6 Replies Latest reply on Feb 10, 2011 10:00 AM by hans lux

    jBPM in cooperation with an existing CRM system

    hans lux Newbie

      Hello,

       

      Introduction

       

      Our company is using a kind of CRM (tomcat,struts,ojb) where about 50 users work with about 2500 customer accounts.

      Many of the working steps are repetitive. A self programmed sort of calendar is used to remind the crm user of the work to do.


      A few days ago the CEO called in for a meeting. The subject was "a new calendar for the crm system".

      This job of the new calendar is to

      -enable the measurement of time consumption of certain units of work

      -support the crm user to do all necessary units of work

      -share calendar events between crm-user

      ...

       

      after a few minutes and some questions, it seemed to me that we are not in need of a new calendar, but a business process management system.

       

       

      Research

       

      I started doing some research on the topic. I know fairly few things about BPM and haven't used any framework or system so far.

      After a while jBPM seemd to be what i was looking for. I read the documentation and installed the demo.

      From what I've seen and understood jBPM will provide the framework and tools to define business processes in various ways.

      Allow monitoring, measuring and reporting of the processes and all the tasks within a process. It also has a focus on human tasks,

      which would find heavy use in our company's business processes.

       

       

      Problem

       

      At this moment I don't have a clear picture of how to bring the two systems together (CRM+jBPM).

      The idea behind BPM is to "force" the working entities to stick to a workflow and preform the required tasks.

      At the moment all the tasks are done within the CRM. But the start, progress and completion of the tasks needs to be

      controlled by the BPM-System now.

       

       

       

      Question

       

      In case we had business processes in a knwoledge base and reported the various events in the CRM to the BPM-system:

       

      -what if the BPM system isn't available for some reason and a completed task couldn't be reported?

      -should the processes be linked to the crm users or rather to the accounts?

       

      Does anybody of you have some exprience with this kind of "system-integration/cooperation" ?

      Or can you point me out  to some helpful reading about this?

       

      thank you very much.

       

      greetings

       

      hlux

       

       

       



        • 1. jBPM in cooperation with an existing CRM system
          Mauricio Salatino Master

          Hi Hans,

          At least from my perspective, sounds like a perfect fit. About your questions:

          1)every BPM System has different configurations to support serverfailures and task can be completed when the systems come back online.

          2)It depends on where do you store your users. BPM Systems are Identityagnostic, so you can basically plug your User Data Source to them andwork without taking care of that inside your processes.

           

          Istrongly recommend you to read about BPM (the discipline/methodology).You will notice that it's all about coordination, integration andorchestration of human tasks and systems.

           

          Greetings

          • 2. jBPM in cooperation with an existing CRM system
            hans lux Newbie

            Hi Mauricio,

             

            thanks for your encouraging answer.

             

            If I understand your recommandation correctly, it is the best to gather some knowledge about BPM in general, before trying to

            get a particular framework to work?

             

            so, for example, your book about jBPM would be the second read, after I know BPM better?

             

            Is there any book or other source of knowledge you would recommend?

             

             

            about my questions:

             

            1) I'm more afraid of the situation, that the BPM-system fails and tasks are completed without the BPM system beeing aware of it or beeing informed.

              maybe some sort of event cache on the CRM side could store events until the BPM system is back online and update the BPM-system then.

              Maybe there are other/better machanisms ?

             

             

            hlux

            • 3. jBPM in cooperation with an existing CRM system
              Mauricio Salatino Master

              That's correct.

              About your questions you can also use JMS persistent and replicated queues to handle such situations.

              Aboutmy book, that would be a recommended lecture if you have a developerprofile. I'm currently writing a new version of the book targeted tojBPM5 that includes a lot of new concepts and features.

              You canalso start reading about integration patterns to understand some of thecommon practices used in the industry to coordinate systeminteractions, but once again that's pretty technical and not high level(business analyst level) readings.

               

              Cheers!

              • 4. jBPM in cooperation with an existing CRM system
                hans lux Newbie

                thanks again.

                 

                since i'm the developer who has to bring this to life, I guess it's best to read both.

                I think I have quite a good starting point and some valuable key words thanks to your posts and I

                will see where it takes me.

                 

                the next step is to inform CEO that we won't have a perfectly fitting and working solution within the next two weeks.

                 

                best wishes

                • 5. jBPM in cooperation with an existing CRM system
                  Mauricio Salatino Master

                  I can help with the creation of a small Proof of concept if you want, but for that you can contact me privately.

                  Greetings!