Making SPARX Systems Enterprise Architect a front-end for BPMS like TIBCO iProcess or others

At BPM-X we receive inquiries from organizations round the globe using tools from different vendors for enterprise architecture (EA), business process analysis (BPA) or business process management systems (BPMS). Even if a BPM platform vendor like TIBCO offers the complete stack of BPM tools, additional tools come into the game for e.g. for process mapping using SPARX Enterprise Architect or Microsoft Visio® with the need to interchange process model data.

As product development lead I am responsible to manage our development team to implement new adapters to connect EA, BPA or BPMS tools to the BPM-Xchange® enterprise service bus we call BPM-X Converter for the model data interchange among different tools. In our case an organization used the SPARX Enterprise Architect tool for mapping of process models and TIBCO for process execution.

SPARX Systems offers the Enterprise Architect tool for software engineering and business process modeling. It supports standard UML as well as BPMN version 2.0 and provides data storage and model interchange defined by the XMI 2.4.1 specification. The BPMN notation is specifically targeted at the business modeling community and has a relatively direct mapping in Enterprise Architect to UML through BPMN Profiles. By using this UML profile, Enterprise Architect enables you to quickly and easily develop BPMN diagrams and interchange these diagrams in XMI format.

TIBCO is a software vendor that provides business process management (BPM) and EAI software that empowers businesses to own and drive business process improvement. With TIBCO BPM software an organization can automate any type of business process.

With the help our BPM-X Converter and a specific configuration, the BPMN models from Enterprise Architect can now be loaded into the TIBCO  modeling environment called Business Studio™. Here, workflow developers can enhance business process models by adding user interface forms, business objects and web services in order to design process models for execution in TIBCO iProcess™.

To put this scenario into practice, we’ve set up a configuration creating a

  • Enterprise Architect XMI inbound adapter (reads XMI from Enterprise Architect)
  • TIBCO XPDL outbound adapter (writes TIBCO specific XPDL)
  • Method mapping between the different BPMN implementation of Enterprise Architect and the TIBCO Business Studio™ and the specific modeling conventions established by the different teams using the tools

From other projects we know that implementations of the BPMN standard are very different among tools from different vendors. Also in this case we had to bridge the gap between the used versions of BPMN and details we found during analysis of the BPMN modeling conventions on the mapping side as well the process execution side.

Thus, the organization is now able to allow the different teams to work together for a SoA project, to protect existing investments in tools and documentation and to save time and money with seamless process model data interchange.

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