Monday, July 16, 2018

Red Hat Process Automation Manager v7.0

jBPM is completely open-source and therefore most of my blogs are typically about the latest and greatest feature that was just introduced in the community.  However, Red Hat also offers a supported version, with the testing, certification, and maintenance releases necessary for enterprise production use (for a quick intro on potential differences, take for example a look here).

And recently, as announced in this press release, Red Hat unveiled Red Hat Process Automation Manager 7.  The most obvious change you might notice immediately is that the product was renamed - formerly known as Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite.  Since jBPM has evolved beyond just BPM - with features such as decision management, case management and constraint solving closely integrated - it was time to also reflect that in the product naming.  Similarly, Red Hat Decision Manager 7 was released a few months ago, focusing on the Drools and Optaplanner bits.

However, nothing changes structurally.  Red Hat Process Automation Manager is based on jBPM (to be more precise, it was based on the jBPM 7.7.0.Final release) and actually is a super-set of Red Hat Decision Manager, so it also includes all the rules and constraint solving capabilities as well (Drools and Optaplanner).  Since it is completely open-source, you will see the same set of components there as you see in the community: the process execution server (kie-server), the web-based console (business-central aka the workbench - for both authoring and runtime deployment and administration), smart router, controller, Eclipse tooling, etc.  OpenShift images and templates (supporting these capabilities in the cloud) are available too for those targeting cloud deployment.

Red Hat Process Automation Manager also includes an advanced open source user experience platform from Red Hat partner Entando. It can be used to quickly develop modern UI/UX layers for user interaction with business process applications, including a drag & drop UI development tool with widgets to create task lists, forms, process graphs, etc.

Red Hat Process Automation Manager is part of the Business Automation portfolio, which includes Red Hat Process Automation Manager and Red Hat Decision Manager, but also the Red Hat Mobile Application Platform and in the future also big data analytics through Daikon.

More questions?  Take a look at the product pages !

Friday, July 13, 2018

Maciej Swiderski is the new jBPM community lead

I am very glad to be able to announce that Maciej (aka "Magic") Swiderski will officially become the new jBPM community lead.

Maciej is one of the most productive engineers I have ever known.  And while that has led to huge expectations whenever he starts working on something new, he somehow manages to constantly over-deliver anyway.  To be fair, I have to say "officially" as he's been doing the bulk of that work for a long time.  Everyone that ever interacted in the community no doubt knows him, and his blog might be even more famous, probably almost any customer question is answered in one of the numerous blogs he has written over the last few years.  I remember exchanging emails with him in 2010, the early days of jBPM 5, but he was even active in the community before that.  He joined full-time a few years later, and ever since has taken care of anything related to process execution for years.  Nowadays, he's involved in so much (from case management to our cloud story) and producing so much work that I saw no other solution than to just make him responsible for it ;-)
Afbeeldingsresultaat voor maciej swiderski

Well deserved, and long overdue !  Congratulations Maciej.

PS: I'm not going anywhere in case anyone is wondering, still 100% involved, but given Maciej's continuous focus on the community and with the team growing this is the right move !

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

BBVA is a Red Hat Innovation Award 2018 winner !

BBVA is a customer-centric, global financial services group based in Spain. BBVA chose to make Red Hat technology a key piece of its new cloud platform.  BBVA built its platform using several solutions, including Red Hat OpenStack Platform, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite.

You can ready the full success story here.

As a result, we have been working very closely with them over the last year, and very excited to see all of that hard work showcased here! I have a presentation on Thursday with BBVA on this topic, see if you are attending Red Hat Summit, hope to see you there !

Antonio Valle Gutierrez (BBVA), Marcos Regidor, Kris Verlaenen (Red Hat)

[If you're not attending, I recently did a presentation + demo at bpmNEXT about our cloud strategy as well, so if you're interested in the topic, hope this might be useful as well]

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Red Hat Summit in San Francisco 2018 (May 8th - 10th)

This year, Red Hat summit is again in San Francisco, and I'm excited to be able to attend again.  We're kicking off today, but I personally have a presentation on Thursday afternoon (co-speaking with a customer on our BPM cloud strategy), and a jBPM Birds of Feather session on Wednesday with Maciej (where anyone can just walk in to come and talk or ask questions), but more about that later.

We're kicking off with the keynotes.  If you're interested, you can watch the keynotes live at (or in replay later). This first keynote already includes a live demo (by Burr Sutter and team) showing a true hybrid cloud (combining private and public cloud).

