Bpm: Conquering Complexity

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BPM: Conquering Complexity

April 27, 2011, 9:00 AM
Jenny Zano: Good morning, good afternoon or good evening, depending on where you are in the world and welcome to today's IBM webcast, BPM: Conquering Complexity, brought to you by InformationWeek, IBM and UBM TechWeb. I'm Jenny Zano and I'll be your moderator today. To ensure that this is an interactive event as possible, I'd like to make a few comments before we begin.
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Now, on to today's presentation, BPM: Conquering Complexity. Joining me to talk about today's topic is Damion Heredia, Head of IBM BPM Product Management. Damion has led IBM's Business Process Management Product Management team for the past year and is responsible for integrating its BPM business rules and business event capabilities across the software group. As Vice President of Product Management at Lombardi, Damion oversaw the teams responsible for the strategy and design of Lombardi's enterprise and hosted products. Damion is also a member of the Object Management Group (OMG) and a co-author of the Business Process Management Notion (BPMN) standard. Damion, over to you.
Damion Heredia: Thanks. Once again, my name is Damion Heredia and I'll be walking you through the introduction of IBM Business Process Manager. The first thing I'm going to do is talk a little bit about how we view the market, how things are involving, and then I'll talk about the value of BPM and the required capabilities we see are necessary for a successful BPM project. And now I will introduce our new release, IBM BPM 7.5, and walk you through a detailed screen for the products and our key differentiators.
The first thing is, let's take a look at the business networks and how they're becoming more dynamic. Companies are requiring an end-to-end process management to grow and transform their business. What's interesting is how these use cases are coming together, everything from orchestrating human tasks to system-to-system interactions and straight-through processing for scalability, transaction integrity and increased visibility, to managing the exceptions in use cases for their businesses.
Next slide - For us, BPM is about dramatically increasing the productivity of your employees. The promise of BPM is to reduce the rework of your employees by up to 35%. Rework are things that your employees are doing over and over again that can be cut out of the process based on the inefficiencies. For example, handing an email around forwarding it between one individual and another; keying in the same data to different systems; or redoing work when it gets to the final stage when we realize a mistake that could have been avoided upfront by the customer if we had more structure around how we capture that information. For us, it's about reducing the rework of your employees.
Next slide - here's a diagram that lays out the typical process problems we see within enterprises. On the bottom of the diagram is a set of systems, and on top of the diagram a set of people or participants in that process. Typically the communication and the tasks are very unstructured, whether it's due to paper or to email or multiple systems and swivel chairs trying to complete the process through multiple steps and systems. Either way it's an efficient working environment that spans those systems and people.
And most of all, there is very little visibility control over the process. People don't know what the state of their process is, that particular instance, where is that particular instance in the overall flow; what impact does this have down the line if I miss this deadline; and can I make the process repeatable. Making the process repeatable ensures that you can have a lower skill set, more people doing the process quickly, and ability to control and manipulate the process for better outcomes.
Next slide - for IBM we feel BPM brings an order to chaos, the layer that sits in between your systems and your people, to provide that real-time visibility; monitoring of events and initiating of actions; leveraging existing data from those systems; standardizing how people do the process regardless of the geography or the customer segment to do an event; reducing the errors and proving consistency; and automating workflow and decision making where necessary. Most of all though, it provides the visibility and control for your business owners to improve the process to make better outcomes for your business.
Next slide - Now to do this, we feel there are essential BPM capabilities that you need in a system to accomplish BPM. This ranges from everything from having a great modeling experience that your business users can get involved with and be part of the development of the process; to documenting and executing the decisions in the process via role management and decision management; to be able to model data and the interfaces that your end users need to fill out to manage the documents and cases throughout the workflows; handling events from backend systems and responding to those events in an appropriate way; integrating with the various systems of your enterprise, whether it's a backend mainframe system, a message queue, a database, SharePoint system and being able to pull information across the enterprise and present it to the end participant in the right way. And most of all, capturing the metrics and the performance in the process in the system so you can better improve and reduce rework and take out the inefficiencies of the process directly.
Next slide - Now, with BPM there's a journey through your BPM adoption and each company may start at different places, but they typically go through a similar journey through it. Whether you starting with your first project, or you decided to jump right in to a BPM program, your journey will take you through gaining efficiencies, gaining effectiveness and gaining agility as you target the true in-state of your journey, which is being able to transform your business around cost improvement and how you run your processes to make them a competitive advantage in your business.
Next slide - Now to help you through your journey, I'm here to introduce to you IBM Business Process Manager 7.5. It's our new platform for BPM from IBM and it combines the best of both worlds from WebSphere Lombardi Edition, as well as WebSphere Process Server. IBM BPM 7.5 offers you the simplicity of Lombardi Edition experience to engage business people in the overall development experience of processes. It also provides you the power of WPS in terms of scaling from single projects to enterprise programs through trust and integrity, security and performance.
