument there. Sebastian Stein says that BPMN is missing an exchange format, and clearly he does not know about XPDL. He goes on to say that the real problem is a lack of clear execution semantics. He points out that the OMG discusses two approaches: BPMN defines the semantics, and BPDM defines the semantics. Bruce Silver comments that the first approach would be the most value to the BPM community. We seem to agree that BPMN needs more clarity in expression. I suggest that there is a third approach that the OMG should consider. Continue reading

BPMN & Methodology Agnosticism

Stephen White made a comment on my Human “Facilitator” Processes post that deserves highlighting.  You probably know the Stephen was the chairman of the working group that developed BPMN.

The discussion of the different diagrams shown in the post really have nothing to do with BPMN per se, but with the methodologies that would be used to model with BPMN. BPMN is generally methodology agnostic. The way that a process is modeled, to what level of detail, and what information should be captured, is really up to the methodology and the purpose for creating the process model. Continue reading

Human “Facilitator” Processes

In a previous post, I introduced the concept that there are two predominant views of BPM. One view is that of the Automators, who are creating business processes which replace humans by doing the same things that had traditionally been done manually. The other view is that of the Facilitators, who are creating BPM processes to involve actual people in processes can not and probably never will be fully automated. Both groups see themselves as making “human processes”, both groups create BPMN diagrams filled activities and gateways. Continue reading

Throw Out the Diagram?

I ran a “Round Table” at the BPM ThinkTank on the subject of BPMN and XPDL. There always is the question: “Why not use BPEL?” Then I explain how XPDL holds the graphical layout, the X & Y coordinates, the size the nodes, the paths of the lines. BPEL has not support for the graphical layout.

“But you don’t need to save the graphical layout!” Continue reading