And an awesome extra: this year Business Optimizer (Optaplanner) is used for scheduling all the different sessions, and got a honorable mention by Jim Whitehurst during his keynote. 
"It really is a fenomenal tool!"
Jim Whitehurst - Red Hat President and CEO
 Business Optimizer is part of our Red Hat Process Automation Manager product (formerly known as Red Hat BPM Suite).  Congratulations to the team!
This year has record attendance (7.000+), a ton of breakout sessions (325) and even more opportunities to talk to the experts directly.  If you are around and would like to talk, we'll be happy to see you in one of our sessions !  There's quite a few people from our team here, to try and help you with whatever questions you might have.

Antonio Valle Gutierrez (BBVA), Marcos Regidor, Kris Verlaenen (Red Hat)

Kris Verlaenen, Maciej Swiderski (Red Hat) - Moscone West - 2103

So just reach out (at the booth or through social media) and we would love to hear your thoughts.  Hope to see you here !

Thursday, April 19, 2018

bpmNEXT 2018 day 3

Part of a series of blog posts about bpmNEXT 2018:
bpmNEXT 2018 kicking off!
bpmNEXT 2018 day 1 (part 2)
bpmNEXT 2018 day 2
bpmNEXT 2018 day 2 (part 2)
bpmNEXT 2018 day 3 

When Artificial Intelligence meets Process-Based Applications
Nicolas Chabanoles and Nathalie Cotté - Bonitasoft

Rather than just relying on reporting for insight in your processes, adding Artificial Intelligence is taking it a step further towards being able to create a shorter feedback look, do predictions, etc.  Using a custom loan request application, they show how data is extracted from the database into ElasticSearch, after which they build a predictive model from that.  Using process mining techniques they apply time-based analysis to predict the likeliness of certain requests still able to reach their SLA (or not).  Based on that information the operational people can decide which requests to prioritize.

Understanding Your Models and What They Are Trying to Tell You
Tim Stephenson - Know Process

Searching and looking into your process models can become complex if you have lots of processes.  By indexing these processes, a quite nifty query language can then be used to go and query those models.  Search for processes, data and resource involved, etc.  While the theory sounds nice, in reality it didn't always seem to be that simple.

Exploiting Cloud Infrastructure for Efficient Business Process Execution
Kris Verlaenen - Red Hat

My own presentation, about executing processes in a cloud environment in a distributed manner.  We've introduced services like controllers (to keep track of your engines running everywhere and manage them), and smart routers (to route requests to the right engine and aggregate data across them).  Our monitoring console allows you to connect to any engine out there (in this case a engine embedded in a sample order application deployed on a Minishift instance).  In the demo I showed how you can then update the SLA expectations of the embedded process, and after deploying this new version of the project monitor for changes.

Dynamic Work Assignment
Lloyd Dugan - Serco

In the context of Obamacare, Lloyd presented a use case of improving task assignment by scoring tasks (based on eligibility, severity, etc.) and assigning them to the right people.  Replacing a model where tasks were mostly just kept in queues and workers needed to go and go pick them up and choose, it allows tasks to be put "on hold" so they temporarily would not show up in the queues.
Geoffrey would have loved to see this, as I think the combination of process and rules was nice for solving this issue, but imho it's missing an actual constraint solving component (like OptaPlanner) to do the score calculations.

Finally, Keith Swenson presented about the DMN Technology Compatibility Toolkit (TCK).  Unfortunately I had to leave early to catch my flight, so just linking the video here.

bpmNEXT 2018 day 2 (part 2)

Part of a series of blog posts about bpmNEXT 2018:
bpmNEXT 2018 kicking off!
bpmNEXT 2018 day 1 (part 2)
bpmNEXT 2018 day 2
bpmNEXT 2018 day 2 (part 2)
bpmNEXT 2018 day 3 

RPA Enablement: Focus on Long-Term Value and Continuous Process Improvement
Massimiliano Delsante - Cognitive Technology Ltd.

The myInvenio tool can be used to discover processes based on data already collected.  It will derive the process (the tasks, actors, sequence, etc.) from the data and cross-check that with the cases that are already recorded (for example see which are deviating, where time is spent, etc.).
This information can then be used to derive which activities might be the best candidates for automation.  By running a simulation, you can decide for example to add two robots for automating one of the steps (at least the simple cases) and keep one employee for more complex and exceptional cases.

Integration is Still Cool, and Core in your BPM Strategy
Ben Alexander -

PMG provides drag and drop low-code processes, with pre-built connectors.  The process included human tasks for approval, but also supported integration with email, phone or text, or slack, etc.  It contacts external services (like Azure ML) for risk assessment, and included some RPA integration.

