Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Significance of Rapid Solutions Development to Business Process Management

Significance of Rapid Solutions Development to Business Process Management

Ratings: (0)|Views: 47 |Likes:
Published by ijcsis
Business process management (BPM) is moving from a niche market into the mainstream. One of the factors leading to this transformation is the emergence of very powerful rapid solutions development tools for creating BPM solutions (BPM RSD). It has been widely recognized that this facility is important for achieving benefits quickly. Similar benefits are attributed to the agile software movement, but BPM RSD differs in that the objective is to reduce the need for custom software development. As the BPM RSD features of some of the current business process management suites (BPMS) products have matured, additional benefits have emerged that fundamentally change the way we approach solutions in this space.
Business process management (BPM) is moving from a niche market into the mainstream. One of the factors leading to this transformation is the emergence of very powerful rapid solutions development tools for creating BPM solutions (BPM RSD). It has been widely recognized that this facility is important for achieving benefits quickly. Similar benefits are attributed to the agile software movement, but BPM RSD differs in that the objective is to reduce the need for custom software development. As the BPM RSD features of some of the current business process management suites (BPMS) products have matured, additional benefits have emerged that fundamentally change the way we approach solutions in this space.

More info:

Published by: ijcsis on Aug 13, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

10/25/2012

pdf

text

original

 
Significance of Rapid Solutions Development toBusiness Process Management
Steve Kruba
 Northrop Grumman3975 Virginia Mallory Drive, Chantilly VA 20151, USA
steve.kruba@ngc.com
 Abstract
—Business process management (
BPM
) is moving froma niche market into the mainstream. One of the factors leading tothis transformation is the emergence of very powerful rapid so-lutions development tools for creating
BPM
solutions (
BPM RSD
).It has been widely recognized that this facility is importantfor achieving benefits quickly. Similar benefits are attributed tothe agile software movement, but
BPM RSD
differs in that theobjective is to
reduce
the need for custom software development.As the
BPM RSD
features of some of the current business processmanagement suites (
BPMS
) products have matured, additionalbenefits have emerged that fundamentally change the way weapproach solutions in this space.
 Keywords
BPM
, Business process management, workflow, ag-ile, rapid applications development, rapid solutions development,
RAD
,
BPM RSD
,
BPM RAD
.
I. I
NTRODUCTION
Technology, in a traditional sense, is not the differentiatorthat attracts customers. In the
BPM
context, the “technology”is about how the extensive functionality that is required forsuccessfully automating a customer’s mission-critical businessprocesses is applied to solving their problem.Business users are not information technology (
IT
) expertsand have difficulty relating technical designs to their businessneeds. Furthermore, most business users have great difficultyarticulating their needs since they have little experience orinvolvement working with complex process solutions. This hashistorically been a major impediment to creating successful
BPM
solutions.Modern
BPMS
products provide a rich application develop-ment infrastructure with significant out-of-the-box capabilitiesand extensive hooks for customization. This paper will provideinformation on these capabilities and the benefits that areprovided. Not only do these capabilities provide a rich en-vironment for building solutions, but the combination of rapidsolutions development and the rich internal constructs neededto support it amplify a designer’s ability to conceptualizethese solutions. By providing the major, base functionality,these products allow architects and developers to focus onthe unique aspects of each solution the issues that makethe difference between successful and unsuccessful projects.Examples will be provided based on Northrop Grumman’se.POWER
R
1
BPMS
product.
1
e.POWER is a commercial BPM product and a registered trademark of the Northrop Grumman Corporation.Fig. 1. Three Key BPM Components
There are over 100 products in the
BPM
software productmarket as well as products servicing other software productsegments that have
BPM
features. A small subset of theseproducts offer the capabilities described in this paper. Theimplications of these capabilities are, perhaps, more significantthan have previously been documented, and affect all aspectsof the system development life cycle (
SDLC
).II. BPM RSD F
EATURE
R
EQUIREMENTSBPM RSD
tools focus on providing the three key componentsrequired for any
BPM
solution: the business process or work-flow, an application for doing the work, and forms as the basisfor user interaction. These three components are illustratedin Figure 1. The extent to which a particular
BPM
productprovides these capabilities out-of-the-box is a measure of their“out-of-the-boxness.” Keep in mind that not all
BPM
productshave
BPM RSD
toolsets.Automating a business process involves two key steps:
Creating an automated representation of the businessprocess see Figure 2. Drag and drop interfaces arethe norm with
BPM RSD
tools. Note that in additionto being a visual representation of the process, it alsodefines the rules for the process in a backend store thatis later used by the process engine for managing thework. Engines of this type are said to be “model-driven”because changes to the model directly affect productioninstances of the process. Other, less flexible approachesinclude configuration-driven and parameterized where a
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 4, July 2010299http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500
 
