Thursday, April 26, 2012

Establishing a BPM Center of Excellence - IBM Impact Session #2135

Next week at Impact, I will be presenting on the topic of establishing a BPM Center of Excellence. When business process thinking becomes more ingrained in the culture of an organization, and the benefits of process improvement and innovation begin to be realized, the demands on BPM teams will increase, sometimes dramatically. It is by that point organizations must consider how to manage, prioritize and support multiple initiatives across the enterprise. A properly defined and established BPM Center of Excellence will provide the structure and orchestration needed to ensure an organization gets the most from its valuable resources, while continuing down the path of process maturity. This session will look at how a BPM Center of Excellence should be established and staffed, and where in the organization it should reside to deliver the most value.

People should attend this session to gain an understanding of how BPM Centers of Excellence can and should be the hub for all things BPM in an organization.

Session Details:
Establishing a Business Process Management Center of Excellence
Session Number: 2135
Speaker: Howard Webb, Prolifics
Date: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Time: 3:15pm - 4:30pm
Location: Delfino 4101B

Howard Webb is the Director of BPM Advisory Services at Prolifics. Howard and his team provide consulting and guidance to clients in transitioning to highly efficient Process Managed business models, and equip them for success in their BPM initiatives. For over 25 years he has been a consultant, trainer, facilitator, and speaker on the topics of Business Process Management (BPM), data architecture, and project management. He founded the Midwest BPM Users Group and has published articles on BPM and enterprise architecture. Prior to coming to Prolifics Howard was founder and partner of Bizappia, a consulting and services firm focused on business agility, performance and innovation. Prior to Bizappia, he was a Sr. BPM Technical Specialist with IBM.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Viva Las Vegas!

It's almost IMPACT time and for all of us in the IBM community – it is our version of “March Madness." Starting on the 29th of April, Las Vegas will play host to the largest gathering of professionals that use the IBM WebSphere platform to build solutions that power Fortune 500 companies to the latest start up in the Silicon Valley.

For us at Prolifics, this is our largest event of the year and a great opportunity for us to get together with our customers, IBMers and peers in the industry. It’s our chance to discuss all of the great work we have done over the last year and learn from everyone in this community on the challenges facing us and the direction this industry is taking. However 2012 is very special for us in multiple ways – This year our customer Steve George from Huntington National Bank (HNB) will be a keynote speaker at IMPACT. On every occasion that Steve and I have met in Columbus, we have had very interesting conversations on what Steve’s vision for implementing SOA at the bank. He is one of those thought-leaders who clearly understands the opportunities and challenges that HNB faces. We at Prolifics are proud to have been and continue to be part of the journey at Huntington National Bank as they build their agile service-oriented enterprise and take their next steps to process-oriented excellence. I am really looking forward to listening to Steve and speaking with him again in Vegas. In addition to Huntington we will have Apple Vacations, CIGNA, IDP and several of our other customers presenting their success stories and how Prolifics helped them achieve their business needs. While you are in Vegas and enjoying the conference, please make your way to our booth and our sessions – this consolidated list should help you make Prolifics part of your IMPACT plans:

Visit to see a complete list and read more about our upcoming speaking sessions.

For me personally, IMPACT 2012 adds another milestone to my professional career. I will be part of a panel of IBM Business Partners who will be discussing our success stories with the broader IBM community. I am really looking forward to hearing from my peers on the panel and adding value by providing my insights into what IBM and its Business Partner community can do together to help our customers and make them successful.

I’m looking forward to a great week and seeing everyone at IMPACT - "Viva Las Vegas!"

Rajiv Ramachandran first joined Prolifics as a Senior Consultant, and today is Vice President of the BPM & Connectivity Practice. As the leader of the BPM & Connectivity Practice, he leads a global consulting team at Prolifics that is responsible for helping our customers implement successful Enterprise Integration and BPM solutions. He has over 14 years of experience in the IT field having worked at IBM and at many of our key customers as a Solution Architect for several years implementing technology solutions in the Insurance and Healthcare sectors. An author in the IBM developerWorks community, Rajiv has presented at IBM Impact and IBM WebSphere Services Technical Conference.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Universal Messaging: Five MQ 7.1 Security Use Cases - IBM Impact Session #1869

This year at Impact, Prolifics’ AJ Aronoff will be teaming up with T. Rob Wyatt (IBM) to host a speaking session focused on the new and improved security model of WebSphere MQ 7.1. We had a chance to sit down with our IBM Champion himself and find out what we can expect.

Tell us about your speaking session at Impact.
AJ: T. Rob and I will be co-presenting on the new security features of MQ, which was designed to be the most secure version of MQ ever. We will showcase all the exciting new security features of this version of MQ, including securing queue managers by default, and creating channel policies that grant appropriate access based on custom authentication rules. Many companies are tightening their security practices, and we are looking forward to presenting a variety of security use cases, that should apply to most environments.