Making Process Personal
Paul Holmes-Higgin and Micha Kiener - Flowable

Chat is becoming more and more an important communication channel for customers.  Flowable showed an example of how banks are using lots of different channels to communicate with customers, like a chatbot, and using BPMN2 and CMMN during conversations.  
A digital assistant is constantly helping the client advisor during his conversation by creating (sub)cases, advising actions, etc.  For example, it can help enter a client address change, validate the information, ask validation, send confirmation emails, involve a compliance officer if necessary, etc. Behind the scenes, the digital assistant is backed by a process (with forms etc.).  Finally, integrating Machine Learning can be used to replace some of the manual steps.

Robotics, Customer Interactions, and BPM
Francois Bonnet - ITESOFT

A demo with an actual (3d printed, open-source) robot !  Francois brought a robot with video and voice recognition capabilities.  The robot could be used for example in a shop for greeting clients.  Voice recognition can be used to start a process (for example when the customer comes in).  The robot can respond to several commands, follow, do face recognition, take pictures, etc. all by configuring various processes.  The voice and face recognition isn't always working perfectly yet, but interesting to see anyway !

The Future of Voice in Business Process Automation
Brandon Brown - K2

Voice recognition can be used to create a chatbot.  The chatbox can for example be used to request PTO, get your tasks (and complete or even delegate them).  But chatbots aren't great for everything.  Some data is just easier to provide in a structured form.  But even forms can be enhanced with for example sentiment analysis (to automatically update the data based on the sentiment detected from the text provided in the form).  You can then for example create standard processes for how to respond to certain sentiments.

State Machine Applied to Corporate Loans Process
Fernando Leibowich Beker - BeeckerCo

Processes can be unstructured and rely on rules for defining when tasks should be triggered or not.  The demo is using IBM BPM state machine in combination with IBM ODM where the rules define what the next state will be based on the current state and the input.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

bpmNEXT 2018 day 2

Part of a series of blog posts about bpmNEXT 2018:
bpmNEXT 2018 kicking off!
bpmNEXT 2018 day 1 (part 2)
bpmNEXT 2018 day 2
bpmNEXT 2018 day 2 (part 2)
bpmNEXT 2018 day 3 

An awesome surprise this year, the videos from yesterday are already available on youtube!  So I've updated my posts from yesterday with the links, amazing job!

BPM 2018-2022: Outlook for the Next Five Years
Nathaniel Palmer

Nathaniel is starting with an outlook of where we are (maybe?) going in the next few years.  The three R's that will define BPM in his point of view are Robots, Rules and Relationships.  With everything running in the cloud.  And using Blockchain ;) 
Interaction has already significantly changed (with everyone having a smartphone), but he predicts the smartphone (as we know it) will go away in the next five years - with consumer adoption of new interfaces accelerating even more.
Robots (including any kind of smart device or service) will represent customers in various interactions.  And will do a lot of the work done by employees nowadays.  Even autonomously. This all will have an impact to application architectures, almost introducing a 4th tier in typical 3-tier architectures.
The future-proof BPM platform (aka the Digital Transformation Platform) brings together various capabilities (like Workflow Mgmt, Decision Mgmt, Machine Learning, etc.) - possibly from different vendors - processing events from many different sources (services, IoT devices, robots, etc.).
And he ended with the advice, that the best way to invent the future, is to help create it !

A Next-Generation Backendless Workflow Orchestration API for ISVs
Brian Reale and Taylor Dondich, ProcessMaker

ProcessMaker is showcasing their cloud-based process service.  It exposes a REST api for interacting with it, and has connectors to various external services.  The service does not come with a BPMN2 designer, but they accept BPMN2 and offer a programmatic interface to create processes as well.  They also introduced a "simplified" designer that ISVs can use to define processes (that underneath exports to BPMN2 as well), but hides a lot of the more complex constructs available.

CapBPM’s IQ – No-code BPM development – Turning Ideas into Value
Max Young, Capital Labs

To avoid being locked into one vendor, IQ is offering a generic web-based user interface for BPM, that can be used on top of various underlying BPM platforms.  On the authoring side you can define process and data models and do different kinds of analysis.  In the end, it generates open-source application code that work with a specific product (that your developers can use as a starting point).

Monitoring Transparency for High-Volume, Next-Generation Workflows
Jakob Freund and Ryan Johnston - Camunda

Camunda is showing Zeebe, their next generation process execution platform.  The demo starts when an arbitrage opportunity is detected, and then does various risk calculations. Zeebe Simple Monitor is a web-based monitoring tool to look at deployed processes and running instances.  With Optimize you can create and look at reports based on the various events that Zeebe is generating, including charts, heat maps, alerts, etc.
And as a treat, they showed a doom like easter egg inside their Cockpit, where you can walk through your process "dungeon" and shoot tokens with your shotgun :)