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Softening Process Automation

Inserting Social Collaboration and agility into BPMS solutions

Eduardo Gonzalez
Collaboration & Workflow IT Manager adidas Group

adidas Group

The adidas Group strives to be the global leader in the sporting goods industry with sports brands built on a passion for sports and a sporting lifestyle.

Main Brands

Some Figures

Group Revenue* *Full year results 2011 Net income

13.3 bn 671 m

Employees worldwide

46.824 169
Herzogenaurach, Amsterdam, Portland, Canton, Carlsbad, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Olympic Games London 2012 UEFA European Championship 2012 FIFA World Cup 2014, Brazil


Important locations

Partner of major sports events

What is the BPM context and reality in adidas?

adidas Group BPM Practice

Source: Gartner (2006)

Still in early phases, as most organizations are.

Trying to take concrete steps moving forward

Our Collaboration & KM Initiative

By 2015 we aim for
An organizational culture that promotes and benefits from learning, and the sharing and use of knowledge.
Increased levels of productivity due to fast and effective community-driven people interactions. Highly engaged and motivated employees through empowerment and freedom to create a fit to me working environment.
Business Solutions

New Intranet 2.0

Document & Knowledge Management

Process Portal & Workflow Solutions

Integrated UI Design

Cultural Change


A consolidated, stable, enjoyable, and widely adopted Collaboration Platform for the adidas Group.


This presentation !!!


Process-Centric Solution Architecture



Process Payload

(Nintex / Bizagi)

Rules Engine

System A

System B

System C

System D

Flexible end-to-end process orchestration of manual and system supported activities

Single user access point to workflow tasks and backend systems via standard portal technology

Process flow parameterization via configurable and end-user managed business rules

What is the ultimate goal?

Bringing Two Worlds Together

Business Process

Files Chat
Process Payload



Rules Engine

User Manual


System A

System B

System C

System D

Social Collaboration Tools

(SharePoint + Newsgator)

Workflow Tools
(Nintex / Bizagi)

Unstructured communication and collaboration are the bigger part of case management scenarios.

Both worlds must come together to effectively and comprehensively automate and support real-life end-to-end business scenarios.

Structured workflows are just a portion of the broader scope of end-toend business processes.


Social Collaboration

Is the blending of community and collaboration. Is centered around groups, which provide the context. Empowers groups and individuals to make things happen by communicating, sharing, networking, and personalizing.

Document Libraries Blogs / Wikis / Tagging Chats / Forums

Activity Feeds News Feeds Task Lists Presence Search Surveys / Voting Profile Pages


Business Process Socialization (a definition?)

The empowering of process actors to improve the achievement of the process goals by communicating, sharing, networking, and allowing them to personalize their working environment


How to insert Social Collaboration elements into process automation solutions?


Role Centered UI Design

The problem with most BPMS tools Task Centered UI Design

Role Centered UI Design: Tries to optimize the UI around how process actors can, want, or need to perform their tasks in the process, rather than forcing them to change their behavior to accommodate the process.
Who are the users of the process automated solution? What are their tasks and goals? What are ALL the actions they perform along the end-to-end process? What information do they need to take decisions and in what format? Who are the ones they need to interact with and how? What could/should/would they share with others to improve the process performance (i.e. information, instructions, experience, ideas, etc.)? Would they leverage different interaction modes (i.e. open or private; spoken or written; direct or indirect; synch or asynchronous)? How do they think the process should work? What are the problems they see in the process? Could or would they like to perform in a multitasking mode?

From Task Forms

Role Operational Cockpit


Socializing Legacy Processes

Profile Pages

Show process' people faces and personal profiles

Document Libraries

Establish a one-click distance between them


Bring email interactions into the process

Chats / Forums

Enable continuously available document sharing spaces


Unleash the power of free-text search

Merge workflow and collaboration tasks in one single task-list Encourage and promote the building of process-related networks


Activity Feeds

News Feeds


Promote and facilitate process improvement discussions

Collect feedback about the process design and implementation

Task Lists


Let users personalize their Operational Cockpit


Keep process actors informed

Surveys / Voting

Design and build the solution as a Collaboration Workspace



A Word Of Caution

Task Oriented




Balance the speed and deepness of the change according to the process needed roles and worker types

Peak Performer Facilitator

Social Maintenance

Cognitive Ability



How to leverage BPMN and BPMS technologies to enable the socialization of business processes?


Loosening Work Flows

Do not constrain users to communicate, exchange or view information only when it is their turn to act. Decouple comments, questions, and documents upload out of the rigid case flow by

using parallel on-the-fly

created case instances for comments, questions, or documents upload.

using task independent

forms if available in the BPMS tool.

Try to build the Operational Cockpit !!!


Bridging The Gap

Request Article

Task A +

Task B +

Model for business understanding, not for


run-time optimization
Article Handling Process

using a multi-layered process modeling


and why not modeling EPC like at the top


decomposing then the high-level subprocesses along the core business objects life-cycle
Request Handling Process

and linking the process pieces via object

life-cycle driven inter-process communication?


Modeling The E2E Business Process

Collaboration Step

Task A

Task D

Task B

Task C

Collaboration Step

The modeling of the process to

automate should include the related "Collaboration Steps also belonging to the E2E process in order to provide a holistic and cohesive view of it.

Why not modeling the Collaboration Steps as manual activities or empty Subprocesses?


The Should-Be Process Model

Collaboration Workspace

Conceptually the E2E process is a big Collaboration Workspace

where isolated pieces of structured workflow steps are linked together through events
triggered from unstructured communication scenarios.


A Couple Of Words On Agile BPM

Design Optimize Monitor



BPMS technology perfectly fits to an iterative refinement of business processes

Do not waste time writing down

Prototype the solution using

thick process specification documents

"collaboration steps as needed

but most teams and

methods still follow the waterfall dictate.

as they will be obsolete

before going live right after the UAT.

and move quickly into

production speeding up the start of the improvement cycle.


The Dual-Portal Solution Approach

The problem with BPMS tools

Proprietary and limited portal functionality

BPMS Portal

Workflow API BPMS Engine

How to technically insert a BPMS solution into a richer portal technology keeping the integrity of rules and workflow and not losing the drag-and-drop development speed?
Backend Systems

Backends API


The Dual-Portal Solution Approach

Collaboration Portal

Leverage Collaboration Portal container capabilities assembling generic and reusable jQuery based widgets.

Add the Collaboration Portal on top integrating the workflow forms into the Collaboration Workspace

Forms API
BPMS Portal

Workflow API BPMS Engine

Leverage BPMS model-driven drag & drop development speed.

Build the full workflow solution using BPMS technology

Backend Systems Backends API


To Be Continued

Role Operating Cockpit design techniques . Collaboration/Workflow scope weighting techniques. Reusable plug & play widgets development for Double-Portal solutions.

Agile BPMS Implementation Method.

Multi-layered style and EPC modeling in BPMN