And now as it's combined, it offers one single governance mechanism for simplifying the sharing version of all your assets around your process apps, including the centralized visibility for your control and operations on the development side. And lastly, it provides visibility across your process work regardless of what you're doing in your system, system-to-system processes. You have one set of built-in monitoring across all of your process needs to help improve your business processes and gain efficiencies.
Next slide - Now let me walk you through the specifics of IBM BPM 7.5. In front of you is a diagram that represents the various components and how we are offering them to market and what they will do. In the upper left, is a Process Designer where you will engage with business and IT authors together collaborating on your overall business process based on BPMN; forms, data, with integrations into one single, easy-use environment.
In the upper right, is a tooling environment more geared for IT developers with clip spaced typically used for straight-through process development, advanced service orchestration and systems integrations.
Both tools are fused now into a single BPM repository, so now all the assets are now stored and shared within one single BPM repository called the Process Center, where everything is now governed throughout the entire lifecycle of that process. It is also where all the version view is maintained, the assets are shared and the dependencies are linked between those assets, and you can get a view of all your runtime servers. Whether tasks to production or training servers, you can see exactly which versions of the process you deployed to which target environments to maintain the governance, plus you can track reuse. All this now is offered within one single, centralized Process Center with two views, the Process Designer and Integration Designer, into the that central repository.
Now on the bottom half what we're offering now is a single, unified process server that executes models from BPMN, BPEL., has a built-in ESB, consolidated monitoring across all process aspects, as well as we also included new rule capabilities within the engine directly from ILOCK. And on the end user experience side, we still offer of course our out-of-the-box process portal, but we now added new configurable business space matchup technology to allow your end users and your developers to customize that end user experience you want to show to the process participants using new matchup technologies. Of course, we still offer and continue to invest in bringing that task list and information into the tools that you use today, such as Microsoft Outlook or SharePoint if you choose so.
All the assets from previous versions of Lombardi Edition and Webshare Process Server are 100% backwards compatible with this new edition 7.5, and are easily migrated into the Process Center and runtime for environments.
Next slide - now to help you adopt IBM BPM 7.5 we are offering three distinct configurations to market. The first is the Advanced edition. Essentially what I just showed you on the previous slide, everything in there is in the Advanced edition from the Process Designer to the Integration Designer to the embedded ESB, to the ability to execute straight-through processes with BPEL and the Process Center in unified runtime. That is all within the Advanced Edition I just showed you.
The Standard edition we've actually limited some of the capability to help you adopt many of your first projects, where you may not need all the capability upfront, but you want to grow into Advanced at a later time. So the Standard edition, which is priced slightly less, also reduces the functionality of being able to get around the ESB straight-through processing and the Integration Designer. Everything else is included.
And then the Express edition is really configured for growth markets, as well as maybe a first BPM project that you haven't quite budgeted for this year. It's a great way to get started and set something up in your environment. It is restricted to a low number of users per instance and does not offer clustering, but it comes at a great price and it's still easy to use and install as the other editions above it.
Next slide - So now let me walk you through a few screens of the new IBM BPM 7.5 and talk to you about some of the specific capabilities and differentiators. The first slide in front of you shows the Process Designer and leveraging an Advanced service that was built into Integration Designer. So now, when you're in Integration Designer and you've developed your Advanced service going between perhaps four backend systems; a COBOL system, a Web service, database call, etc., and all requiring transactional integrity and compensation, you can encapsulate that into an Advanced service and it immediately pops through into the Process Designer as an object that your in-process authors can drag in and consume in their BPMN diagrams.
So at this point if I need to consume the issue payment Advanced service, I can drag that in directly from the library in the left-hand side of the screen and into my BPMN diagram, wire it up, hook up my inputs and outputs and continue on through the process and doing playbacks. And that service now we retain transactional integrity, straight-through processing properties, including compensation and rollback options that the development team has created to ensure that that issue payment is done properly. Now, your businesspeople can invoke that from their processes with safety.
Next slide - Now the flip is true as well. Within the Integration Designer, you may choose within a straight-through process that some of those straight-through processing instances may drop out for exception and you want to have a manual intervention to get it back on the happy path. So therefore, you can drag in a human service at any time. Let's say you need a manual review, and invoke that human task directly from the straight-through process to orchestrate and go to several different call service agents perhaps and get it back on a happy path resolved for the customer, and then continue on with the processing.
