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Having business processes designed as EPC (see Nina’s post) we now move forward in the EBPM lifecycle (see Thomas’ post) towards their implementation. Understanding BPM as a management practice, this certainly includes both organizational and technical implementation projects. However, while process transformation targets organizational change management, this post gives you guidance on how to use your business process models as a requirements basis for process automation.

Implementing a business process, i.e. developing a software system that executes instances of the business process, starts with gathering requirements from the business users. The good news is that your EPC already specifies these business requirements. The underlying idea of the model-to-execute approach is that all information gathered and specified in your EPC models can be seamlessly passed on to your technical counterparts – without redundant work, without media breaks. So, no extra interviewing, no extra requirements documentation, just take your business process models and make them available for IT. And, with Model-to-Execute there is no tedious file handling via export/import necessary to provide your process models. It comes with an integrated governance workflow that takes care of process sharing and notifies all involved stakeholders.  However, some of your IT folks may struggle with the semi-formality of your EPC. What you consider so convenient - your freedom to model and describe your process in a way that your business stakeholders understand - may be rather cumbersome for technical experts. So, there is some translation into a more technical process modeling language required. With BPMN2.0 ARIS provides not only a standard for executable process modeling but also a transformation mechanism that automatically converts your EPC into a BPMN2 model.

EPC to BPMN transformation

As described in the last post, the transformation derives the BPMN constructs (task types, layers, events) from modeling patterns identified in the EPC. So, in the example above the first process step is interpreted as a manual task as the corresponding EPC function is assigned only to an organizational role. For each organizational role, there is a BPMN layer created where manual and user tasks are positioned. Business services assigned to EPC functions are replaced by their corresponding software services (synchronized with CentraSite as described in Patrick’s post).

This BPMN model now presents a logical process model that is ready for technical enhancements. While the EPC focused solely on a business (requirements) view, the BPMN allows for considering and specifying technical concepts such as asynchronous communication, process calls, error handlers, etc.

Roundtrip Collaboration of BPMN model with webMethods

As a next step, the logical model is now transferred to webMethods Designer where a technical process developer continuous the implementation work with webMethods-specific technical enhancements such as screen flow design, task assignment, etc.

In the meantime, the business process model may need to be adapted to upcoming or missing business requirements. How model-to-execute manages to keep the process models in ARIS and webMethods in synch while facilitating close Business-IT collaboration is the story to be told in our next post. Stay tuned and share your processes!

Tags: ARIS