Technology

Business Process Engine

Retail businesses have to evolve if they are to stay competitive. When change involves business processes automated in software, applications have to change too. Putting business and customer processes at the heart of software and moving away from commonly used design methodologies which see processes hard-coded into applications is crucial to providing a platform that can accommodate future requirements.

Our business process engine orchestrates the customer and business processes that span the enterprise in an organisation running Enactor. The processes initiated at customer touch points during a customer order trigger multiple additional processes. Two examples are a central check of inventory, and if there is insufficient stock, the generation of an order on a supplier. The outcome of each process may initiate multiple Web service calls, run jobs and allocate tasks to users.

Exactly which processes run is unique to each retailer – and where our business process designer comes in to play. The designer is part of the Enactor development toolkit, and it interoperates with our business process engine. It offers an easy-to-use drag-and-drop UI that greatly simplifies the modification of existing or creation of new processes, the call of Web services or creation of tasks across an enterprise. With the designer it is easy to generate a new task that requires operator intervention – such as approve supplier order – in the case of the customer order example above.

The business process engine has been designed and developed by us to support the types of applications and devices used in retail. It is engineered for its intended retail environment and has had domain specific enhancements through recognised standards to maintain performance and throughput. It conforms to the BPEL 2.0 standard and implements WS Human Tasks 1.1.