Posts Tagged ‘Lifecycle’

Role-based Workflows, Classification and Security Permissions in Aras

June 8, 2012

MarcL: PLM solutions should allow for the creation of workflows by specific roles (role-based workflow), so that individual users belonging to a specific role or group are guided through a workflow that is tailored for their process requirements.

Peter Schroer:

The entire Aras Innovator platform is a roles-based system including workflow processes.

All Workflow and Lifecycle assignments are made to Identities in the security model.

Identity is an Aras abstraction that resolves to either an individual person, all persons trained to perform a role, or all persons that are members of a group, where groups and roles are also hierarchical.

Classification can be used for different roles / groups by product line, product type, program project, plant, division, doc type or any other designation (or combination of) to guide BPM workflows.

Business rules can of course be based on other attributes for whatever complicated workflow scenario your business requires as well.

We provide training on how to set-up, administer and customize Aras Innovator’s workflows, lifecycles and classification structures as well as security permissions for identities, roles and groups.

For additional information see ‘BPM Workflow Voting, Conditional Process Steps and Dynamic Assignments in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Workflow’.

BPM Workflows, Email Alerts and Custom Email Capabilities in Aras

June 6, 2012

MarcL: Triggers must be provided to send email messages and distribute defined packets of information at appropriate, defined events within change processes.

Peter Schroer:

At every Activity in a Workflow (and State in a Lifecycle, Deliverable in a Project, Action Item, etc.) the Aras modeling engine supports defined triggers (multiple events are available, for example for a Workflow, a trigger is fired upon Activity Assignment, upon Activity time-out, upon Activity Vote registration, etc).

In Aras Innovator the drag-and-drop Solution Studio user interface allows these events to be easily linked to email notifications (SMTP compliant, which works well with Microsoft Exchange as well as Lotus Notes and other email packages).

The email notifications are constructed of Layout Templates and Recipients.

The layout of the email messages will include content from the items that are being routed by the Workflow / Lifecycle and can include File attachments as well.

The emails can be plain text or rich, formatted HTML, HTML with XML or other options.

Emails can include secure URL links back to specific steps in Workflows, Project activities and other Items in PLM where the user must authenticate to gain access.

They can also include standard template text as well as dynamically generated content.

We provide training on how to customize and manage Aras Innovator’s workflows, emails and alerts as well as other related capabilities.

For additional information see ‘Electronic Signatures, Workflows, Lifecycles and Security in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Workflow’.

Using PLM Change Control Workflows to Manage the PLM System’s Own Definition in Aras

June 4, 2012

MarcL: The PLM solution should be able to have workflows managed by the system itself as objects that can be placed under change control and can be assigned versions.

Peter Schroer:

Aras Innovator’s Workflow Maps (e.g. Aras term for the business process definition) are Item Types (e.g. business object) in the PLM system.

As such they have permissions, versions, and can be controlled by their own change approval workflow.   In this way, the PLM is used to control its own internal system definition of processes.

This style of change management for the PLM system can also be applied to Forms, Lifecycles, business rules, etc.

NOTE:  while Aras can be used to control its own system/process definition,  and changes can be made in real-time by real-people,  this is not the recommended best practice after the system Go-Live to production.

At one point in the evolution of a PLM deployment the end-users are thrilled that PLM change requests (add a field, change the form, etc) are made in real-time as fast as they ask for the changes.

Later though, if the form layout continues to change in real-time when they are using the system,  the video arcade effect of the moving buttons will affect productivity.

The recommended best practice after Go-Live is to instantiate three instances of the PLM solution;  Development, Test, and Production.

All model changes made using the Solution Studio drag-and-drop design tools, can be exported as XML Packages, and easily moved between Aras Innovator instances (this is also how we synchronize federated networks of separate Aras Innovator instances).

Normal practice is to move multiple Packages from development to Test for integration testing, and then at defined intervals, move the tested Packages into the Production environment for rollout.

We provide training on how to tailor, customize and manage Aras Innovator’s workflows and business items.

For additional information see ‘PLM Solution Tailoring and Customization by End Users in Aras’ and ‘Electronic Signatures, Workflows, Lifecycles and Security in Aras’.

