CityOmeters, our solution for smartcity analysis and management, presented at EXPO2015

CityOmeters, the complete solution proposed by Fluxedo for smart city management that includes social engagement via micro-planning and big data flow analytics over social content and IoT, has been presented today at EXPO 2015 in Milano, in the Samsung and TIM pavilion.
See the slides below:

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Why we built an app and why we got featured as best app in the Apple store

It took years, countless hours of work and conceptual effort by a good bunch of people, but last December we delivered our flagship app Fluxedo to the Apple Store and Android Play Store.
And yes, we got featured as best new app in the Apple store.
This was a great surprise, for several reasons:

  • we built Fluxedo with cross-platform, non-native technologies
  • the UX was pixel-perfect wrt the Google material design guidelines
  • we didn’t advertise, push or apply any PR techniques on the app
And anyway, we got selected by Apple.
How was that?
I think three main points contributed to this success are:
  • detailed studies of UX, feedback from user panels, and expertise in usability
  • maniacal care on the implementation issues, performance, and testing of features
  • solid data management architecture
  • long-term research underneath the concept of the app (as apparent from various scientific publications that feature the technical aspects of the product: we got papers accepted at BPMS2 2012, MobileSoft 2015, ICWE 2015, and SLE 2015)
All this allowed a resulting app that is undistinguishable from native ones and works perfectly on any device.
Add to this a continuous improvement and evolution philosophy, and you get the core of the values of Fluxedo. WE are now working intensively on a new version of the app, completely re-engineered, to further improve the user experience and performance.
You can get an idea of the app from this video (or visit


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My invited post on Modeling Social Web Apps (on

It’s with great pleasure that I announce my invited post on the blog, curated by Jordi Cabot.
First, I’m glad he invited me. Second, I’m happy that he asked for a post on Social-enabled Web application modeling.
I mean, we all see how social technologies are transforming our life. And yet, the modeling community and the software engineering community at large are paying very limited attention to this phenomenon.
That’s why I decided to address the problem by proposing a model-driven approach that is specifically focused on the development of Web applications that exploit social features, and my invited post is exactly focusing on this.
Basically, the proposal is to go from requirement specification down to static and dynamic design and to code generation of social applications with a pattern-based approach, which exploits goal-based requirement specification, UML modeling, and WebML models (enriched with social-specific primitives) for describing the user interaction. This image intuitively summarizes the idea:

You can find more details in the invited post on Social web application modeling on Jordi’s blog, and also check out the video that summarizes the approach:

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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>]

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Making Social BPM mean Business – Sandy Kemsley’s seminar at BPM Europe 2012 by IRM-UK

While attending the BPM Europe Conference 2012, I started by following the seminar by Sandy Kemsley on Social Business Process Management.
She brought up a large set of interesting issues related to Social BPM:

Social BPM dimensions

Dimensions of complexity can be orthogonalized and well managed:
  1. Structure: how much structured is the process
  2. Internal Collaboration: how much internal collaboration the process allows
  3. External Involvement: how many external actors can be involved
This is extremely interesting, as it unfolds the concepts that I was investigating in some of my past posts on social BPM options and adoption levels. But here the orthogonalization makes the problem much more crisp and clear.

Collaboration Spectrum

The span of collaboration can cover different levels:
  • Predefined participants
  • Selection of participants from a predefined set of enabled ones
  • Selection of any participants or participants self-selection

This is also close to the continuum of social BPM, but again focusing on one specific orthogonalized aspect at a time.

Social as a feature or as an application?

The point with Enterprise 2.0 is that several social tools exist now, and the challenge is how to put them together in a productive and coherent way, without irking to build yet another stack of silos, in the socialization domain. There is a huge social enterprise software confusion, and social BPM is part of it.
Socialization, as well as any other enterprise issue, should be tackled as a comprehensive problem at enterprise level. The main challenge is not to reduce this to simply selecting a set of social tools to be used. Social must become an attitude and a lifestyle in the enterprise.
You can get Social process discovery and modeling, and this is covered by several vendors. However, it’s much more interesting to have social process execution. This is covered by vendors such as HandySoft and Fujitsu. Major vendors like IBM are also expanding their features towards Adaptive Case Management (ACM), by covering as much as possible of this within their BPM products.