limited set of options are baked in by the product vendor.[1]
Creating an application for users to process their work (see Figure 3) that is
process-enabled 
. For the toolsetto be considered a
BPM RSD
toolset, the user interfaceshould be a byproduct of the application definition pro-cess – a declarative process rather than a programmingexercise. While it is important to automatically generatethe user interface, it is also important to provide cus-tomization hooks needed to tweek the interface, sincerarely is the one-size-fits-all approach adequate.III. A
GILITY
The primary purpose of process automation is process im-provement. Complex business processes are constantly chang-ing with or without explicit direction. Factors such aschanging business environments, government regulation, andcompetition are major drivers of these changes, necessitatingchanges in the support systems.The traditional life-cycle development approaches to cus-tom development are seriously challenged to support thesedynamics.
2
Historically, requirements documentation, detailedsystems design, development, and implementation could easilytake 12 to 18 months to deliver a complex solution, duringwhich time the business requirements may have changedsignificantly enough to require additional iterations prior toimplementation.
 Agility
has become a popular term for describing the flexi-bility needed by organizations to operate in today’s dynamicenvironments. Agility is a natural by-product of 
BPM RSD
toolsets. Agility is a critical feature of 
BPMS
products.Agility in the
BPM
context is similar to, but not the same asthe agile software development methodology, typically usedin an iterative process for creating custom software. Agility inthe
BPMS
space is more about using the built-in capabilitiesof the
BPM
product to
avoid 
having to write custom software.Custom software is needed as part of the creation processfor most
BPM
solutions, but whenever it can be avoided, theresulting solution is less expensive and has fewer defects andlower risk. In order to differentiate this process from rapidapplications development (
RAD
) approaches, I have coined theterm “
BPM RSD
.Another related software engineering concept is model-driven development. These techniques often include a frame-work in which software is developed, providing a powerfulfacility for leveraging the assets within the framework forreuse.The concept of ‘models’ is critical to
BPM
products wherethe software architecture creates models of the organization’sbusiness operations – a key example being the model of theoperational aspects of the business being encapsulated in thegraphical process map. But as in the agile space, the model-driven development space is critically different from
BPM RSD
in one respect: it is meant to either generate source code or
2
Cantara, p.7.
provide a framework within which source code is written.
BPM RSD
models are run-time models as well as design-timemodels and are designed to reduce the need to write customsoftware.So how are
BPM RSD
tools different? For agile or model-driven development, source code must be recompiled andredeployed when changes are made. Although this might bedone automatically, it does not produce a clean transitionin production environments; i.e., it is not seemless to anoperating business process.
BPM RSD
products, however, storethe semantics of process definitions in a repository oftena relational database and execution engines dynamicallydrive production instances from this repository. Changes to therepository using the
BPM RSD
tools directly effect operationalchanges.Another key distinction between frameworks and
BPM RSD
tools is that frameworks require skilled software developersto “wire up” the framework in order to achieve the benefits.Frameworks are analogous to e.POWER’s
API
s plus oursolution paradigm, but in e.POWER our framework has beenpre-wired so that many of the technical requirements havealready been resolved, allowing less skilled staff, or in somecases such as our process designer, non-technical staff, tocontribute to solution development. Frameworks also requirethat individual wires be “soldered” into the solution.
BPM RSD
tools eliminate the need to do so and eliminate the possibilityof 
neglecting
to do so, insuring that critical functionality suchas auditability, searchability, etc., mentioned in the ObjectTypes section of this paper, is included automatically.In a very real sense,
BPM RSD
tools are pre-wired, or pre-compiled frameworks.IV. O
UT
-
OF
-
THE
-B
OXNESS
Similar approaches have arisen over the years in other busi-ness software categories. Typically packaged as products tooffset the increased cost of producing these solution sets, theseproducts consist of design tools that are largely configuration-driven and produce robust implementations. Such solution setsexist in the enterprise resource planning (
ERP
) space, customerresource management space (
CRM
), as well as the
BPM
space.Each of the design-time toolsets has unique characteristics.One of the key differentiators is how much functionality isdelivered “out-of-the-box” and how much requires customsoftware development.This “out-of-the-boxness” has significant benefits beyondthe obvious advantage of creating solutions quickly. Successful
BPM
solutions must be customizable to each organization’sunique requirements. Gathering those requirements throughtraditional documentation approaches can be cumbersomeand slow and produces paper-based models to validate therequirements – an imperfect model at best.
BPM RSD
tools provide working models of the solutionin days rather than weeks or months. The significant userinterfaces and workflow needed for requirements validationcan be mocked up very quickly, providing a significant portionof the solution in a totally objective fashion via working
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 4, July 2010300http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500
 
Fig. 2. Graphical Workflow Map
software. Select portions of the solution such as legacy systemsintegrations might be delayed to a later phase in order tominimize the impact on requirements gathering or to accelerateimplementation in order to achieve operating efficiency gainsearlier in the process. Iterating with prototypes help businesspeople and
IT
staff objectify the end-product more quickly andaccurately, greatly increasing the likelihood of a successfulimplementation.The obvious advantage of 
BPM RSD
development is also im-portant: rapid implementations. Lengthy requirements effortsof many months suffer from the modern-day problem of arapidly changing business context. How often have we seen asystem that was well-designed and executed, but outdated bythe time it was deployed?
BPM RSD
approaches reduce thatrisk.It is important to note that these prototypes are not throw-aways. To the extent they accurately reflect the underlying re-quirements, they become part of the final production solution.The key is that the tools used to develop proofs-of-concept,prototypes, and production systems are
the same tools.
V. O
BJECT
T
YPES
Automation of business systems require creation of softwaremodeling constructs that represent the key business objects inthe problem domain. We refer to these constructs as
object types
. These object types map to the real-world businessobjects in the same way that classes relate to class instancesin object-oriented programming languages. Object types couldbe thought of as index fields – or metadata on steroids.Effective
BPM RSD
tools require a rich structure for creatingprocess-enabled applications of any complexity. This genericstructure, while necessary to support the user interfaces gen-erated, is also very effective at helping analysts conceptualizethe ultimate solution.In tools such as the e.POWER Activator designer, objecttypes define the characteristics of the real-world businesscomponents that make up the solution and object instancesmodel the actual instances of those business objects. A by-product of this approach is that objects and object types inheritmany useful properties from the e.POWER Activator infras-tructure, features that might not be provided if the solution
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 4, July 2010301http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->