PLM Solution Tailoring and Customization by End Users in Aras

May 29, 2012

MarcL: PLM solution should support tailoring, configuring and customizing by approved users for specific forms and workflows. Any changes to standard objects should be capable of being monitored and audit trails maintained with notification of changes to designated personnel.

Peter Schroer:

In Aras Innovator’s Model-based engine, access to modify the model (data dictionary, meta-data, etc) is controlled by the same authentication and access control rights as the end-user permissions.

The Aras Innovator PLM platform uses its own security model, to control its customization and administration.

Your company can choose which components of the “Model” (i.e. your company’s PLM solutions) to allow certain groups/departments of users to edit and maintain.

IT or app dev can maintain the entire PLM system or you can choose to delegate portions out to certain end users while keeping control over other parts of the system.

Delegation of the administration for Form Layouts, Workflow Processes, Project Templates, Lifecycle States and other business items are commonly moved out of IT to the power users that are process owners or functional managers with responsibility for process definition.

While responsibility for integrations and more complex system functions is kept under IT’s control.

This division of labor makes administration of a large deployment scope more manageable and creates local “ownership” by end users which encourages adoption and simplifies IT’s help desk duties as well.

Monitoring or oversight of changes made and audit trails is standard Aras Innovator functionality.

All changes made by end users are supportable and upgradable without impacting the customizations.

We provide training for you and your end users on how to tailor, configure and customize Aras Innovator, and you Do Not need to be a programmer or in IT to learn how to do it.

For additional information see ‘Making PLM Forms Look Exactly Like Existing Paper or Legacy Forms with Aras’ and ‘Lifecycle, Workflow and Other Types of Process Management in Aras’.

Electronic Signatures, Workflows, Lifecycles and Security in Aras

May 24, 2012

MarcL: PLM solutions should provide a secure way for electronic sign-off of controlled Parts, CAD documents, specifications and other objects. Please describe how access controls and permissions are combined with meta-data attributes, prevention of modification of released data objects, and other measures, to provide electronic sign-off.

Peter Schroer:

All business objects (Items) within the Aras Innovator platform are controlled by an access rights management service, that complies with the security requirements of our US Gov’t and defense industry customers for “need-to-know” level security.

The security model can be used at the object instance paired with individual user level (only Bob can see Spec#001),  or for simpler administration,  hierarchical groups and roles can be defined which are expressed as patterns that are applied to sets of business objects  (anyone on the Electronics team can see the design files created for the EX-001 new product). Digital rights management (DRM) on the actual files can also be included.

Once the Lifecycle of an Item has advanced to the designated state, the access rights to the Item automatically switch to a Read-only level (normally at Release, but can be anything you specify), that object is completely protected against modifications.

The out-of-the-box CMII compliant processes use the Aras Workflow services with electronic signatures to capture the authorization and approvals.

Once the Workflow has secured the correct votes with signatures,  it automatically promotes the Lifecycle status of the Item to Released (which in turns locks down the access rights).

Approval mechanisms, electronic signatures (passwords and 2nd level passwords or e-signatures), audit trails, and notifications are all standard out-of-the-box capabilities within Aras Innovator.

Aras has built-in capabilities to satisfy regulatory compliance requirements for e-signature such as 21 CFR Part 11 in the Medical Device industry (these settings can be turned on/off of course).

We provide training on how to set-up, administer and customize these capabilities as well.

For additional information on these capabilities see ‘Security Permissions & Access Controls in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Lifecycle’ and ‘Security’.

Item Tracking, Status and Exception Reporting in Aras

May 21, 2012

MarcL: PLM solutions need to provide tracking, status, and exception reports and the reports should be able to be tailored to specific needs such as selected release level and specific attributes. There should also be the ability for reporting by exceptions, in particular on missing or incomplete objects belonging to a predefined set.

Peter Schroer:

Aras Innovator out-of-the-box includes default settings and tools for the Administrator to configure the level of history and audit trails that will be tracked, by Item Type.

For example a Part may have history of every transaction (view, update, create, etc) and audit trails supporting complete traceability,    while a Product Release Plan only has tracking of edit events.

These rules can be changed and updated at any time.

The Aras Innovator platform also provides a set of standard events for the solution developer to hang business rules (tests for exceptions, etc).