Process event streams

This is very similar to the Facebook timeline or other customer-oriented event streams. This is also a major user interface change in the enterprise. Events may have a direct link to underlying process models or instance. One can subscribe to a stream by topic or by author or other. Enterprise systems get usable, mobile and quickly accessible.
Producers of these class of products include: Appian Tempo, Tibco Tibbr, IBM Blueworks Live.

Other aspects

Several other ways exist for making BPM social, such as online communities (internal centers of excellence, external communities of practice, marketplaces): this is covered by IBM BlueWorks, Appian, and Software AG Aris. In small, this is also what the WebRatio Store is aiming at in the near future (while now it’s mainly focused on WebML features).

Some producers are offering BPM Software as a service solutions, with cloud deployment(Appian Anywhere, Fujitsu InterstageBPM, Cordys Process Factory and other emerging ones). WebRatio is also moving towards the cloud, but at the moment the development part is based on the Eclipse-based  standalone tool suite.

Organization and Impacts

While the technology is not cutting edge any more, organizational impacts and benefits are still challenging for the enterprise.
Social Business has now an ad-hoc social business maturity model. 
The social BPM maturity gap. Internal: above, orange line. External: below, yellow line.
You have two dimensions:
  1. internal versus external social business (Y axis)
  2. business maturity level (X axis)
    1. Ad-hoc
    2. Engaged
    3. Structured
    4. Managed
    5. Optimized
    6. Unified 
The current status of most companies is currently in the state “engaged-structured” internally and “structured-managed”externally.
The main challenges are on culture and collaborativeness. Enterprises need to trigger a participatory culture, considering people’s contribution independently of their role, increasing transparency and openness, allowing and empowering employees to deviate from predefined processes.
A nice bottom line for the discussion is that Social BPM means to monitor events and not outcomes of BPM

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Social Informatics workshop: Social networking at work with human factors and technical platforms in mind

Today I’m attending an extremely interesting workshop on Social Informatics at University of Trento. The workshop gathers a diverse audience spanning from computer science to cognitive science and health.
The program of the day included the following presentations:

Supporting Social Interactions for Older Adults. Cristhian Parra, University of Trento, Italy
This talk focused on ways for encouraging social sharing and interactions between elders, and on which could be the fields where elders could provide and get higher benefits in online socialization.

Active Lifestyle applications and motivation instruments. Patricia Silveira, University of Trento, Italy
This talk discussed the role of serious games in preserving elders physical and mental functions and health.

Towards a crowdsourcing platform for elders. Pavel Kucherbaev, University of Trento, Italy. Neocogita S.r.l. – UNITN Spin-off in Cognitive Training. Nicola De Pisapia, University of Trento, Italy
This talk focused on understanding which are the cognitive capabilities that need to be continuously trained and maintained, also through games.
 Experience sharing: LiquidGalleries and ComeAlong. Beatrice Valeri, University of Trento, Italy
This talk presented two interesting experiences of sharing: LiquidGalleries is a flexible and social mobile app that allows a personalized and delocalized experience when visiting art exhibitions and museums. People can tag preferred art pieces in advance, get content on the fly, or tag pieces while visiting and sharing them or reading about them later at home.

Knowledge Spaces: Supporting Knowledge and Experience Sharing. Marcos Baez, University of Trento, Italy
This talk presented a set of methodological guidelines for defining experience sharing applications and showed them at work within the scenario of scientific publication sharing.

Sensing social interactions through smart phones. Aleksandar Matic, University of Trento and Create-net, Italy
This talk presented some techniques for detecting social activities in real world considering physical proximity, based on smart phone technologies (as opposed to dedicated hw used in other projects).

Civic Media Platforms. Maurizio Teli and Stefano De Paoli, ahref Foundation (Trento), Italy
The talk focused on platforms that aim at increasing the citizen participation to a common good target in local or government communities or activities, including also citizen journalism. The addressed problem is how to build a social community in this scenario, considering also possible biases (political or social) added. An example is the Timu platfom, focusing on storytelling.

BPM4Crowd.  Stefano Tranquilini, University of Trento, ItalyThis presentation suggests some basic technical support to the development of social applications. The idea is to provide a high-level abstraction access to the developer, so as to ease the development of applications. This is demonstrated with an online dating application implemented within a social network.
Convergence of social networking, search and business processes. Marco Brambilla, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
This was my talk and included an overview on Social BPM and CrowdSearch. I will post some slides very soon.

