Issue 2, 2014

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Getting IT right the first time. Every time.

By Josèphe Blondaut, Product Marketing Manager, ARIS, Software AG
Dr. Katrina Simon, Product Manager, Software AG

Software AG’s Model-to-Execute (M2E) for successful process automation is much more than transferring BPMN™ processes from ARIS to webMethods! Process automation is not just a matter of technology; it requires a concrete and stable solution to cope with common project challenges so that you get the full benefit of process automation. Indeed Software AG’s Model-to-Execute approach gives you all the technical functionalities you need and, at the same time, ensures long-term success.


Process automation projects—status quo
Typically process automation projects intend to increase business agility, speed processes and integrate partner, in-house, cloud and legacy systems, services and tools.

But honestly, how can you achieve these objectives without knowing about the underlying processes and organization?

Process automation projects are often affected by numerous challenges. Cost and time overruns are generally caused by a lack of business acceptance and unmanaged change requests. Requirements are fragmented and partially incorrect, consequently causing the project and solution documentation to also be incorrect. In the end, incomplete solutions are delivered because of time and budget pressures. There is a strong lack of alignment and structure in the collaboration between business owners, solution design teams and the technical implementation team. Projects can neither succeed nor bring the targeted benefits with this approach.

Time for change—Software AG’s Model-to-Execute approach
Model-to-Execute is not just about process automation. It is a strategy for process and IT improvement. It covers both Business Process Analysis (BPA) and Business Process Management (BPM) disciplines. BPA covers the starting phases to understand the problem and to define the solution, whereas BPM supports the next steps of realizing the solution and improving the process as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: From strategy to improvement.

To better cope with Model-to-Execute challenges and achieve targets, Software AG has developed a holistic Model-to-Execute approach combining product, methodology and content as shown in Figure 2.

An integrated toolset including ARIS Architect and webMethods Designer offers a technical project environment featuring:

  • Streamlined user experiences across all platforms
  • Central user management for all project participants
  • Supporting system check to ensure smooth tool interaction

On the other hand, the Prime methodology from Software AG offers a framework for controlled, traceable and auditable solution development and documentation. Predefined reference processes available with Industry. PerformanceREADY help jumpstart the work and serve as accelerators for the projects. 

Figure 2: Model-to-Execute for successful core process automation.

The Model-to-Execute approach provides a transparent, reliable and rapid conception and development as well as management core business process solution based on robust, scalable and agile architecture.

Blueprint and solution design
As a first step, Model-to-Execute supports the definition of a business blueprint in ARIS and, based on that blueprint, the development of a solution design and its implementation in webMethods as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Model-to-Execute at a glance.

The business blueprint defines WHAT the solution should be from a business point of view as well as the functional scope. It also serves as basis for contracting solution design. It is defined by a domain expert/system owner supported by business analysts. In the end, it becomes the user documentation for the implemented solution.

The solution design defines HOW the requirements are to be realized from a technical point of view and serves as a basis for contracting the implementation and for acceptance. It's a team effort of the business analyst and solution architect/designer. The design is widely accessible as solution documentation within the ARIS repository.

Sharing between ARIS and webMethods
When it comes time to share your solution design between ARIS and webMethods, you can choose from different integration styles as shown in Figure 4.

Documentation-only is the easiest integration style. It creates reports documenting the solution design into a PDF document that can then be handed over to webMethods users. Their implementation work is based on the document. Vice versa, the final implementation can be documented in an HTML-format, which again can be provided as a PDF document to the ARIS users for future look up.

Export/import is a slightly more technical way of sharing process information. It saves your solution process model as BPMN2 file from ARIS to your hard drive and provisions it to the webMethods user, who can then import the BPMN2 file into his webMethods project as a BPMN process.

M2E Process only includes an automated, fully governed roundtrip to transport the logical business process model (solution design) into webMethods Designer. There, it is enhanced for process automation and kept in-sync with the process models in ARIS (business blueprint and solution design). The continuously supporting governance workflow coordinates not only model synchronization but also notifies all project participants of pending project tasks.

M2E process & services, the extended version, supports the roundtrip of more than just process information. It includes specifications of the services connected to the process steps. Services are managed and administered in CentraSite.

Look for yet another integration style coming soon. We are currently working on a rather loosely coupled style of sharing more than just process information from ARIS to webMethods. It includes data models, message definitions, UI design specifications, decision tables for business rules and key performance indicators. All options can be used with collaboration capabilities that allow for social integration in the sense that both ARIS and webMethods users get a communication stream to continuously discuss new processes and their changes.

Figure 4: The new Model-to-Execute offers multiple ways to share solution designs between ARIS and webMethods.

Summary & outlook
In a nutshell, with Model-to-Execute, you can overcome the frequent challenges and pain points of your process automation projects.

Use Model-to-Execute from Software AG and get:

  • Controlled, traceable and auditable solution development
  • Safeguarded intellectual property of your organization through central and structured documentation of business knowledge and solution design
  • User documentation and technical documentation required for the roll-out and maintenance of the solution as an integral part of your development project
  • Business blueprint and solution design as clear milestones and basis for scoping projects and contracting services
  • Increased agility and lower TCO

Customers tell us that they saved up to 30 percent on time spent on reworking, documentation and testing. At the same time, they reduced the project risk by up to 40 percent as well as reduced maintenance efforts and implementation lock-in.

We’re continuing to add more features to the Model-to-Execute approach, designed in ARIS, including consistency checks and more sharing of assets such as data, UI and service design. Collaboration capabilities will play an even more important role in promoting the social alignment of business and IT.


The end goal of Model-to-Execute:

Getting IT right the first time. Every time.