3 ways to effectively prepare for process improvements in your digital journey

In our journey to transform our ways of working, our focus on our customers wishes and our plans to pivot to a digital business there is always a need for process improvement.

While the transformation to a digital business can encompass many aspects that are new to your organization, there are always existing investments in technologies and processes that need to be evaluated.

Some can be modernized and migrated on to the new infrastructure that will support the digital business and others end up remaining in place as legacy systems of record.

One thing is for sure, evaluating existing business processes and looking to improve their effectiveness is going to be a necessary step. With that in mind, here are three ways to effectively prepare for process improvements in your digital journey.

1. Effective BPM theory

The first step in any journey is to plan effectively and gather as much information from the experts as you can. For this step you have many options, but the following example previews the open technology and tooling that will ensure you are ready to tackle process improvements.

2. Inventory existing processes

Identifying the list of existing processes in a business, both automated and non-automated processes will be the next step on the journey.

Businesses have processes in place that might be automated in some form, but showing signs of age or lack of effective execution. Others might have partial automation and exhibit a need for further automation at the time of evaluation. Finally, there can potentially be processes in your business that are crying out for automation and are hindering other processes with their lack of automation.

Collect all this information for evaluation without regard for size, level of automation or making decisions on priority for the next step.

3. Short list processes

Now that you’re able to browse all processes in your organization, identifying the short list where quick wins on process improvements is critical to the project’s success.
Everyone wants to see gains and building momentum with processes that can be improved both quickly and effectively builds confidence. Identify processes that have impact, are visible and can be effectively improved without having major impacts to the existing architecture or business process owner perceptions. This will be different for every organization, but crucial to building success and ensuring a smoother transition on your digital journey.
Armed with these three guidelines you’re ready to effectively prepare for process improvements in your digital journey.

Build competitive advantage with business process automation

Transparency is one of those words that can mean anything or nothing. Within agile development, an objective definition of transparency, according to the Scrum Alliance, is related to respect in communication: understanding technical issues, bringing in different team members for prioritization, communicating clearly when there are project changes, bad news, or new priorities. Transparent communication between business and IT teams creates an environment that is more agile, better grounded in business priorities, and more effective. But the question is … how do you get your business and IT teams together to begin with?

Today’s business environment presents an increasing number of challenges in consistently maintaining an organization’s business processes efficiently. You may be facing challenges to grow your business and stay competitive:

  1. No visibility into the automated systems to understand how, where, and when decisions are being made.
  2. Existing systems which don’t allow you to make changes quickly, yet introducing new products and services requires changing rules and processes.
  3. Lack of consistency in making critical decisions. Sometimes, decisions are left to chance.

Business process management (BPM) provides a way to tackle these challenges by enabling collaboration between business and IT users to bring transparency, agility and consistency to the organization’s workflow.

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Performance, scale, and real-time analytics: Red Hat JBoss Data Grid 7.1

I am excited to announce the general availability of Red Hat JBoss Data Grid 7.1!  This is the only Red Hat software ranked highly in two separate Forrester waves categories: In-Memory Data Grid and In-Memory Database. On top of that, no other vendor offers any unified in-memory data management solution that is recognized in both waves — JBoss Data Grid is the one product with the versatility to span both categories.

In-memory computing is all about high performance and scale-out architecture. The primary focus of this release to enhance the performance of JBoss Data Grid as an in-memory data management platform for hybrid transactional and analytical (HTAP) workloads.

New Capabilities and Features

  • Performance improvements. JBoss Data Grid 7.1 features core performance improvements, especially in clustered write operations. Current tests have shown up to 60% increase in write throughput under load. (We have modified various default settings to improve JBoss Data Grid performance.)
  • Elastic scale external state management for JBoss Web Server (Tomcat) and Spring applications (on-premise or cloud/Openshift). JBoss Data Grid 7.1 features the ability to externalize HTTP sessions from a JBoss Web Server node to a remote JBoss Data Grid cluster. This helps make the JBoss Web layer stateless and enables a rolling update of the application layer, while retrieving the session data from the JBoss Data Grid layer. Additionally, JBoss Data Grid 7.1 features Spring session support, which enables you to externalize HTTP session from a Spring (or Spring Boot) deployment to a remote JBoss Data Grid cluster.
  • Real-time analytics, through Apache Spark 2.x integration supporting RDD and DStream interfaces.
  • New string-based querying with Ickle (tech preview). JBoss Data Grid 7.1 introduces a new string-based querying language, Ickle, as technology preview,  which enables you to specify combinations of relational and full-text predicates (based on Apache Lucene). This enhances the querying feature-set available in client-server mode by bringing several additional operations that were previously available only in library mode.
  • Ease of administration. Update and save node-level configurations are now available through the administration console.
  • Feature enhancements to Hot Rod clients, including streaming large-sized objects in chunks from the JBoss Data Grid server to a Java client and adding cross-site failover for C++, C# and Node.js clients.

