Consider this: Often the solution to a business problem is a process that includes Business Intelligence. Therefore, the Business Intelligence, by itself, is not the solution to the problem. If Business Intelligence is part of the process, the Business Intelligence tools are, unavoidably, also part of the process. A Business Intelligence tool that does not understand processes, or how to be part of one, will be hard to integrate into the solution.
In an effort to create reports and analytical systems, customers often face a typical situation. The scenario may be different, but the basic need is always the same: a report is delivered or a particular situation is encountered in the data and something specific needs to happen – a decision to make, causes discovered, or a process started. In these cases, the information presentation, analysis and delivery is a part of a larger process. This process exists to solve the business problem: it is the solution. The Pentaho BI Framework is the first process-centric, solution-oriented Business Intelligence platform.
The Pentaho BI Platform includes a workflow engine to execute activities. This workflow engine uses a standard language, the XML Process Definition Language (XPDL), to execute the activities within the system. Say, you want to run a query to find out which departments are over budget, run a budget report for each of those departments, and finally, email each report to the department manager. This is defined in XPDL and executes as a business process. This is how all activities are run within the platform.
• The platform understands the nature of processes because everything in it is one
• The processes are defined in a standard process definition language that is externally viewable, editable, and customizable
• There is no hidden business logic
The Pentaho platform is built on processes and process definitions. When you design a system with a workflow engine as the conductor and director, every activity in the system, every step of each process and every bubble in your process diagram must be implemented as a standalone, re-usable component that can be directed to execute the activity required. This is not just an SOA – this is a Service-Implemented Architecture (SIA). Every activity in every process can be a web service because all activities execute as services, and only as services. They know no other invocation. Services are the building blocks of automated business processes.
Every process and activity in the pentaho BI Platform executes as a service. You can call a process or activity defined in the platform from a process executing in another system. Every activity in the system understands how to be part of another process.
This article is compiled for the benefit of the readers from Pentaho documentation.
XPDL has built in support for complex routing control, with added support for multiple rules engines so business logic can be integrated easily into the processes. Multiple rules engines are supported and required because it is unlikely the logic for every decision in every process can be defined easily by only one rules engine. Flexible business rules are a critical part of automated business processes.
The line between business intelligence and business processes is flexible in the pentaho BI Platform. This is because the line between business intelligence and business processes is indistinct and should be up to the user. If you have a BI platform that clearly defines the boundaries between it and the other systems, you probably have an application silo that is hard to integrate the way you need it to.
• The engine executing processes within the platform is a full-featured workflow engine
• Pentaho includes multiple rules engines
• Pentaho activities are easily integrated into other processes
• The roadmap includes manual and data entry tasks by users
To deliver a solution, you need reporting and analysis tools that support the business rules, audit report execution and delivery of information, and integrate seamlessly with a workflow system. You also need a workflow/ business process engine that handles time-based escalations, audits execution of activities within the process, and integrates with reporting and analysis tools. You also need to provide real-time and historical process performance reports.
The Pentaho BI Platform is uniquely process-centric and solution-oriented. It is process-centric because it is built ground-up to be process-based. It is solution-oriented because the solution for many business problems is a process, and the platform includes all the major components required to implement process-based solutions.
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