The Process Modeler is the first tool used in the Designer/2000 application development cycle. This tool is used to document business processes and information flows with a minimum of data processing terminology. It can be used to perform critical-path
analysis as well as to animate a process. In addition, the process animation shows the time required to complete a process. Process diagrams can also be created for individual processes, thus enabling a top-down approach to documenting processes.
All data entered in the Process Modeler is stored in the Repository. Other tools in Designer/2000 will use this data.
The Process Modeler is used beginning with high-level analysis. Once business units and processes are recorded through interviews, they are entered into the Repository using this tool. Within the Process Modeler, detailed attributes can be kept for each
step of a process, down to the lowest level. Figure 25.1 shows the major features of the Process Modeler screen.
Figure 25.1. Major Features of the Process Modeler.
Here are the steps to create a new Process Flow Diagram:
Figure 25.2. The New Diagram pop-up window.
Figure 25.3. The Create New Process Step pop-up window is used to create all new process steps.
Organization Units are displayed down the left side of the main Process Modeler window. To the right, each organization unit has a colored band, called a swim lane. The process steps, stores, and decision points belonging to that function are displayed
in its swim lane.
When a project is first opened, there is one organization unit, Unspecified, which always exists.
To create a new organization unit:
Figure 25.4. Enter basic organization data in the Create Organization Unit dialog box.
Figure 25.5. Organization units. Note the relationship between the Production and Design units.
When an organization unit is first created in the Modeler, its swim lane is tall enough for one box. (The Modeler handles most of the details of placing and connecting boxes.) This is easily adjusted. Just select the organization unit and press
Shift-down arrow to make its swim lane taller.
Further details about an organization unit, including its size and description, may be entered via the Organization dialog box.
To enter further detail about an organization unit:
Figure 25.6. Further detail can be entered via the Organization dialog box. Organizational hierarchy can also be changed here.
Process steps are the actual steps taken to accomplish larger tasks. In the Process Modeler, each step has a name and other data such as completion time associated with it.
To create a new process step:
Figure 25.7. The Create Process Step dialog box.
To move a process step, drag it to the correct spot on the diagram. Notice that the process steps are placed on a grid. This grid is maintained by the Process Modeler. You can set the size of the grid in the Preferences dialog box.
To delete an object, select it and press the Delete key. A dialog box will appear asking you to confirm the deletion.
Once a process step has been entered, more detailed editing is possible. Double-click on a process step to open its Edit Process Step dialog box.
There are five tabs on the Edit Process Step dialog box:
The Main tab is for detailed time and cost figures (See Figure 25.8.)
Figure 25.8. Use the Main tab to track time and cost details.
In the Time area, enter either the total time for the process, or more detailed time entries for each category. Each category can be tracked by a separate unit of time.
In the Cost area, enter either the total cost for the process, or more detailed entries under Person or Overhead. Costs can be tracked individually by time unit or by unit.
The Measured Time area is to record up to two measured times for this process step. Figures entered into this area are for documentation only, and are not carried forward into other processing.
The Organization Unit box shows the organization unit associated with this process step. The percentage of time spent box is for entering the percentage of time spent on this task by the organization unit. It is used only for reporting
The times in the Critical Path box are filled in when the Critical Path Analysis function is run. They show where this process step occurs in time.
The On Critical Path checkbox is also filled in by the Critical Path Analysis function. It is checked if the current process is on the critical path.
In the Frequency box, the frequency of this function can be entered.
The Specific tab shown in Figure 25.9 is for editing specific names and descriptions of this process step.
Figure 25.9. The Specific tab is used to edit the name and description of the process.
The Resources tab is for entering resources used, and for the quality yield of the process step. These are used for documentation only and do not affect anything else in the Repository. See Figure 25.10 for an example.
Figure 25.10. Enter resource requirements for a process step in the Resources tab.
The Multimedia tab controls the various display options that are available for this process step. Figure 25.11 is a picture of the Multimedia tab. It will be addressed in detail in the Multimedia section of this chapter.
Figure 25.11. The Multimedia tab controls display options for a process step.
The Text tab is where text is entered to fully describe a process step. Several kinds of text are available. You can view and enter up to two different text types at the same time. (See figure 25.12.) These are only used for
Figure 25.12. Document process steps and flows with the Text tab.
A store is a storage point for information or materials. It could be a filing cabinet, computer system, form, or any other kind of storage.
Stores are created in much the same way as process steps. There are three different kinds of stores, including data stores, material stores, and a generic store. The type of store can be changed at any time.
To create a store:
Figure 25.13. The Create Store dialog box.
Figure 25.14. The new store is shown on the process diagram.
A flow is a path for information or materials. It is represented on the diagram as an arrow pointing from the origin of the information to its destination. There are four different kinds of flows: data flows, material flows, temporal
flows, and the default flow, which is simply called a flow. All flows on a diagram must connect two boxes on that diagram.
To create a flow:
Figure 25.15. Enter details about a flow in the Create Flow dialog box.
Figure 25.16. The Process Modeler creates the arrows denoting the flow.
A decision point is a point in a process where a business decision must be made. There will usually be more than one possible outcome from a decision point.
To create a decision point:
Figure 25.17. A decision point is a type of process step.
Triggers and outcomes are quite similar. A trigger is an event at the beginning of a process that starts the process. An outcome is the result of the process. A process can have multiple triggers and outcomes.
To create a trigger:
Figure 25.18. The Create Trigger dialog box.
Figure 25.19. The completed trigger looks like this.
To create an outcome:
Figure 25.20. The Edit Outcome dialog box.
Figure 25.21. The outcome from a process looks like this.
The Process Modeler can calculate the critical path for a process. It will take into account the times entered for each process step and flow. The critical path is shown in a contrasting color (the default is red) , and may be recalculated at any time
(See Figure 25.22.).
