Business activity monitoring with IBM Business Monitor V7.5, Part 3: Monitoring IBM Business Process Manager

In Part 3 of this series, you'll learn how to monitor a process application with IBM® Business Monitor V7.5 using the Hiring Sample application provided in IBM Business Process Manager V7.5. This content is part of the IBM Business Process Management Journal.

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John Alcorn (jalcorn@us.ibm.com), Senior Software Engineer, IBM

author photoJohn Alcorn is the lead architect for the IBM Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) platform. He has worked as a software engineer with IBM for 15 years, with more than ten years on WebSphere products, including roles in both product development and software services. John has been a technical leader with the WebSphere Business Monitor product for 4 years, and works closely with the wider IBM WebSphere Business Process Management (BPM) team.

John is IBM-certified in XML technologies, SOA technologies, and in multiple WebSphere products, and is Sun™ certified in Java™ programming. He currently manages a team of developers at the Research Triangle Park lab in North Carolina. You can reach John at jalcorn@us.ibm.com.


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29 June 2011

Overview

In Part 3, you'll learn how to monitor a BPMN process application. In this section, we assume you have both IBM Business Process Manager 7.5, Standard Edition, and IBM Business Monitor installed, and have a standalone profile augmented for both products. You'll run processes and their monitor models in the same JVM. We'll use the Hiring Sample process application (Process App) provided with Business Process Manager V7.5.


Open the application in IBM Process Designer

To open the sample process application in Process Designer, do the following:

  1. Launch IBM Process Designer, by selecting Start => All Programs => IBM => IBM Process Designer =>IBM Process Designer 7.5.
  2. Enter your User Name and Password, and click Login, as shown in Figure 1. In this series, we use tw_admin as both the User ID and the password.
    Figure 1. Log in to Process Designer
    Log in to Process Designer
  3. The Process Center view opens, showing you what Process Apps you have installed. In the entry for Hiring Sample, click Open in Designer, as shown in Figure 2.
    Figure 2. Open Hiring Sample application in Designer
    Open Hiring Sample application in Designer

    The Designer view displays.


Enable the application for monitoring

To enable the application for monitoring with Business Monitor, do the following:

  1. Click Setup on the left, then double-click Process App Settings, as shown in Figure 3.
    Figure 3. Open Process App settings
    Open Process App settings
  2. In the Process App Settings dialog, check Enable Process Monitoring through IBM Business Monitor, as shown in Figure 4.
    Figure 4. Enable process monitoring
    Enable process monitoring
  3. Click Save.
  4. Click on Processes on the left, then double-click on HR Open New Position, as shown in Figure 5.
    Figure 5. Open the sample process
    Open the sample process
  5. Take a look at the process diagram to familiarize yourself with the process. Now click HR Open New Position Process on the left, as shown in Figure 6. Notice that Enable Autotracking is checked by default. This process-level setting, combined with the Enable process monitoring through IBM Business Monitor Process App setting you enabled earlier, ensures that events with business data will be emitted to Business Monitor whenever this process executes.
    Figure 6. Using Autotracking
    Using Autotracking

Specify metrics to track

To specify the custom metrics you'd like to track, do the following:

  1. Click Variables at the top of the diagram.
  2. Click to expand requisition (Requisition), then click reqNum (String).
  3. Check Track this Field, as shown in Figure 7.
  4. Repeat the previous step for every field under requisition, currentPosition and replacement, so that each shows [Tracked]. Note that some will already be marked as [Tracked] in this sample.
  5. You'll also need to specify a custom Tracked Short Name for the date field, such as reqDate, to avoid using a keyword.
    Figure 7. Specify fields to track
    Specify fields to track
  6. To confirm what is being tracked, click the Tracking page. You should something similar to Figure 8.
    Figure 8. List of tracked fields
    List of tracked fields

Work with KPIs

Now let's take a look at a KPI, which we'll see later in the dashboards.

  1. Click on Process KPIs, then click Total Time (Clock). You should see a screen like Figure 9.
    Figure 9. Process KPIs
    Process KPIs
  2. You can also see KPIs specific to a given activity of your process. Return to the Diagram tab and click the Submit job requisition activity.
  3. Choose KPIs on the left, as shown in Figure 10, then click the desired KPI, such as Cost.
    Figure 10. Activity KPIs
    Activity KPIs
    We won't edit KPIs here; instead, we'll do that using the dashboards in Part 4. This is just so you'll recognize the KPIs that you'll see in the dashboards later.
  4. Click the Save icon.

Deploy monitoring for Process App

You're now ready to deploy your monitoring for this Process App. To do this, click File => Update Tracking Definitions, as shown in Figure 11.

