Business Process Management & Enterprise Architecture track of ACM SAC 2017

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.

These disciplines are quickly evolving and intertwining with each other, and are often referred to with the broad term of business modeling.
I believe there is a strong need of exploring new paths of improvement, integration and consolidation of these disciplines.
If you are interested to participate and contribute, we seek contributions in the areas of enterprise and systems architecture and modeling, multilevel models tracing and alignment, models transformation, IT & business alignment (both in terms of modeling and goals), tackling both technical (languages, systems, patterns, tools) and social (collaboration, human-in-the-loop) issues.
The deadline for submitting a paper is September 15, 2016.
You can find the complete call and further details on the event website:
BPMEA track at SAC 2017

Feel free to share your ideas, opinions and criticisms here or as a submission to the event.

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The "UML Profile for ArchiMate and ArchiMate Meta-model" RFP issued by OMG

After my initial post about Archimate and UML intent to get closer, just a quick update post on the fact that the “UML Profile for ArchiMate and ArchiMate Meta-model” request for proposal (RFP) have been issued by the Object Management Group at the Long Beach technical committee meeting by the Domain TC and is now available at the URL:
The contact person of this RFP is J.D.Baker from NIST. The effort is lead by Fred A. Cummins, Donald R. Chapin, and Claude Baudoin.

The RFP’s work in progress page, which contains a link to the document and all relevant deadlines is located at this URL (Requires OMG access credentials):

So far, no proposals have been submitted, but Sparx Systems and HP have declared their interest and intent to submit.
The main controversy related to the RFP and subsequently to the proposals is about the role and positioning of a UML profile wrt the actual Archimate standard.

The deadline for proposals and for participating to the voting expires on May 18 (in a week!).

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A standard UML profile of ArchiMate for Enterprise Architecture

Today at OMG a proposition has been made to going forward to a standardization of UML profile for Archimate. As such, it also acts as a bridge between  the OMG and the Open Group.

ArchiMate is a visual modeling language for Enterprise Architecture.

Current implementations of UML profiles for that are provided by SparxSystems and Modelio. There is no formal metamodel for ArchiMate. However, a few seminal semi-formal metamodels are around in white papers. The idea is to have a RFC (Request For Comments) out in June 2014, based on an agreed upon UML profile.
The task is complex, also because there is some kind of relation with TOGAF (at a certain point in history this was true, then the two worlds diverged but there is still some overlap).

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Videos of the Webinars on IFML and its integration with BPMN and UML

Along with the effort of disseminating IFML all around the world, I also gave some online webinars on IFML (the Interaction Flow Modeling Language). If you are interested in learning the basics of the language and on its integration with BPMN and UML, together with the enabled code generation options, you may want to watch the following recordings of the webinars.

This is the last webinar, dedicated to IFML and to its use integrated with other modeling languages in the MDA suite, such as UML and BPMN. The webinar will introduce the basics of the IFML language and will demonstrate the advantages of using it together with BPMN diagrams, UML activity diagrams, sequence diagrams, and class diagrams. The tutorial shows that IFML is the missing piece for modeling the front end of software applications and perfectly complements other modeling dimensions in broad system modeling projects:

If you like, you can listen to it also in Italian (also presented by me) or in Spanish (speaker Matteo Silva).

The webinar video, only introducing IFML and the standardization experience, is available too:


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Model Driven Enterprise Engineering (TM)

Model Driven Enterprise Engineering (MDEE) is a concept proposed by Know Gravity, a company based in Zurich, Switzerland, that has been active in modeling and requirement engineering since 2000.

They propose a pragmatic approach to integration of OMG and non-OMG modeling specification, so as to cover all the modeling needs of the enterprise (and not only for software).
They come up with a quadrant of 4 + 1 modeling settings, as shown in this slide:

The Model Driven Enterprise Engineering framework and the mapping to the  OMG modeling languages.

The 5 scenarios are named as:

  • Strategy Model (business – what?)
  • Operational Model (business – how?)
  • IT Support Model (IT – what?)
  • Technology Model (business – how?)
  • Management Model

The focus of the approach is mainly in the first stages of design, and especially on requirement, simulation and early prototyping.
The approach is based on integrating and relating together multiple and diverse models, through the definition of a vocabulary (SBVR-based) and integrated metamodel.
It covers project management, enterprise and system document generation, functional requirements, business rules, and many more aspects.
The idea starts from the fact that using single OMG specification doesn’t make much sense, because actually many OMG business and IT specs are complementary and sometimes overlapping. Therefore there is need of alignment on meta entity level and of designing cross-model and/or cross-profile associations.
The current way they do this is to have a profile-based comprehensive modeling tool, that lets you model the various aspects and related them to each other.
In my opinion, this is not that different to the megamodeling approaches.
The good news is that they also plan to fully support IFML (the new OMG standard called Interaction Flow Modeling Language, see also my previous post on standardization here) in the framework by 2014.

Two peculiar initiatives I deem interesting are:

  • they trademarked the concept of Model Driven Enterprise Engineering!
  • they plan to write and publish a book on the topic which will be completely automatically generated out of the models, and will be produced following software engineering processes, starting from use cases, requirements, and so on!

You can find more on this at the company Web site: Know Gravity.

