As simple as possible

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By Tom Baeyens

It is believed that Einstein said “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”. I believe existing Business Process Management (BPM) solutions still have a long way to go. Effektif will make a radical break with the past and deliver a BPM solution that’s usable by everyone.

In the projects jBPM and Activiti, I innovated by offering BPM runtime engines to developers in a performant and scalable way. Signavio’s background is in building top class modeling for BPM business people in the cloud. They serve more than 250+ cloud customers and run professional SaaS operations for 4 years. This brings together the best technical knowledge on building BPM engines with the best approach to serving business people in the cloud.

The simplistic approach would be to just take the BPMN modeler and put a cloud scale execution engine underneath. That would certainly work, but it lacks the simplicity we need. It’s our ambition to reinvent BPM for the cloud.

The cloud has fundamentally changed how software solutions present themselves. Each solution that moves to the cloud, has to be redesigned and re-imagined from scratch for simplicity. And that is exactly what we’re doing with Effektif. We believe that services like zapier.com and ifttt.com show the power of simplicity, but they are too simple for supporting business processes. In contrast, the Effektif way is the simplest possible way to get business processes automated:

1. Coordinate the people

Business users cannot write software, but they can coordinate people. An intuitive wizard will guide non tech business people to define tasks for people and create forms for those tasks and handovers. A sandbox will enable non tech business users to try out processes. Our ambition is to have business users build their first simple process in less than 5 minutes. To put that in perspective, most of today’s BPM systems can’t even be installed in that timeframe.

There is a large category of processes that only requires coordination of people. To build those processes, no technical knowledge is required. The next steps are optional and will add more integration capabilities, but require more technical skills.

2. Leverage built-in integrations

Effektif will offer configurable integration with e.g. Salesforce, Google Apps and many other services. This next level doesn’t require coding, but a bit of technical background in order to configure the integration.

3. Integrate custom built software

We foresee the ability to include full flexible custom software being included in processes. This is done by ways of activity workers. For those familiar with Amazon’s Simple Workflow Service might recognize some of the principles. Effektif will maintain a task list for each system activity. One or more activity workers can then pull tasks from that list, perform the custom work and deliver the result and trigger to resume the process. The same mechanism is used to integrate on-premise systems behind the firewall.

Those 3 steps represent the Effektif way to automate processes. As simple as possible, but not simpler.