Figure 25.22. The Process modeler displays the critical path of a process.
To display the critical path:
Figure 25.23. The Critical Path Analysis dialog box.
To turn off the critical path display, select Utilities | Reset Critical Path.
The Process Modeler can export data for use in documentation, older versions of Oracle CASE, spreadsheets, or other CASE applications. It can export the entire diagram, or just export selected objects. It exports in the following five different formats:
The Oracle CASE 5.1 option is for users of the older version of Oracle CASE.
The two spreadsheet options produce comma-delimited spreadsheets that can be imported as text directly into many spreadsheets, including Microsoft Excel. These files are text files, and can be edited manually if a given spreadsheet does not import
comma-delimited files (such as Quattro Pro.)
The Proprietary option exports to a proprietary format, which can be imported into another Process Modeler.
The Text option produces an ASCII text file describing the selected elements.
The Proprietary and Text export file types also allow the user to specify, in greater detail, which elements will be exported. This is done via a dialog box at the rime of the export.
To export data from the Process Modeler:
There are a number of preferences that can be set to control the appearance of a process flow diagram. These are set by selecting Edit | Preferences from the menu. See Figure 25.24.
Figure 25.24. The Graphical Preferences dialog box.
There are six major divisions of the Graphical Preferences dialog box.
Element allows you to specify colors, line width, and fonts for the selected element type, or for elements that are selected. The Type pull-down menu controls which element type is being reset.
Swim Lanes allows you to set the colors of the swim lanes. If the Use Organization Fill Color box is set, the swim lanes will be the same color as the background of the corresponding Organization Unit box.
Layout has two items. Size sets the size of the cells and boxes on the diagram. The unit of measure for this is about a tenth of a millimeter. Critical Path allows you to reset the color of the critical path.
Animation Units allows you to specify the time unit that corresponds to each second in an animation.
Mode selects the display mode.
Display contains a number of display options. Two in particular are significant because they are not display options. Use Multimedia on Database specifies whether or not to store the file names (not the contents) of multimedia files in the Repository.
Consolidate on Open specifies whether or not to consolidate the diagram, which applies database changes to the diagram, when the diagram is opened.
The OK button applies preference changes for the current session only.
The Save button saves the preferences to the database.
Once your preferences are set, consider the display of the diagram itself.
There are three different ways to display a process flow diagram.
Symbol is the default presentation type. Each element or decision point is shown as a rectangle. Stores are shown as soft boxes. The total time for each element is shown in the unit specified for that element. Select View | Symbol from the main menu, or
Symbol from the Mode group of the Preferences menu to set this display mode. Figure 25.25 shows part of a diagram in Symbol mode.
Figure 25.25. The Symbol view is Modeler's default.
Enhanced Symbol mode is a different version of Symbol mode, which resembles the traditional programmer's flowchart. In this mode, elements have differing shapes based on their functions. The time for each element is not displayed. Select View |
Enhanced Symbol from the main menu, or Enhanced Symbol from the Mode group of the Preferences menu to set this display mode. Figure 25.26 points out the different shapes used in Enhanced Symbol mode.
Figure 25.26. This view shows the different shapes in Enhanced Symbol mode.
In the iconic mode, objects are represented by icons. Each object can be associated with its own icon. The icons can be animated. This is the only view where animations are played.
When animations are played, the icons attached to each process step play for an amount of time proportional to the time they take in the overall process. The total elapsed time for the process appears at the bottom right of the main view. (See Figure
25.27.) Select View | Iconic from the main menu, or Iconic from the Mode group of the Preferences menu to set this display mode.
Figure 25.27. The iconic view is used for presentation to the user.
The icons shown in the iconic view are animated automatically by the Process Modeler. A number of icons are provided with the tool; however, it is quite easy to create custom animated icons.
When displaying an icon, the Process Modeler looks at the icon name. If the icon name is xxx1.bmp, it will try to load xxx2.bmp and xxx3.bmp as well. If it is successful, it will animate the icons in a loop.
To create custom animated icons for an object:
To play an animation
Multimedia capabilities can be used to enhance process flow presentations. Each step in a process can have an image, sound, video, or program attached to it. Figure 25.28 shows the ConfigurationBasic dialog box.
Figure 25.28. The Configuration - Basic dialog box.
The User-Defined Commands section allows you to specify up to five programs. These can be run using the Tools | User Defined Command menu selection.
The File Locations section specifies directories where the Process Modeler will look for various types of files.
The Multimedia Commands section specifies commands that will be used to play or edit multimedia components.
Once this configuration is set, you attach a multimedia command to a process step by using the Multimedia tab of the Edit Process Step dialog box. Select the multimedia option you want to use by pressing its Browse button. The Multimedia Select dialog
appears. (See Figure 25.29.) When you select a file, it appears in the Preview area. Select OK to attach the multimedia file to the process step.
Figure 25.29. The Multimedia Select dialog box.
Once you have associated multimedia files to process steps, you can play the files by selecting the process step, then select the appropriate play button from the toolbar.
The Process Modeler is used to document business processes, whether or not they will be automated. It is used to record organization units and their associated functions in the Designer/2000 Repository. Objects created using the Modeler are used to create data for further steps in Designer/2000. Any object in the Process Modeler can have a variety of descriptive text associated with it. Organization units may be placed in a hierarchy within the Modeller. Process steps are placed to the right of their associated organization units in graphic blocks called swim lanes. Flows of data or materials in a process are shown as arrows. Each flow and process step can have its elapsed time recorded. This enables the Modeller to perform critical path analysis on a process. For presentation purposes, the Modeller can animate the process flows with a user-defined icon at each step. In addition, each object and process step can have multimedia files attached to it.