More Resources

Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes and Spring Boot – details you want to know

Have you read the announcement of the alpha release of Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes (RHOAR)? We also posted an introduction to the component in RHOAR earlier. This post dives into more detail on the Spring Boot certification support that is expected to be included with RHOAR.

First things first, Spring Boot remains part of the Spring Framework that is controlled by Pivotal. Red Hat and Pivotal are not announcing any sort of alliance to alter how elements of the Spring Framework, including Spring Boot, are defined or brought to market.

Instead, with RHOAR, Red Hat is working to certify some technologies and support others (when generally available) that Spring Boot will interoperate with. Conceptually, Red Hat wants to welcome Spring users to the Red Hat ecosystem and enhance their ability to deliver effective cloud native applications on the OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) using the Spring Boot java development framework. So let’s dive into the details a bit more.

First, lets look at some of what RHOAR will offer Spring Boot developers. For starters, if you’re new to working with Spring Boot, Red Hat will be offering a browser based utility to get started with multiple cloud-native runtimes, including Spring Boot. The utility known as a launchpad will create a fully-functional starter application for you. You can download the starter application as a zip file, or interact with an OCP instance. When the later is done, code is pushed to a GitHub namespace, sets up a build pipeline for for continuous delivery, and ensures it’s triggered to run on each push to your git repository. Now, the choice of OCP instance is up to you. You could certainly use a centralized public or private OCP deployment. But you could also use a local OCP environment right on your desktop. Pretty cool.

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Vert.x for reactive programming in Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes

Have you read the announcement of the alpha release of Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes (RHOAR)? We also posted an introduction to the component in RHOAR earlier.

One of the curated runtimes included with RHOAR is Vert.x. Vert.x is an open source toolkit for building reactive, high concurrency, low latency applications and is well-suited for supporting the asynchronous communications required by a microservices architecture.

Vert.x is distributed as a toolkit for building reactive applications on the Java virtual machine (JVM). There are a three important points in this description: toolkit, reactive and “on the JVM.”

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Summit Notes: Tuesday Morning General Session

If you missed it, the keynote speeches are available on the Summit page or on YouTube.

“You don’t need to focus on technology. You need to empower your developers.”

There are certain patterns in the middleware / application development tracks for Red Hat Summit this year, and they revolve a lot around microservices. That makes a certain kind of sense (microservices are the new hotness in app development), but it’s also reflective of a larger current in technology, a continuing push toward … something.

In his opening keynote, Red Hat EVP Paul Cormier noted that one of the themes of Summit 2016 was “dev and ops coming together through common architectures, processes, and platforms.” This echoes major trends in technology — DevOps and architectures, process, and platform as a unifying IT strategy — and yet none of these concepts are really new. Two decades ago, there were developers and operations, there was enterprise architecture, application platforms, and internal processes. So what’s new and what is bringing the urgency now?

I think the difference comes down to speed (and eventually differences in degree become differences in kind). Twenty years ago, an application was released yearly, sometimes even every couple of years. A patch or security update could take a few months to move in the pipeline from development to testing to production.

Now customers expect patches for security vulnerabilities within hours of them being detected, and the expanding number of applications (from consumer mobile apps to internal systems to IoT devices) means that enterprises have potentially dozens of touchpoints and hundreds of services to maintain.

The “modern” part of modern application development isn’t in the app — it’s in the speed.

This year’s Summit kicked off with three interlocking demos, each showing the different paths and progressions that an IT environment will face as they juggle modernizing existing applications and creating new ones within a heterogeneous (and dynamically changing) ecosystem.

 Lifting and Shifting (Windup)

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Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes + JBoss EAP for fast, lightweight, Java EE cloud applications

Have you read the announcement of the alpha release of Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes (RHOAR)? We also posted an introduction to the component in RHOAR earlier.

Red Hat Intends to include entitlements for the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) as part of a Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes (RHOAR) subscription.  The reasoning for this is dead simple, there is still strong demand for a Java application platform the implements the Java EE specification. JBoss EAP 7 fits that requirements with certified full platform and web profile support for the Java EE 7 specification. Best of all, JBoss EAP offers Java EE 7 capabilities in a small, fast, cloud ready footprint. It has been available on the OpenShift Cloud Platform (OCP) since version 6. JBoss EAP is cloud ready and deserves to be included as a RHOAR component.

I want to believe. Prove that JBoss is small and fast!

First lets agree on what a Java EE application platform is. I propose a minimalist definition. That being, a Java EE application platform is verified to have implemented a specific Java EE specification. The current Java EE 7 specification is extensive and runs 290 pages long. Implementing the details is no trivial task. As of the date of this article, there are eight products that have been verified by Oracle to be Java EE 7 full platform compatible implementations. Red Hat JBoss EAP 7 is one of those products. However, Apache Tomcat, JBoss Web Server, and Pivotal tcServer are not on the list. Those products are not Java EE application platforms.

