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IBM's BPM BlueWorks is a cloud-based BPM entry point offering that allows business users (including leaders and analysts) to create, share, and collaborate on strategy maps, capability models, and process models. They can also leverage a vast collection of pre-built BPM content and contributions from other BPM experts and users around the world to move quickly from strategy mapping to process execution.
In this article by Matjaz B. Juric, author of the book WS-BPEL 2.0 for SOA Composite Applications with IBM WebSphere 7, we will take a look at building strategy maps, capability maps, and process models using IBM BPM BlueWorks.
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(For more resources on IBM, see here.)
The core intent of BPM BlueWorks is not only to allow you to quickly ramp onto BPM, but also to allow you to:
- Collaborate with a vast community and leverage pre-built business strategy maps, capability maps, processes, and measures
- Leverage industry-specific content provided by IBM and created by others to understand the value of BPM
- Use cloud based, no-installation needed, easy on-ramp to IBM BPM suite to test and deploy process
- Capture business intent, capabilities, and process in the cloud
In BPM BlueWorks, the Business Design spaces provide the web-based, collaborative environment for designing and building business documents as a part of the solutions or applications you intend to build. These business documents allow you to visually represent and communicate your business strategies, capabilities, processes, and your future business direction. Using the business design widgets, you can:
- Define a business strategy using strategy maps (associated goals, measures, strengths, and threats)
- Design a business structure using capability maps
- Design a process using process maps that are based on the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) standard
- Visually represent how your processes collaborate with other internal and external processes
- Create and reuse a standard business vocabulary to store standard terms, roles, business items, and messages
- Build service documents to specify service operations that can be reused in process maps
- Build organization charts to represent the structure of your business and assign the appropriate process and capability-level responsibilities for different units within your organization
Anyone can sign up with BPM BlueWorks (the first registered user for a company or group becomes the BPM BlueWorks administrator for that company/group. Subsequent registrations for the company/group are approved by the administrator) by going to www.bpmblueworks.com.
For the purposes of the Employee on-boarding application, we will use BPM BlueWorks to visually document our business strategy, capabilities, and processes that will come together to realize this application. These will be before we actually implement the BPEL-based process in WID.
BPM BlueWorks has no runtime affinity to WPS. It allows you to create process models using the BPMN notation. Using WebSphere Business Modeler, these BPMN models can be exported into an executable BPEL.
In BPM BlueWorks, you can create an organization chart to depict the various departments or organizational units and associate a set of roles included in that organization unit. For the purposes of our scenario, Employee on-boarding, the following screenshot shows a slice of the AlphaBetaTheta Inc's organization chart with the units and roles that participate in the automation of this scenario:
The strategy map is a visual tool for defining, planning, and communicating the overall strategy of an organization. It provides a clear picture of the overall objectives or goals of the organization (Where are we going?), the actions that are planned to achieve those goals (How are we getting there?), and the means by which the achievement of those goals will be measured (How will we know we are there?). A strategy map can be created at different levels of the organization, and each level's map can be defined with the overall strategy map in mind. Using the strategy map as a reference, all members of the organization can make decisions that align with the overall strategy.
In AlphaBetaTheta Inc's case, let us draw a strategy map that clearly defines the vision, strength, weakness, opportunities, goals, and associated actions to perform. Shown in the following screenshot is the strategy map for Employee On-Boarding automation. It describes the set of weaknesses that are forcing AlphaBetaTheta Inc. to go for this BPM-based automation, and their strategy to tackle them. The goals that must be achieved for the strategy to be successful are outlined along with the actions that will be taken to achieve these goals. Management will know that the specified goals have been achieved when the targets for the associated measures have been reached.
Business capabilities basically tell that as an organization what functions you provide or the capabilities you need to run your business. It provides a layout of what kind of business an organization does, services it offers to its customers, or the operational functions it performs for employees. These capability maps are useful for analyzing and modeling a particular business in terms of its capabilities, competencies, their relationships, and dependencies. They are the precursors to the business processes. You can create capability maps in BlueWorks that an organization offers and can nicely categorize them under several levels. Business capabilities can be linked to measures, which represent the target performance levels that are defined in a related strategy map.
Business Processes depicts the set of activities that are needed to realize these capabilities. While processes (how) can change, business capabilities (what) for the most part do not change.
Now for our scenario, let us start brainstorming and list the capabilities that are needed from a HRMS point of view. In the following screenshot, we have laid out some of the HRMS capabilities (the three different levels) that are needed for AlphaBetaTheta Inc. and you can see where Employee On Boarding (L2) fits in the overall context under Staffing & Recruitment (L1). We have also expanded the Employee On Boarding capability to its next level (L3).
You can also associate a capability map with business processes that implement the capability so that you can plan for the set of processes that will be affected by a change to the capability. Shown in the following screenshot is how we mapped the Employee On-Boarding capability to an end-to-end business process map that we are going to create in the next section named Employee On-Boarding End-2-End Process.
While doing such a brainstorming activity, we can perform a gap analysis, mapping their business capabilities to identify the capabilities they currently have in their customer service area, and determining what kind of capabilities they need to implement the proposed change.
