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Revisiting the Adapt Faster with Camunda Webinar—An Extended Q&A

We answer all your questions from our most recent webinar on how to "Adapt Faster with Camunda," covering AI, end-to-end orchestration, and more.
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We recently talked about our latest efforts towards how Camunda helps you adapt faster, and our interactive webinar on May 22, 2024, was a great success. Thank you to all who attended and those who asked thoughtful and insightful questions during the webinar.

We were unable to get to all those questions, so this blog is devoted to revisiting the questions that we did answer on the call and responding to questions that we may not have had time to answer.

Let’s jump right in.

Questions grouped by topic

The questions from the webinar are documented below grouped by topic. If the question was answered during the webinar, we have noted the location of that question in the recording. Questions start at location 1:08:50.

Artificial intelligence and Camunda

After discussing and demonstrating many of Camunda’s new AI features, several questions arose related to those offerings:

Do we need any paid subscriptions to leverage these AI Features? (1:08:57)

Response: First we must distinguish between our Connectors and Camunda’s AI features. For Camunda’s AI features, we have integrated AI into the product and there is no additional cost for these features at this time. However, if you are using an AI Connector, you will need your own account with that service—such as a paid subscription.

Will these AI capabilities be available only on Camunda 8? If so will it be on Self Managed version also [as well as SaaS]? (1:09:48)

Response: At this time, these capabilities are only available on Camunda 8 SaaS, but we plan to provide these on Camunda 8 Self-Managed as well. Some features might be available in Camunda 7, such as the AI Documentation, but most will only be offered in Camunda 8.

Any plan to bring these new features to Desktop Modeler? (1:14:40)

Response: A number of the AI features demonstrated are coming to Desktop Modeler. For example, the context pad. We are also working on bringing out-of-the-box Connectors (you can currently import these) to the Desktop Modeler experience, which opens it up for including support for AI suggestions. We are working to make the Modeler experience uniform across Web and Desktop Modeler where applicable.

On what data is the AI trained? Every running cluster or client-specific? (1:10:29)

Response: We are not training on any customer data. For example, Copilot is trained on our documentation, our own existing models, public-facing existing models, and our own examples. The same is true for our AI Documentation where we are leveraging our forum posts, GitHub, and Camunda documentation.

Can the AI features only be used with an OpenAI API key or with any LLM that offers the same API? (1:11:20)

Response: Our response is assuming this question is related to the AI Form Generator. Right now, Camunda is leveraging Open AI for our AI Forms generation. However, we are working on a concept of “bring your own model” so you can leverage your own services.

How does the AI Connector differ from REST Connector? (1:12:07)

Response: The AI Connector is a protocol-specific Connector that Camunda has written that is customized for something like the OpenAI Connector, preconfigured with the components required to connect to OpenAI. The same is true of our Hugging Face Connector as well. You could use the REST Connector and manually configure it for the specific service, but using one of our existing Connectors takes care of all that overhead for you. And you can customize those preconfigured Connectors to be reused within your organization. The same can be done for the REST Connector, but there is a bit more technical overhead and you would need to understand all the different requirements of the desired AI service. With Camunda’s Connectors, we are keeping these up to date. For example, if another model comes out for OpenAI, you will see that in the drop-down for the OpenAI Connector.

OpenAPI specs may contain a complex payload. Is it feasible to convert it into a Connector given these payloads? (1:15:38)

Response: It depends on the use case. We are not converting the full API specification to our Connector element template, so you have the option to select only specific operations. So, assuming you have an OpenAPI Specification for your whole enterprise API, we are not expecting you to just use a single Connector. Right now you can define what kind of operation you want to support—using our command line tool—and you can customize this for your needs. As this relates to the payload, if the Open API specification is easy to consume, we recommend you use the template generator. If it is a more complex payload, you have the option to use the Connector SDK where you can build Connectors from scratch using the full power of Java. Our protocol Connectors offer you a simple solution that you can preconfigure to allow more widespread usage. You don’t always have to generate templates, it just depends on who you want to enable and how complex the task is. That is one of the powerful things about Connectors, you can always jump back into pure Java code and develop a custom Connector.

