C H A P T E R 1 1
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jBPM and Spring
A business is only as good as its processes. Often, businesses will thread together the contributions of
multiple resources (people, automated computer processes, and so forth) to achieve a greater result.
These individual contributions by people and automatic services are most efficient when single-focused
and, ideally, reused. The simplest example of this might be a conveyor belt in a car factory, where work
enters the line at the beginning of the conveyer belt and is worked on by any number of individuals or
machines until finally the output of the work reaches the end of the line, at which point the job is done.
One machine paints the chassis; another machine lowers the engine into the car. A person screws in and
attaches the chairs and another person installs the radio. These people and machines do their work
without worrying about what's going to happen to the car next.
A more complicated, interesting process—to take the car example even further—can be seen at a car
dealership. There are many workers whose job depends on playing their role in selling you a car. It starts
when you enter the car dealership and salesmen descend on you like wolves. Somebody walks with you,
showing off models and features and answering questions. Finally, your eye catches the glimmer of a
silver Porsche sitting an aisle over. You're sold. The next part of the process begins.
You're whisked away into the office where somebody starts prompting you for information to
purchase the vehicle. You either have cash on hand, or you require a loan, or you've already got a loan
from another bank. If you have cash on hand, you give it to them and wait an hour for them to count it.
Perhaps you've got a check from the bank, in which case you give them that. Or, you begin the process of
applying for a loan with the dealership. Eventually, the pecuniary details are sorted, credit scores
checked, driver's license and insurance verified, and you begin signing paper work. If you've already
paid for the car then the paper work to ensure proper title and registration is drawn up. If you're
establishing a loan with the dealership, you fill out that paperwork, then work on registration, and so on.
Eventually, you're given the keys, the car, and the relevant paperwork and you're done. Or so you
think. You make a break for the door, just itching to see how fast you can get the car to 65, which is the
maximum speed limit in your area freeway, conditions permitting. As you arrive at the door, you're all
but assaulted with one last packet of brochures and business cards and a branded pen and the good
wishes of the grinning salesmen.
Baffled, you shrug them off and break for the car, jumping into the sporty convertible's driver's seat.
As you leave, you turn the music up and speed off into the horizon. You'll remember that you left your
wife at the dealership eventually, but for now, the fruit of all that bureaucracy is too sweet to ignore.
The process to buy the car may seem like it takes forever, and indeed, it does take a long time.
However, the process is efficient in that all things that can be done at the same time are done at the same
time, by multiple workers. Further, because each actor knows his part, each individual step is as efficient
as possible. Being able to orchestrate a process like this is crucial in the enterprise.
You can extrapolate here, too. These examples are relatively small, though perhaps the inefficiencies
of the worst-case scenario for the process are tolerable. The inefficiencies are overwhelmingly untenable