PeopleSoft, Lawson Suites Deliver Deep Modeling

PeopleSoft and Lawson Software tackle business process modeling and management.

PeopleSoft Inc. and Lawson Software Inc. are enhancing their respective enterprise application suites to add more business process modeling and management capabilities.

PeopleSoft has combined some of its existing process models with a modeling tool created by J.D. Edwards & Co., which PeopleSoft acquired this summer. The result is PeopleSofts Process Modeler, which allows users to natively model business processes within PeopleSofts Enterprise and EnterpriseOne suites—a capability not offered prior to the JDE acquisition, officials said.

Separately, Lawson within four months will make available Version 8.1 of its ProcessFlow tool, which enables users to manage and automate business processes.

PeopleSofts Process Modeler graphical modeling tool enables users to call up a high-level process and drill down into its different steps and then further drill down into specific tasks to capture documentation around each of those steps.

Process Modeler, which was released with little fanfare last week, has two components: a client for laying out models and a Web-based viewer that allows users to refer to the models. PeopleSoft is providing a fully populated repository for its enterprise software that holds 1,235 process models that represent some 6,000 tasks and more than 100 roles.

"One of the things we discovered going through this merger is ... we had all our existing processes loaded in our [Process Modeler] tool. It is a very automated tool for looking at business processes and setting up software" with workflows, said Les Wyatt, vice president and general manager of PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne, the integrated version of JDE 5. "PeopleSoft didnt have that."

The next step for PeopleSoft, of Pleasanton, Calif., is to provide a run-time environment for the process models. To achieve this, the company sometime next year expects to add support for Business Process Execution Language. That will enable Process Modeler to be exported into various process engines.

Lawsons ProcessFlow 8.1 will significantly enhance a users ability to integrate ProcessFlow with non-Lawson applications, according to Lawson officials, in St. Paul, Minn. Version 8.1 will also provide capabilities for data integration, data transformation and workflow, the officials said.

The city of Greensboro, N.C., which has deployed Lawsons human resources, financials and procurement software, is using the current version of ProcessFlow to route requisitions to multiple approvers before submitting the requisitions to the purchasing department. At any one of the approval points, requisitions can be approved and sent on to the next step in the process, or rejected—at which point an e-mail message is sent back to the requester detailing which changes need to be made, said Chris Payne, assistant purchasing director.

The ability to utilize the ProcessFlow tool with non-Lawson applications would be a boon, according to Payne.

"This is absolutely huge, the ability to interface [with other applications]," Payne said. "Were in the process of installing [Lawsons] work order management [module] now. With ProcessFlow being able to flow across applications, we can incorporate data in the work order with data in the [other Lawson software] as a management tool for understanding the big picture with both of those software [systems]. We can also update information in both systems [simultaneously]. That has tremendous value for us."