Are there best practices about when to best use business rules (DMN) tasks and when to use ML tasks? Will ML tasks replace business rules tasks in the long run? (1:21:20)

Response: This is a good question. It depends on your use case. If your decision is rule-based and you know the rules, there isn’t a need to introduce machine learning into the situation because you know the rules and can define them. So if you know the rules, then use DMN. However, if you are uncertain about the rules, or you may not know every possibility, then maybe use a combination of both ML and DMN. One of the best uses of AI is to get a better result and that means it might not always be an “either/or” answer. It is best to use technology where it makes the most sense. Work with your business users and if they can define the rules, use DMN, and if they can’t consider machine learning as an option.

Migration to Camunda 8

Several questions came up around migrating from Camunda 7 to Camunda 8. These are covered in this section.

Will there be any migration tools to convert Camunda 7 CE edition BPMN models to this latest version 8? (1:18:02)

Response: We have dedicated a page in our documentation that discusses how to migrate from Camunda 7 to Camunda 8. We also have additional information on the migration process. There is a section devoted to adjusting your BPMN models from the Camunda 7 specification to the Camunda 8 specification. There are some nuances and differences, so these are highlighted in this section. If you are looking for something that works out of the box to migrate your BPMN models, there is a command line tool in the Camunda community. We have also addressed migration in a few blogs:

Do you have any case studies of how Camunda has been implemented in an Insurance Business, specifically claims processing, underwriting etc. to share? (1:28:32)

Response: There are several case studies available on our website related to insurance. You can access many of these from our Insurance Automation webpage along with more information about how Camunda can assist in achieving metrics and solutions in insurance. We have also written a few blogs on this topic as well:

How can you do backward migration? (1:28:53)

Response: Process instance migration as defined allows you to migrate process instances from process definition to process definition. It does not have to be the same process definition, so it could be a different version which does not have to be a higher version than the source process definition.

Is the SAGA pattern new on Camunda 8? We use this on Camunda 7 all the time.

Response: Camunda 8 does support SAGA and it is easier now with compensation events. For an example, please see the compensation event example in Camunda Marketplace.

Connectors

The following questions are related to Connectors.

Are there API integrations with SAP, Oracle, and other ERP systems? (1:18:23)

Response: We have a number of out-of-the-box Connectors as well as some provided by partners in Camunda Marketplace. We are looking at an SAP Connector at this time. If you are interested in a specific Connector, please make a request in Camunda Marketplace. We do offer an Oracle database connector, but not necessarily connected to their Oracle ERP system. With SAP, there is SAP/R3 and SAP HANA, so knowing the specific Connector is desired. For example, if you are looking for SAP HANA and a specific transaction, that makes creating a Connector much easier. That is why we have the Idea Portal for submitting these ideas.

When should I use a Connector over a job worker and vice versa? (1:13:36)

Response: A Connector is actually based on a job worker. Using Connectors helps you to create reusable assets where you have things preconfigured with the proper elements and protocols. These can be further configured for your own organization to make them reusable templates. So, the answer is really if you want to have reusable assets and leverage what we have created with Connectors—then use a Connector. If you don’t need that, job workers are just fine. It really depends on your use case.

Are you planning to allow the building of Connectors with a Python SDK? (1:23:00)

Response: We have a Python SDK that is managed by the community. You can build Connectors based on this SDK.

What Connectors are up next on the roadmap? (1:35:28)

Response: We have many different Connectors in flight at this time.

  • Amazon SageMaker
  • mySQL
  • PostgreSQL
  • JDBC
  • And more

The best thing to do is go on the Idea Portal and you can “upvote” different connectors as well as obtain status updates.

Is there a Connector for KubeFlow? (1:24:00)

Response: Yes, there is a partner Connector in Camunda Marketplace for KubeFlow.

When developing a new Connector, can I use the REST Connector as a starting point?