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New Open Source Project for Agile Integration in Low Code Environments

At Red Hat Summit this week, Paul Cormier, executive vice president and president, Products and Technologies, demonstrated three stages of application modernization:

  1. rehosting / refactoring a monolithic app
  2. extending that app with OpenShift.io
  3. demoing how to manage applications and services in an integration platform as a service (iPaaS)

The iPaaS demonstration was the first public view of a new open source project focusing on low code integration capabilities on OpenShift.  The new project is available in open source as http://syndesis.io, and community members are encouraged to become involved in the project over the next several milestones.  

iPaaS provides a low code capability that supports non-technical users, that can quickly build integrations between common systems and data, but which is also built upon technology that supports full scale, mission critical enterprise integration projects.

What It Is

  • Syndesis provides an iPaaS implementation built on  Red Hat JBoss Fuse and Red Hat OpenShift technologies
  • The easy-to-use cloud-native integration toolset allows a low-code web interface to:
    • Create, connect and manage integrations quickly (no installation needed)
    • Create and connect APIs (using web based tooling)
    • Point and click tools to build, test & deploy integrations
    • Pre-built connectors to connect multiple apps and services
    • Build simple to complex connections
  • Built on Red Hat JBoss Fuse and Red Hat OpenShift, allowing the same underlying technology proven for large scale or sophisticated deployments

Why This Is Different

  • Syndesis is a curation of multiple open source communities, focusing on providing a fully open source iPaaS, low-code environment based on Apache Camel, JBoss Fuse, etc.
  • Focused on supporting the agile integration methodology
  • Fully integrated with Kubernetes and Linux containers (Docker/Moby)
  • Enables ubiquitous integrations: API-based hybrid integrations across on-premise, private or public cloud
  • Can be extended  with additional capabilities like Red Hat 3scale API Management, Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite, Red Hat JBoss BRMS and Red Hat JBoss Data Grid

What To Do Next

Eclipse MicroProfile continues its growth in the market

Organizations that have already embarked or are thinking about starting a digital transformation journey are assessing and looking for ways to leverage their Java EE expertise. IT development and operations have built Java expertise over years, and there is a challenge to balance their existing skill base with new digitally transformative technologies, such as microservices, APIs, container-based architectures, and reactive programming. Eclipse MicroProfile is an open source project and one of those digitally transformative technologies that enables and optimizes the development of microservices — using familiar Java EE technologies and APIs.

You can think of MicroProfile as minimal standard profile for Java microservices. As with Java EE, MicroProfile implementations across different vendors are fully interoperable.

MicroProfile is supported in WildFly Swarm on the recently announced Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes, our polyglot runtime platform powered by OpenShift, Kubernetes, and OpenStack. This delivers on the goal of simplifying the inherent complexity of developing cloud native applications.

There are a lot of reasons to begin adopting MicroProfile:

  • Open source, of course
  • Agility in developing microservices
  • Ability to leverage innovation
  • Architectural interoperability across different vendor offerings
  • No vendor lock-in
  • Fast learning curve for Java EE users (Java EE users can leverage their knowledge when using MicroProfile)
  • Ability to run on Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes 

Since MicroProfile was announced in June 2016, a lot has happened.  MicroProfile v 1.0 was released on September 19, 2016. Its implementation interoperability was demonstrated on November 2016 at Devoxx, where Red Hat, IBM, Tomitribe, and Payara demoed a unified web application with underlying microservices which had been developed separately by each vendor using MicroProfile. In addition, MicroProfile became part of the Eclipse Foundation as an incubation project back in December 14, 2016. New members have joined MicroProfile, such as SOUJava, Hazelcast, Fujitsu, Hammock, and kumuluzEE (the complete list of members can be found here).

Future releases of MicroProfile will build upon the existing foundation with organic growth by adding configuration, security, health check, and fault tolerance APIs, as well as adding support for later versions of CDI, JAX-RS, and JSON-P. The MicroProfile open source project plans to put out releases on an agile schedule and based on feedback from the open source community, which is accessible to everyone. Join the conversation and check out the MicroProfile site.

Announcing the Alpha release of Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes

Today Red Hat announced the alpha release of Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes (RHOAR). This is the first of many articles on the subject that will be published on the JBoss Middleware blog.

So what is RHOAR?

RHOAR provides application developers with a variety of application runtimes running on the OpenShift Container Platform. Specifically, the following application runtimes will be included in RHOAR:

  • Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) – existing Java EE / Spring apps.
  • WildFly Swarm running MicroProfile – Java EE centric MSA
  • Spring Boot / Cloud – Spring centric MSA
  • Vert.x – greenfield reactive Java
  • Node.js – greenfield reactive JavaScript

Continue reading “Announcing the Alpha release of Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes”