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Friday, 19 February 2016 13:38

BPMN Generator from Dunstan Thomas Consulting

BPMN GeneratorBPMN Generator

An add-in for Enterprise Architect from Dunstan Thomas Consulting

We have had our very own Phil Chudley busy beavering away at a new project which is now commercially available & already in use with DT's customer base.

Overview

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect has the functionality to create diagrams directly from Use Case textual scenarios, the most common of which is termed an Activity Graph. This Activity Graph is a simplified form of UML Activity Diagram. This works well, but many organisations have, or are in the process of, standardising the modelling of process flows using BPMN 2.0, and this form of diagram is not supported by Enterprise Architect. The BPMN Generator extension for Enterprise Architect has been developed by Dunstan Thomas Consulting Ltd to provide the functionality to generate a BPMN 2.0 process flow diagram from Use Case textual scenarios. A typical example is shown below:

Textual Scenario for the Basic Path

BPMN Generator - basic path  

Textual Scenario for the Alternate Path

BPMN Generator - alternate path  

Generated BPMN 2.0 Diagram

BPMN Generator - generated diagram


The BPMN Generator also provides the modeller with options to set:

  • The top margin of the generated diagram.
  • The left margin of the generated diagram.
  • The default height of each task.
  • The adjustment height of each task (used to ensure that text fits in a task).
  • Whether or not a new diagram and elements will be generated rather than overwrite any existing diagram and elements.

Watch the video below to see the BPMN Generator in action:

https://youtu.be/WhL9vEdvHF0 


The BPMN Generator is available from Dunstan Thomas Consulting at £85.00 +Vat per licence. If you would like additional information or to purchase licences for the BPMN Generator then please contact us.

Published in News
Monday, 15 February 2016 23:43

BPMN and the Digital Enterprise - Part 1

Schumpeters Gale:

Creative destruction or “Schumpeters Gale” describes the persistent process of change that internally renews the economic status quo, destroying the old and creating the new. Schumpeter’s description of the process of change - while describing economic forces - could aptly be applied to technology, specifically, information technology. Just like a gale, the disruption maelstrom can suddenly destroy markets, industries and businesses and their operations and processes.  The aftermath is the new “normal”.

 

Digital storm blur sliced 600x251

 

Value Chain:

Michael Porter first used the term “Value Chain” three decades ago, to describe how an organisational unit, can manage its business while gaining competitive advantage. Within that period, Business Process Management (BPM) has become a critical success factor.  While the cyclone of digital disruption grows in intensity, the time to adapt business processes to the tempest shrinks. This adaption is business process re-engineering, necessitated by the forces of change - cloud, social media, mobility, Internet of Things and data. See “Growing Business Agility to Create Competitive Advantage - Digital Transformation”.

 

Business Language:

BPM Notation, (BPMN) a core enabler of Business Process Management (BPM), is a  notation readily  understood by business users, from the business analysts that create the initial drafts of processes, to the technical developers responsible for systems implementation, that will execute those processes and finally to the business people, who will manage and monitor those processes.

The value of BPMN is that it simplifies the creation of business process models while addressing the inherent complexity of business processes. Enterprise Architect provides a full-featured implementation of the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) allowing business processes to be expressed in a standard graphical notation and traced throughout enterprise and system models. It can also be used, to automatically generate Business Process Execution Language (BPEL).

 

cio review bpmMobile:

The Mobile revolution is providing equity of access to education, health, government, banking, environment and business, for much of the global community. However, it is also challenging enterprise business models in every sector. It is here to stay and represents a disruptive influence on business that cannot be ignored.

 

Cloud:

The transformative power of Cloud is presenting opportunities to efficiently facilitate new revenue, services and business, as companies harness. It is collapsing the supply chain, creating more effective and timely interaction between clients and suppliers while delivering speed, agility and cost reduction to IT and other functional areas within the enterprise, such as HR and CRM.