Why will Impact attendees want to attend this session?
AJ: Those that have worked with previous versions of WMQ know that security was a challenge that required attention to every detail. The latest version has a whole new security model that lets administrators create policies that apply to every channel. Organizations today are very concerned about security breaches and the damage they can bring to their business. WMQ 7.1 helps to avoid this “end of the world” nightmare in simplified and efficient ways. T. Rob and I have been involved in a variety of WMQ implementations and have seen all types of situations, both good and bad and we are always happy to share our experiences.

Other than your speaking session, what are you most looking forward to at Impact?
AJ: Impact is the greatest conference in the world! I look forward to spending time with people from Hursley, previous Impact conventions and the world. It’s always nice to see old friends!

Thanks for your time AJ! Sounds like this is a session not to be missed!

Session Details:
Title: Universal Messaging: Five MQ 7.1 Security Use Cases
Date: Monday, April 30th, 2012
Time: 12:15pm - 1:15pm
Location: Marcello 4403

To find out more about AJ's upcoming session, or to see a full list of Prolifics' speaking sessions at Impact, click here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ohio National Financial Services: IBM WebSphere Virtual Enterprise Implementation in a Mid-Size Company with Big Company Needs - IBM Impact Session #2417

Prolifics customer Ohio National Financial Services is presenting at IBM Impact 2012! Join Ohio National on Wednesday, May 2nd at 1:30pm for a look into the organization’s IBM WebSphere Virtual Enterprise Solution.

Here’s a preview of what Ohio National will outline during this session:

Ohio National Financial Services’ implementation of WebSphere Virtual Enterprise proves that companies of any size can reap benefits from the product. During this session, attendees will learn how WebSphere Virtual Enterprise has allowed them to do more with less by helping them consolidate their WebSphere Application Server infrastructure on a smaller set of virtual machines saving them capital costs. Operationally they have taken advantage of uninterrupted application rollouts to reduce downtime and increase staff productivity. As they mature with the product, they will be able to achieve even greater benefits for their WebSphere Application Server infrastructure using by implementing service policies to ensure service level agreements are met for their applications.

We’re looking forward to hearing more of Ohio National’s presentation! For more information, click here.

Session Details:
Session Number: 2417
Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Time: 1:30pm – 2:45pm
Location: Palazzo M

Monday, April 16, 2012

Customer Case Study: Cigna Healthcare and BPM Process-Centric Tools - IBM Impact Session #2108

At Impact 2012, Prolifics and Cigna are joining together to deliver an exciting case study focused around Cigna's innovation through BPM. During this presentation Anant Gupta (VP BPM at Prolifics) and Kevin Hutt (Cigna) will provide an exclusive look into the organization's strategic vision and how leveraging BPM process-centric tools brings the agility needed to grow and evolve over time.

We sat down with Prolifics' Howard Webb to get a better idea of what attendees can expect to hear at this session:

Can you tell us a little more about the session hosted by Prolifics and Cigna?
Business Process Management is often considered a solution for businesses that are struggling and in need of improvement. While this is true, successful organizations as well must be diligent about continuous improvement. This session, presented by Cigna will examine how a successful company is taking advantage of BPM as a new approach to aligning process execution with business strategy to provide even greater levels of customer service while continuing to drive down operating costs.

Why should someone at Impact attend this session?
People who are either beginning their BPM journey or have been involved in BPM for some time should attend this session. I believe they will be interested in hearing how a successful company is dealing with both the challenges and opportunities presented by moving to a process managed culture.

For more information about the session, click here. Be sure to stop by Prolifics' booth G1 at Impact and check out our other speaking sessions.

Session Details:
Prolifics & Cigna: Customer Case Study: Cigna Healthcare and BPM process-centric tools
Session Number: 2108
Date: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Time: 1:30pm - 2:45pm
Location: Lando 4201A

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Business Orchestration Server for IBM WebSphere Operational Decision Management

The event runtime is a shared, secured component that runs Decision Server Events assets such as business objects, events, and actions. After the business events are defined and developed using development tools such as Event Designer and Business Space it needs to be deployed to be available at runtime to be executed.

Interaction between event runtime and outer application happens using the various connectors. The event runtime starts collecting and filtering the business event information it receives from the connectors that have been implemented and business users have described and stored. The event runtime environment sorts through the volume of event information it receives and associates the relevant information it detects, it can then match whether the event is pertinent to the defined patterns and correlations that the business users have described and sorted.

Business information can be from short activity, combination of multiple events or may be complex events processing, once runtime senses a defined pattern it initiates action which can be anything defined by the system. Once we deploy the event runtime it retrieves the assets and uses them as instructions during event handling to do tasks such as creating business objects, evaluating filters in event rules and firing actions.

The picture below depicts high level architecture for Business Orchestration Server (The event runtime)

As shown in the picture above Business Orchestration Server (rhe event runtime) is implemented on WebSphere Application Server. It is installed and deployed as an application (wberuntimeear) with in WebSphere Application Server to take advantage of all the benefits of WebSphere Application Server including high availability, scalability, security and transparency of operations and use.

