This year I’m co-organizing with Davide Rossi and a bunch of experts in Business Process Management and Enterprise Architecture a new event called BPM-EA, which aims at bringing together the broad topics of business processes, modeling, and enterprise architecture.
I’m glad to share the video of the most recent webinar on WebRatio BPM Platform, the BPMN-based tool designed to support you in building high-end BPM Web and mobile Apps with a tailored User Experience. If you never experienced WebRatio BPM Platform, here is a summary of what you can do with it:
- DEVELOP WEB AND MOBILE APPS through prototypes, then change them as many times as you need. No more time wasted building mockups on paper.
- NO VENDOR LOCK IN thanks to highly optimized generated code that is open, human readable and based on the most recent Java and JS frameworks.
- DEFINE A CUSTOM WEB OR MOBILE FRONT END for your BPM App and create a customized user interface, giving every channel a different user experience.
- SUPPORT YOUR USERS’ MOBILITY thanks to the mobile BPM capabilities that let you work on your BPM App on any device, desktop or mobile, and deliver a seamless user experience.
I’m really proud to announce that our paper “Pattern-Based Specification of Crowdsourcing Applications” has received the BEST PAPER award at ICWE 2014 (International Conference on Web Engineering), held in Toulouse in July 2014. The paper was authored by Alessandro Bozzon, Marco Brambilla, Stefano Ceri, Andrea Mauri, and Riccardo Volonterio.
The work addresses the fact that in many crowd-based applications, the interaction with performers is decomposed in several tasks that, collectively, produce the desired results.
A number of emerging crowd-based applications cover very different scenarios, including opinion mining, multimedia data annotation, localised information gathering, marketing campaigns, expert response gathering, and so on.
In most of these scenarios, applications can be decomposed in tasks that collectively produce their results; Tasks interactions give rise to arbitrarily complex workflows.
In this paper we propose methods and tools for designing crowd-based workflows as interacting tasks.
We describe the modelling concepts that are useful in such framework, including typical workflow patterns, whose function is to decompose a cognitively complex task into simple interacting tasks so that the complex task is co-operatively solved.
We then discuss how workflows and patterns are managed by CrowdSearcher, a system for designing, deploying and monitoring applications on top of crowd-based systems, including social networks and crowdsourcing platforms. Tasks performed by humans consist of simple operations which apply to homogeneous objects; the complexity of aggregating and interpreting task results is embodied within the framework. We show our approach at work on a validation scenario and we report quantitative findings, which highlight the effect of workflow design on the final results.
Here are the slides presented by Alessandro Bozzon during the ICWE conference:
and here is the picture of the actual award:
Together with Piero Fraternali and Carmen Vaca Ruiz I’ve recently written a chapter published within the Social BPM Handbook.
The details on the book are available online, including the complete Introduction containing full Table of Contents and Abstracts of each chapter. The book is a valuable resource in the field and gathers the contributions of several experts including Clay Richardson, Keith Swenson, Nathaniel Palmer, Sandy Kemsley, Max J. Pucher (see the post on his chapter), Keith Harrison-Broninski, and many others (most of them are also listed in my Prominent BPM Bloggers post).
- At the methodological level, providing a framework for understanding the ways to incorporate social interactions in business processes.
- At the notational level, verifying the capacity of a mainstream process modeling language (BPMN 2.0) to express social interactions and cover Social BPM requirements.
- At the technical level, exploiting model-driven software engineering techniques to produce applications enacting the social process directly from the (extended) BPMN process schema.
- A classification of Social BPM adoption levels.
- An extension of BPMN enabling social activities, events and conditional process flows.
- An extension of the WebML (Web Modeling Language) for expressing Web applications interacting with social platforms, through abstract operations represented as components and design patterns.
- A technical framework for generating Social BPM applications directly from specifications encoded in the social extension of BPMN 2.0, based on model transformations and on a runtime architecture integrating business process execution and social task enactment, implemented in a commercial tool suite called WebRatio BPM.
If you want to know more, you can contact me or buy the book directly online. To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).
Maintaining Consistency Across BPM Initiatives’ Content(November 3, Enterprise Irregulars)
In response to a writeup by Sandy Kemsley on a user experince on MDD+BPM at Bank of America.
Thank you so much for sharing this writeup and comment.
Being a researcher on MDD and BPM, I’m glad to see that this recipe is getting more and more attention in the industry.
Being also a (software) analyst and a partner in a tool vendor company (WebRatio) I agree with you that pushing this combination of methodologies to the customers can be painful, because customers are rather conservative in terms of innovation and do not trust tools and approaches that are not in the orthodox mainstream.
However, we also had some really good success stories in making big customers adopt these approaches (see for instance our experiences we shared at BPM 2010 in Hoboken and that will also be published in an upcoming book edited by M. Rosemann and M. zur Muehlen. Presentation here: http://www.slideshare.net/mbrambil/web-ratio-bpmindustrialcasesbpm2010 ).
I share with you the concern about setting up weird combinations of tools for addressing BPM with a MDD approach.
In WebRatio, it took us 10 years to come up with a coherent suite of modeling, transformation, and code generation facilities that integrate in a seamless way BPM, data modeling, application modeling, quick prototyping, and code generation for production applications.
