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Anthony Horner
Anthony Horner

Execute your BPMN Diagram

BPMN 2.0 is a modelling standard that has been around for 10 years now and although it has its foibles it has been recognised as the best for capturing the business logic behind real-life scenarios.  What most people don’t realise is that the standard itself is supported by an XML definition of its objects.

What does this mean? Essentially that the diagrams can be understood by computers to create an automated workflow application by any vendor’s product that is BPMN 2.0 compliant (and there are many).  This means that users can log into their BPM application and have a task-list of assigned tasks to work that exactly replicate the business logic of the diagram.   Think about that for a second, your BPMN diagram is converted into a workflow exactly as you designed it.  That has huge consequences for amongst others, the software vendor industry.  Why would you make a big ticket purchase to then have to configure and customise the processes that are implemented and still not match what you wanted from your diagram? 

To show you an example, I’ve spun up an EC2 instance on AWS and have a version of Camunda’s open source BPM platform installed from a docker.  This will allow you to see a BPMN diagram that has been deployed to a platform and actually execute it.  In this case, a diagram to process expense receipts.

Camunda Tasklist (ec2-35-178-202-213.eu-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com)

Log into the app using the user/password demo/demo

The BPM platform can execute any valid BPMN diagram that it has deployed onto it.  Each time, you launch an instance of the diagram, a workflow is created that will follow the logic exactly as described in the diagram.  Each instance of the diagram also generates a mass of real-time data which can set-up all sorts of alerts (a subject for another article).  If the process needs to change because of a change in market conditions etc. then an updated process is deployed onto the engine and the new process is live. 

The comparison with the normal software development life-cycle is immense in terms of time and cost.  Instead of using a BPMN diagram for context in a project initiation document kicking off an 18-month project, it could be the solution itself.

Admittedly, there is more to this, the front-end displayed to the users is usually developed to match company branding etc., the configuration of the platform with existing infrastructure takes time.  Once this is done, the platform is highly scalable and as many different process models can be deployed to it as can be modelled.

A more detailed post can be found explaining this example on my website here

This entry was published on Feb 04, 2021 / Anthony Horner. Posted in Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) . Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
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Audie Waterman MBCS posted on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 4:27 PM
The article was great, thanks for taking the time, I was unable to open the link, it took too long to respond apparently, so I will try again at another time.
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