"Business Process as a Service" (BPaaS) is considered as a new paradigm that introduces the next abstraction from IaaS, PaaS, SaaS towards domain specific BPaaS.
Business process management based on modelling is a well established approach, hence CloudSocket uses business process models as the source of IT-Cloud requirements.
This projects puts forth the idea of a “hybrid process” modelling framework applying well-known techniques for semantic, rule-based inference, meta modelling and
The proposed framework implements a layered approach for managing the complexity of bridging the semantic distance from business process to workflow
CloudSocket targets IT-agnostic SMEs and startups that want to use cloud computing to easy the operation of their business process.
In the following come sample cases are introduced. For more detailed analysis, please read D2.1.
- Business Incubator: The Business Incubator from Baden Würtemberg adresses some hundrets start-ups and SMEs. The idea is provide common Business Processes in form of BPaaS to the clients as an additional service.
- Ecological Agriculture: A startup with an innovative idea on worms
- Green Energy: An SME that wants to go from regional market to national and European market.
- Business Process Broker: The Business Process Broker acts as a consultant to support SMEs in transforming their internal business processes into the cloud.
- Internet Recherche: A special business process to search for devices that are required when an offer is created.
- Kiosk Distribution: Business processes of many micro kiosks to organise their orders and distribution.
- BPaaS as a Product, are offerings that are configured once and intended to be sold several times. Interesting offerings are typcial support processes such as customer relationship processes, as they fit to many organisations.
- BPaaS as a Service, are offerings that are created while transforming the customer towards cloud usage. It start by checking the Cloud Readyness and has a continous service characterisitc.
The CloudSocket Challenge:
Business Process Model based approaches have two categories:
- Business Process Models can be used for configuring software but also act as a basis of organisational knowledge.
- Business Processes are interpreted as the know-how platform of an organisation serving both (a) human and (b) machine interpretation.
CloudSocket addresses the latter interpretation of the business process and hence addresses semi-formal, graphical representation that are intended to be read by human and not by machines.
This results in the huge challenge to bridge the semantic distance from human-interpretable business process models that are intended to be read by users towards workflows and corresponding deployment information that is intended to be automatically processed by machines.
APQC Classification of Business Processes
The term business process and workflows are often confused. For a clear spearation of terms please visit D2.2.
In order to underline the nature of the business process as a potential know-how platform of the organisation and not a software orchestration, some categories of the APQC framework are shown in a BPaaS Designer. Reading those categories should stress the fact that human users are reading the graphical representation in order to better understand the operation of the organisation.
CloudSocket uses this instrument, by better explaining the added value of cloud computing for the organisation.
BPaaS offerings in the Marketplace
In order to target CloudSocket customers with BPaaS offerings, the CloudSocket Broker is creating a marketlace. The top figures indicates the initial mockup of a potential marketplace, with the APQC classification on business processes on the left side, and after selecting a concrete business process category a list of business processes on the right side.
The different business processes are compared according cloud characteristics.
Current BPaaS marketplace is depicted as the right lower figure, showing three BPaaS offerings. Currently the technical properties are presented as text to enable the comparison between the BPaaS offerings.
The major challenge is to find the correct abstraction level to describe Business Processes as a Service, so on the one hand they provide useful information to the business user to select a BPaaS, on the other hand the information is reasonable detailed for technical staff to operate the corresponding workflow.
Business Process Management System Paradigm (BPMS)
The BPMS paradigm indicates the management of business processes in five phases, the strategy phase, the design phase, the allocation phase, the execution phase and finally the evaluation phase that feedbacks to aforementioned phases introducing a cycled approach.
In order to map the BPMS approach with cloud computing challenges, each relevant phase is maped with a corresponding BPaaS environments that addresses the respective cloud challenges.
This overview indicates that the BPaaS Design environment deals with the smart business and IT alignment. As business process models are used, this means that such business process models are extended with semantic, rules and cloud specific extensions, to enable rule inference, pattern matching and hence smart alignment of domain specific business process models and cloud-specific IT models.
The BPaaS Allocation Environment uses the aligned BPaaS Design package and enriches it with deployment and marketplace relevant information. Currently the CAMEL notation is used to describe the deployment of the business process. Research will also introduce a semantic lifting and smart support to find approapriate cloud offerings.
The BPaaS Marketplace and Execution Environments deals first with the offering of BPaaS in the marketplace and second with the deployment of the BPaaS in a multi-cloud execution environment. As the focus of CloudSocket is the management framework supporting the CloudSocket Broker, the cointinues monitoring of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of the operating business process is important. KPIs are separated in different concerns, ranging from business level, allocation level and operation level. Special monitoring services are used to identify the relevant measures.
The BPaaS Evaluation Environment collects all aforementioned KPI measures and abstracts the raw sensor data back into semantically enriched business process indicators. This so-called conceptual analysis translates semantic queries with business process properties. Finally this environment displays the evaluation results in a business cockpit, supporting the CloudSocket Broker in the management of BPaaS offerings.
In the following, the core innovaiton items are mentioned:
- Business Process Requirement Definition:
Business process models to define requirements.
- Domain specific Cloud Offering Definition:
Semantics considering technological and also the domain specific business dimension.
- BPaaS orchestration:
Workflow orchestration of cloud services in multi-clouds.
- Adaptive Orchestration in a Multi-cloud Environment:
Business rules are translated into deployment rules.
- Cloud Service and Cloud Component Interoperability:
Developing interfaces and adapter to existing cloud services is a technological necessity.
- Business Process based Billing and SLAs:
Monitoring across cloud services to enable business process relevant billing.
- Smart Service Management and Monitoring:
Abstraction back from technical log mining to domain specific business dashboards.
Research Findings are published in D3.1.
CloudSocket Technical Infrastructure
The CloudSocket technical architecture specifies the four BPaaS Environments corresponding to previous concepts. Wherease the focus is in the interaction between the different environments and the expected outcomes, as those environments can be realised by different implementations. Technical project partners implement tools that realise each BPaaS Environment, but the CloudSocket can also be established with a different tool set, as long as the interfaces between the BPaaS Environments are respected.
A detailed discussion on this architecture is performed in D4.1.
Detailed discussion on each component can also be found in the component and documentation WIKI.
Introductory Sample: Sending Christmas Cards Email
An introductory sample has been created using a simple business process that sends christmas greetings via email.
First, the abstraction level of a domain specific business process is communicated.
Second, the legel issues on how to check the legal correctness of images, how to check the legel compliance of the text, or how to deal with the private data of emails from clients are addressed in this simple business process. Sending nice christmas tree images is legally not interesting, but to ensure that no forbidden symbols are uploaded, is of interest.
Finally the issue with appropriate scheduling is mentioned, as not all emails can be send to a certain time the day before christmas. In case of a time window, the required cloud infrastructure is much simpler and cheaper than requesting to send all emails of all clients to a certain time.
Hence the mapping of the cloud infrastructure (e.g. small, medium, big virtual machine) with business requests (e.g. sending within a time window, or sending on exact schedule) is introduced.