Roger King, who heads up TIBCO’s BPM product strategy, gave us an update on ActiveMatrix BPM, and some of the iProcess to AMX BPM tooling (there is a separate session on this tomorrow that I may attend, so possibly more on that then). It’s been four years since they launched AMX BPM; that forms the model-driven implementation side of their BPM offering, augmented by Nimbus for business stakeholders for procedure documentation and business-IT collaboration. AMX BPM provides a number of process patterns (e.g., maker-checker) built in, intelligent work and resource management, actionable analytic insights and more. This is built on an enterprise-strength platform — as you would expect from TIBCO — to support 24×7 real-time operations.

In May of this year, they released AMX BPM 3.0 with a number of new features:

  • Support all styles of processes in a single solution: human workflow, case management, rules-based processes, automation, etc.
  • To support case management, they enable global data to allow the creation of a case data model in a central repository separate from processes, allowing cases to exist independent of processes, although they can be acted upon by processes. Work items representing actions on cases can retrieve and update case data on demand, since it references the case data rather than having it copied to local instance data.
  • In work management enhancements, support for elastic organizations (branches, such as you see in retail banking). This allows defining a model for a branch — you could have different models for different sizes of branches, for example — then link to those from branch nodes in the static organization model. Work can then be managed relative to the features of those underlying models, e.g., “send to manager”.
  • Also in work management, they have added dynamic performers to allow for distribution based on business data in a running instance rather than pre-determined role assignments. This is supported by dynamic RQL (resource query language), a query language specifically for manipulating resource assignments.
  • Some new LDAP functions.

There will be another session on Wednesday that covers the new features that are new since May, including a lot about case management; I’ll report more from that.

He also gave us some of the details of the iProcess to AMX BPM “conversion” tools, which migrate the process models (although not the applications that use those models): I assume that the conversion rate of their iProcess customers to AMX BPM has been lower than they expected, and they are hoping that this will move things along.

We then heard a Nimbus update from Dan Egan, which will release version 9.5 this month: this is positioned as a “how to” guide for the enterprise, showing process models in a more consumable format than a full technical BPMN model. They have added collaboration capabilities so that users can review and provided feedback on the business processes, and the ability to model multiple process variants as multiple drill-downs from a single object. The idea is that you use Nimbus both as a place to document manual procedures that people need to perform, and as a process discovery tool for eventual automation, although the former is what Nimbus was originally designed for and seems to still be the main use case. They’ve spiffed up the UI, and will soon be offering their authoring, admin and governance functions on the web, allowing them to offer a fully web-based solution.

Nimbus uses their universal process notation (UPN) rather than BPMN for process models; King stated in response to a question about Nimbus supporting BPMN by stating that they do not believe that BPMN is a user-consumable format. They don’t have have tooling — or at least haven’t talked about it — to convert UPN to BPMN; they’re going to need to have that if they want to position UPN as being for business-led process discovery as well as procedural documentation.

If you want to see the replay of this morning’s keynote, or watch tomorrow’s keynotes live or on demand, you can see them here.

2 thoughts on “BPM For Today At TIBCONOW

  1. I don’t think UPN can be converted to BPMN – the scope of the notation is clearly different.

    I do not understand some claims of UPN, they are obscuring some BPMN constructs to create a false sentiment of complexity there:
    “The UPN solution also has another significant advantage over the diamond
    decision box. Decision boxes are binary. In our previous example, the
    decision box would say ‘Is the sale direct?’ There are then two possible
    outcomes: ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. But what if the question has multiple outputs? In
    the decision box world, we have to have a sequence of binary decision boxes. ”

    What?? Exclusive gateways can have as many outputs as needed. Moreover, it is clearly bad design to model business decisions via process flow gateways. Use business rules for that.

    1. Bogdan, I haven’t seen enough of UPN to know if any sort of conversion is possible, but it does seem to be quite different.

      I completely agree with your remarks on exclusive gateways, although I’m not sure of your source for the quote about UPN. Either they misunderstand them or are intentionally obfuscating, neither of which is a good sign.

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