Since MDD is a very neat and conceptual approach, I think appropriate toolsuites that correctly deal with the models and their relationship is crucial for granting full benefits of a virtuous model-driven lifecycle.
Enabling Smarter BPM through Business Entities with Lifecycles (November 3, Column2 blog by Sandy Kemsley)
In response to a writeup by Sandy Kemsley on Rick Hull work on integrated BP and data modeling at IBM T.J. Watson.
Thanks for this overview on Rick’s work. I think this is a crucial change of paradigm that companies will embrace sooner or later.
It doesn’t make any sense to consider data and processes as separate realms, with different kings and armies fighting at their borders.
I also have been doing integrated modeling of different aspects of applications for a while, not limited to BP and data models, but comprising also other aspects like user role modeling, application logic modeling, user interaction modeling, and so on. In our approach we envision an integrated model driven development (MDD) approach covering all these aspects and providing automatic alignment and quick prototyping.
I strongly believe that model integration, alignment and continuous cross-validation down to the implementation is the only response to the complex needs of today’s enterprises.
Here is an overview of what we do:
And a summary of MDD responses to current BPM trends (including MDM integration):
I would be glad to get feedback on this.
Iterative Development in BPM Applications Using Traceability (November 3,Column2 blog by Sandy Kemsley)
thanks for this post too. I appreciate your work, I think it’s big value for the BPM community.
I think traceability is crucial, but may not be enough. What we really need is coherency and alignment of models. The complexity of modern enterprise applications requires several models to describe all the relevant aspects. Design tools should be aware of this and *grant* alignment by construction.
This could be fairly easy for models that deal with the same level of abstraction, while it could be much more difficult when alignment is needed between business and IT models of course.
Furthermore (maybe even more crucial), alignment should be granted between models and implementation.
In my experience, all this can be achieved only through well engineered model-driven development (MDD) approaches.
I recently commented/ interacted with several people in the Business Process Management (BPM) online community. I’ll try to recap here all my recent contributions in this and the next few posts (just as a way for me not to forget about them):
Choosing the first process to implement (Adam Deane blog, 22/9/2010)
I basically agree with the post: the approval processes are the Hello World! examples for BPM (and are the most used in teaching, in fact): easy to understand, design and demonstrate.. and can quickly gather consensus among the stakeholders.
Not so sure about tasks that are poorly defined: understanding can be different between the people (also within the customer enterprise)and could lead to delays and fights between the roles (our experience). How to deal with this?
The BPM sweetspot (Adam Deane blog, 6/10/2010)
I fully share the view of this post.
I would also add another reaction by customers when they finally see the running process execution:
– WOW! look at that. Nice form, nice dashboard! Hey, wait a minute! Why do you have an input field for time with “:” instead of “.” as a separator? Mmm, and why this form is missing all the 27 fields we actually need for our credit card request management?
My point is: yes, execution is more intriguing, but it also leads to identifying process issues and problems. Most of them are absolutely useless (especially when you are doing a demo!).
But when you come to build real apps, you can also get feedback like:
– Look, you missed an activity (or a dependency) here. And these two should be switched.
– Well, this is interesting (would say the BP analyst). But wait, why you didn’t point it out when we discussed the models?
– Welllll, basically I didn’t notice.
My bottom line: execution is not just the sexiest thing, sometimes is also the most useful for interacting with the customer (even if you are an analyst).
Who is a business user? (Adam Deane blog, 23/10/2010)
I agree BPMN should not be blamed.
On the topic at large, let me point to my comment to another of your nice posts: “The BPM sweetspot” (http://adamdeane.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/the-bpm-sweetspot/).
My thesis is: it’s good to have business process models, to have a notation, to standardize it, to make people (analysts and experts) use it.
But I’m fully with you: you cannot expect ALL the kinds of users to adopt it.
I think each user needs the right tool. For some it can be BPMN (full), for some it can be a simplified notation, but for some (typically the end users) it must even be a running prototype of the application. In our experience this let us identify a lot of process issues that no customer ever spotted in the BP models (although in principle they were able to understand the notation).
Following the rules (BPMS Watch, Bruce Silver blog, 5/10/2010)
I really appreciate your work in education and consolidation of BPMN (I read your book and I read with much interest also your recent online decalogue for BPMN design).
I have mixed feelings on the target users of BPMN: business users can for sure understand and design BP diagrams (if we assume usage of a “baseline” version of BPMN), but as you (and the other comments) abundantly demonstrate, it’s already a big challenge to end up with a reasonably well-formed and sense-making model.
However, this is only the first step.
The actual challenge would be to get value from these models: models should help improving processes, identifying requirement mistakes or other issues, possibly automatically executing/prototyping processes, and effectively documenting.
The question is: given the difficulty to reach the first objective (correctness), do you expect that the actual value will ever be achieved?
Our experience is that BPMN models are of huge value for process designers and engineers, but when it comes to getting feedback from the stakeholders (business users,…) nothing worked better than interacting upon running prototypes.
We recorded precise measures of our activities and productivity.
The good news was that we were able to automatically generate such prototype from BPMN and thus achieve quick redesign cycles.
(we presented our experience at BPM 2010, Hoboken, NJ too)