Software AG Live

Software AG today launched the Live Suite. SAGLive according to the press release (read the press release here) contains:

  • AgileApps Live is a high-productivity application PaaS, implemented on technology from recently acquired LongJump, Inc. With AgileApps Live organizations achieve business-driven innovation managed by IT. This new offering provides unique flexibility to adapt to changing business processes, regulations and other business needs. All applications built on AgileApps Live instantly deploy on mobile devices and come with pre-build integration across social networks. AgileApps Live is available immediately.

  • Process Live, a collaborative business process analysis PaaS, enables users to collaborate across departments and geographies to improve requirements management and design of business processes. Process Live is compatible with Software AG’s market-leading ARIS Business Process Analysis platform and will be available in the second half of 2013.

  • Integration Live is an integration PaaS which enables cloud-to-cloud integration and seamlessly connects with private cloud or on-premise Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) installations. Integration Live is offering an unmatched combination of ease-of-use and enterprise-strength and is compatible with webMethods Integration Server, the market leading ESB from Software AG. Availability is scheduled for Q1 of 2014.

I expect this enables us (bQuind), being a Software AG partner, to actually offer the SoftwareAG product functionalities as a SaaS (Software as a Service) to our (small and mid-size) customers. I also expect we can use the Platform as a Service (PaaS) in collaboration with our customers to develop specific solutions that delivers straight forward added-value!

Read more on: live.softwareag.com.

ARIS 9 Business Process Platform

ARIS 9 Business Process Platform

Software AG is about to launch their new ARIS 9 Business Process Platform. bQuind (Kevin Biront and myself) visited Software AG at the CeBit in Hannover to meet with productmanagement and to see the new product at first hand.

We were impressed by the booth of Software AG (http://www.softwareag.com/cebit2013/) showing the new and fresh lay-out of the company.

See also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkScBN-Lhxw&feature=share&list=PL4DCBED46AD8AD577

Four forces

ARIS 9 is developed around the so called four forces. No they are not talking about the forces of nature but instead they talk about the ‘buzzwords’: Mobile, Social, Cloud, BigData.

Gartner talks about ‘the Nexes of forces’. http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/nexus-of-forces/

For ARIS this means a hole new architecture and new principles. ImageThe developers have focussed on an environment that can be used or published on mobile devices, that can be hosted in a cloud environment (private, on-premise or public), that can be entered by multiple users that collaborate in the creation of process models or requirement overviews and that is able to analyse big amounts of (process) data.

In order to meet all the demands regarding the four forces Software AG came up with separate but integrated products: ARIS modeling environments and ARIS Connect. The first comes in a ‘normal’ version and a version for SAP just as the current ARIS 7.2 does.However there will be no differentiationbetween Business Modeler and Business Architect clients.

ClientImage

We saw the ARIS client for SAP and for WebMethods. The client for Oracle will (so we were told) no longer be available. One of the first improvements to mention is the fact that ARIS 9 is supported by only one client. While installing your client, you will be asked to select the topics you need. Curious  is that you can also select topics that need different licences. I guess commercially for Software AG a good thing but for most support officers not desirable.

In ARIS 9 you will get the possibility to choose from four generic profiles (working environments) that determine the complexity of the client and the functions.

ImageYou can sign-on once to all acquired ARIS systems. You will need only one management console and document storage system to manage your entire ARIS environment. This is a big benefit for ARIS maintenance and for support officers. Besides this the meta model of your ARIS environment is open for customized configuration which also is a big benefit compared to the current environment where configuration of your meta data model is almost as hard as rocket science. The identity management is done in one storage device so you don’t need to go through all systems in order to maintain your user data and user rights. And a new feature I am specially keen on is the new wizards that help you define and manage specific data framework models such as ArchiMate, TOGAF™ or PRIME with framework specific enhancements.

