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Variant to a version?

EdmundTan's picture
by Edmund Tan in Professional ARIS posted on 2017-10-06

Hello everyone,

I have a question surrounding variants and versions.  Specifically as it pertains to the following example:

  1. I've created a process model based on say a well known industry reference model into an ARIS database (for instance TOGAF or APQC, or other);
  2. I would like to use this reference model to be the basis for an organization with an appetite of Business Process Improvement;
  3. From this original master/ reference model I create a variant of this model in order to use as the foundation of my transformation efforts;
  4. My team and I, studiously map the business processes according to this reference model for an initial pass.

Would it then be possible to change, or upgrade this variant copy to be a subsequent version of original reference model that I had created? (For the purpose of tracking model changes)

Furthermore lets change the context of this example to something near and dear to most of our hearts in the BPA/BPM space. Both current and future state models for a given process.  Typically in business process transformation where strong governance exists we would see a distinct current state model for a given process.  This in my mind would be versioned, since a versioned model would/ should not change.

As for the future state, or states we could potentially have multiple models for the change (differing alternatives).  For this purpose within ARIS we employ variant copies of the current state model.

Lets say a decision is made and we proceed with a future state model.

Back to my question.  Could we at this point nominate the selected future state process candidate as the subsequent version of the current state model? 




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M. Zschuckelt posted on 2017-10-09

Hello Edmund,

variants and versions are independent mechanisms. A variant is essentially a definition copy of the master. Both the model and the objects you chose to create variants for have a special master/variant connection. So both master and variant coexist in the same database and live their lives independently and the only link between them is this special connection. In ARIS Architect you can even declare 2 arbitrary objects or models to be in a master/variant relationship.

So yes, you can assemble the objects of a variant state and create a change list (aka version) with them. If you use versions for publishing you need to exert some tight governance scheme on versioning and publishing activities (i. e. which change list is published when). Otherwise another good practice is having multiple databases e. g. for "Production", "Staging" and "Project" and merging your content from "Project" to "Staging" for the approved future state and from "Staging" to "Production" on Roll-out date. Then you are safe to use versioning on "Production" and "Staging" for publishing purposes to different target groups.

So it would be a misconception to think that the variant could be "promoted" to a "version" and that the history of the object then contained the previous version. The moment you create variants you have definition copies. That is important to understand. When you roll-out the new state to "Production" you should delete the old state and create a new version on the whole database. Your variant objects do not replace the old ones, because they have a different identity.

Regards, M. Zschuckelt