Now, even though we have two different views into the same repository for different reasons, it is one central repository, one process with all the assets stored together. We've also taken the liberty of using the Process Center and embedding it within each tool. So you're starting point within each tool, the Process Designer and Integration Designer is the same. It's the same view. You get your list of projects. You can see which versions which have been created. You can see toolkits that are shared, which servers the process has been deployed to, and it's all one common experience.
Next slide - It's also one common experience on the promotion of your apps to production or tasks to other target servers. For a single process app, let's say order fulfillment, you can now install that process app directly into a target server, which is the unified runtime of the Process Server. And from this it packs up all your assets you needed, whether they're integrations, advances services, process data objects, forms, reports, what have you, all within one process app and pushes it into the target server. Let's say tests in this example and installs it within that runtime server for you to begin testing.
Next slide - Next, I'm going to talk about business process rules. In front of you, is a screenshot of a typical BPMN diagram within the Process Designer; activities, swim lanes, diamonds rivers end, gateways, or branches in the flow of the process. And new within IBM BPM 7.5 is the ability to – next slide – drill down into that diamond or gateway and choose to use ILOG as your defector rule definition language. So, if you have ILOG today, or you are going to learn ILOG for other reasons and you want to have a common skill set across BPM and decision management, you can you have your rule authors engage within your process development projects and they'll have the exact same skill set transfer.
So they can pop in here, you define a rule directly now within the process using ILOG rule language, hit play and it will execute instantaneously. It's not just an authoring environment integration, but we've also taken the key part of the ILOG engine to run that language and embed it within the Process Server. So now, process rules are now powered by the ILOG technology, which was acquired by IBM. Now, ILOG is still a separate offering for decision management, of course. However, we now are sharing technologies to make sure we have the best breed in terms of rule management embedded within the BPM product.
Next slide - In addition rule management, we've also upgraded the product IBM Business Monitor 7.5 with dash-boarding technology. We are embedded Cognos BI directly for better experiences for your end users to create ad hoc dashboards, drilldowns, analyses and their own reports. This has now been done for IBM BPM Business Monitor 7.5, but it monitors everything within IBM BPM 7.5.
Next slide - Now on the end user experience side, we are offering the unified Business Space for task forms and reports, so that you have one interface for all your end user interactions and participants, whether they be user tasks, system alerts, or performance data. It's now being powered through IBM technology called Business Space, which allows you to develop your own widgets and technologies and customize portal experiences best serving your end users' needs.
Next slide - Now, if you choose to use your own technologies to develop the end user experiences, whether for coaches or for past management, IBM BPM 7.5 we now offer a complete new set of REST APIs. So that your development team may choose to use a different technology. They can use all the data and functionality from IBM BPM 7.5, using REST APIs and adjacent objects. It's a much easier and simplistic way to integrate with the system. We've also included this REST API tester framework for you, so that you can come in here and as a developer be able to figure out which APIs you best need to use for your particular use case, test them out, the calls, the feedback, the returns, and then use that to develop your own end user applications; whether it be with Adobe Flex, Xpages Dojo or what have you.
Next slide - Now let me dive down into the Process Center a little more, which we feel is one of the core innovations within IBM BPM 7.5. It's the hub for all your design and development work that enables you to bring in business and IT people together in a collaborative and environment and experience, and yet still have the control of the process lifecycle that is needed and the governance that is needed to do BPM at scale.
Now, there are several obstacles in setting up BPM success that we use the Process Center to address. The first one is around managing many assets. These projects are large in scope often and they'll have thousands of application assets. And reuse is always a problem with these assets in the past, especially file-based assets. With the new Process Center we have new capabilities to manage the dependencies between assets that reused, how you version them and how you depend on different versions and govern the lifecycle of those versions at different times.
On the author side, we know that people who want to adopt BPM at scale are going to have many projects running in parallel across different departments, but need to share assets between those. So you'll need multiple dev teams on one single system and be able to share that information and collaborate together on the projects together.
On the bottom half of the screen, the complexity of process lifecycles is always an opportunity. Each process you deploy to production is at a different stage of its lifecycle. There may be one at 1.0 and another project may be on 7.0. Some may require quick updates to production. Some may be in the process of doing a major overhaul. And you need the capabilities of the Process Center to be able to manage the lifecycle regardless of what stage you are in.
In addition, every enterprise is going to have dozens of server environments on the runtime to be able to manage and keep track of and the Process Center helps you do that.
Next Slide - So let me walk you through you some of the Process Center innovations in IBM BPM 7.5 using switch screenshots and calling out specific features to help you understand it.
Next Slide - The first thing I'll show you is a screenshot of the Process Center as you would see it when you open it up. It shows all the process apps that you have access to, whether read-only or write depending on the security and protocols your admin have set up for you. Whether you're working on billing disputes, first notice of loss, or advanced sourcing, you need to be able to see which process apps you have access to, to be able to work in, in a collaborative environment.