Capability maps can also make use of entries that you have defined in your business vocabulary documents, such as technical terms or standard role definitions. By referencing entries defined in your vocabulary, you can ensure that document reviewers and readers share a common interpretation for the terms used in your capability map. You can also link to a role defined in your vocabulary to indicate who should be the owner of a particular capability.
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|Read more about this book|
(For more resources on IBM, see here.)
Having defined a strategy map and then a capability map for Employee On- Boarding, the next task is to hash out and model the business processes that will depict the end-to-end steps involved, actors involved, and systems needed to interface with. Process maps help you to visualize your business processes graphically. They help you to brainstorm and document your current as-is processes or your future to-be business processes. With the process maps, you can string together a series of activities, specify business logic or conditional logic, specify the role or system/application performing the activity, and so on. You can also specify which activities should be (business) services and associated inputs for the activities, including the data or business context that is necessary for the activity to begin.
Shown in the following screenshot is the Employee On-Boarding End-2-End business process map. As you can see, we have organized the business process activities by the role of the performer or the application responsible for performing that particular activity.
For more information about the elements that are available from the detailed process palette, refer to:
https://apps.lotuslive.com/bpmSpace/DojoDashboard/ bspace_help/widget_help/en/BusinessLeader/ landingpage.html
We can specify the usage of a sub-process that is embedded within the main process. We have one such sub-process inside the main process to perform the candidate screening, as the following screenshot shows:
Within the end-to-end process, we have specified the use of another global process for Employee Information Setup & Facilities Setup, whose process map is shown in the following screenshot.
Use the Process Advisor to check your process map for missing attribute specifications, broken links, or mismatches between input and output data. Performing these checks will help you identify the places where you might want to provide further detail in your process map, especially if you plan to export it to WebSphere® Business Modeler for further refinement and automation.
Once you are done modeling your process map, you can export it to Microsoft® PowerPoint as a series of slides, or as a set of images that you can combine to form a poster for review. You can export it in a BPMN format or a business designer format for consumption within WebSphere Business Modeler.
If you recollect when we created the strategy map earlier, we had specified a few Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the employee on-boarding strategy as a whole. In the process maps, we can specify on the activities or the entire processes, KPIs that have been defined in the strategy map. As shown in the following screenshot, we have added the KPIs from the strategy map to the entire end-to-end process.
This allows you to define a normalized representation of all the terms, business item definitions, messages, errors, and roles that are used in your organization, and hence, are used within the business processes. Each vocabulary item can be used when you are creating or working with a strategy map, capability map, or a process map. For example, you can define roles when you define an organization chart and later associate the same role from the business vocabulary with an activity in a process map. A vocabulary allows you to standardize common terms and business objects and by reusing them in different business processes, you can ensure consistency and coherence.
The business vocabulary that you create in BPM BlueWorks can reuse and refer to entries in a business vocabulary that has been created in WebSphere Integration Developer and added to the document repository.
A vocabulary can contain the following types of information:
- Term: This is the name for a common concept within the enterprise.
- Business item: This is data or information that has a name, a description, a set of key attributes, and relationships to other entities in the enterprise. Examples include Screening Order, Offer, and so on. These can be used as an input or output in a process, or reused in a message or an error.
- Role: This defines the owner of a task or the responsibility that an individual has in an organization.
- Message: This represents the information payload that passes between message events in a process map, between pools in a collaboration diagram, and into and out of service operations.
- Error: An error represents the error information that is associated with a service operation.
Shown in the following screenshot is a business vocabulary that was created for AlphaBetaTheta Inc. and, as you can see, it contains the various roles defined:
In this article we took a look at IBM's BPM BlueWorks and created strategy maps, capability maps, and process maps. In due course, we were not only able to brain-storm the ideas, but create all of these in a collaborative environment.
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Book Price: £43.99
About the Author :
Matjaz B. Juric holds a Ph.D. in computer and information science. He is Full Professor at the university and head of the Cloud Computing and SOA Competence Centre. Matjaz is Java Champion and Oracle ACE Director. He has more than 15 years of work experience. He has authored/coauthored Business Process Driven SOA using BPMN and BPEL, Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (English and French editions), BPEL Cookbook: Best Practices for SOA-based integration and composite applications development (award for best SOA book in 2007 by SOA World Journal), SOA Approach to Integration, Professional J2EE EAI, Professional EJB, J2EE Design Patterns Applied, and .NET Serialization Handbook. He has published chapters in More Java Gems (Cambridge University Press) and in Technology Supporting Business Solutions (Nova Science Publishers). He has also published in journals and magazines, such as SOA World Journal, Web Services Journal, Java Developer's Journal, Java Report, Java World, eai Journal, theserverside.com, OTN, ACM journals, and presented at conferences such as OOPSLA, Java Development, XML Europe, OOW, SCI, and others. He is a reviewer, program committee member, and conference organizer. Matjaz has been involved in several large-scale projects. In cooperation with IBM Java Technology Centre, he worked on performance analysis and optimization of RMI-IIOP, integral part of the Java platform. Matjaz is also a member of the BPEL Advisory Board.