The most common approach is to link the exception testing to Lifecycle State changes,  and the exception testing can result in either just a message to the user, or a forced roll-back of the lifecycle status change until the exceptions are resolved.

This is all standard OOTB functionality in Aras Innovator.

We provide training on how to set-up, administer and customize these capabilities as well.

For additional information on these capabilities see the previous post ‘Business Intelligence, Custom Reports and Secure Reporting in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Reporting’ and ‘Administration’.

Change Management Process Alerts and Audit Trails in Aras

May 16, 2012

MarcL: An audit-trail of change history should be maintained within the PLM solution which will provide a triggering mechanism to automatically launch activities and alerts (e.g., when a new version of a specification is approved, it is automatically sent to the appropriate individuals, groups, and roles).

Peter Schroer:

All three Aras process services (workflow, lifecycle, project) include triggering events on every Activity within process flow along with secure audit trail logging of every action taken.

Your PLM administrator can assign actions / rules to any of the triggers to initiate alerts and capture the real-world process results.

Any of the States in Lifecycles, Activities in Workflows, Tasks in Projects, etc can be assigned to either a person, or a Method (a script or program/service that executes an automatic set of actions).

Workflows once defined, are started automatically, escalate automatically, and resolve themselves into closed-loop processes automatically.

The audit-trail of what actions have occurred, who voted or took action, how they voted or what action was taken and time / date stamp on every action along with other information is visible at any time as long as the person has the proper permissions.

We provide training on how to implement, customize, integrate and optimize the use of these Aras Innovator change management functions and workflow process capabilities.

For additional information on workflow see the previous post ‘Lifecycle, Workflow and Other Types of Process Management in Aras’ and ‘Change Process Definition, SOA Workflow Service and Integration in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Workflow’.

Change Process Definition, SOA Workflow Service and Integration in Aras

May 9, 2012

MarcL: PLM solutions must support the ability to define multiple change procedures with different flows, timing constraints and voting rules, and the same process(es) should be able to be used for both part-centric and document-centric change processes. PLM solutions should also be able to model and execute multiple-step work processes at multiple levels (parent-child processes).

Peter Schroer:

This requirement is exactly the reason that Aras has created a general-purpose BPM (business process management) service instead of a hard-coded engineering change workflow module.

It is also the reason why Aras has a separation between Lifecycle and Workflow       where Lifecycle is about “State” management (i.e. a Part is In Draft, In Review, Released, etc) and Workflow is about “Process” management (i.e. routing a Form with attached Items & Files around for activities).

It is quite typical for companies to have common Lifecycles for Parts. These can be a single standard Lifecycle or different Lifecycles based on Classification, such as Mechanical having a different Lifecycle than Electrical which is different than Software/Firmware, etc.

The Workflow process map for any specific Part might be completely different.  These differences can be driven by the different business units, the Classification of the Parts, the complexity or risk level of the Change, etc.

A typical large company running Aras will have a dozen Lifecycle definitions (parts, documents, tools, specifications, etc.), and then many dozens of Workflow Process definitions for controlling those Lifecycles.   In this way, Aras is able to model the real-world business practices without compromise.

Aras Workflow Process Studio

Aras Workflow Process Studio Provides Customization through Modeling and Powerful Web Services Integration Capabilities

The Aras Workflow service supports multi-step processes, with combinations of serial and parallel activities, branching based on business rules, and automatic escalation to ensure that every workflow instance that is started will be closed-loop.

Workflows are inherently hierarchical, and can be organized into libraries of Sub-Workflows that are initiated at a certain step in the Parent workflow.  This also means they can easily be re-used.

Workflows can be executed by people and other systems as well as a combination of both.

The Aras Workflow service can be used in conjunction with other systems that have BPM or Workflow capabilities like SAP, Oracle, Teamcenter, Windchill, etc or any of the BPM-specific systems         and can be either Parent or Sub-Workflow in conjunction with the other system’s Workflow. It’s a Web service.

We provide training on how to implement, customize, integrate and optimize the use of these Aras Innovator workflow process capabilities.

For additional information on workflow see the previous post ‘Lifecycle, Workflow and Other Types of Process Management in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Workflow’.


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