Abstract: The interaction between user-interfaces and services in an SOA is an often-neglected topic. This article focuses on the particular challenges that need to be overcome when creating user-interfaces while entire process chains have to be called and interacted with. After outlining some general architectural considerations, we will describe a practical application of Thomas Erl’s UI Mediator pattern that will be accompanied by our own technical experience.
In the simplest scenario, a user’s interaction with a business process consists of initiating the process and awaiting the result. However, processes very rarely run completely automatically, meaning human intervention in a process cycle is an important requirement. The WS-HumanTask specification can fulfill this requirement in the SOA environment. A standardized API that is defined for a workflow service can be used to fill a mailbox with tasks. If the process automation language BPEL is used, the BPEL4People specification defines how this mailbox functionality can be used directly in the process cycle by means of the WS-Human Task. Of course, this is possible from BPMN, too. For example, if manual approval or the input of additional data is needed during a process cycle, the process can determine the correct actor and deposit the task in their mailbox via the task service. The HumanTask service provides a Web service API for this functionality. The users receive the entries in their mailbox and process the pending tasks sequentially, while the process resumes its work in the background.
Abstract: Any place, any time: the old promise from the dotcom age has never been more relevant. With the release of the iPhone, Apple set off a huge amount of hype. Many people now have a laptop with broadband Internet connection and/or WLAN or UMTS Internet access. Yet these devices are still too large, too awkward, and take too long to boot up to be usable at any time. On the other hand, almost everyone has a smartphone these days, making them more mobile than ever in today’s economy.
Smartphones are enormously practical and are becoming more and more powerful. They are generally very easy to operate, can be used almost anywhere, and the mobile web is becoming both faster and cheaper. App stores are shooting up everywhere and new functions can be installed with a single click. As the saying has it: “There’s an app for everything.”
The use of built-in sensors provides for entirely new possibilities such as Google Maps integration, locationbased services, augmented reality, etc. Built-in cameras are becoming more and more powerful and are often used as a second compact camera. Video telephony is becoming more common—not just on Skype, now longestablished, but also through Apple Facetime. The speed of innovation is tremendous.
Business Process Management is a management discipline that thrives to improve process performance. If done right, BPM leads to appealing, user-friendly processes that provide information about productivity, that measure performance and that illustrate the potential for improvement while indicating the exact location in the overall process that potentially benefits from one of various process optimization strategies.
To deal with the complexity of modeling a company’s business processes, business analysts proceed hierarchically and begin by describing a value chain (process level 0) through several levels of processes, until they reach a level on which they depict a detailed description of the activities of process participants. Figure 1 gives an overview of BPM with a figure for each modeling technology and the interaction with SOA services.
We see that Business Process Management and SOA go hand in hand: SOA enables BPM.. Read the paper here
Cloud Computing Hype
Why is everyone talking about cloud computing? Drawn-out, expensive IT projects that are planned andimplemented without any benefits for the business stakeholders are commonplace. In contrast, cloud computing offers business users the chance to immediately implement services with usage-based billing that are tailored to their requirements, often without the need to consult with the ITdepartment. However, aspects like security, architecture, availability, and standards are often not evaluated. Cloud consumers find themselves at the mercy of the cloud provider. Scenarios that require changing cloud providersafter a cloud provider goes bankrupt, and the associated moving of data and/or applications, have not yet been sufficiently tested. Business continuity should play a key role from the start of a cloud evaluation process. One of the greatest challenges here is the integration of existing data and systems into the cloud solution. Without integration spanning between clouds and on-premise systems, processes can only be executed inisolation, leading to cloud-specific silos of isolated solutions. Important information for users is not available across processes and systems. Problems that would have occurred in the company’s internal IT are nowshifted to the cloud provider. To prevent “legacy clouds” or solutions that are hard to maintain, it is important to manage the entire architecture proactively and, in particular, the integration into the cloud. Even if cloudproviders want us to believe otherwise, not every aspect of IT can be outsourced to cloud solutions! Read the paper here.
Release: Jaxenter & Business Technology Magazin März 2014
Authors: Jürgen Kress, Berthold Maier, Hajo Normann, Danilo Schmiedel, Guido Schmutz, Bernd Trops, Clemens Utschig-Utschig und Torsten Winterberg
Effizienzsteigerung durch Prozessautomatisierung: ein Anspruch, der sich durch die Geschichte zieht – durch Henry Ford geprägt und eindrucksvoll in der industriellen Fertigung schon umgesetzt – goldrichtig für den „Production Worker“. Heute aber schreien die Menschen vor ihren Bildschirmen auf, wenn sie durch ein zu starres Prozesskorsett in immer gleiche Aufgabenlisten und Maskenflüsse gezwungen werden, die innovatives und situationsadäquates Handeln erschweren oder gar ganz verhindern.
Effizienzsteigerung wird nicht mehr durch die simple Automatisierung von Routinetätigkeiten erreicht (dies ist schon in heutiger Standard-ERP-Software abgebildet). Es geht darum, den heutigen Wissensarbeitern oder „Knowledge Workern“ einen optimalen Arbeitsplatz zur Verfügung zu stellen, um bestmögliche Entscheidungen für das Unternehmen treffen zu können. Dazu muss in Business-Process-Management-(BPM-)Initiativen der Mensch wieder in den Vordergrund treten: als am Prozess Beteiligter, der nicht vollständig über Prozessmodelle gesteuert wird, sondern aktiv und unmittelbar zur Verbesserung beiträgt.