Search

Also the search functionality (Rocket search) has much improved. When you enter data into the search field the search will start immediately to show names in line with the entered field. You can search using the selections: all, groups, models or objects this way. In the selections you can select types model types, Object type or symbol types in order to narrow down the findings. If you are working in a project and you want to select models or groups easily you can create favourite groups or models and put them in an easy to access list. You can also easily select models that were last used, much like the ‘open recent’ functions we already know from Apple and Microsoft.

User interfaceImage

I am pleasantly surprised by the newly designed user interface and the usability. Both for users and for maintenance administrators its much easier to find your way. The groups are neatly presented and the tabs make it more easy to find functions in ARIS.

ImageNew Object design

There is also a hole new set of object shapes that can be used. Personally I am not convinced this will be an advantage over the current set of objects but I can imagine that new users find them more appealing.

BPMN

A big improvement is the fact that ARIS is fully capable of using BPMN as standard notation over EPC. But also it is possible touse EPC and BPMN simultaneously and integrated. This gives the possibility to change EPC and find the mutual BPMN model also changed in the same way. In case there are multiple stakeholders or target groups that are customed to either EPC or BPMN 2.0 there won’t be a problem to use both and to publish both notations. Or you could transform EPC models into BPMN. The new integration gives you also the possibility to synchronise BPMN 2.0 models with SAP Solution Manager.

SAP Integration

Also in regards to SAP Integration ARIS 9 has some new features and functionalities for process-driven SAP management and projects. It’s, for example, much easier to upload any stored and linked document from ARIS to SSM. The link between SSM and the ARIS document remains so any change of the document or new release will be tracked and maintained. A big feature is that different project data can be maintained and managed from a central maintenance client creating much better project management before an SSM  synchronisation is conducted.

In the ARIS 7.2 Business Architect for SAP the Test designer was already integrated. However in the test designer it was not possible to manage cross-model loops. Now this is much enhanced and now you can select VACD based objects in your test-paths.

During our ‘guided tour’ through ARIS 9 we saw user data being maintained, a group being created, a model be updated and stored and a synchronisation with SAP Solution Manager (SSM) being prepared. Unfortunately it was not possible to actually run the synch but we got a good overview.

WebMethods

Software AG productmanagement also showed us the integration of ARIS 9 with WebMethods 9 and the possibility to synchronize process models with WebMethods. Since this can be done in a split-screen showing it WYSIWYG this is much more easy that the
ARIS-SSM synchronisation. Let’s hope the SAP synch will also develop towards the same integration functions.

Wrap-up

Sofware AG did a great job in designing the new ARIS 9 interface. The new patented symbols for visualisation of processes provide clarity and simplicity, however when you are used to the old objects, I’m not sure you’ll use them straight away. The design however has the potential to make ARIS projects even more efficient. Its a big step forward. 

With ARIS Connect you are capable of introducing social collaboration for process design, modeling and improvement on a corporate, department or project level. ARIS Connect is based on HTML5-based technology enabling access by mobile devices. ARIS 9 can be run on a public, private or hybrid cloud.

Currently unfortunately Software AG did not give any statement in regards to licence structure and pricing of ARIS9.

We asked productmanagement for a more enhanced product overview at Software AG labs so we can see a real live ARIS for SAP synchronisation and also a migration from 6.x or 7.x towards 9. We hope to be able to give you more insights. Please also keep track on our website www.bquind.nl.

Image

Process alignment en blueprinting

Procesmodellen staan niet op zich. Aan een procesmodel alleen heb je als organisatie niets. Het gaat om wat je doet met het procesmodel. Hoe kan je het model gebruiken om meerwaarde te creëren? Bij het modelleren van het procesmodel dien je dus al rekening te houden met de doelstelling van het model en met de doelgroep. In voorgaande blog posts heb ik hier een uitgebreide beschrijving van gegeven.

In de ‘Process Modeling for SAP’ Propositie zit die meerwaarde in de synchronisatie van het procesmodel met het SAP landschap. Het procesmodel zoals door de business bepaald is directe input voor beheer en optimalisatie van het SAP landschap als enabling technologie onder de bedrijfsprocessen. De vernieuwde ASAP methodiek van SAP is hier volledig op gestoeld.

