Managing Environmental Protection processes via BPM at Deutsche Bahn

Ingo Rau, Iris Rabener, Jürgen Neumann, Svetlana Bloching

Situation faced: The law demands environmental compensation for interventions in nature and landscapes through the Federal Nature Conservation Act. Deutsche Bahn, one of the largest construction facilitators in Germany, encounters several hundred new such compensation obligations per year. Deutsche Bahn plans and develops compensation measures that usually require long-term maintenance. The Federal Railway Authority demands regular reports on the state of these obligations. Prior to the beginning of the case study described here, Deutsche Bahn had no IT system that could meet these requirements.

Action taken: In order to create a comprehensive and legally compliant report, Deutsche Bahn initiated the project called FINK. Compensation obligations can last 30 years or more as they progress through various of Deutsche Bahn’s business units. This life-cycle of a compensation obligation was initially modelled as a process using BPMN and, with the participation of stakeholders, an improved target process was developed. In order to control the transitions of responsibility within Deutsche Bahn and to ensure the quality of data, a web application based on Open Source components was developed, the core of which is a Business Process Management System (BPMS).

Results achieved: The FINK project was initiated to engage intensively with the process of compensation obligations at multiple levels in Deutsche Bahn. Today, committees at both the management level and the user level coordinate the processes across the business units. The result is a uniform understanding of what data needs to be stored for compensation obligations in order to ensure quality-controlled reporting. An interdisciplinary team of environmental experts, process experts, and software engineers developed FINK using agile methods. In the spring of 2016, the system was handed over to Deutsche Bahn and began regular operation. It is now used by a multitude of employees at Deutsche Bahn and by many external partners.

Lessons learned: Successful BPM projects involve change. Business departments lacking sound competencies in process analysis, process design, and requirements management can build expertise gradually with the help of external experts. Mapping from quality requirements to business rules can largely automate the quality-assurance process, and the notation standards of BPMN and DMN integrate well. The use of a BPMS can also facilitate monitoring, documentation, and verification duties. Finally, a consistent Open Source approach using standard Java components was successful in the project presented here.

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