Since event runtime is actually an application running within WebSphere Application Server its access is controlled by WebSphere Application Server. The event runtime is based on publish/subscribe architecture and it supports messaging layers of WebSphere Application server and utilizes WebSphere messaging platform. Basic concept and mechanism on which event runtime works on is CBE (Common Base Events) and CEI (Common Event Infrastructure)

CBE is defined as standard/platform independent XML schema to be used for the format of business events to be sent to runtime using connectors

CEI is an event notification and event transmission framework that is used as a mechanism for passing events in CBE format to event runtime

The CEI is IBM's implementation of a consistent, unified set of APIs and infrastructure for the creation, transmission, persistence and distribution of a wide range of business, system and network CBE-formatted events

CEI provides public interfaces to:

  • Publish (or emit) an event
  • Subscribe to events that match a particular filter (event group)
  • Consume an event
  • Query historical event data (if the optional event data store is enabled, this can be achieved via a published interface)

The CEI provides a point of integration to consolidate events from a number of potentially disparate and diverse sources. It also provides the ability to distribute these events to consumers. These events are represented using the CBE model described.

Using CEI products, applications and functions are able to integrate their events. This enables the support of the end-to-end business-centric process views that these services make up.

At the runtime during the execution of Business Events we need to have database system configured as the runtime configuration for Business Events is stored within the database and at the time of initialization and real run time it retrieves the data to process the incoming events. For complex processing of events and executing actions database can also be configured to store information about for subsequent processing.

The event runtime supports almost all Professional RDBMS databases

The picture below depicts the Business Orchestration server run-time architecture

  • The event runtime is the core of Business Events. This is where the logic of business event processing takes place.
  • Connectors are internal system components that provide codeless connection to and from touchpoints via a variety of protocols.
  • The repository provides shared, secured storage for definitions of Business Events assets.

Business Orchestration Server (The event runtime) mostly consists of these following components:

  • WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment
  • A RDBMS to contain the repository such as business objects, events, actions….
  • The Decision Server Events application for business event processing (BEP), wberuntimeear
  • The WebSphere Business Events application installed and deployed with in WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment.
  • Java Message Service message queue managed by a message queue server such as WebSphere Application server ND service integration bus or WebSphere MQ.
  • Event connectors and action connectors for touchpoints
  • A database manager to serve as a message store for persistent messages
  • A LDAP or Microsoft Active Directory, if user authentication is required
  • JDBC drivers for database access at runtime

The following picture depicts the event runtime processing:

The event runtime manages the real-time business event coordination that was defined during application development. As an event occurs in a touchpoint that potentially requires one or more actions in another touchpoint, the relevant data (field name, field type, and value), called an event payload, and is passed using the connector of the touchpoint to the JMS message queue. Web services environments that employ SOAP to package messages and other protocols like HTTP, can direct those messages through the JMS queue.

The event runtime retrieves the message from the JMS queue and populates the appropriate intermediate objects with the values contained in the event payload. The event runtime parses the event, identifies the interaction sets that reference the event and determines whether any filters exist that require further evaluation.

If an action includes a filter, the event runtime attempts to evaluate it to determine if the filter conditions for a given action have been met. For complex event processing, this includes determining if referenced events or actions have occurred or not occurred as described in the filter condition. If any values are missing, the event runtime will attempt to retrieve the missing information from an external data source. The action is initiated only if the filter condition is true.

If the action does not include a filter, then the appropriate action will be initiated.

The event runtime passes the relevant data (field name, field type, and value) associated with the action from intermediate objects as an action payload to the outbound message queue, where it is picked up by the appropriate connector. The connector pushes the data to the appropriate touchpoint(s) and initiates logic within the touchpoint to perform the appropriate activity. The connector might return a result back to the JMS queue, where it is retrieved by the event runtime as a new event and processed appropriately.

If the action requires human intervention, it is directed to User Console, where the user can access it. When the user responds to the information displayed on the screen, the response is sent back to the JMS queue as a result event, where it is retrieved by event runtime as a new event and processed appropriately.

History for events, actions and filters used in event rule group evaluation is stored in a History database manager. This information is retrieved, formatted and displayed as charts in real time in Business Space by the Event Chart widget.

Alok Keshri, a Technical Manager for Prolifics focusing mainly on ILOG-JRules and WODM 7.5, has over eleven years of experience in the IT industry spanning across various industries. He is an experienced and resourceful enterprise software Tech Lead/Architect and has worked with J2EE/ SOA/BRMS/ BPM technologies. He is specialized in Object Oriented Analysis, Design, Development, and Estimation of projects with heterogeneous Web technologies in complex business systems based on a variety of platforms. He has extensive experience in IBM middleware products such as WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere ILog-JRules, WebSphere Message Broker and other products in the IBM BPM stack. He is also certified in WebSphere ILOG-JRules and FileNet. Alok received his BE in Electrical Engineering in 2000.