Effective Case Management within a BPM Framework

In real life, organizations have workflows which may not fit into prescribed, sequential process path or which require human intervention or approval before the entire process can be completed. Within the business process world, more unstructured and unpredictable work is handled through case management rather than process management.

There are slightly different standards defined for case management and process management, which reflect the differences in the types of process flows and data being handled in each type of model.

But the question for business architects is which standard to use or whether to try to balance both — and then for developers to try to create models on different or shared development platforms.

A Quick Comparison of CMMN and BPM for Development Standards

First, it may be helpful to explain why there is a difference between business process management and case management. Both models are defined by two separate specifications, Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) and Case Model and Notation (CMMN), respectively.

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Digital Automation Platforms: Injecting speed into application development

Red Hat has just published a new study by Carl Lehmann of the 451 Group, “Intelligent Process Automation and the Emergence of Digital Automation Platforms,” that examines the increasing importance of business automation technologies in modern business, and the ways that converged solutions (digital automation platforms) are bringing value to organizations engaged in digital transformation projects.

Carl writes that competitive advantage is enabled when an organization either does the same things as its rivals, but differently, or it does different things that are acknowledged as superior by customers. In today’s competitive markets, businesses are turning to next-generation digital automation platforms (DAP) to enable greater automation of key business functions and greater flexibility in responding to their customers’ needs.

A DAP is a set of tools and resources structured within a uniform framework to enable developers to rapidly design, prototype, develop, deploy, manage, and monitor process-oriented applications – from simple task-related workflows to dynamic unstructured collaborative activity streams and even highly structured cross-functional enterprise applications. To do so, DAPs are equipped with a range of new capabilities that go beyond those of their BPM and application development predecessors.

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Learning Process Driven Application Development with JBoss BPM

Are you interested in an introduction to the concepts of process management (BPM)?

Do you want to learn how your business can leverage process driven application delivery?

Are you looking for an easy to understand guide to mastering Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite tooling?

Do you want a step-by-step introduction to setting up JBoss BPM Suite, then coverage of practical and important topics like data modeling, designing business rules and processes,  detailed real world examples, and tips for testing?

For the last few years I’ve been working on putting years of working with JBoss BPM Suite, community projects Drools and jBPM together in one easy to understand book.

In 2017, Red Hat put the first chapter online for free and literally thousands downloaded it starting their journey on the road to delivering process driven application with JBoss BPM Suite. Many of you have reached out over the years to ask about the completion of this book and where you can get it.

The good news isthat the book is available and Red Hat’s providing ebook downloads for free!

Let’s look at how this works, shall we?

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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.

 

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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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Upcoming Webinar: Migrating to Open Source Integration and Automation Technologies

Balaji Rajam (principal architect) and Ushnash Shukla (senior consultant) from Red Hat will be conducting a webinar about the ability to integrate data from disparate sources with people and processes. This is a crucial part of strategies for data integration.

Data is increasingly moving from being an asset within an organization to one of the key business drivers and products, regardless of industry. The ability to integrate data from disparate sources is a crucial part of business digital strategy. Many organizations have been locked into proprietary and closed software solutions like TIBCO, but as the IT environments transform again into microservices, agile, and cloud-based infrastructures, those proprietary systems may not be able to keep up – or it may be too cost-prohibitive to try. Open source offers standards-based approaches for application interoperability with potentially lower costs and faster development times. This webinar looks at three key aspects of effectively moving from proprietary to open source solutions:

  • Recommendations for migrating from TIBCO to open source applications
  • Performing data integrations
  • Defining automated business processes and logic

Registration is open. The webinar is August 9 at 11:00am Eastern Time (US).

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Fun Follow Up: Webinar Q&A

I will collect any questions asked during the webinar, and I’ll do a follow-up post on Friday, August 12, to try to capture the most interesting questions that arise.

How To Import Any JBoss BPM Suite Example Project

This tips & tricks comes to you after I have been asked the following repeatedly over the last few weeks by users of the JBoss BPM Suite demos:

“How can I import the projects associated with the various JBoss BPM Suite demo projects into my own existing installation?”

What this means is that users want to have an example project in their personal installation of the product without using the projects installation process. This is certainly possible but not totally obvious to everyone.

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