Als voorbeeld: een afdeling logistiek krijgt te maken met een nieuw product wat wordt ontwikkeld en vermarkt. Bij dit nieuwe product wordt het just-in-time principe gehanteerd. Om dit nieuwe product mee te nemen in de logistieke planning dienen een aantal processen te worden geoptimaliseerd. Handelingen in de workflow dienen elkaar sneller op te volgen en er dient een sterkere controle te komen op voortgang, kwaliteit en het opvolgen van klant wensen.

In het ARIS model betekent dit dat een aantal functies sneller worden uitgevoerd. Dit komt terug in events en statussen. Het betekent dat een aantal controle handelingen worden toegevoegd en worden geautomatiseerd.

Het procesmodel wordt aangepast conform de bepaalde SOLL situatie. Hierbij kan gebruik worden gemaakt van de Business Process Repository (BPR) van SAP middels de SAP Solution Manager (SSM). In deze BPR kan je proces(delen) en activiteiten die SAP objecten vertegenwoordigen. Denk aan transacties of transactiedelen.

Ook de specifieke requirements (gebruiker, functioneel en technisch) worden in het ARIS model aangegeven. Vanuit performance management wordt in het model ook gekeken welke risico’s worden gelopen ten aanzien van de nieuwe normen en welke beheersmaatregelen dienen te worden genomen om dit te bewaken. Vervolgens vindt er een synchronisatie plaats tussen het ARIS model en de processen in SSM. In SSM ontstaat een groepsgewijs overzicht van de scenario’s, processen en activiteiten/events. Vervolgens kan per activiteit en/of proces in SSM de bijbehorende documentatie worden opgehangen. Dit kan door een link naar het fysieke document. Deze documenten kunnen functionele of technische beschrijvingen zijn of elk ander bijbehorend document.

Image

Uit deze synchronisatie blijkt exact hoe de configuratie in SAP dient te worden aangepast om aan de nieuwe wensen en eisen te voldoen. Dit leidt tot een Blauwdruk (of blueprint)waarin het procesmodel staat weergegeven inclusief requirements, risico’s en beheersmaatregelen en ‘geraakte’ SAP Configuratie items, ook de bijbehorende documenten of delen daarvan kunnen onderdeel uitmaken van de blauwdruk.

Na een validatie ronde op de blauwdruk bij de verschillende stakeholders kan IT direct aan de slag om aan de nieuwe wensen en eisen te voldoen.

Hiermee ontstaat een krachtige en snelle ‘change procedure’ waarbij business vertegenwoordigers en IT vertegenwoordigers samen kijken naar de (on)mogelijkheden bij het verwezenlijken van SAP solutions om zodoende snel en adequaat te voldoen aan wijzigende business wensen en requirements.

Een volgende optie is om het gesynchroniseerde model terug te zetten in ARIS waarna het kan worden gebruikt voor testen van het blauwdruk resultaat. Dit kan door een SSM – TAO combinatie en/of door de blauwdruk in HP-ALM om te zetten in testscripts inclusief test workflow. Daarover later meer.

BPM Communication (Part 3) – BPM Communication Strategy and Plan

Stakeholders

When does the stakeholder need the information? How does she get the right information? On which device is it presented? What does it look like?  What is the regularity? Etc.

These roles and requirements are the starting point in determination of the goals of the BPM initiative, its scope, timing and the business case.

Besides this, roles and requirements determine a lot more, i.e. the members of the project team and the project board, the way the process is designed and described, the key-performance indicators that will be incorporated in the process, the way the process is communicated and presented and the way the process can be governed and controlled.

Most of these points in the user-centered approach have been described in the other subjects and chapters of this book. This chapter focuses on the Communication Management aspects and therefore on the BPM user roles used within the process portal.

Once AirTide has designed and modeled their processes the repository contains a big source of data and knowledge. It is important that this knowledge should be presented to the different stakeholders in the most suitable way at the appropriate time.

