Proof of Concept & “anti-fake stress test” – (ed)BPM assessment
In the PoC a typical, appropriate scenario of “your Global Enterprise” has to be realized or implemented by the invited vendors. How to define or to describe and to set up a PoC is well known. A special job to avoid “special implementations” or so called “fakes” for a special challenge is a kind of a stress test which should be demonstrated by the vendors in the final live presentation, unprepared. Because the term “stress test” is already defined in a different context in computer science (test of the robustness of software by testing beyond the limits of normal operation, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress_testing_(software)
), we call it the “anti-fake stress test”.Some challenges for the „edBPM closed loop“
Of course there are a lot of criteria regarding the appropriateness of a (ed)BPM platform which have to be solved and evaluated (I will discuss such a catalogue of evaluation criteria and how to evaluate them in a later posting). Especially if the PoC is not implemented under the observation of “your Global Enterprise” but offsite in the labs of the vendors, “your Global Enterprise” should “stress” the final presentation of the PoC. The following challenges might be typical situations when “your Global Enterprise” has rolled out BPM or even edBPM to all of its National Companies (NatCos), when the processes are living and had to be changed and adapted according to new situations and challenges – very often already after some days or weeks or months, again and again, more or less, depending on your business domain like automotive, finance or telecommunication:
- Insert an additional human task in an implemented and working business process
- Move a process step to a different position in the business process model
- Change a service or its signature (parameters) at a process step
- Change a Key Performance Indicator, its threshold and the accordant, triggered action (KPI as an aggregation of Performance Indicators, and add a new event type and its measurepoint(s))
Of course there are a lot of more which you cannot check during a final live presentation. A very helpful overview of so-called non-functional criteria and of their evaluation – especially regarding the newly added CEP part of edBPM - was recently presented with the tutorial of Opher Etzion, Tali Yatzkar-Haham, Ella Rabinowitz and Inna Skarbovsky (IBM Haifa Research Lab) about “non functional properties of event processing”, DEBS-conference, Yorktown Heights, July 2011 (http://www.slideshare.net/opher.etzion/ ... processing
). The criteria like performance, scalability, availability, failover, security, usability, etc. are well known from JEE application servers or from former TP- or (CORBA) object monitor middleware platforms and now to be adapted for CEP and edBPM. To evaluate them in an edBPM PoC would not be possible because of the effort and timeframe, but it must be done later in a prototyping phase or you can check it already on a first basis by papers, reference visits, or certifications like SPEC (http://www.spec.org/benchmarks.html
) during the assessment. There is also an accordant recent project BICEP (see Pedro Bizarro’s paper http://wenku.baidu.com/view/a51e383a376 ... fadd0.html
). The publishing of the results of comparative
benchmark tests is normally forbidden, and there is also a reason why it is not done mostly: we don’t need the strongest, but which is strong enough for our needs. For that we must know our needs
, like number and kind of processes and their concurrent instances and so on. There is still something to do in the future regarding (ed)BPM.What actually is a “(ed)BPM closed loop" at all?
A so-called "closed loop" as a directed graph
(means with an arrow at the end of the loop, in the sense of a one-way road) meets only a special situation in BPM: if we model a business process the first time, we can start from the beginning, e.g. with the current toolset ARIS 7.2 – in Germany ARIS (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/IDS_Scheer
) was a kind of a de-facto standard since around 15 years - for modelling the value chain on levels 1 to 4 to find the kernel processes and then to detail each down to the Event-driven Process Chain (EPC) level.Figure from Johannes Rost: Vergleichende Evaluation von Workflow-Management-Systemen. Dipl.-Arbeit 2009, Universität Hamburg. http://swt-www.informatik.uni-hamburg.d ... s_Rost.pdf. “Closed loop” as a directed graph between Analysis&Design, Technical Design, Execution&Monitoring without cycles and iterations inside is replaced by a cyclic iterative procedure today, as shown in this diploma thesis as State-of-the-Art.
An EPC model is not executable and must be “enriched”. Or we can convert the EPC model to a BPMN model in order to do so. There are very different BPMN versions 1.0 from 2002, 1.1 from January 2008 and 1.2 from January 2009, the current BPMN version is 2.0 from January 2011 which contains a lot of more specifications, also execution semantics and a BPMN-to BPEL mapping, on a first level, not really final. BPMN 2.0 is not yet supported by some vendors. You must trust their roadmaps, if so. And of course, there are already known challenges for a BPMN 2.x release (http://www.saperionblog.com/tag/bpmn-request/
by Martin Bartonitz) which must be solved proprietarily by a vendor so far. But anyway, in the case of such a complex platform we would always buy a vendor lock-in and cannot wait another decade.