 Recommending content for basic and high education. Rosa Alarcon, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Chile
This talk was about understanding the information overload in the educational market.
Existing content repositories for elearning are not sufficient. The standard ways for describing them (e.g., SCORM) are quite poor too.
They try to apply recommendation techniques for teachers and they end up with some initial results, including the fact that surprisingly teachers should not be clustered based on their specialization.

Interactive Experiences for supporting elderly or impaired young people. Paolo Massa, FBK, I3, Italy
This talk was about a few experiences on  applying technological tools for facilitating tasks and socialization of autistic boys and people with mental disorders.
Other activities are about biases in translation and editing on the web, especially on public sites like wikipedia (e.g., see or the wikitrip project), considering gender and political problems.

Credibility evaluation of Web content. Adam Wierzbicki, Polish-Japanese Institute of Information Technology, Poland
This speech presented an interesting corpus of Web credibility assessment. The assessment is done by asking people to assess credibility and cleanness of pages.
Game theory has been used also for classifying credibility. This research is a joint work with some Swiss institutes, including EPFL.
The talk also addressed the roles of wikipedia. It’s not just an encyclopedia, its a knowledge community, a collaborative innovation network, a community of prosumers, a model for the knowledge economy. But information about it is limited and social behaviours are critical (the environment is getting more and more unpleasant and closed). Overall, it cannot be defined a social centric platform.
Finally, the speech focused on serious social games for elders to motivate social interaction. A good paradigm is gaming based on gossiping because it grants trust, social norms, and ties.

Other speeches I could not attend included:

  • Cheating in online games / trust and reputation. Stefano De Paoli, ahref Foundation (Trento), Italy
  • Reseval Mash. Muhammad Imran, University of Trento, Italy
  • Social Processes over Social Networks. Juan Jose Jara, University of Trento, Italy
  • Discovery of composition knowledge for mashup development, process mining and BPM (BI). Carlos Rodriguez, University of Trento, Italy
  • Social Search and recommendation engine for scientific publications. Daniil Mirilenka, University of Trento, Italy
  • Overview of DALi project. Christopher Raphael Wilkinson, University of Trento, Italy

This was a great and multi-disciplinary experience, very well in line with our research project Search Computing, Cubrik, and BPM4People.

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Representing Social BPM and WebML at the BPMN workshop 2011

Tomorrow (November 21st) I’ll present two contributions to the 3rd international BPMN workshop in Luzern, Switzerland.
My first speech will present our proposed notation for representing Social Business Processes within Social BPM scenarios. Social networking is more and more considered as crucial for helping organizations harness the value of informal relationships and weak ties, without compromising the consolidated business practices embedded in conventional BPM solutions. However, no appropriate notation has been devised for specifying social aspects within business process models. We propose a first attempt towards the extension of business process notations with social features. In particular, we devise an extension of the BPMN notation for capturing social requirements. Such extension does not alter the semantics of the language: it includes a set of new event types and task types, together with some annotation for the pool/lane levels. It actually exploits the extensibility features of BPMN 2.0. Our notation enables the description of social behaviours within BPMN diagrams. To demonstrate the applicability of the notation, we implement it within the WebRatio BPM editor and we provide a code generation framework that automatically produces a process enactment Web application connected with mainstream social platforms.The presentation is available on SlideShare:

My second speech is on Execution Semantics of BPMN through MDE Web Application Generation, using BPMN and WebML. I describe our pragmatic approach based on Model Driven Engineering (MDE) principles for implementing the execution semantics of BPMN. The approach is implemented in WebRatio and is based on a two-step model transformation that transforms BPMN models into Web application models specified according to the WebML notation and then into running Web applications. Thanks to the proposed chain of model transformations it is also possible to fine tune the final application in several ways by refining the intermediate WebML application models. The presentation is available on SlideShare:

More information on the workshop can be found at:
In particular, the program of the day is available here.

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The social enterprise options

A huge discussion is ongoing on how to implement the social enterprise paradigm and on why it doesn’t seem to deliver as expected.
Obviously, social enterprise is a broad term that comprises a large number of very diverse problems addressed and solutions that can be adopted, within a variety of business scenarios (including social CRM, social BPM and many more).
I think there is a common problem that needs to be solved for each of them: how much to empower the users / workers with respect to keeping in control of the business.
I see a continuous set of possibilities here, but I tried to summarize them in a discrete set of 5 options, as reported in the figure below.
Let’s assume a simplified model with two user stereotypes:

  • internal user: representing a human resource formally enrolled in the enterprise activities and in charge of some tasks or responsibility. For instance, in case of BPM, this would be one of the users assigned a role in the BP and in charge of performing one or more process activities.
  • external user: representing any actor (from within the company, from partners or third party enterprises, or even from the end user base) that is not formally in charge of any task, but that do contribute somehow to the business through his/her social interactions, feedback and so on.
The continuum of the social enterprise options when deciding how to exploit the social assets.