While setting up the BPM portal, AirTide needs to be aware of the requirements of all the requirements from the stakeholder. All stakeholders will access the BPM portal for their specific view of the process model including detailed information such as:

  • business rules,
  • documentation,
  • organizational entities,
  • KPI’s and performance measures,
  • system support,
  • location data,
  • master data,
  • risk & compliance measures.

In order to provide this information in the right way, at the right time and according to the users requirements AirTide has created a BPM communication strategy and plan.

The BPM communication strategy and plan contains the answers to four questions[i]:

  1. What do we want to say?                    – The message
  2. When will we say it?                            – The timeline
  3. To whom do we want to say it?         – The audience
  4. How will we say it?                              – The channels

In the case of AirTide the answer to the first question is aligned with the deliverables of each BPM project stage, for example:

  • These are our agreed on processes.
  • Here can you find them.
  • This is how to read them.
  • This is how the change process works.
  • These are the process goals, the performance indicators and the measures.
  • These are the business rules, risks & compliancy regulations and measures.
  • This is how you can read and use the process model.
  • These are the documents used in the processes.

The answer to question two is related to the project stages. The information is presented at a moment that best suits the purpose of the message.

We can define four stages or communication[ii]:

1.    Awareness; during the BPM strategy and set-up, as building blocks are being defined, various process communities are create and continuously informed about the BPM transformation progress and future plans.

2.    Pilot; when main BPM building blocks have been established in the BPM transition and pilots are showing first results, all audiences should be informed about the pilots and the overall BPM roadmap. In addition, BPM trainings should begin.

3.    Implementation; when the BPM transition has been completed, a continuous communication plan should be set for all audiences

4.    Continuous feedback; Throughout the BPM transformation, feedback mechanisms should be in place to measure the progress being made in the communication efforts.

For example; in order to gather the information as input for the process model workshops are held. This is still the awareness stage. In this stage the community existing of HR employees is being informed about the BPM goals and approach. It is important that contributors to the workshop know exactly what the scope is of the processes, what kind of information is needed and how it will be used in creating the model in ARIS using the BPMN language. An example of communication in the second stage is training of people in pilot environments in usage of ARIS Business publisher.

For the answer to the fourth question an analysis was made of all the stakeholders. Stakeholders or the audience is then grouped based on their interests regarding the BPM project and based on what the BPM projects expects from the stakeholder group. Per stakeholder group their interest, the expectation and the used messages and channels, the way the messages are presented as being the answer to the last question, is presented in the communication matrix.

Figure 4: example of a communication matrix

With this matrix and the roll-out of the several communication messages using the right channels B-Air was able to keep all stakeholders aligned and informed.

 Lessons-learned

There are several things to keep in in in BPM communications:

  1. Make sure all messages are aligned in content and time, and there are no inconsistencies.
  2. Used channels should be aligned with the message and with the audience.
  3. Channels used should be easy to access at the right time and place for all stakeholders in the audience.
  4. Create clear definitions of each stakeholder group. However don’t create to much stakeholder groups and don’t deviate on a too detailed level.
  5. It should be clear who is in charge of the deployment of the BPM communication strategy and plan; who is the communication officer?
  6. Have all stakeholder definitions in place before creating the actual Business Process Model so you can communicate the scope, impact, requirements and validations.
  7. Use the stakeholder definitions while creating the Business Process Model in deciding the modeling conventions such as: the detail level needed, the objects used, the definitions given to events and actions and the naming conventions.
  8. In selecting the channels make sure you align with the devices used for communications. For example, are people using mobile devices then be sure to align the communication protocol and also the messages.
Next time we will discuss New Developments and Innovations in the final part of BPM Communication


[i] Business Process Management – The SAP Roadmap; Galileo Press; Snabe, Rosenberg et all.

[ii] Business Process Management – The SAP Roadmap; Galileo Press; Snabe, Rosenberg et all.