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Unlock the Potential of Your Applications with OpenEdge BPM (part 2): The Benefits of Workflow Management

Unlock the Potential of Your Applications with OpenEdge BPM (part 2): The Benefits of Workflow Management

May 10, 2012 0 Comments

Ken-wilnerThis is the second in a multi-part series on OE BPM.  I want to add an important note here: many of you have been asking about our commitment to OE BPM in light of our strategic plan.  We will continue to support BPM as part of the OpenEdge Application Development and Deployment Platform (OE BPM), and the divestiture of the Savvion product line will not impact our ability to extend, support, and enhance the BPM capabilities that are strategic to our OpenEdge customers and partners going forward.

As I discussed in my last blog post, OpenEdge BPM provides workflow management capabilities that allow you to ensure that the right steps are executed in the right order to meet specific needs.  Order to cash, procurement, insurance claims processing, expense reporting, employee on-boarding: these are all business processes that are executed by connecting humans and systems into a series of activities that need to be performed in a specified order.  The order in which they are executed may be dictated by regulatory requirements, industry best practices, or a business’s own competitive advantage.

You ensure the right steps by using built-in graphical modeling tools to model and define the activities that make up the process. You then connect the activities in the exact order you want them to be executed.  OpenEdge BPM turns that process model into an executable form and executes the process exactly as you have defined it.

Activities can include human steps that require people performing certain roles to fill out specific forms, as well as system steps that describe the backend systems that need to be accessed to execute a particular step.

For example, consider the following Order Entry process.


  • The model is somewhat like a flowchart and defines the activities, represented as rectangular shapes, that need to be performed and the order in which they need to be performed.
  • The icons on the shapes indicate what type of activity is being performed.  For example, the activities with “people” on them represent human activities that require manual completion of a form.
  • The “FinanceReview” step has a “process” icon which represents a sub-process which, in and of itself, is a process that is being linked to.
  • The other activities represent system steps that are performed with no human intervention.  For example, the activity with an envelope represents an email message that is to be sent.
  • The diamond shapes are called gateways and represent forking and joining of paths, depending on certain specified conditions typically related to the value of data associated with the process.  There are a rich set of gateways for doing things such as selecting a path based on a data value, forking off into multiple paths executing in parallel, and joining multiple paths together.
  • The horizontal bars are called swim lanes.  They indicate what role executes a particular human step.  For example, when someone from Legal logs into the system, the list of process instances that need to have a legal review will be displayed.  When the person from Legal clicks on a particular instance, the form that needs to be completed to perform the legal review is automatically displayed.

Order entry is just one example; other business processes are just as simple to create and manage through OpenEdge BPM. Progress can consult with you to understand your specific requirements and collaborate with you to create the optimal workflow for your business needs.

Look for my next blog post in this series focused on business-level visibility.

Ken Wilner

View all posts from Ken Wilner on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.

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