BPSim Business Simulations
The open BPSim specification provides a rich set of materials on how to configure and assign resources to activities or tasks, how to raise events, decision making and other real-world capabilities. Once configured according to the BPSim specification, a business process model (constructed in BPMN) can be passed to a suitable BPSim simulation engine and run according to the process defined in the BPMN model, using the configuration data attached in the BPSim information.
The BPSim specification is very detailed and offers the interested modeler and business strategist an unprecedented flexibility in assigning operating information to a model and then assessing the quality of the solution based on information received back from the Simulation engine. This section describes in detail the various screens and options available when configuring a model for BPSim execution.
Sparx Systems provide a BPSim-capable Simulator - the BPSim Execution Engine. This Add-In integrates with the BPSim and BPMN models defined in Enterprise Architect, providing the capability to run and store the results from multiple simulations and to perform convenient comparisons across each configuration's result set.
The BPSim Execution Engine is a pre-requisite for accessing and using the BPSim configuration facilities. The Execution Engine is integrated with the Unified and Ultimate editions of Enterprise Architect; for use in the Corporate edition, it can be purchased and installed under separate licence.
Once you have set up a BPSim configuration, the simulation execution process exports the BPMN model with its BPSim data in a standard form. This ensures that changes to the model are always incorporated into the simulation. Similarly, the model export process captures the BPMN model with its BPSim data in a form that can be imported into another model and consumed by the Sparx Systems BPSim Execution Engine or by any other standards-compliant BPSim engines.
Whilst BPSim is integrated with the Unified and Ultimate editions of Enterprise Architect, it is separate from the Corporate edition and - after purchase - has to be installed on your system.
For all three editions, you must ensure that the right versions of Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and Java Development Kit (JDK) are also installed on your system.
BPMN Model With BPMN Simulation
The Configure BPSim window helps you to define several categories of Simulation parameter, each category focusing on one aspect of the Simulation Configuration. For example, you would define:
- ScenarioParameters, which define how the Simulation itself should proceed
- Control Parameters, which examine how activity flows through the business process, moderated by the likelihood of a sequence of events and the priorities of certain events
- Time (Temporal) Parameters, which examine how the duration of one or more phases in the processing of an Activity influences the business process
- Resource Parameters, which examine the involvement of types and roles of workers and other resources, their required numbers, their costs and their availability
You can also maintain multiple versions of a configuration (as separate BPSim Artifacts) and easily compare the differences between versions to see how each configuration will vary the flow of the proposed Simulation or process execution. You might, for example, establish a baseline configuration and then create multiple 'what-if?' configurations that vary one or more parameters. Once you have run these configurations through a Simulation Engine, you can examine each result and decide on the relative merits of each configuration. One useful principle to apply here is the simple inheritance of common, unchanged data in one configuration by another configuration that contains only the data being varied - you can therefore run the simulation on a current set of variables, which draws on the standard data configuration at the same time.
Users can combine the BPSim and Charting facilities to quickly vary, simulate and compare aspects of a Business Process model, and show the differences between the Simulations in one of the many Chart formats.
If you are working across multiple projects, you can export and import the BPSim configurations between them. The configuration automatically carries with it the BPMN 2.0 model on which it is based.
The Enterprise Architect Business Process Simulation configuration tool is based on the BPSim Framework developed by the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC).
- If you click on a business process element or connector in a diagram or in the Browser window, it is highlighted and selected in the Configure BPSim window
- The Business Process that you simulate can contain elements from more than one Package; to include the external elements in the simulation, you must create a Package diagram containing the 'parent' Package and either the 'external' Packages containing the external elements, or the external elements themselves; create a:
- Package Import connector from the parent Package to each external Package, or
- Dependency connector from the parent Package to each external element