Tuesday, 24 April 2012

NOTE: SAS Global Forum 2012 - Workflow Management #sasgf12

Yesterday, I saw an interesting session with Diane Hatcher and other SAS staff which highlighted the workflow capabilities that ship with many SAS solutions (including eBI) but which most sites are unaware of.

The capabilities are not intended to be a commercial offering that might compete with established business process workflow management; rather, the SAS capabilities are intended to serve SAS solutions' specific requirements. The SAS EGRC solution, for example, encompasses workflow for management of the operational risks that are recorded within the solution; SAS Model Manager encompasses the management of the lifecycle of a model through workflow.

If you have a SAS solution that doesn't explicitly use workflow, you can still surface it and use it. It's a choice you need to make at install time, so making a choice to use it retrospectively can involve some considerable work.

Once you have it installed and working, its Workflow Studio allows you to design workflows using a combination of data objects, swimlanes, roles, decision points,events and notifications. Diane and her colleagues showed an example workfloe process that they had created for demo purposes. The example allowed the creation of a Web Report Studio report in a development area, approval of the finished report, and automated deployment of the report to a production area.

Workflow processes are stored in metadata and can be checked-out and checked-in, allowing release management.

Instances can be driven by 3rd party application, or by event signalling (providing good decoupling between parts of the workflow), or from SAS solutions.