Saturday, May 05, 2007

BPM Series: My first brush with IBM's WebSphere Process Modeler

Yesterday I and a couple of colleagues from our BPM team spent some time exploring WebSphere Process Modeler. The purpose of our exploration was to examine the possibility of using WebSphere Process Modeler as a process modeling tool across the organization replacing Visio.

Unfortunately none of us are formally trained to use WS Process Modeler. So, after spending almost about 3 hours we managed to define a simple 5-7 step process representing our New Business Applications process. Here are my initial impressions about WS Process Modeler:

- The most disappointing part of the process modeler is the footprint it occupies on a client machine. It needs at least 1 GB RAM! This will be the biggest obstacle in our attempts to make it as the preferred process modeling tool amongst user community.

- The tool offers 3 views - basic, intermediate and advanced. This is indeed a very good feature. For example, a smart or key user can start with basic view and subsequently the analyst can take over and build the process model further to make it ready for technical development on WebSphere Integration Developer (WID).

- The tool would score low on ease of use or intuitiveness. However, I do not blame IBM for this. WS process modeler is a fairly comprehensive tool addressing very wide range of process modeling and process simulation needs. And hence it is likely to be very complex.

- The feature I liked the most was the on-line error log it provided for users / analyst to fix the process model for syntax or grammar. This is a very useful features for beginners as it provides them help at design time itself to fix the model before deployment.

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