Next slide - Once you choose your particular process app to work in, let's take the Process Designer view first, on a left is a library of all your assets for that process app. In addition, the Process Center provides a tool-kitting mechanism, which allows you to share assets between process apps. And those toolkits are important, because it's your way to reuse sub-processes, services, integrations, data models or reports across processes to help standardize and grow the reuse of your assets.
At the same time, the library itself is an attribute-based library so you can create your own smart folders so it can help you sort and organize the thousands of assets using predefined tags or user tags. This is important, because typical systems use folder-based systems. And as we know, when applications get large the folder systems start to break down, because you do want assets to show up in different folders. You do want to be able to have different views into those assets, and with typical file structures that doesn't work. So the IBM BPM 7.5 everything is attribute-based, plus you can customize your views into that repository based on your needs.
Next slide - Let's talk about versioning and collaboration. One of the first things that turns off businesspeople are terms from IT around versioning. We wanted to make that ingrained in the product enough where you had control over the versioning and recording of every change of what someone is doing, yet easy enough to use where businesspeople can get in and contribute to the process development experience.
So in the bottom left, you can see a list of snapshots that are taken at any given time. So as you are developing the process app together, anyone can take a snapshot and say this is Version 2.1, and at that point in time the entire process has been labeled and all of its assets to that particular version. It's as easy as pressing the camera button in the upper right of the screen and, in addition as you are developing these processes together, on the bottom of the screen you can see who is logged in, what files are currently editing and what files they're currently viewing, so that you can collaborate with them on those assets in one single environment.
Next slide - Now, if you choose so, you can go back in time to view previous versions of the process, which is extremely important as you show the evolution of the process, but also just understanding how it's evolved and what changed in that particular step or part of the process so you can learn from it and move on.
In the bottom left, clicked on the Version 2 snapshot, which has taken the process set back in time, and the yellow bar at the top is showing you the work spaces back in Version 2 now. And now you can press play and even run the process as it existed a month ago when we did Version 2 and that's unique to IBM BPM 7.5. Usually, you have to do a checkout, rebuild typical systems, then you would have to do your integration hookups differently. But either way, it would take a significant amount of time to rebuild that Version 2 as it was a month ago. With IBM BPM 7.5 the back-in-time versioning and the Process Center manages it all for you. And it just isn't taking back the diagram itself, it's taking back the entire process app from reports, data, rules, interfaces, so that you can see how the process evolved throughout your playbacks with the business in the rollout into various versions of the production.
Next slide - And finally, after you versioned your process and you feel comfortable with it in moving to the next stage of the lifecycle, you can jump back into the Process Center view, select your process app, view all the snapshots you've created and promote that into test or production using the install mechanisms. Of course, it'll walk you through a series of wizards to do that, as well as you can automate that behind the scenes for production rollouts. However, what it does provide you that is differentiated from an IBM BPM 7.5 standpoint, is the ability to see where each version of your process is currently deployed in your enterprise. So Version 2.2 is sitting on the QA servers in North America, the test server is in Prod, and how many instances are attached to that version. It helps with overall planning and just visibility and governance into the assets knowing from an IT standpoint where things are in your enterprise from a process lifecycle standpoint.
Next slide – Well, that concludes the overview and general direction of IBM BPM 7.5. Next, I want to raise it up a level and talk about the overall portfolio from IBM and summarize the overall presentation.
So for us, IBM offers a broad portfolio of capabilities, and regardless of your entry point, whether it is through discovering processes, entering into an automated process from day one, interested in monitoring your business processes across your systems enterprise, or entering through decision management or Advanced Case Management, we offer you from and IBM software for BPM standpoint the overall set of capabilities we feel you need to get broad adoption of BPM in your enterprise. Coming from rules, validate to content, to events and collaboration and process modeling, all with a notion of a process governance and the ability to optimize and improve your processes.
Next slide - And in summary, we feel we're the proven leader in all of these aspects of BPM; everything from having the largest customer base in the market to the strongest ecosystem with thousands of partners and global user groups, unparalleled experience and expertise in investment in this space; and from a product standpoint we feel we have the broadest and most differentiated software capabilities. The simplicity for fast deployment and full business user interaction, a way to centralize and govern those assets and collaboration activities so you can have control; and also the visibility into the process to help improve it over time, and yet the power to have high scalability, transaction integrity and quality of service that your processes required from an enterprise.
And finally, best in class exceptions in handling and of case management and other types of case-related processes.
Thanks for your time today. Jenny, over to you.
Jenny Zano: Thank you very much, Damion. Well Damion, now we'll launch the Q&A portion of our event. As a reminder to everyone to participate in the Q&A, just type your question into the textbox located below the Media Player. Then click on the Submit Question button and we do look forward to hearing from you.
