eClarus – Roundtripping Business Process and SOA Modeling

I recently had an opportunity to review the eClarus Business Process Modeler from eClarus Software. I found it to be an intuitive, very feature rich and versatile tool mainly targeted to business analysts and developers who are designing and developing SOA solutions.

The product suite is positioned as a tool that is standards based and enables roundtrip business process and SOA modelling. eClarus is available is targeted at two categories of user:

  • Business Analysts
  • SOA Architects

The product has some interesting capabilities that can definitely be useful to individual users and small teams. The integration with other products e.g. Eclipse  (using a plugin) is especially useful, even though it tends to be  focused at development teams and the related tools sets used for configuration management etc.

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Information Overload! – Making a case for Dynamic BPM

Foreword: Have you ever had one of those days where you have been out of the office and returned to an email inbox that is creaking at the seams? I am probably lucky in that I can manage my inbox proactively by using my PDA. Some would argue I have sold my soul to the ‘always-on’  personal time vampire, but that is tale for another day…..

In a world where email is commonly accepted as the primary electronic corporate communication mechanism, employees often find themselves having to filter through huge amounts of irrelevant emails to find those that are really intended for them. Assimilating the various pieces of information we deal with every day, prioritising the results and making decisions as to which to action, is a natural and logical process, one that we all do as a matter of course.
A problem however arises when the occurrence of these pieces of structured and unstructured information exceeds a threshold that is not always manageable by the individual. The resulting information overload can create an unintentional human bottleneck that may impede the normal workings of the organisation. On an individual basis this may seem like a manageable a problem but, consider multiplying this scenario by 50% of employees in an organisation on any given working day of the week.

This problem is validated by research from The Radicati Group into Information Overload and Corporate Email.

“In 2006, the average corporate e-mail user received 126 e-mail messages per day, an increase of 55% since 2003.

If users spend an average of one minute to read and respond to each message, this flood of e-mail traffic will consume more than a quarter of the typical eight hour work day – with no guarantee that users actually read the messages that are most important.

Additionally, if e-mail traffic continues to increase at this rate, the average corporate e-mail user will spend 41% of the workday managing e-mail messages in 2009.”

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Making the Complex Simple – How best to streamline and automate business processes

I work with various organisations and in my experience, they are typically in various states of maturity in terms of their understanding and adoption of BPM. The one thing I do tend to find  is that they all seem to share common problems.

In this post I have listed some of the ones that I come across and also explain an approach that can be adopted to help move them from a reactive business to one that is more proactive and dynamic in making better decisions.

Organisations are inherently composite and complex ecosystems in which business processes are pervasive. This complexity generally manifests itself in various ways and can include the following:

  • Management and employees have difficulty in making correct decisions due to not having accurate and timely information.
  • Information is of devoid of business context (not seen in as part of a business process) and therefore may lead inconsistent decisions.
  • Planning is often difficult due to ‘broken’ processes, poor working practices and inconsistent information.
  • IT systems that support the various business processes act as inhibiters rather than enablers as they are typically designed deployed and managed as information islands or stove pipes.
  • Enforcing business rules, policies and procedures is an arduous task due to poor process visibility, accurate real time information and no integrated or consistent auditing.

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