Alfresco Software, the leading open-source provider of Business Process Management (BPM) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions, has announced its latest advancement by bringing extensive data modeling features to its flagship Alfresco Activiti™ 1.5 BPM platform. The new Alfresco Activiti 1.5 gives users one-click access to any connected database, and the ability to process, or “model,” that data for use in new corporate applications. Coupled with the platform’s double-digit year-over-year sales growth, this new advancement again demonstrates the flexibility and configurability of open-source BPM solutions over legacy, closed and proprietary technology solutions. Alfresco Activiti 1.5 integrates with a wide range of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems, including Alfresco One, enabling users to leverage their vast stores of corporate information to bring vital data to every step of a business process.
Modeling data has become a key component to enabling the integration of data within key business processes. However, accessing important data from external databases and data sources for use in a business process can be complex due to wide variations in database structures. Recognising this challenge, Alfresco makes integration of BPM with external data a routine process, enabling users to model any database as an object within Alfresco Activiti 1.5. Users can then query the database to retrieve, for example, pertinent information about a customer, patient, client or employee, and the role the individual plays in the business process. What’s more, in changing the data, users can “persist” that data – or write those changes back into the underlying database.
“At Fraport, about 10,000 users are working with Alfresco. In total we are managing over 2.4 million documents, including procedural instructions as well as highly confidential minutes of Executive Board meetings. Using Activiti enables us to route documents throughout the organisation leveraging workflows, combined with meta data, ensuring that relevant information is available at the right place at the right time,” said Kai Stephan from AirITSystems GmbH, Collaborations Solutions Consultant at Fraport AG.
Empowers Users to Reshape Business Processes
Users can also access Alfresco One’s integral content rule functions to develop automated rules that will manipulate content as part of a business process under specific, stated conditions. For example, a rule can automatically convert a file into a PDF, add customer information (metadata) to the file and then declare the file as a record to help comply with information governance needs.
The flexibility designed into Activiti 1.5 enables process application creators to invoke content management features across the Alfresco platform. Even casual or infrequent users can perform their own data modeling, develop and run their own content-rich business process applications, and automate repeatable business processes.
In addition, Activiti 1.5 integrates rich documentation functionality, enabling users to document the content and flow of business processes – a vital step for ensuring compliance in regulated industries such as government, financial services, healthcare and manufacturing.
“Open source Activiti is a rising star among IT vendors that need to refresh ageing technology with flexible design and integration capabilities – a market trend that should help drive interest in Alfresco among a diverse range of developer communities,” said Carl Lehmann, Principal Analyst, Enterprise Architecture, Integration and Process Management at 451 Research. “In fact, we are seeing accelerating interest by enterprises to automate as many processes as feasible – especially IT related processes, a trend that bodes well for both open source and vendor sponsored business process engines.”
Ultimately, the strength of Activiti 1.5’s modeling functionality is in helping users speed the evolution of new applications from development and testing to staging and production, where those applications can be deployed to accelerate revenues or reduce operating expenses.
Additional enhancements in Activiti 1.5 include:
· Enabling end users to process forms for inline viewing of content attachments
· Empowering groups to better manage team-based tasks and to support group-based escalation
· Extending Activiti’s forms library, analytics and reporting capabilities
· Improving production staging
· Enabling multi-schema support for multi-tenancy
“BPM system developers traditionally target either the professional app developer requiring extensive feature sets and high performance, or the more casual ‘citizen developer’ who favours faster application delivery and ease of use of design tools,” said Paul Hampton, Senior Director, Product Marketing, at Alfresco. “We refuse to make that compromise. It’s a basic tenet of our design philosophy that an inherently powerful, full-featured but complex application must be made easy to architect by non-professional developers. That’s what we have accomplished with Alfresco Activiti 1.5 – allowing developers of all levels to tap content to enrich existing or new business processes.”