 

Internet of Things:

The Internet of Things (IoT) will require organizations to master new business models, architectures, operating systems, tools, methodologies, databases, networks, middleware, and sourcing partners.  The explosion of the IOT will contribute to the generation of exponential data growth which threatens our current ability to cope. Without support from collaborative technologies that support highly automated processes, the time required to make this data re-usable is impractical. Meanwhile new data silos are spawned. Sparx Systems has provided a trinity of powerful tools to address this issue, - Cloud Service, Reusable Asset Service and OSLC.

 

Measured Success and Business Governance:

Meanwhile, systems integration is being challenged because legacy systems cannot integrate with the new force-driven technologies, as system documentation is often inadequate.  The inability to meet this challenge prevents many sectors from seizing the new opportunities created by change.  The success of this critical adaption and reinvention of core business processes is measured in the resulting digital value, consistently realised by customers, suppliers, partners and other stakeholders alike.

 

Essential Tools:

bpmn model with bpsim configuration

 Across different business sectors, an awareness of this “new business norm” necessitates the basic requirement that enterprise-class BPM principles are hard wired into operations.  To fulfil this fundamental governance requirement, Enterprise Architect and standards, including Business Process Modeling and Notation (BPMN), are essential tools. They can improve agility and flexibility and create leaner organisations, by assisting to integrate the business elements of the value chain.

 
While applying UML as the base, these techniques enable the enterprise to better understand and design its enterprise architecture and allow the organisation to react rapidly, with greater control over outcomes and governance obligations.  Enterprise Architect supports the direct mapping of these obligations to the enterprise architecture.

 

Additional Resources:

Page: MDG Technology for Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN)

Brochure: MDG Technology for BPMN

Platforms Page: Tools for Business Process Modeling using the BPMN

Resources: The Business Process Model

News Item: Sparx Systems - 20 Most Promising BPM Solution Providers 2015

 

For information about how Enterprise Architect provides essential support for all of the critical business change issues mentioned above, please visit Sparx Systems website at www.sparxsystems.com, where you can download a 30 day evaluation licence and test for yourself.

 

BPMN and the Digital Enterprise Part 2: Read More Here

Published in Sparx Insights

Introduction

Straight out of the box, Sparx Enterpise Architect provides support for multiple modeling notations. Using a synergy of notations can result in a better description of business architecture. This article considers how ArchiMate, BPMN and UML can be combined into a model that is focused at a high-level of abstraction, whilst still allowing for some critical details to be explored.

Revealing layers of abstraction

As explained in Marc Lankhorst's book Enterprise Architecture at Work (third edition, p. 117), modeling notations provide a way to represent knowledge. The process of building, sharing and transforming the model can foster a new level of understanding amongst the participants. This refined knowledge is (at least) as valuable as the resulting model artifacts (the representation). Effective communication of that knowledge requires consideration for the target audience and an appropriate level of detail.

ArchiMate is good for:

  • People who have a job title like Enterprise Architect or Business Architect.
  • Presenting high-level and layered abstractions of the business itself, along with the software and technology that are used to support it.
  • Tracing and illustrating how the motivating strategy is realised by the business.
  • Planning the evolution and transformation of a business.
  • Supporting concepts that are similar to those found within TOGAF.

By design, the ArchiMate 2.1 specification does not (explicitly) provide for detailed:

  • Business process modeling
  • Data modeling

Meanwhile:

  • BPMN (Business Process Modeling and Notation) is focused on the detailed modeling of business processes; naturally enough, BPMN is increasingly used amongst the Business Analyst community.
  • UML Class diagrams may be used to detail data types, along with the relationships between data types; they are widely recognized amongst software developers, and a good alternative to using entity relationship diagrams for logical data modeling.

Coordinating multiple notations in a single model repository

UML is the native metamodel and notation of Sparx Enterprise Architect. Each additional notation (such as ArchiMate and BPMN) is provided as a MDG (Model-Driven Generator) technology within the tool. The UML specification provides for semantic extension of the UML through the mechanism of Profiles, Stereotypes and Tagged Values. Profiles are the heart of each MDG Technology, enhanced with Sparx tool specific details supporting new types of diagram notations and diagram toolboxes.

Using multiple notations within a single repository requires a disciplined approach in order maintain clarity. In brief, the best practice is to:

  • Restrict the elements of each notation to a separate root node.
  • Use the UML «Trace» dependency to provide an elegant way of relating elements belonging to different notations.

