Archive for the 'BPM' Category

BPM & Steak: A Great Combo Part 3 – Top Five New BPM Features of MOSS 2007

Sorry this took so long to get out. Been traveling a bit.

At the end of our Executive Roundtable that I did with Connie Moore from Forrester, I shared with the attendees my top five new BPM features in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007. I thought some of my reader may find this list useful. So here we go…

Number 5: Leverages ASP.Net 2.0 – Developers can leverage ASP.Net 2.0 features in SharePoint based applications. 2.0 brings a number of enhancements including Master Pages that allows for visual inheritance, Web Parts that enable end-user customizable controls, Provider Model that allows for integrating custom data stores (as opposed to using AD), New data controls (GridView, FormView, DetailsView), New localization technique, and Personalization services.  

Number 4: Web based InfoPath capability with InfoPath Forms Server. Office Forms Server 2007 enables InfoPath2007 form templates designed in InfoPath to be published as ASP.NET Web applications that provide a similar experience to using the InfoPath 2007 client. Now forms based business applications can be shared with customers, partners, or suppliers using only a web browser. Another big benefit is that application user interface (UI) forms can quickly be designed using InfoPath 2007 and then rendered and embedded within the SharePoint application.

Number 3: Integrated workflow built on Windows Workflow Foundation. MOSS 2007 includes user-configurable workflow templates that can guide review and approval processes. Developers and IT administrators can also use Microsoft Visual Studio or SharePoint Designer 2007 to define custom workflows. MOSS 2007 supplies the following workflows:

  • Approval
  • Collect Feedback
  • Collect Signatures
  • Disposition Approval
  • Issue Tracking
  • Translation Management (for publishing with multiple languages)

Office 2007 has also made integrating workflow directly into the Office desktop clients easy for software developers and partners. Now the assigned task, actions, and any data needed to complete a work step can be displayed directly in the Office UI either as a custom ribbon tab or above the document as a task pane.

Number 2: Built-in business intelligence capabilities with Excel Services. Excel Services can be used to display business data as a Web Part where all viewers can see it in a centralized location where the original, posted Excel document is protected from unauthorized changes. Users can still download copies of the spreadsheet to experiment but they can’t modify the original, official version of the document, which is protected as the company’s official business record. This supports the notion of “one of the truth” for a company’s financial data. With Excel Services, the spreadsheet still has the look and feel of the familiar client. Key performance indicators (KPIs), out-of-the-box (OOB) features, and custom calculations are the same as with the Office Excel desktop experience completely through a web browser.

Number 1: The Business Data Catalogue (BDC) supports a declarative approach to surfacing external business data. The Business Data Catalog is a new business integration feature in MOSS 2007. It is a shared service and it enables SharePoint to surface business data from back-end server applications without any coding. The BDC bridges the gap between the portal site and business applications. Key data from various business applications can be brought into SharePoint lists, Web Parts, search, user profiles, and custom applications.

The Business Data Catalog provides built-in support for displaying data from databases and Web services. You can use Business Data Catalog to display data from SAP, Siebel, or other line-of-business (LOB) application via Web services or databases. The Business Data Catalog provides access to the underlying data sources with a declarative metadata model that provides a consistent and simplified client object model. As a bonus, the data brought in by the BDC can included in the SharePoint search index. Now users can search for both unstructured data (documents) and structured data (databases and applications) using a single search and get consolidated results.

Technorati tags: BPM, MOSS+2007, Microsoft, Office 2007, ECM

BPM & Steak: A Great Combo, Part 2

Sorry for the delay in getting Part 2 out. Anyway, I wanted to continue by sharing some of my slides and some key points regarding practicing Business Process Management (BPM) using a Microsoft platform.

Many of our clients have made investments in Microsoft technologies through enterprise agreements which provide for licensing of Office and SharePoint clients access licenses. In most cases they are running parts of their business on SQL Server and some have made investments in BizTalk.

This stack of .NET based technologies begins to create a rich platform for implementing business process automation solutions that support BPM initiatives for organizations. The following slide depicts the breadth of business processes.

At one side of the spectrum, you have very ad-hoc and collaborative activities, which tend to be highly unstructured in nature. On the other end, you have activities that are highly structured and transactional in nature – a good example of this is traditional IT business applications and integration middleware. Realistically, business processes tend to blur the lines and span across each category depending on the complexity and scope of the process.

The following slide depicts the Microsoft platform components that address process automation.

