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AI and Continuous Deployment: Bonitasoft's 2 Weapons for Digital Transformation

03 Oct 2017 - Mickey Farrance

Le Mag IT: The Open Source BPM specialist develops a continuous delivery and artificial intelligence module that must support continuous deployment of the platform and its applications, and the improvement of processes

By Cyril Chausson, Editor-in-Chief

Bonitasoft, already an actor in Open Source BPM, is working to develop two modules to complement its platform. The objective of this develop is to include what Bonitasoft CEO and co-founder, Miguel Valdes Faura, calls “continuous improvement” with the Bonita platform – an improvement anticipated by enterprise users. Both modules should be available by the end of the year.

Over the last few years, "BPM has gone from a technology which improves existing processes for cost savings, to a technology for innovation," says the Bonitasoft CEO. In short, its market has also undergone a major upheaval, moving from middleware focused on workflows to a logic platform for a new generation of applications. While Bonitasoft has benefited from strong momentum, recognized by the analyst firms Gartner and Forrester - which are still quite influential - companies such as Appian and Pegasystems have also leaned on their BPM “DNA” to find a place in this segment.

For the record, Bonitasoft initially anchored its platform to the theme of continuous improvement with its concept of Living Apps. Three years ago, the company invested in improving user experience development tools and adjusted its roadmap to create a BPM application platform. Thus was born the concept of customized applications, built on BPM, where the logic and data layers are decoupled. For Valdes Faura, a BPM platform fits perfectly into digital transformation projects because it enables innovator teams to support new growth drivers.

A continuous delivery module

The next step was to work on application deployment phases - an increasingly complex undertaking in terms of the diversity of the current environments. This is evident in this first module: the company is preparing a Continuous Delivery module to better integrate BPM and Bonita into modern development environments using Cloud, Jenkins, Docker, DevOps and others. These tools are already widely utilized by users of the Bonita platform, added Valdes Faura.
This add-on will consist of two parts: a Dev part that will address the dimension of continuous integration, and an Ops part, the provisioning part - and therefore is aimed to ease deployment. One way to get Bonita into a DevOps channel, and especially – and this is a key point in enterprise deployments - to facilitate the interaction between the developers and the operational team. Manager too need Bonita to be ready for all deployment scenarios.
“Without the iterative and continuous improvement capabilities, BPM will become very cumbersome to deploy,” says Valdes Faura. 

For example Bonita plugs itself directly into Jenkins so all regressions are automatically detected, and a Docker image was created to facilitate deployments internally and externally on AWS.

For this module, Bonitasoft also called on its user base, whose target environments are very diverse. For the past six months, this module has been tested with AWS clients, with clients based on private clouds on Cloud Foundry, and client deploying Bonita on-site. This is to be able respond to multiple deployment usage cases with the same code base.

“This module is actually the mature version of BonitaCloud,” adds Valdes Faura. “BonitaCloud is a cloud instance of the Bonita platform on AWS. It is the fruit of the work we’ve done for ourselves with this cloud. During testing, our IT teams used it to provide Bonita services to Bonitasoft. All in-house processes and applications on Bonita are hosted in a private version of AWS and operated by the IT team." This experience is reflected today in the provisioning part of this continuous delivery module.

An AI focused on process execution

The second module, also planned for the end of 2017, will provide an artificial intelligence dimension to continuous improvement, but with the approach of Bonitasoft – namely process-oriented, the heart of BPM. This module will help developers improve interfaces and processes by detecting processes that are running poorly, or user interfaces that are not executing efficiently.

This module is connected to Bonita and the execution logs are analyzed, for example. The Bonitasoft AI relies on an algorithm that analyzes processes and predicts certain behaviors. Ultimately, it recommends process changes (such as process reassignment to another person or step).
To develop this capability, the company relies on data it has collected over years. But that's not all. “Although Bonitasoft's role is not to create tools for data scientists,” Valdes Faura says, “this module is in fact a tool that analyzes, traces and evaluates the business processes and the steps of their execution - we speak of ‘process mining’. The data is then added if we want to refine it.”

“This same algorithm will also be applied to the user interfaces,” he notes.

The original article was published (in French) in Le Mag IT on 26 September 2017.
 

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