Figure 11. Deploying to IBM Business Monitor
Deploying to IBM Business Monitor

This operation, which generates a monitor model and deploys it to the server, will take several minutes. A progress window is displayed, as shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12. Progress window
Progress window

A message is displayed when this operation completes.

Figure 13. Definitions sent message
Definitions sent message

At this point, the monitoring for your process has been successfully deployed, and a dashboard has been generated for monitoring your process.


Run a process instance

Now, let's run a process instance, so you'll have something to see later in the dashboards.

  1. Click the play icon in the upper right, as shown in Figure 14.
    Figure 14. Start a new process instance
    Start a new process instance
  2. You'll see a Switch Perspective message, as shown in Figure 15, notifying you that you need to switch to the Inspector perspective. Click Yes.
    Figure 15. Switch to Inspector perspective
    Switch to Inspector perspective
  3. You'll see a row for the process instance in a table with two sides. Click the right side, so you can work on the human task that the process is waiting for, then click the play icon, as shown in Figure 16.
    Figure 16. Work on the human task
    Work on the human task
  4. A web browser opens, displaying a simple Create Job Requisition form. Specify whatever values you want here, but make sure to choose Existing under Position Type. You'll later see this information in the dashboards. For example, enter the information as shown in Figure 17, then click Next.
    Figure 17. Fill in Create Job Requisition form
    Fill in Create Job Requisition form
  5. The Fill Existing Position form is displayed. Again, enter whatever values you prefer. You'll see these values later in the dashboards. Then click on Next.
    Figure 18. Fill in Fill Existing Position form
    Fill in Fill Existing Position form
  6. Finally, the Confirm Position Details form is displayed, as shown in Figure 19. Click Submit and close the browser, when asked.
    Figure 19. Confirm Position Details
    Confirm Position Details
  7. Back in Process Designer, click the Refresh button in the upper right. You should see that the process instance has reached a state of Closed, as shown in Figure 20.
    Figure 20. Process instance is complete
    Process instance is complete

You'll see information about this process instance in the dashboards shortly. You now have one completed process instance.


Work with dashboards

Now let's take a look in the dashboards, where a custom dashboard for this Process App was automatically created for you.

  1. Minimize the Process Designer window
  2. Launch a web browser and go to the Business Space (by default: http://localhost:9080/BusinessSpace) and log in (we use tw_admin as the User ID and password).
  3. Click the Go to Spaces link at the top, then click the newly generated space, which will be named something like HiringSample_Main 20110605-163517 (the latter part of the name is the timestamp from when you deployed the monitor model from Process Designer.
    Figure 21. Select the Hiring Sample space
    Select the Hiring Sample space
  4. A new space should display, containing four pages: HR Open New Position Instances, HR Open New Position KPIs, HR Open New Position Reports, and HR Open New Position Diagrams. You'll recall that HR Open New Position was the name of our process within our HiringSample Process App).

    The HR Open New Position Instances page should be displayed by default. You'll need to scroll horizontally to see everything, but if you do, you'll see that all of the data you had entered in the form earlier is indeed displayed here, as well as some extra columns, such as the Total Time (Clock), the State, and others. You'll learn to customize this page to show just what you want in Part 4.

    Figure 22. View instance data for the Hiring Sample
    View instance data for the Hiring Sample
  5. Click the HR Open New Position KPIs page. Some of the activity-specific KPIs, which we saw earlier in Process Designer, have no value, because we didn't implement them (in the interest of time). The first two KPIs, for the time and the count, should be correct based on the process instances you ran through the Inspector. In Part 4, you'll learn how to add a custom KPI specific to one of the custom metrics, such as Number of Austin Employees.
    Figure 23. View KPIs for the Hiring Sample
    View KPIs for the Hiring Sample
  6. Click on the HR Open New Position Reports page. You can drill down on the bar shown to see more detailed information. However, this isn't very interesting when you only have a single instance, so go back to Process Designer and "play" a few more process instances through the Inspector, using the same approach as you did earlier, and specifying whatever values you prefer in the coaches (leave at least one instance in an incomplete state, so you can see multiple bars in the reports). Then watch as the dashboards update in real time to display the latest state (you can always choose the Refresh item in the widget menu to make it refresh immediately, rather than waiting for the next scheduled refresh).
    Figure 24. View dimensional reports for the Hiring Sample
    View dimensional reports for the Hiring Sample
  7. Click the HR Open New Position Diagrams page. This shows the process diagram (as you saw in Process Designer), annotated with KPI (aggregate) information. By default, it shows an average, across all instances, of the total time spent at each step.
    Figure 25. View process diagram for the Hiring Sample
    View process diagram for the Hiring Sample

Conclusion

Congratulations! You have now successfully monitored a BPM Process App, using the default visualizations. In Part 4, you'll learn how to customize this Hiring Sample dashboard to better meet the needs of a business audience.

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