Latest news

Apex Achieves Premier Business Partner Level

We are pleased to announce that IBM has recognized our achievements by making Apex a Premier Business Partner.  IBM defines the premier level on the PartnerWorld site:[pullquote1 quotes=”true” align=”center”]Premier Business Partners have demonstrated superior skills and market success. They actively collaborate with IBM to deliver significant client value through innovative solutions.[/pullquote1]

We value our partnership with IBM and look forward to continued collaboration to help our customers succeed.

The IBM logo and the IBM Premier Business Partner mark are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide.

David KnappApex Achieves Premier Business Partner Level
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Announcing Apex Coach Views

Apex is pleased to announce our newest product – Apex Coach Views.  Apex Coach Views contains a rich set of coach views (56 and growing) packaged as an IBM BPM 8 toolkit.  Some of the key features of the Apex Coach Views include:

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We have created a dedicated Apex Coach Views Site which includes documentation, videos and purchase details.  If you have any questions about the Apex Coach Views, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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David KnappAnnouncing Apex Coach Views
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Auto Flow

September 26, 2012 – Jim Volpe

A handy new feature in BPM 8 is to automatically flow to the next task.  You can use it to automatically start the next task within an instance if it is assigned to the same person.  There are several cases when this can be useful, here are a few that I will walk through:

  • Avoid long wait times for system services
  • Make distinct steps within a process more visible
  • Assign a second activity to the same person, but only sometimes
  • Wait for prerequisites, but flow otherwise
I will wrap up the post showing the routing options that are possible.

Avoiding Long Wait Times

In this example, the system lane activity takes a long time to complete.  If the second coach does not depend on the results of the nested service, then the user is waiting unnecessarily.

To avoid having the user wait, we can split the activity into three (see diagram on the right).  The first activity includes the first coach and is run in the human swim lane.  Then a split allows the Send Document Request to run in a system lane without the user waiting for it.

To enable auto flow, check the “Automatically flow to next task” setting on the Prepare Document Request activity:

In doing so, we can have the task for Field Inspection sent seamlessly to the same person.  Just set “Last User in Lane” for the assignment of the next activity in the swim lane; in this case, the Inspect Location activity.  That’s it. When the task for Prepare Document Request completes, the user will see the next task start in their browser automatically.

Making Distinct Steps More Visible

Splitting the activities above into three is also an example of adding more visibility into the process.   If you looked at the in-flight instance diagram for the original process, where there was only one activity that included both of the coaches, you would not be able to see how far along it was.  With the service split into three, you can.  Imagine a set of 5 steps that one person handles, each taking a few days each.  Allowing visibility into which steps are complete could be valuable.

Sometimes Assigning a Second Activity

It is not unusual for users to play different roles in a process.  In this example, anyone can run the Open Issue task as the Requestor, but the Analyst is assigned specifically.  If the Analyst and the Requestor are the same person, then the second task can be run right away.  If the Analyst is different than the requestor, then the Requestor will be done once Open Issue is complete.

No System Lane Activity Between

When I initially tried this scenario, I included a “Determine Analyst” activity in a system lane. This does not work for automatically flowing.  The activity to automatically flow into must immediately follow the first.  Solving this was simple enough.  I just nested my Determine Analyst service inside the Open Issue service.

Wait for Prerequisites, Flow Otherwise

This pattern can be use when splitting flow to additional participants, including one who has a consolidation activity after they all complete.  The Review Design activity is set to automatically flow.  If the other two parallel activities, Analyze Manufacturability and Analyze Serviceability, complete before Review Design completes, then Review Design will auto flow right into Consolidate Results.  The one caveat here is that users may expect Consolidate Results to always run as part of Review Design.  Handling this expectation could be handled through training or documentation within the last coach in Review Design.

 

Routing Options

The activity that you would like to automatically flow to does not necessarily need to be assigned via Last User in Lane.  Any assignment that assigns the task specifically to the same user (Last User in Lane, Custom) will work, even if the activity is in a different swim lane.  Assigning to a group (Lane Participant, Routing Policy), even one that the person belongs to, does not work.  Routing to a List of Users works, but only if the person is the only one in the list.

jvolpeAuto Flow
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What’s New in IBM BPM 8?

September 19, 2012 – David Knapp
I started my BPM journey on Lombardi Teamworks 5.6 way back in 2006. Over the last six years, I have experienced the transition from 5 to 6 to 7 and now to 8. The Apex team has been very involved in IBM BPM 8. Several of us participated in the beta program, I partnered with John Reynolds to present the new BPM 8 Coach View Framework at Impact, and Jim Volpe lead the team that completed development on one of the first BPM 8 projects. Over the coming weeks, Apex team members will be sharing a series of blog posts detailing interesting new features in IBM BPM 8. Stay tuned and be sure to share your comments and questions.

