Camunda Business Process Management: Digitize your real-life business problems

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🧑‍💻 Rubén Sánchez
📆 January 24th, 2023

Business Process Management is a way to optimize the way a company operates, through the identification of inefficiencies, automation of tasks, and streamlining of workflows. BPM engines like Camunda can help to design, model, execute and monitor the processes, improving the overall performance of the company by making data-driven decisions and identifying trends and opportunities for optimization.

What is a Camunda and why is it so important in the industry?

Camunda is an open-source workflow and decision automation platform. It is used to design, automate, and optimise business processes, with a focus on flexibility and scalability. Camunda provides a suite of tools and technologies for modeling, executing, and monitoring processes, including a workflow engine, a modeler, and a monitoring tool.

Camunda allows users to design their processes using BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation), a widely accepted standard for modeling business processes. BPMN diagrams can be used to represent a wide range of processes, from simple to complex, and can be easily understood by both business and technical stakeholders. Camunda's workflow engine can execute these diagrams and automate the execution of tasks, decisions, and events.

What does the Camunda Workflow Engine do?

The workflow engine is responsible for managing the flow of data and events across different systems, ensuring that tasks are completed in the correct order and that any errors or exceptions are handled properly. It also provides complete control and visibility over the process, allowing users to monitor the progress of tasks, troubleshoot issues, and make adjustments as needed.

The Camunda workflow engine is a powerful and flexible platform that can be extended in several ways to meet the specific needs of an organization. Some of the ways to extend Camunda include:

  1. Custom Java Delegates: Custom Java Delegates can be used to add custom logic to a process. For example, you can use a Java Delegate to connect to an external system and retrieve data, or to perform complex calculations.
  2. External Tasks: External Tasks allow you to offload certain tasks to external systems like microservices or event-driven architectures. This can be useful when you need to perform tasks that are not part of the core functionality of the workflow engine.
  3. Plugins: Camunda provides a plugin system that allows you to add custom functionality to the engine. For example, you can create a plugin to add a custom task type or to extend the engine's API.
  4. Custom Form Fields: Camunda allows you to create custom form fields, which can be used to collect data from users. These fields can be used to gather additional information and tailored to fit specific requirements.
  5. External Workflow Engine Integration: Camunda can be integrated with other workflow engines, such as Zeebe, which allows you to leverage the strengths of different engines in a single process.
  6. Cloud-Native Deployment: Camunda is cloud-native, which means it can be deployed on popular cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.

By extending the Camunda workflow engine, you can add custom functionality and tailor it to the specific needs of your organization, improving the efficiency and flexibility of your business processes.

Getting deeper: Business Process Model and Notation

BPMN provides a standard notation for graphically representing business processes, which allows different stakeholders to understand and discuss a process in a common language. BPMN diagrams can be used to model a wide range of processes, from simple to complex, and can be easily understood by both business and technical stakeholders.

A simple flow in BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation), which is a standard for modeling business processes can be represented like this:

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This flow can be used to represent a simple process such as a customer order, where the start event is the customer placing an order, the first task is the process of evaluating the complexity of the order and finally, given the result of this evaluation, the process will be rejected or approved.

BPMN is XML-based

The BPMN standard is based on a specific XML schema. Being “just XML” allows BPMN diagrams to be stored, exchanged, and processed by automated systems such as BPMN engines. The XML schema defines the structure of BPMN diagrams and their elements. This structure allows software tools to automatically parse and interpret BPMN diagrams, enabling the execution, monitoring, and management of business processes.

Advantages of BPMN being XML:

  • Interoperability: BPMN diagrams can be easily shared, exchanged and integrated with other systems and read by different software.
  • Automation: BPMN diagrams can be processed by automated systems, enabling the execution, monitoring, and management of business processes.
  • Tooling support: There are many BPMN modeling tools that can export diagrams in BPMN XML, making it easy to create and edit diagrams.

BPMN is a common accepted standard for business process modeling, which makes your business cases modelling interoperable with multiple tools beyond Camunda.

Conclusion

Camunda is an incredibly effective BPM platform that can improve the efficiency and productivity of an organization. It allows organizations to design, automate, and optimize their business processes and make data-driven decisions using real-time visibility and monitoring of processes. Camunda is a powerful tool that can help organizations achieve their goals faster and more efficiently.

Rubén Sánchez

Founding member of The Crafters Lab

Rubén is a software developer and founding member of The Crafters Lab.

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