Oct
17
2010

Our first wish for BPMN 2.1 in respect to process execution – Organisational Structure Model

Stencil set

SAPERION specific Stencil set in Signavio Process Editor

BPMN 2.0 will be released in then next days of weeks. But we have just some wishes for the next release, may be named 2.1. These wishes are resulting from our early experiences with the interoperability of BPMN 2.0. We have started to import an external process definition based on the XML-based serialisation of BPMN 2.0 into our Workflow System.We see the necessity of linking with an organisational structure model.

The imported processes are modeled with the Signavio Process Editor (a 30 days free trial is available). They are deployed to our Workflow Engine via a web service. A transformer is mapping the BPMN elements and attributes to SAPERION specific ones for execution by our workflow engine. The grafical SAPERION process model is BPMN conform but not concerning the persistence. Our workflow engine can handle the descriptive BPMN Elements and some more. So Signavio offers a SAPERION specific stencil set with the supported elements.

Why do we need a linking to an organisational structure  model?

There are three cases how you can work with a seperate tool for modeling processes and to execute them:

  1. Import the model once and enhance the model with the technical attributes for execution with the engine using the modeling tool of the engine. Afterwards change the workflow model manual after changing the process in the modeling tool.
  2. Change the mnodel and deploy again. During this process there must be an very intelligent algorithm to adapt the workflow process without any conflicts. But again some manual changes will be necessary as well.
  3. Define the process 100% percent in the modeling tool. Then you will not have a conflict during an update. But here you need all worklfflow specific attributes and there values within the modeling tool.

We are sure that the third case is the best way. But therfore we nee some more usual workflow attributes avaiable in the BPMN standard. Otherwise you must

  1. use proprietary attributes with the modeling tool and the XML-based serialisation file of BPMN, or
  2. waiving these usefull functionalities, or
  3. go the strange case 2 see above

Because we are missing some of our usefull workflow functionalities we searched for a partner who was just adopting BPMN 2.0 in an early stage. We found Siganvio and they have finished the first level integration with SAPERION.

First of all we want to only speak about needs for defininng the workflow performer of a human task. It is not a good idea to write manually a swimlane name. Errors are predicted. Therefore it is better to select workflow values from a list. There are two cases to do so:

  1. Offer the values for a lane or any activity in the lane by reading these data from the workflow system.
  2. Offer the values by reading them from a LDAP-System
  3. Offer the values by reading them from a standardized organisational structure model

In the first case there should be a standardized interface to read these data from the workflow system. Because this does not exist we have developed an web service to offer these values for read.

In the second case the most customer does not pocess an LDAP-System and the ADS from Microsoft does not help realy.

So the best way and this is our wish there should be a standard for an organisational structure model consting of a grafical and an XML-serialisation again. Then again we have an interoperable data set for defining the workflow performer.

Signavio reads the organisation structure values from SAPERION and offers them in dialogue for defining the performer of an human task

Signavio reads the organisational structure values from SAPERION and offers them in dialogue for defining the performer of an human task

2005 when BPMI as the innovator of BPMN has merged with OMG, where the standard is currently managed, I had the hope that the new specifiaction OSM = Organisational Structure Model will be finished soon an then be linked to BPMN. But OSM was still sleeping :-(

History of standards around BPMN

History of standards around BPMN

This post will be continued speaking about our other wishes for BPMN enhancements.

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Written by Dr. Martin Bartonitz in: english,general,products | Tags: , , , ,

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