Add root node to your Sparx Enterprise Architect repository

You might not have realised that the File|New Project… menu option is something of a misnomer. Both EAP and FEAP files are actually self-contained model repositories, and can therefore contain multiple root nodes (just like a RDBMS hosted shared repository, whether accessed through an ODBC or Cloud connection). As a reminder, you can add a new root node into a repository by performing the following steps:

  1. If necessary, click View|Project Browser to open the Project Browser window.
  2. Right-click inside the blank (white) area of the Project Browser window and then click Add|Add Root Node….
  3. The Create New Model (root node) window is displayed. Type MyCorporation (ArchiMate) into the Model Name field.
  4. In a similar way, create root nodes for:
    • MyCorporation (BPMN)
    • MyCorporation (UML)

Create a «Trace» dependency between elements belonging to different notations

As stated in the Unified Modeling Language 2.5 specification (p246):

"Models can have Abstraction Dependencies between them: refinement (stereotyped by «Refine» from the Standard Profile) or mapping (for example stereotyped by «Trace» from the Standard Profile). These are typically represented in more detail by Dependencies between the elements contained in the Models. Relationships between elements in different Models generally have no direct impact on the contents of the Models because each Model is meant to be complete. However, they are useful for tracing refinements and for keeping track of cross-references between models."

ArchiMate for an architectural understanding

For example, an ArchiMate Business Process Viewpoint diagram for Purchase Item might look as follows:

 

business-process-viewpoint-purchase-items.jpg

This provides a high-level overview of a core business process, with enough detail to inform stakeholders and decision making at a whole-enterprise level of abstraction.

BPMN for detailing business processes

BPMN can be used to detail the ArchiMate Business Process concept, as follows:

 

bpmn-purchase-items.jpg

UML for detailing the data entites

UML Classes can be used to detail the ArchiMate Business Object concept, as follows:

 

logical-data-modeling.jpg

Usually, diagrams should only contain a single notation. In the examples above, multiple notations are deliberately used to visualise «Trace» dependencies between the ArchiMate, BPMN and UML elements.

How-to add «Trace» dependencies between elements model elements

Best practice for adding «Trace» dependencies using a diagram is to:

  1. Temporarily add the required elements of the foreign notation to a diagram.
  2. Draw the «Trace» depencies between elements.
  3. Remove the foreign notation elements from the diagrams, whilst retaining the traceablity links within the model repository. (So, delete the foreign elements from the diagram, but NOT the repository).

Alternatively, you could use the Relationship Matrix functionality of Sparx Enterprise Architect (click Tools|Relationship Matrix to get started).

Summary

The UML specified «Trace» dependency (relationship) is an elegant way of tracing between different modeling notations. Sparx Enterprise Architect provides a wide coverage of modeling notations, by leveraging the UML Profiles mechanism, and enhancing it with MDG technologies. In practice, this enables a synergy of the ArchiMate, BPMN and UML notations. Models can be constructed as layered abstractions, moving from one notation to another to suit the level of detail required by the user and intended audience.

Published in Tutorials

 

Hippo Software has extended Enterprise Architect and BPMN training materials to add Conversation and Choreography diagrams to existing Business Process and Collaboration diagrams providing complete coverage of the BPMN 2.0 standard.

 

More information is available at http://www.hippo-software.co.uk/pages/BPMN.htm

Published in News
Navigator_icon_with_name_70With EA Navigator version 2.4.12.0 you can now navigate from and to composite diagrams of an element.
Recently I’ve been working a lot with BPMN models. BPMN models make extensive use of the composite diagram mechanism in EA to drill-down on the processes and sub-processes.

In a classical UML model we usually place the composite diagram under the element, in which case finding the composite diagram, or finding the element(s) that have a diagram as composite diagram, is trivial. They are at the same location in the project browser.BPMN_Library_Model

In most BPMN models however there’s separation between model andlibrary where the library contains the elements, and the model the diagrams. In such a setup it suddenly becomes much harder to find the composite diagram (find in all diagram, then double click the element) and almost impossible to find the element(s) that have a specific diagram as composite diagram.

