Quick Start Guide To BPM Modeling Using Composer

Oracle BPM includes a powerful modeling tool for Business Analysts called Process Composer.  Sometimes new Business Analysts find it hard to know where to start building a process flow.  Composer doesn't guide the Business Analyst through the steps to create a  process flow because there is no one correct way to build it.  The flexibility Composer offers is strength for an experienced Analyst and a challenge for a first time user.  After an Analyst gains experience the Analyst can use Composer to work as they do.   

Recently I worked with a customer to model their BPM process and they found the steps outlined below easy to follow.  Also there is an Oracle published tutorial that can be found here.  Some basic knowledge of BPMN process modeling will be need to follow along.  I suggest you look at the Oracle Learning Library as primer before following these steps. 

What isn't always obvious is how data flows though a process.  A Business Object (BO) is the definition of the data used in a process and a Data Object (DO) is created from a BO definition and hold the data. Data stored  in DOs and live and die with the process.  Just before executing a process step, which is called an Activity, data is mapped from the DOs to the Activity using Data Association and then when the Activity completes data is mapped back again from the Activity to the DOs.   The DOs act as the shared data store as the data is passed between Activities.  For example, data entered by the user through an Interactive Activity or data retrieved from a DB through a System Activity can be used by other process activities.  Activities also hold data but only for the time the Activity is active, once the Activity is completed the data held in the activity is lost.

There are two approaches for creating web forms in Oracle BPM, Form First or Data First.  Form First is useful when the Analyst thinks or visualizes the process in terms of the UI.  The Analyst designs the web forms first and lets Composer create the BO's from the web forms.   Data First is useful when the Business Analyst has a clear understanding of the data that drives the process and first specifies the data through the BOs.  Then the Composer will create the web Form from the BO.  Either approach is correct and supported.

For other Activities like Rules and System calls BOs and DOs need to be created by the Analyst before they are used by the Activity. 

The process creation steps below can be applied to any process and follows the Form First approach.  Since this is for Business Analysts, Oracle BPM Composer is the tool of choice.  A project and empty process is assumed to be already created.

  1. Create the Process Flow
    1. Drag and Drop Activities, User Tasks, Gateways, Rules etc. from the palette and connect them together.  This is the high level process flow.
    2. Create Swim Lanes and Roles by right clicking on free space and selecting Add Lane and renaming the swim lane.
  2. Create Human Tasks
    1. For each Interactive Activity, right click on the Interactive Activity and select Implement
    2. Select green Plus sign to create a new Human Task.
  3. Create the Web Forms
    1. Right click on the Interactive Activity and select Open Human Task
    2. Select Web Form and the green plus sign to create a new web form.  
    3. Drag and drop UI components to the form.  A Business Object (BO) is automatically created.
  4. Create the Rule Data (in and out)
    1. Select Project Home | Business Objects | New Business Object.  Fill in the required fields in the Rule In BO.  These are the facts to be used in the Rule.
    2. Follow the same steps above to create the Rule Out BO.  This is the data output of the rule to be used in other process Activities. 
  5. Create the Rules
    1. Select Project Home | Rules and select new Business Rule
    2. Create the Rule In Data Object using the Rule In BO created in the prior step.
    3. Create the Rule Out Data Object using the Rule in BO
    4. Select New Rule and enter the rule.
  6. Assign a Rule to a Rule Activity
    1. Select the Rule Activity in the process, right click and select implement
    2. Click on the browse icon and select the rule
  7. Create Data Objects (DO) and Map them In and Out of the Process Activities
    • Right click on the Activity and select Data Association
    • Select the Process name on the right hand side palette then select the green plus sign to create the DO In or DO Out
    • Enter the name of the DO and select its BO type from the Type drop down | Complex list.
    • Map the DO inputs / outputs as needed on the data association map.  The down arrows expand the activity objects so you can map a DO field to an Activity field.
  8. Validate the Process
    1. Select Validate on the Top Menu and fix any issues reported.
  9. Test the Process with the Process Player
    1. Select the Project Home Tab
    2. Select Play on the Top Menu
    3. Create the Role Mapping for each role
    4. Select the process to be played
    5. To play the process select the Run icon on the start process
  10. Save the process to MDS
    1. Select Save on the Top Menu.  This should be done at various times during the build process
    2. Save and Release will save and release the lock on the project when you are ready to release edit control of the process.   
I hope this helps to kick start your Oracle BPM projects!

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