Before we begin with the Q&A, we would just like to ask you to fill out the Feedback form that's opened on your computer. To complete the form just press the Submit Answer button at the bottom of the page and we'd like to thank you in advance for doing that, because your participation in the survey allows us to serve you better.
So with that said, we're now going to move on to the Q&A portion of the event as we said, and Damion, the first question to you is, which version of BPMN does BPM 7.5 support? Is that 1.0 or 2.0? That's straightforward.
Damion Heredia: Sure, absolutely. 7.5 supports 1.1 today and 2.0 support will come at a later time in follow-on releases.
Jenny Zano: Great. All right, and of course, another question for you. In this world of virtualization, one of our audience members would like to know whether this will work in a virtualized environment for servers.
Damion Heredia: Absolutely. Many, many of our customers run the production instances of BPM on virtualized environments, whether that is through the various software packages that you can prepare today in an industry, or specific ones that we set up for you and host for you and maintain at IBM. Virtualization is a key part of the overlay to scale and reduce costs in our customers' environments.
Jenny Zano: Great, and some virtualization to mobility, will this support integration to Blackberrys and other smaller, more mobile platforms?
Damion Heredia: Sure, with the new REST APIs in IBM BPM 7.5, one of the primary purposes of providing such APIs is so that you, as a development organization, can choose how to deliver that end-user experience on various devices, mediums or in various technologies; whether Adobe Flex, Xpages, Dojo, what have you, but also on devices that you choose to build custom apps for on Android iPhone or Blackberry. The REST API is a standard way to get the information that you need and then display that information on your device.
Jenny Zano: Great, can't go without those devices in today's world that's for sure. Okay, next question, is there a minimum-size organization that can reasonably make good use of the technology and, if so, what is that minimum size?
Damion Heredia: Sure, obviously we have very large customers utilizing technology from IBM, as well as small and medium businesses. We find that the technology that we have, especially with the additions of Express, Standard and Advanced, allows you to map into your appropriate size of organization and where you are in the overall BPM journey. So for something like the Express edition it's a perfect fit for small and medium businesses, whether you're 25 people or you're a couple of hundred depending on how you count it. It's a great way to get people rallied around documenting and organizing their processes for execution.
We also have other offerings that are delivered in the cloud, Blueworks Live, that is suitable for any size organization whether you're a one-man band or you have 400,000 people. Blueworks Live is a great way over the cloud to document your processes, interact, and automate some of those long-tail processes in the cloud for you.
Jenny Zano: Excellent, so we have cloud, mobile and virtualization; we've hit all of the major trends so far. Terrific. Next question, in the diagram on Version 7.5, I do not see an integration with the DPI engine for execution. The question is, DPI is the input to app development?
Damion Heredia: Sure, so I'm going to assume that we're supposed to be BPEL engine, and on the diagram one of the core capabilities of the new IBM BPM 7.5 process server is the ability to execute both BPMN diagrams as well BPEL diagrams, which are typically used for straight-through processing, event service orchestration between Web services, backend systems, etc. That BPEL specification is fully available to you, as well as the execution in the environments we have.
Jenny Zano: Okay, terrific. Next question, how would this technology integrate with an existing database? Can you talk about that?
Damion Heredia: Very simply; from the Process Designer as you draw out your process and map out your activities and swim lanes, and then usually the next step is to mark up forms and the data models that you want to use and capture on those forms. Usually, very quickly in one of those steps you want to get information from another system, and one of our most common integration test points is with databases. Whether it's a SQL Server database or Oracle or DB2 or what have you, we have standard connectors that will inspect the database, its tables, its data, and bring back the information to you so that you can present it back in the process. It's a great way to get the latest customer info, or requests that have already been made and bringing them back and display them in our what we call coaching paradigm back into the user and collect either changes in your information and you can push that back into the database if you choose so.
Jenny Zano: Great, terrific. And a just a reminder to everyone that please keep those questions coming. We've got some time to answer them, so don't feel shy if you have some questions that you would like to submit. Please do so. In the meantime, Damion, maybe you can just spell out just the top two benefits that Process Designer brings to supporting business placement teams that are collaborating to optimize business processes; and that Integration Designer brings to supporting the IT teams that orchestrate the integration of systems to support those processes' optimization.
Damion Heredia: Sure, absolutely. With the Process Designer it's really geared toward managing the overall business process collaboration between business and IT. You want a tool, and we've designed such a tool, that you can put in front of business person and say is this your process, or can you get involved with me and start helping me diagram out the process, marking up forms, the rules, etc. And to be able to do that, one of the big benefits of Process Designer is that it's very consumable. It's very easy to engage with and use as a tool. In fact, it looks more like iTunes than it does Eclipse on purpose.
