Today, Red Hat announced the latest major release of its business process suite, with a new name and several major changes that pivot the focus of the product itself. Red Hat Process Automation Manager is about more than providing a business process modeler or optimizing resource allocation. This is the first generation (at Red Hat) of a digital automation platform -- a hub where business users and technical developers can collaborate to create strategically-relevant, intelligent applications.
Red Hat Process Automation Manager has two core conceptual areas:
- The first is based on decision management (the "intelligent" part of intelligent or even-driven applications). This includes the decision engine of Red Hat Decision Manager and allows automated, immediate responses to interactions, from event processing to resource optimization.
- Second, Process Automation Manager provides the means of modeling and applying business logic within an application. In combination with a graphical UI, these creates a platform for business users to be able to design business logic in collaboration with the technical teams.
New feature: Process management + case management
The heart of a BPM platform is the "BP" -- business process modeling. The previous BPM Suite supported BPMN, the notation specification for business process models, and DMN, the notation specification for data models. The assumption behind a lot of these specs is that the workflows or processes being modeled are relatively static or sequential. For certain types of business processes, that is an accurate assumption (things like resource optimization or scheduling). However, in many organizations, there are also processes which are not linear or which may follow different steps in a dynamic sequence or may be interrupted or require human intervention at certain points. These are generally defined within a related notation specification, Case Management Model Notation (CMMN).
While there are differences, there is also a lot of conceptual overlap between business processes / BPMN and case management processes / CMMN. Process Automation Manager combines the functionality of both process models and case management models within a single digital automation platform. (This is covered in more detail in the blog post here.)
Supporting both linear process / task models and dynamic or unpredictable case management models within the same platform allows developers to have a simpler development process (and, combined with other features like Process Automation Manager's new graphical UI, makes collaboration with business users easier).
Process Automation Manager also supports other types of modeling and visualizing data and worflows:
- Data modeling
- Decision modeling
- Custom data dashboards
- Process simulations
New Feature: An easier way for business users to collaborate (graphical UI)
Previous versions of Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite were designed around business process logic, but were intended to be used by Java developers within the application development process. Beginning with this Process Automation Manager 7.0 release, there is a new Entando UI included with the platform. This provides an easier, graphical interface where business users can just drag and drop elements into their models -- using ultimately the same platform that the developers are using to create the application. Business processes, rules, and logic can be written into the application essentially without having to write a single line of code.
This also effectively changes the workflow for creating event- and process-driven application. Previously, developers did all the work within their development environment. Now, business users can work in parallel (using the Process Automation Manager UI) to create artifacts which can be pulled into the developer's IDE and code. Everything can then be packaged up and deployed in containers or other environments.
New feature: Cloud (and container) native applications
With more distributed, hybrid infrastructures, it is imperative that applications be able to function exactly the same regardless of the underlying platform. And those applications need to be designed, natively, to work in a distributed, dynamic environment so that they can be rapidly deployed, updated, or scaled.
Process Automation Manager can itself run in Red Hat OpenShift containers, in public or private clouds, on-premise, or in all environments -- depending on the needs of your development and infrastructure teams. Additionally, the models and applications created using Process Automation Manager as a platform can be deployed into cloud instances, OpenShift containers, or local instances. This allows truly hybrid development, testing, and production environments.
Process Automation Manager components, applications, and models can all be exposed and accessed using REST APIs, allowing integration with other software applications or management tools.
- Dive a little deeper into process automation technology with our tech overview.
- For general information about the Process Automation Manager, check out the datasheet.
- There are different use cases for process automation and a business decision engine. The FAQ runs through some things to consider.
- Get started by actually using the Process Automation Manager. Red Hat Developers has a whole "hello world" example, waiting for you.
About the author
Deon Ballard is a product marketing manager focusing on customer experience, adoption, and renewals for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the foundation for open hybrid cloud. In previous roles at Red Hat, Ballard has been a technical writer, doc lead, and content strategist for technical documentation, specializing in security technologies such as NSS, LDAP, certificate management, and authentication / authorization, as well as cloud and management.