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Leverging BPM and BI to create agile business processes


A crossover session combining WebSphere BPM and Cognos BI.  Linking BI and BPM allows you to leverage insight from your information across multiple applications and processes. You can extend process execution data to BI users, you can improve decision points within your process using BI and you can enhance business activity monitoring with BI. The presentation uses some scenarios to illustrate.

The scenarios are within healthcare claims processing with a simple process to bring in the claim, price the claim and then adjudicate the claim. The actual customer who was the basis for the scenario had a partly manual/partly automated process and assigned people to the claim in certain circumstances. They uses WebSphere BPM, Cognos BI, InfoSphere Warehouse for cubes and DB2. Scenarios:

First scenario is about improving the human decision points within the process. In this case, using information from another system (provider information) to help someone in the claims process assign the right provider. Used a business space to pull information from the process server, a task list, forms for the task and a report on providers in a graphical format so they can select the best performing provider.

The second scenario enhances business activity monitoring with BI. The BAM tools provide real-time information on the health of a process and this can be combined with historical trending and analysis from the BI environment to make it easier to see what matters and what to do about it. Again, a business space is the vehicle for pulling all this together. For instance, the BAM environment shows that claims duration is higher than usual but this information can be presented in the context of duration trends over time and customer satisfaction (drawn from another system) to see how much of a problem it might be.

For both these scenarios they take the deployed process and monitoring solution, export cube definitions from WebSphere Business Monitor, implement DB2 connection and create a Cognos data source for the monitoring database, import the cube definition into Cognos and create a project/package that can be used to create reports ready to integrate into business spaces.

The third scenario is one of automating processing and accessing information in the BI system to impact that processing. In this case a step is added that pulls data from Cognos, a set of candidate providers in this example, that can then be used in the automated processing step, where rules are selecting a provider. The idea is that the list of providers can be built using information about the current claim and that this will make it easier to select the right provider. A web service call is used to get an XML response from Cognos with the candidate providers based on the current claim. Cognos provides APIs to access this information and expose it as a web service. For this step they designed the process, found a suitable report in Cognos, created a web service to expose the report and return XML and then integrated this as a web service call from the process.

The last scenario used the BI system to trigger events based on reports/analysis and then consumed these events in the BAM environment. Steps involved defining the monitor model and the inbound event for which business monitor is going to watch, defining the alert that will be generated when the event is received, finding the report that will pull the information to generate the event and then defining an event condition in Cognos and using Cognos Event Studio to add a web service to generate the event.

I am out of battery so have to stop here. Some interesting scenarios showing how rules, process and BI can be used together but also showing, to me at least, how executable analytics using data mining and predictive models would get you further.