 

In other words drilling down is relatively easy, but drilling up becomes nearly impossible.

Navigate_Composite_diagramThis problem is now solved by the EA Navigator.  From the Business Process I can now easily navigate to the composite diagram, but more importantly, I can navigate back up to any elements that have this diagram set as their composite diagram.

 

More Information

More information about the EA Navigator add-in for Enterprise Architect can be found here:

Published in News
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 06:18

Factoring and Enterprise Architect

Factoring has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years and today the global worth of the factoring business is estimated to be over €2.25 trillion. 

Partho Chakraborty and Arvind Sonmale, recently published a book called “Factoring - A Powerful Tool in the World of Finance”.  In this publication Enterprise Architect  was used to create the Business Process models using BPMN 2.0. 

 

 

Factoring as means of finance is very ancient and there has been much written on the topic. What we currently see on Factoring can be considered the classical form.

 

Today the customer is very discerning and wants more and the aim of this book is to go beyond classical factoring. 

This book is in 3 parts and introduces new topics and techniques, with a lot of examples and some live cases.  It contains many graphical examples, some of which are unique as it gives information on and traces our history on this ancient monetary system while providing a view of factoring and it’s value in a modern context.

Published by Notion Press, the book is available through Amazon.

Published in News

Supported by Sparx SystemsEA User Group Conference; London - The agenda takes shape...

We have received an amazing level of response to the call for speakers for the London conference and can now provide a preview of how the agenda is shaping up for London; 

EA User Group - London Conference 2015

We're still in the draft stages and so timings and presentations are still subject to change.

The call for speakers doesn't close until the end of the month so if you have a story to share and would feel like sharing it with the community then This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The conference will be taking place at the Park Plaza County Hall, 1 Addington Street, London, SE1 7RY, United Kingdom.

Tickets for this event are already on sale via the EA User Group website.

We look forward to seeing you all in London.

Published in News

European Enterprise Architect User Group 2015 in Zürich, March, 10th 2015

After a series of highly successful German Enterprise Architect User Community events in previous years, it is my great pleasure now to be able to announce a first time event in Zurich. Thanks to the support of UBS AG, the European Enterprise Architect User Group event will be held in Switzrland at the company's headquarters in Zurich. The event will include a series of lectures and a permanently-staffed Experts Corner, and during coffee breaks and lunch there will be plenty of time for more in-depth conversations with users and lecturers alike.

The lectures will be held alternately in English or German. In his keynote speech, David Würth, Enterprise Architect Specialist at UBS, explores the standardization activities and use of Enterprise Architect, and shares some of his enterprise-wide initiatives. Phil Chudley, TOGAF and BPMN specialist since their very beginnings, will illuminate us on the topic "Enterprise Architecture" and associated technologies...and of course you won’t want to miss presentations by Swisscom and the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB).

Save the date: Tuesday, March 10th, 2015, from 9.00 till 17.00 at UBS AG in Zurich

Registration at http://www.eausergroup.com/events

 

 

Published in News
QUAD-ML – Rapid Modeling Mastery Course with Enterprise Architect (EA) v11

May 28-29 starts 7:00 AM Pacific – Register Here
June 5-6 starts 7:00 AM Pacific – Register Here

Take advantage of our new mixed-language course, QUAD-ML, a one-time only offer at a deeply discounted rate.

What is the QUAD-ML mixed-language?
It is a unique proprietary approach to integrating the four key modeling languages UML, SysML, BPMN and SoaML, into one compact and simplified hands-on course using EA, designed specifically for enterprise modelers, business & systems analysts, software developers and technical managers.

Why QUAD-ML? Why Now?
This course was designed based on inquiries and questions from our customers regarding best practices in mixed-language environments. We also learned that competent hands-on knowledge of these four key languages is becoming a standard in many corporate environments.

QUAD-ML was carefully designed to provide you with a quick and affordable way to gain practical knowledge rapidly with these four languages. It is the best way we know of (so far) to help you come up to speed and compete effectively in the current fast-paced business and high technology environment.