Oftentimes, IT takes a tool that they use and then say, look Mr. Businessperson, can you use this, and obviously they can't. So part of one of the big differences here is with the Process Designer is how easy it is to get involved with and used as an in-businessperson.
Now, the second differentiator is how we've taken on the overall notion of versioning in change management. Because from process lifecycle process you still want to control the changes that are happening to processes, whether you're in a sandbox mode or you're getting ready for the next release. And therefore, we've embedded the notion of versioning throughout your experience without you knowing it. So you just go through as a businessperson and make the changes, maybe suggest new improvements, document new process paths, and all those changes are captured by the system in a very easy to use way.
And snapshots is one of the features that allows you to kind of label a particular versioning at any point. But by reducing the complexity of versioning and making it just natural, we've opened up the broader business user base to be involved. Versus with IT tools they would have to learn how to do check-in and check-out of a branch of subversion or how to recompile things and we didn't want any of that to come into the experience of involving your business folks.
Jenny Zano: Great, terrific. All right, next question, can you explain to us how your approach to bringing IBM Websphere Lombardi Edition and Websphere Process Server together preserve customer's legacy investment compared to some other BPM integrations we've seen that require more of a full-scale migration?
Damion Heredia: Sure, absolutely. It was one of the top requirements as we set out the new BPM 7.5 platform, is to preserve all the investment our WBS customers, Websphere Process Server customers have made in that platform, as well as all the investments they've made in the Lombardi edition platform. So, the new platform allows you to move your models directly into IBM BPM 7.5 and execute them as is. So there's 100% migration backwards compatible and that ensures that all your investments are completely preserved as you move up. Now of course, you have the opportunity to take advantage of the new features that we've added and you can view that in your next version of the process or application, or as you're migrating itself.
Jenny Zano: Okay, terrific. All right, next question is on Advanced Case Management and the fact that that can be very complex. The user would like to know, does BPM 7.5 support Advanced Case Management by itself, or does a broader portfolio from IBM support Advanced Case Management?
Damion Heredia: Sure. The overall portfolio, of course, which I had on a previous slide, has various enter points. When you're discovering processes, you're automating them, you're coming in through decision management or you're coming in from a more of Advanced Case Management set of use scenarios. And the overall portfolio can provide all the capabilities you need to do those type of scenarios. IBM BPM 7.5 has basic case management capabilities, of course in being able to have various processes attached to a centralized object, to be able to have some ad hoc portion to the process. But typically if you're in a very ad hoc and content-centric use scenarios that are more geared toward Advanced Case Management, we have other offerings within our overall portfolio that would be a great place to start with as well.
Jenny Zano: Great, wonderful. Okay, this is perhaps a little bit of a reiteration, but can you just explain or put into perspective for us the right audience, right user scenarios for the different versions of the technology.
Damion Heredia: For the different packages?
Jenny Zano: Yes, sorry. Yes.
Damion Heredia: Yes, of course. So, we're offering three distinct packages or we call them configurations of IBM BPM 7.5; Express, Standard and Advanced. Advanced for an organization that from day one values the [Indian] spectrum of capabilities from human to system, to system to system, advanced integration, monitoring and collaboration all in one. And typically those are large enterprises with straight-through processes and human-centric processes altogether and they're looking to build a platform for their organization as a whole.
Now, oftentimes you may have what we call a burning platform or a funded project around a particular process project to improve this particular business metric and process problem, and the Standard edition is a great way to apply BPM to that particular project or process opportunity. But of course, it is limited in the advanced service orchestration, detail of execution and the high-end integration straight-through processing capabilities. We leave that for the Advanced edition.
So whether you start with Standard or you start with Advanced, there's opportunity for you to move from Standard to Advanced when it's appropriate. Now the Express, like I said, is more for getting started with a project that you may not have funded for the year, but you want to try it out and it's easy to get going and to install. But we do limit it in terms of no cost (inaudible) up to a certain number of users can be on that system at a time. It's also a great package for growth markets in our worldwide organization and customer base.
Jenny Zano: Thank you. All right, we're going to go now from a product-specific question to a more general question. How do you get buy-ins from senior business executives and even sometimes IT executives for a BPM initiative? Can you give us some general tips?
Damion Heredia: Sure, great question. You know, it would be along discussion. There's lots of lessons learned over the years through IBM BPM practices that would be helpful for you to understand. I think in general BPM itself needs to be delivered as more than just technology. It's an overall approach to improving your business. So with that comes methodology, disciplines, the ability to analyze your processes, the cultural change that's going to be required for you to improve processes, and other kind of soft skills that go along with improving your business. And that all is in support of integrating the technology into your enterprise, of course, but really the cultural aspects of that is very big, and part of that is selling people on BPM.
