IBM Business Process Manager v8.5.5 has just been released. It is not a mere fixpack, but an incremental upgrade that brings exciting new features. In my opinion, here are the five most noteworthy and cool new features you should check out:
1. Case Management
Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) processes are most of the time very structured, and their sequence of activities is pre-defined in design-time by a business analyst. A case, however, is a less structured process that defines activities than can be performed. Some relationships between activities can be specified, including prerequisites that have to be met before an activity is activated, but the actual sequence and occurrence of activities in a case is defined by a "Knowledge Worker" on run-time. Ultimately, it is the end user who decides which activities have to be performed for a specific case and at what time they are to be performed. Typically, a case has also a "Case Folder" associated.
A Case in Process Portal
The Case Editor in IBM BPM v8.5.5
If you own IBM Business Process Manager (IBM BPM) Advanced, you can optionally purchase an add-on to enable implementing case management in IBM BPM.
2. New Client-Side Human Services
Client-Side Human Services have a new web editor that runs on a browser and that includes a full-blown human service Inspector that lets you visually debug the human services with variable inspection.
New Web Coach Designer
New Web Human Service Inspector
3. Responsive Coach Views for Mobile
The new web Coach Designer in IBM BPM v8.5.5 lets you specify different layout configurations that vary depending on the type of device used to view the coach.
There are three different profiles: Small Screen (phone), Medium Screen (tablet) and Large Screen (PC). Coach views let you specify different values for their layout
settings depending on the screen size. For example, a vertical section in a phone may be collapsed by default but appear expanded on load on a PC.
This new feature lets you build coaches that automatically adapt to different devices without having to build custom dedicated user interfaces for each type of device.
Responsive Coach View Property Configuration
4. Improved Ad-hoc Tasks
The new Case Management Feature builds upon enhancements in Ad-hoc activities in IBM BPM v8.5.5.Unwired activities can now be dragged and dropped in a process diagram. These activities are generally user-triggered and their behavior can be specified as Automatic/Manual, Required/Optional, Repeatable/not, and have pre-conditions for activation.The improved Ad-hoc tasks can be used either in a Business Process Diagram (BPMN process) or in a Case.
Ad-Hoc Activity in a Business Process Diagram
5. Streamlined Configuration & Migration
Creating a new IBM BPM configuration used to take a lot of steps that involved configuring different resources such as database connections, security parameters and WebSphere Application Server cell topology options. In BPM v8.5, the BPMConfig command-line utility was introduced to facilitate the task of creating and maintaining an IBM BPM environment.
To make things even easier, IBM BPM v8.5.5 introduces the BPM Configuration Editor visual tool. This tool lets you define all the required configuration options in one easy-to use graphical user interface that also validates the configuration to assure consistency.
BPM Configuration Editor
Version-to-Version migration is a very sensitive task, especially for production environments. IBM BPM v8.5.5 improves the migration process while reducing risk.
This version includes a pre-validation+post-validation Health Center to pre-check for any potential failures as well to check the consistency of the migrated target environment.
IBM BPM Migration Report
The performance of automated migration process has also been improved, allowing up to 2x-3x reductions in migration time for BPM v7.5.1 migration and up to 20x time reduction for Teamworks v6.2
IBM BPM continues to evolve, incorporating new technologies and features, and becoming easier to implement and maintain. If you don't already have IBM BPM at your organization, these new features offer some very compelling reasons why you should try it. If you already have a previous version installed, I believe that these improvements justify getting up-to-date on the latest release.
If you have questions or would like to talk more about IBM BPM v8.5.5, please leave a comment or reach out to me on Twitter (@rickramosm).