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Business

Flowable cloud editions: the start of a new journey

APRIL 21, 2023

You may have noticed that we’ve been making more noise about “cloud”, having recently launched the Flowable Work cloud edition and the Flowable Design cloud edition. We already provide Flowable as a managed service offering in the cloud, on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. However, when we now talk about Flowable Cloud, we will be meaning a Flowable service with separate tenants that you just sign up and use.

Why now?

Well, simply that our customers and prospects are asking for it. Up until now, we’ve been expecting this time to come, but with so many processes that integrate with on-premises services, it’s always ended up the customer deciding to have everything on-premises. We also have many customers in highly regulated industries that have been reluctant to make the jump.

Are we building YAAP (Yet Another Automation Platform)?

Definitely not. We’ve been able to show that the current, lightweight Flowable engines can scale horizontally using a simple set of existing, well-understood technologies. No new-tech macho chest-beating required: it scales and is easy to manage. So, what are we doing? Well, there’s a sequence of steps in the journey you’ll see us creating, with the first step already there. You can now create a Flowable account from where you have access to two cloud-based apps: Flowable Work cloud edition and Flowable Design cloud edition. Most of the effort involved has been SaaS-enablement: things we’d already started as part of our managed service offering, but now with full multi-tenancy (which was engineered in the core from the beginning of Flowable).

A key aim of having Flowable Design cloud edition was to make designing process (BPMN) and case (CMMN) automation models easier for both the novice and the expert. Snappy and speedy editing options for experts, with straightforward and wizard-supported creation by new or occasional users. Second, we wanted to create a new framework that will act as the foundation for many new features and capabilities in the coming years – all with an up-to-date, robust and reliable browser technology (React).

This new Flowable Design in the cloud supports the creation of models for either Open Source or enterprise versions of Flowable. This will allow us to deprecate the current, rather unloved by the community, open-source modelling app. It will also give our enterprise customers the option to design their automation apps in the cloud, but deploy and run on-premises. The announcements we’ve just made about the new Flowable Design are about the models for the Open Source Flowable.

Soon, full support of enterprise models will be made available. The next step is to allow automation apps created in the Flowable Design cloud edition to be deployed and run on Flowable Work cloud edition. This is mostly about taking some capabilities away that we allow on private installations of Flowable, as well as additional hardening to make sure a bad running process in one tenant cannot impact the service for another tenant: catching bad situations before they happen. We see a range of potential uses of a Flowable Work in the cloud, beyond being a painless way to provide Flowable automation. One such case is part of a bigger picture of distributed automation, where a case or process might flow from a secure on-premise Flowable to a client, customer or citizen user (who is probably using a mobile device) in the cloud and then back on-premise.

Our goal is to allow you to create and maintain case and process automation apps more easily; deploy, run and monitor their execution in whatever hybrid blend of cloud best meets your needs. Create your Flowable account to join our journey and start thinking about the possibilities it could bring your business operations.

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Paul Holmes-Higgin

Fellow

Co-founder of Flowable and a long-time Open Source advocate, that he believes still has an important role to play in making innovation more widely available.

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