What you will learn:
  • The 10 most important modeling practices you should be applying today
  • The 7 best practices successful organizations use in mixed-language environments
  • How all four languages "integrate" in the same model-based environment
  • How to effectively use the Sparx EA modeling tool
  • Key fundamentals of UML and SysML enterprise modeling
  • The BPMN and SoaML languages
  • How and when to use BPMN and SoaML in mixed-language environments
 
What to expect?
  • Learn first-hand from experts in the industry with over 20 years experience
  • Full course delivery in only 2 days using EA (agenda details upon registration)
  • Experience a real world project in a mixed-language environment
  • A free early copy of the eBook "Rapid Enterprise Modeling" that will soon be selling on Amazon.
  • Register by May 23rd and get 50% off the regular course price
  • Cancel any time up to 24 hours before the class begins
  • 100% money back guarantee
May 28-29  – Register Here
June 5-6 – Register Here

With appreciation,
Ernest Stambouly
949-378-1138
 
Published in News

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect is a great tool to produce and organise your models using UML, SysML, BPMN or other modelling languages or notations.

In some cases, the default rendering of elements on certain types of diagrams lacks a suitable colour scheme and font.

This article deals with two topics :

  • Highlight the strengths of Enterprise Architect as a modelling tool versus that of a drawing tool,
  • Applying visual styles to improve the look and feel of your diagrams.

A vital switch from a drawing tool to a comprehensive modelling tool

Initial context : A colleague and I discovered a set of BPMN diagrams maintained by a team using a BPM modelling tool, Bizagi BPMN Business Process Modeler. Being a freeware must have helped to quickly try and adopt this tool for the project. I have to say that the rendering of the diagrams looked rather attractive and modern. As a UML and BPMN expert, my colleague was the first one to get involved in this task. He started to model new business processes, and update existing ones as requested. He noticed a number of mistakes (e.g. broken sequence flow, missing end event) that he promptly fixed.

As things went on, we had a chat and I asked what he thought about this tool compared with Sparx Enterprise Architect. His feedback was interesting ; Bizagi was more or less a drawing tool like Ms Visio, that can be used to create a couple of UML diagrams. A project browser was  missing from Bizagi i.e. when you create a BPMN node like an activity or gateway, you have no access to this element so that it can be reused into several diagrams. Not to mention all the other powerful advantages from Enterprise Architect including traceability with other model elements from the same project, e.g. to link an activity with a requirement it fulfils, or with a use case to establish links between the business and system analysis models.

The need for a real modelling project quickly lead to a move from Bizagi modelling tool to Enterprise Architect, as agreed by the client.

Applying visual styles to improve BPMN diagrams rendering

As I started to create and maintain BPMN diagrams in Enterprise Architect, I looked at simple ways to reproduce a similar look and feel from the original tool (Bizagi).  The aim was to improve the default rendering of Elements in Enterprise Architect.  Below,  I managed to reproduce a similar visual style using the following colour schemes:

  • BPMN2 start event : light green background + dark green line

 Sparx EA diagram visual start on BPMN start event

  • BPMN2 end event : light red background + dark red line

 Sparx EA diagram visual start on BPMN end event

  • BPMN2 activities and gateways : light blue background + dark blue line

 

The procedure to create those visual styles is quite easy:

  • 1- I first defined the visual settings on a selected element using the diagram toolbar by setting the background colour, line colour and width, and the font.
  • 2- Then I clicked on Save as New Style icon from the toolbar, and entered the style name as prompted by Enterprise Architect, e.g. start event.
  • Alternatively, having an element with its visual settings already done, a new style can be created using the Get Style icon from the toolbar, followed by Save as New Style.
  • 3- Having repeated this process for each new visual style, I ended up with a list styles ready to apply onto my diagram's elements.

Note : Visual styles are stored within your Enterprise Architect project (e.g. the EAP file) but I haven't found them yet from the Reference Data to export them and share with others.

Once all visual styles have been defined, the following list can be opened from the diagram toolbar :

 

Here is an illustration of what I came up with, having applied the new styles :

 

Published in Tutorials
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