David KnappWhat’s New in IBM BPM 8?
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Apex Repository 2.15.0 Available

Apex is pleased to announce general availability of Apex Repository version 2.15.0.  Version 2.15.0 adds support for executing creates, updates, and deletes of multiple business objects in a single transaction.  The Apex Repository makes it easy to manage IBM BPM business objects in a relational database.  After defining the setup for a business object using a simple XML file, the repository automatically creates or alters existing tables, indexes and foreign keys to match.   For more information on the Apex Repository, please contact us at info@apexbpm.com.

lgerhardApex Repository 2.15.0 Available
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Chris Turner joins Apex

Apex is pleased to announce that Chris Tuner has joined the Apex team.  Chris has over 26 years of professional experience.  He comes from an Open Source Content Management industry leader.  As Lead Technical Account Manager, he was responsible for helping fortune 500 clients design their high volume, high availability architectures for smooth operations.  His clients represented a broad range of industries including entertainment, health care, publishing, retail sales, and hospitality.  Prior to this, he was with one of the largest internet and television news and entertainment services in the world.  As e-commerce and member services operation lead, he was responsible for dozens of high volume websites.  With experience ranging from operating nuclear submarines in the Navy to business intelligence, Agile development, performance tuning and troubleshooting in the information technology sector, Chris is ready to tackle any challenge.

David KnappChris Turner joins Apex
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Apex Sessions at Impact

David Knapp (Apex) will be partnering with John Reynolds (IBM) in two sessions at Impact related to the new coach design capabilities in IBM BPM.  The main session is “2729 – What’s New: Human Interface Development with Coaches in IBM BPM” on Tuesday, May 1st at 1:30pm in Venetian – Palazzo G.  There will also be four roundtable sessions  “2789 – Roundtable: Business User Empowerment with IBM BPM” in the Venetian – Toscana 3702:

  • Monday, April 30th 5:15pm – 6:30pm
  • Tuesday, May 1st 10:45 am – 12:00 pm
  • Wednesday, May 2nd 1:30pm – 2:45pm
  • Thursday, May 3rd 1:30pm – 2:45pm

If you are at Impact, please join us for one of these sessions and/or email us at info@apexbpm.com if you would like to get together to discuss any of our products or services.

David KnappApex Sessions at Impact
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Apex Moves to New Offices

Apex has moved to new our new offices at 3000 Town Center, Suite 2550, Southfield, Michigan 48075.  Our new offices are set up perfectly for multiple project teams (we are currently hosting one large customer project team and a smaller internal product development team).  The rooms have wonderful light and the view from the 25th floor is outstanding.  If you are looking for a space for a co-located project team or an immersive introduction to BPM, Suite 2550 is the place.

David KnappApex Moves to New Offices
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Apex Process Consultants run Marathon for Autism

On October 16, 2011, Apex Process Consultants (Apex) employees put down the laptops and put on the running gear to run in the Detroit Free Press Marathon as a part of Team Autism, a group of marathon participants running and walking to raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and to raise funds for the Judson Center Autism Connections program. Judson Center runs an incredible program that provides a variety of services for individuals with autism—everything from a job networking club for adults, to cooking classes for teens, to a baseball league for younger children. Moreover, Autism Connections caters to the entire family, offering counseling and educational resources for parents and siblings of autistic children, training for caretakers and assisted living services for autistic adults.

In addition to Apex sponsoring Team Autism this year, four members of Apex and a couple of their family members ran the marathon. Five people ran in the as part of a relay team called “Apex for Autism,” while one hardy soul ran the full marathon (26.2 miles). Apex has an ongoing commitment to using processes and technology to work towards community improvement. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced this past winter that as many as 1 in 90 children born today are affected by ASD – a group of developmental disabilities defined by significant impairments in communication and social interaction.

Families facing those startling statistics often turn to Judson Center’s Autism Connections program. Since 1924, the Judson Center has been a trusted non-profit community resource that creates solutions to improve the lives of individuals and families in southeast Michigan. It provides more than 360,000 personalized support services each year, including comprehensive autism support resources, which often combine new technologies with therapeutic techniques to promote independence and maximize potential for children and adolescents with ASD. Located in seven counties in Michigan, the Autism Connections program finds novel and innovative ways to support individuals with autism. Autism Connections offers a wide range of educational, therapeutic and support services designed to assist individuals with autism, their families and their communities.

apexadminApex Process Consultants run Marathon for Autism
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