With the addition of Windows Workflow Foundation and the work that was done to support surfacing interaction with processes (workflow) within the Office 2007 desktop clients through the business pane uses can interact with their work without leaving the client application. Additional extensions and “hooks” have been provided within SharePoint to bring structured processes into the collaborative user interface. Another noteworthy capability is the InfoPath server which provides the capability to host InfoPath electronic forms and render them (for viewing and complete interaction) purely in a web browser.

This new capability allows designers and developers to expose forms based interfaces within the SharePoint environment or through a web browser easily and quickly. Now these forms can be connected to automated business processes for both data input and the display of process related data and information.

Using these modular and interconnected building blocks along with other .NET based solutions from Microsoft partners, organizations can support BPM using this Microsoft platform.

In Part 3, I will give you my Top Five New BPM Features of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007.

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BPM & Steak: A Great Combo, Part 1

I had the pleasure of co-presenting with Connie Moore, VP & Research Director at Forrester last week for an invitation only Executive Roundtable on leveraging Microsoft investments in support of business process management (BPM). The food was great and the discussions even better. I wanted to share some interesting ideas and observations from our event. I will start with some of the key points from Connie’s presentation: 

Connie discussed how BPM suites (BPMS) have evolved from two technologies; those that are human centric coming from traditional document centric workflow and integration centric BPMS evolving from enterprise application integration (EAI)  technologies. She sees continued consolidation in the BPMS market and these two technologies along with their respective strengths coming together and converging.

Connie provided another interesting peak into the future of BPM where she envisions BPMS technologies moving toward self correcting processes. This is an exciting possibility where exception handling and realtime feedback on business process performance can be brought together automatically to make corrections or adjustments to the process on the fly.

Her view of the future based on the continued maturing of technologies that support services oriented architectures (SOA) and the platform software vendors (IBM Microsoft, Oracle) continuing to more tightly integrate BPM and collaborative technologies includes originations enabled to focus on the “whole” process. By using technologies that span the three types of business processes; people, decision, and document intensive processes which in many cases will span across all three can be effectively managed as a continuous process.

In Part 2 of BPM & Steak: A Great Combo, I will share some of my slides and key points I made regarding supporting BPM by leveraging an investment in Microsoft and Partner technologies. And finally, as a bonus in Part 3 of BPM & Steak: A Great Combo, I will share my Top 5 New BPM Features of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.

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On The Road Again…

In approximately two weeks I am hitting the road for a four day, four city tour, where I and some of our partners will be presenting our seminar entitled “Building SharePoint Business Solutions With Workflow”.

This seminar has been presented several times in the Washington, DC metro area and been well received. My presentation is called “Three Keys to Successfully Building Business Solutions With SharePoint”.

I will be posting my presentation in the next couple of weeks and we will be making an accompanying eBook available.

Here is the itinerary:

Monday, November 6, 2006
Microsoft Corporation Offices
9606 N Mo Pac Expy, Austin, TX 78759
(512) 795-5300
Register Online:

San Antonio
Tuesday, November 7. 2006
Team Momentum Offices
8000 W IH 10, Suite 240, San Antonio, TX 78230
phone: (210) 268.1149
Register Online:

Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Microsoft Corp
2000 W Sam Houston Pkwy S #350, Houston, TX 77042
(832) 252-4300
Register Online:

Baton Rouge
Thursday, November 9, 2006
Team Momentum Offices
450 Laurel St. Ste. #1501, Baton Rouge, LA 70801
phone: (225) 295.4130
Register Online:

I hope to see some of my loyal readers at one of these events.

Oh yeah, you can catch my “Top Ten New Features of MOSS 2007″ which I added at the end of the “Three Keys…” presentation.

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Spreading My Blogging Wings A Bit…

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I will also be Blogging about the intersection of Business Process Management (BPM) and ECM over at BPM There are some great resources about BPM and the roster of contributing Bloggers as well as the BPM Enterprise Staff offer some useful information and perspectives.

The fact that many ECM suites include workflow and in some cases include many of the capabilities of BPM suites makes this intersection and interesting phenomenon to discuss.

So, is the ECM suite an enhanced BPM suite which has broader content management capabilities? Or, are ECM suites just content management platforms which in some cases include workflow which ranges from simple to more BPM-like? Not sure what the answer today is and definitely not sure where everyone is headed but with your participation and discussion I look forward to exploring this interesting set of question.

So, if you find BetterECM useful and informative stop on over at the BPM Enterprise Blogosphere ;-)

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Russ Stalters is Director, Information & Data Management at a global oil and gas company. Everything in this Blog is his personal opinion and does not represent the views of his employer. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

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I will also be Blogging about the intersection of Business Process Management (BPM) and ECM at BPM

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