I like to advise people that to use BPM for some type of burning platform; something that has executive visibility that the business owns and that if you solve for them they would see clear return on investment. That's a great first project, because then you can get the support of people around you to invest in making that process change happen, not just automation-wise but culturally and business-wise making that change happen. Often if I see IT organizations choose internal IT processes as their first project, that has less motivation for execs to fund or to rally behind and learn from, because it's hidden behind the scenes versus in front of the business users and the business direction. So, that's one piece of advice.
And then I also like to just use the analyses capabilities to show people how this experience will be different when you use BPM 7.5. So and that includes something we call playback. So, instead of just on PowerPoint slides saying if we did this we'd save this much money and here's the process before and after, use the product to map out your process before and after and show playbacks of it, including screens, of how the experience will be different for those users. And then people can grab on to it much faster and realize how it's going to change their business.
Jenny Zano: Right, so make it very real world for them and make it something practical that the business users themselves can touch can really have a great experience.
Damion Heredia: Yes.
Jenny Zano: Great. Okay, another question, regarding process reuse, this is a pretty specific one. When you import an existing process from an enterprise process repository, can you change the imported process and, if you're allowed to change it, how does enterprise process governance get impacted?
Damion Heredia: Sure. So when you import a process into IBM BPM 7.5 Process Center, which is where the assets live, at that point you're going to start modifying that process and adding additional what we call implementation details; data integrations, metrics and reporting KPIs, etc. so that when you press Play it runs. And when you put it into production it runs exactly like you've modeled it; what you see is what you've executed.
At that point the Process Center is the master of that process. And now you can link from other systems your enterprise architecture tools back into the Process Center and say, well the master of this process is stored here. But once it's executing or going to be executed, that is now mastered within the BPM 7.5 Process Center and all the governance that goes around that is managed through that evolution. So it does become the central hub for business and IT to understand what the process is doing in the business and what it will do in the next version.
Jenny Zano: Great. All right, we have lots of questions coming in, so we're just going to try to go through these as much as we can. This question probably has an answer that is along the depends line, but one of our audience members would like to know how long will it take to establish this software into his enterprise.
Damion Heredia: Sure. Something like the Express Edition and even Standard Edition for that matter after downloading it it's a six-click install, I think maybe even five clicks. You let it run for about 30 minutes or so and it literally sets up an entire instance for you to start developing collaborating with businesspeople on processes. A full instance of the Process Center, an embedded runtime so you can do playbacks, the modeling tools and so forth, all that is very easy to set up in any enterprise whether it's on your laptop, a desktop, a virtualized machine, in the cloud, or an advanced infrastructure that you IT organization may choose to use. The installation process for something like that is very easy to get up and going. And that is one of the new investments we made in IBM BPM 7.5 is around the installation experience and how easy it is to get up and going in your enterprise.
Jenny Zano: Okay, terrific. Great. All right, another question here. I've heard IBM say what matters in BPM is the experience around it more than the specific technologies behind it. And I think what you were just talking about, the installation, might refer this a bit, but you can explain a little bit more about the experience issues plays out in Version 7.5?
Damion Heredia: Sure. This also comes to a point where as you're evaluating technologies and software for BPM, when you list out all the features on an Excel sheet and try to rate them between vendors, we're all going to have very similar top-level capabilities. You know, we have rules, modeled engines, reporting, etc. And so from that point it become very difficult for an organization like yourself to differentiate between the vendors, so what we encourage is for you to put your hands on the product, to experience BPM firsthand.
And so during the evaluation process we encourage you to install it from scratch, to turn the keyboard around to a businessperson and have them model a process for the first time, whether in a cloud or behind a firewall, and let them experience the tooling itself. And when you do that, you'll get the feel for how innovative, but also differentiated the product is compared to other vendors, and it's kind of the difference between using an iPhone and a Blackberry. They're very different experiences, but they have the same features on them. So, by getting your hands on it and going through that it's a very important part of your evaluation process.
Jenny Zano: All right, next question. What are the typical metrics measured during process optimization and is there a way to trace modified process to the original process and rationale for that?
Damion Heredia: Yes. So, optimization is a huge part of 7.5. The benefit from using a platform from IBM, and specifically IBM BPM 7.5, is when you model that process and you press Play and you put it into production and run it, we will track hundreds of KPIs and metrics from that process automatically for you and then produce dashboards for your process owners to see the performance of that process. Everything from rework to wait time to which paths are taken more often than others to the overall duration of each, who's doing what, and then the changes in data throughout that process. So if it's a billing dispute request and it moves from $200.00 at the beginning of the process down to $125.00, when it finally gets made we track the deltas on all that data and give it to you in a way that you can use it to improve the process out of the box. And that's a very, very important part, and that includes setting up your own SLAs and metrics around the process that you deem very important for your business to understand.