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BPM and EA Europe Conference 2012 – the full Twitter story from all of us

The BPM and EA Conference 2012 is simply too big to follow in person in all its sessions and details. I’m trying here to summarize all the stories that are going on. Feel free to add your comments and experiences! (For sake of readability, the story will be visible once you open this post separately).[<a href=”″ target=”_blank”>View the story “BPM Europe and EAC Conference 2012” on Storify</a>]

To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

6th MDA and BPM forum 2012, Milan, Italy

MDA Forum 2012 - Milan, Italy: BPM and MDE

Today I attended the MDA forum 2012, organized by and held in Milan, Italy. The topic of this year has been: “BPM and MDA”. WebRatio was sponsoring the event and also had a presentation during the day, given by Stefano Butti. Here is a short summary of the day, which has been extremely interesting and fruitful.

“Taming information explosion with BPM and MDA” 

by Richard Soley, OMG (Object Management Group)

The reason why we need modeling is the huge amount of information we need to deal with.
CIOs today have a complete separation between where they are today and where they expect to go: they now mainly focus on hardware, printing, networking; but their view for tomorrow is towards cloud computing, BPM, Enterprise Architecture, SOA.
CIOs now feel to have duties outside of core technology, towards addressing problems of enterprise-wide strategy definition.
The appalling thing is that most of the discussion is about aligning IT and business. But this is a false problem.
According to Zachman, “business” should lay out the enterprise architecture. But since they don’t do it, IT must come in and do it.
The challenge is to embrace change and manage complexity.
You need to build standards for letting people talk. There is no way of enforcing ONE standard for one problem: every time we try to build the sole, best standard, we are just adding up another one to the existing list. And existing standards don’t go away.
A standard to be useful must:
– be agreed upon
– be implemented.
The current enterprise challenges are BPM and model-driven design.
BPM is the key to agility.
MDA makes BPM repeatable.

“Affordable Software Architecture” 

by Stephen J. Mellor, freelance

One of the main mistakes of enterprise architects is to focus more on technology than on architecture. 
If we start solving a problem  from green field by involving a diverse team, we probably end up with a plethora of different pieces. The result will not be so good and will comprise several different pieces. At this point we need to put them together, and thus we need to define connectors, converters and so on. This requires more people, who will build yet more diverse converters. This ends up in a repeating paradigm that repeats itself forever in a fractal way.

Effort required, based on the size of the system, depending on the adoption of
unscalable approaches (green) or of enterprise architectures (blue).
The cost of implementation, ideally linear for unscalable approaches, is actually higher due to integration costs, but can be reduced due to reuse costs.
The cost of an architecture is fixed instead. There are only some variable costs (quite low) for applying the architecture.
In an architecture there shall be a number of periodic tasks that are started regularly; a number of event-driven tasks that start in response to events; and a periodic control over this.

“Enterprise Transformation. The role of open standards” 

by Allen Brown, The Open Group

Enterprise transformation is a long journey. You can decide to build your future or to let others set it for you.
Standards play a huge role on this. TOGAF is one of the most known and used standards and guidelines for EA. The crucial point is that you cannot only focus on EA, you need to know and integrate Organization Design.  You deliver synergies, technology and business performance improvement.
The point is:

  • first, focus and start from the expected improvement of capability (i.e., business objectives)
  • define the functional needs (e.g., increasing performance, reduce cost, increase security, and so on)

“Making sense of MDA-ness”

by Allan Kennedy

Interesting enough, in the last years there has been a fall of 50% of the requests of UML expertise in job postings. On the other side, we see an increase of 100% of the expertise in Enterprise architecture.
MODAF and TOGAF and all other architecture framework have some interesting hook where to fit in the modeling practices, but then they keep neutral on what MDE tools and languages to use. This is however a limitation, because I would like to have a clear set of guidelines for that. 
I want to deliver predictable results starting from the architecture frameworks, but this is not possible if I only apply their processes. I also need to select the right tools and methods. There is no explanation on:
  • how to partition the problem space
  • how to formalize knowledge related to each part
  • how to recombine and test the parts
On all these aspects, MDA and MDA transformations come to help. The framework can be personalized by applying the right model-driven tools. There is perfect complementarity and the two worlds should be brought together.

“Dare to challenge” 

by  Hans van Herwaarden

The world is becoming flat again: people and companies are connected throughout the world in a seamless way. Value streams become virtual: there are processes that are virtually the same in every organization, and thus it makes sense to model and extract them and make them unified, or possibly even externalized. Dynamic value chains, applied to industrial production so far, is now ready for the service industry (see the book: “This is service design thinking”). 
Of all the innovation forms (product, process, technology,… ) there is one that has much more potential: business model innovation. This requires to map what you are, make sure you are complete and identify your core strengths. 
All this leads to component-based thinking. This is a major key to be lean and agile. Enterprises must become outside-in, focusing on bringing knowledge in from outside (e.g., crowdsourcing).

Final panel for the morning session

About the role of IT in the future, Soley thinks that IT by itself will disappear in the short term. Decision makers will blend all the aspects together and IT will be distributed throughout the organization.
Other important trends will be automatization, externalization, outsourcing, commoditization. The business will drive the IT changes in the future. Transformation is the real challenge, and now it’s easy to motivate customers by highlighting how they are left behind by competitors if they don’t change.
Small companies have more to gain by adopting MDE, because of the increase in productivity. However, there is a skill gap to cover for that in the workforce.

User interaction: the overlooked spot in MDE

by Stefano Butti, WebRatio

In his presentation, the first of the afternoon, Stefano presented our experience with WebML and WebRatio and outlined the roadmap to the standardization of the new IFML language (Interaction Flow Modeling Language).

To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).