The possible solutions that can be implemented are:

  1. No social enterprise: the company performs its business in a traditional and completely structured way, without exploiting weak ties, informal interactions, user feedbacks. Everything is performed through the some enterprise software platform.
  2. Empowered enterprise: the company applies some user/worker empowerment by allowing external users to contribute through a social networks. In this case, the actual business is run through the enterprise software platform; the users on the social network have limited interaction options, while the ones on the enterprise platform are enabled to perform the entirety of the needed tasks.The internal user still plays a predominant role here and decides if and when to exploit the actions and events coming from the social platform.
  3. Enterprise democracy: the company adopts a completely transparent policy and lets the external users perform the same actions that internal users can do.
  4. Enterprise view: the company role in this case is to get a view on any kind of complex interactions or behaviour on a social network. In this case the role of the internal user is quite diminished, because he is basically just collecting feedbacks or statistics on the action, while the actual activity is performed on the social network.
  5. Only social: this is the most unstructured scenario, where everything is run on the social basis and there is no actual structured activity ongoing on it.

These 5 scenarios are all good in principle, but if you move to the real business some of them are more important than others.
Let’s keep out the two extremes: we are not interested in the non-social case here, and on the other side the completely social one doesn’t make much sense in a business setting (actually, even in the pure social network platforms there are some analyses and tasks run by internals, which position the case in the scenario number 4).

Empowered enterprise is probably the most sensible scenario, and I can imagine a lot of situations where this can apply (most of the Social BPM cases for instance).
Enterprise democracy, although positioned in the middle, is quite extreme in considering the role of social contributions. At the moment I can’t see any real scenario where to apply this. If you have some, feel free to share it.
Enterprise view instead is typical of several situations where the social behaviour needs to be observed for understanding the positioning of the enterprise (think about social CRM, social Marketing, opinion trend analysis and so on).

Please let me know if you are aware of any other sensible scenario you recognized, and please share also real / realistic cases you experienced.

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BPMN and Design Patterns for Engineering Social BPM Solutions

Our paper “BPMN and Design Patterns for Engineering Social BPM Solutions” (authored by Marco Brambilla, Piero Fraternali, and Carmen Vaca) has been presented today, August 29th, 2011, at the 4th Workshop on Business Process Management and Social Software (BPMS2’11), co-located with BPM 2011, in Clermont-Ferrand, France.
This paper presents a process design methodology, supported by the WebRatio tool suite, for addressing the extension of business processes  with social features. The social process design exploits an extension of BPMN for capturing social requirements, a gallery of social BPM design patterns that represent reusable solutions to recurrent process socialization requirements, and a model-to-model and mode-to-code transformation technology that automatically produces a process enactment Web
application connected with mainstream social platforms.
The full paper can be downloaded from here.
The presentation that was given is reported below (together with an embedded demo video of the implemented prototype).

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My take on today’s Social BPM tweet jam

Today I participated, together with an impressive number of world-renowned experts in BPM, to a hectic tweet jam on Social BPM.
I curated a (slightly remixed) recording of the session, which is available here ( and embedded below.
The participation was so intense that it was really hard to keep the pace of the discussion (especially because I was having a conf call in parallel), so the recording has been definitely useful.
To get an idea, here are the final statistics on the discussion: 521 tweets generated 375,886 impressions, reaching an audience of 24,348 followers.

When I went through the contribution, I found a lot of hidden pearls that I missed.
Overall, my impression is the following: despite some criticism on the term “Social BPM”, I would say there is wide consensus on the need of integrating rigid BPM approaches with others that consider user interactions as crucial value for the enterprise. To my surprise, several experts (including Nathaniel Palmer and Clay Richardson) agree that there is a substantial request for these technologies by customers, especially in “non-traditional” scenarios. On the other side, the state of the art of the tools and systems is still perceived as weak or only partially addressing the actual needs.
This is definitely encouraging because it leaves a lot of space for research, improvement, and exciting evolutions in the field.<a href=”” target=”_blank”>View “Social BPM discussion and tweetjam” on Storify</a>

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