Now, as you make those changes, the Process Center understands the difference between let's say Version 3 and Version 1.5, and both on the design side and the structural changes of the process and metrics, but also on the runtime you can compare what was my performance back in Version 1.5 versus my performance on Version 3. And when I made that change to add a second level approval or to remove this path, so we track everything for you so you can compare as you evolve the process.
Jenny Zano: All right, next question. What are the versioning mechanisms supporting IBM Business Process Manager for business process applications?
Damion Heredia: Sure. So, the versioning mechanisms, we have built in versioning into the Process Center like I talked about, so that you can have complete control over what people are changing and even reverting what they change built into the model experience. Now, at any time you can take any one of those snapshots from our repository and decide you want to check that into your own source control system for archiving needs or for backup needs into CVS, ClearCase, Work Force, etc. But the versioning as you collaborate on these processes was all built in for you during the development process.
Jenny Zano: Okay. A couple of more questions I think we have some time for. What are the necessary components or the initial requirements for using this software?
Damion Heredia: Great question. So, it's pretty simple. With any one of the editions, what you need is a machine and an OS. Whether that's a Linux box or whether it's a Windows box or what have you, you need a platform. We bring everything else with us to install and boot up. So, that includes the BPM 7.5 software and all of its necessary requirements are embedded inside. The database we ship with the DB2 Express version for you, if you choose to use so, or you can use Oracle or SQL Server if you have your own instance. But we provide you with everything from the repository to the execution to the software to the interfaces, all within that one installation experience. All you really need is the operating system and a machine.
Jenny Zano: Great. Well, it sounds like it's pretty intuitive to use the solution, but can you talk about the type of training programs that are available to really optimize and maximize the use of this?
Damion Heredia: Sure, absolutely. So, through our education department divisions we offer self-paced, classroom-based, virtual-based training programs for all levels and all roles. And it's one of the innovative things we've brought to the table is a notion of training and offering skilled development for your folks based on their role in the BPM project, as well as the level that they are at in their evolution of BPM. So whether you're a business analyst or you're an IT admin, or you're a process developer, we have appropriate training courses for that role and then a series of levels that you will progress through with certifications. So that you can be certified by IBM as let's say a Level 3 Process Developer, or a Level 2 Process Analyst, so that partners, customers and your own internal folks can be assured that you've met the necessary skill requirements for that level.
Jenny Zano: Okay, great. I just have sort of a summarization question. Can you kind of give the big picture view of how the new solution is more than a blending of two sets from IBM and Lombardi?
Damion Heredia: Sure, absolutely. For us when we set out to do IBM BPM 7.5, we wanted to enable the entire journey of our customers through BPM, from starting with the first project through scaling through multiple projects to moving into enterprise-wide transformation efforts. And with BPM 7.5 although we brought together Lombardi and WPS in the best parts of those worlds each into a new offering, it also offers new capabilities that you can take advantage of for that journey.
Jenny Zano: We may have time here for another question, maybe two. Can you simultaneously run a process with different metrics in order to look at unintended consequences as a result of the metrics itself?
Damion Heredia: Yes. You can have two different versions of the process running with two different metrics, or you can have the same process run, same version of the process run with different metrics collected through it. And then at the end you compare the metric output. So yes, absolutely.
Jenny Zano: Okay. All right, the last quick question here and I think you addressed this before, but probably not something you can say enough about, but can you use the software for a small mom-and-pop type of company, like a consulting company to the Fortune 500?
Damion Heredia: You can absolutely use the software, especially the Express and Standard editions, for a small consulting company. Whether you want to use it internally or you want to ramp up on it as a business partner of ours to then consult to the Fortune 500, those programs exist both ways; both procuring for yourself internally, as well as using it for your consulting to the Fortune 500.
Jenny Zano: Thank you very much. Well, we'd like to let the audience members know that for more information related to the webcast they can visit any of the resource links that have opened up before them. Within the next 24 hours you'll also receive a personalized follow-up email with details and a link to today's presentation OnDemand. Or you can view today's OnDemand by visiting www.netseminar.com.
We'd like to thank everyone for attending today's webcast, BPM: Conquering Complexity, brought to you by InformationWeek, IBM and UBM TechWeb. The webcast is copyright 2011 by United Business Media LLC. The presentation materials are owned by our copyright if that's the case by InformationWeek and IBM who are solely responsible for its content and the initial speakers are solely responsible for their content and opinions.
On behalf of Damion and myself, thank you for your time and have a great day.
Damion Heredia: Thank you.

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