Response: You can use the REST Connector as a starting point when developing a new connector. The REST Connector is an outbound protocol Connector that allows you to make a request to a REST API and use the response in the next steps of your process. If you need to create a custom Connector and you know it will require a common protocol such as REST, then you can build on top of the REST Connector and save a lot of development effort.

Additionally, you can leverage the Connector SDK. The Connector SDK is a tool provided by Camunda that allows you to develop custom Connectors using Java code. It abstracts from Camunda 8 internals that usually come with job workers, allowing you to focus on the logic of the Connector. You can test it locally and reuse its runtime logic in multiple runtime environments.

Modeler

There were a few questions about the Modeler. These are answered in this section.

Is the Camunda Cloud Modeler tool only applicable to Camunda 8 or can it be used for Camunda 7 too? (1:29:38)

Response: It is specifically designed for Camunda 8. You can import a Camunda 7 diagram, but that is for migration purposes. The Web Modeler is not designed for Camunda 7 design or execution.

Which is the platform for implementing all the stuff modeled today? Is there any automatic generation of code after the modeling step?

Response: We recommend getting started with the Web Modeler for a first-time user. The Web Modeler allows you to design and model your processes with ease.

How can one implement / program the processes we see here (on the level modeled)? Is there any concept of how the implementation is going to be done?

Response: To implement or program the processes modeled, you deploy the BPMN diagrams to Camunda. Camunda provides a runtime environment where these process models are executed.

Example for the implementation:

  1. Model your processes using the Web Modeler or Camunda Modeler.
  2. Deploy the models to Camunda.
  3. Implement the necessary business logic through external task workers, Java delegates, or other supported programming languages and frameworks.
  4. Use Connectors and the Connector SDK to integrate with external systems and APIs.

This approach allows you to focus on the business logic and integration while the Camunda Platform handles the process orchestration and execution.

Miscellaneous

The questions in this section are miscellaneous questions.

Can we integrate to an existing flow and if so, are you able to deal with the current process post reaching a specific step? (1:24:20)

Response: We answered this question assuming that this question was about process instance migration. With process instance migration, you can specify which target activity for a flow node instance. You can select the same activity in the target or choose a different target flow node. You can also apply process instance modification giving you even more options.

Do you have a stage/step kind of flow that Product owners love to see and know to interact with in addition to the BPMN process view? (1:27:30)

Response: In Operate, we have a process view that is based on the BPMN process definition where you can see specific activities, what tasks have been completed, and which flow nodes have been taken. You can also see the value of variables. You can also use the Camunda API to embed this view into other applications to display the status of running or completed applications. In Optimize, you can create dashboards with metrics, like KPIs and SLAs along with branch analysis and heat maps of your processes.

There is also the ability to review the step and path of a process from the TaskList which provides a view of the current task and the full process diagram.

How can I enable Camunda 8 license to my own customers?

Response:  Speak to Camunda Sales to learn about Enterprise licensing options.

Where can one enroll for full product training on your full BPM suite? I am based in South Africa.

Response: Camunda offers on-demand training offering unlimited, free-of-charge access to courses on the entire suite of products on our Camunda Academy. Sign up for Camunda Academy and browse the courses to get started.

Where do I look if I am new to Camunda? I need to understand how to work with the different tools.

Response: Camunda offers on-demand training offering unlimited, free-of-charge access to courses on the entire suite of products on our Camunda Academy. Sign up for Camunda Academy and browse the courses to get started. We also have several videos available on our YouTube Channel and additional information can be found in our blog. We recommend you access our Developer Hub as well. It is everything you need to get up and running quickly with Camunda, from tutorials to documentation, community resources, open source extensions and more. You can also sign up for a free trial.

Stay tuned

Be sure to stay tuned for more exciting updates throughout the year. In the meantime, learn more about how Camunda can help you with your process orchestration needs with a free trial if you are not already a customer.

Camunda is a powerful and flexible process orchestration platform that can help you automate your processes and drive lasting value.

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