Now we have the EPC model as a BPMN model with the same details and this might raise the question why then EPC is needed at all? In Germany we might assume that “historical” reasons might be important in the case of existing ARIS adopters, with a lot of EPC models from the last years (mostly outdated in the meantime, BTW), who should still be supported and who should not loose these models when they try to make them executable. Is this a challenge for “your Global Enterprise” at all, especially regarding the non-German countries? So, ask them first, perhaps.
Then we have to add the technical details in the BPMN model to make it executable. This is proprietary, especially in the case of BPMN 1.x which does not contain execution semantics, etc. or BPEL mappings.
At last we can add measurepoints and Performance Indicators in the processes and we can on the basis of them define KPI's and show them in BAM dashboards.
This is the so-called closed loop which is actually an "old" or well known idea from publications of A.-W. Scheer and colleagues respectively IDS Scheer AG (since 2009 acquired by Software AG) or as seen from theses like this mentioned above, which is already enhanced for the challenges we must meet today.The reality is different however
In real situations and in the sense of the “Added Value”
which we want to buy with an additional complexity of the software stack
- what has to be justified against our procurement department – we want - for instance - to shorten the implementation time of business processes and the time to market
. Therefore we want to test the technical model and the BAM views and we want to discuss the test with the stakeholders or process owners in a single onsite or online session. We would have the chance only once to bring all stakeholders from different locations and countries into a single session, because this is the actual and time-consuming challenge, and a problem of the “BPM-governance”-strategy of “your Global Enterprise” (what we will discuss in a later posting). If it would not work in this session, the stakeholders would never attend again the next time, probably.
In such a session we would have to change the process and measurepoints, etc. in some iterations
. This changed technical model cannot automatically be synchronized in the EPC or in all the ARIS levels up to the value chain, if so. For instance, there are around 10 start event types in BPMN, around 10 intermediate event types, around 10 end event types – I have not counted them anymore, the last time when I did it for my BPM lecture around 2007/8 I counted 27. Anyway, they cannot be mapped to EPC and vice versa, so if we change a model in EPC or BPMN, we loose semantic information. There is a relatively new, upcoming BPMN community with all the BPMN specialists, also from University of Potsdam/HPI (http://en.bpmn-community.org/forum/24/
) and of course the fora of Bruce Silver, Jakob Freund (http://www.camunda.com/
), Frank Leymann/U Stuttgart for BPEL mapping and execution problems and so on. There is also some scientific literature about this subject, e.g. Willi Tscheschner/University Potsdam http://bpt.hpi.uni-potsdam.de/pub/Publi ... C2BPMN.pdf
, but related to BPMN1.1 and a one-way transformation from EPC to BPMN, in the meantime outdated because of the changes in BPMN2.x).Make realistic scenarios...
Imagine the situation that “your Global Enterprise” would introduce a new product and would design a process model for the advertisement and the introducing and delivery processes. The vision (and the “added value”
of BPMS or edBPM) is to bring together all stakeholders for this new product in ONE session
, from all needed countries etc., and to model all stuff in one day, test and change and simulate as long as all stakeholders agree with the process at the end of the day – what today takes weeks and months. Our students or team members and I described this already during this very nice workshop, not yet really edBPM, but based on BPM+real-time BAM already, in Ireland February 2008, our preferred way to learn together http://www.citt-online.com/index.php?id ... 1&id4=more
For that you need a BPMS or an actually already existing edBPM platform that is flexible enough to automatically synchronize all resources in all the areas.
Because this is perhaps not possible today based on standards, “your Global Enterprise” needs a platform provider who is willing to develop these challenges as a work-around as long as there are no standards or available product features right now, but who is stable enough to work with “your Global Enterprise” in a longer time horizon and to develop a concrete roadmap when these features will be available....and start today
So, “your Global Enterprise” could achieve the goal stepwise in the next years. The way to that goal would already be a big win-win situation for both sides and help “your Global Enterprise” to standardize and automate its business processes already today, and learn a lot about your business and its processes - a better insight in the global event cloud and the “smart dust”
of “your Global Enterprise”.