BPM Suites Provide Value To Technology Partners

by MK Strupe on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 @ 09:13 AM

I have learned after 10 years in the BPM space that BPM means different things to different people.  The varying definitions and wants of BPM come from the fact that different people have different needs for BPM.  While it is true the core value proposition for BPM traverses industry verticals and spans all companies, small to large, BPM solutions look and feel differently across companies.

This point is emphasized when you start to consider "out of the box" BPM Suite implementations compared to BPM solutions that are coupled or embedded in other solution applications.  90+% of the interaction and usage of a BPM Suite come from client and form users.  To this point, if a BPM solution fails to be adopted by the user community, then over time the ROI of that solution becomes limited (if you're lucky....if not then it becomes dreaded shelf-ware).

BPM Deployment Model
Technology partners and Application Solution Providers have specific expertise in creating and deploying rich applications for specific industries focusing on specific use cases.  User interfaces in these applications leverage industry vernacular and cater to the specific work-styles of application users.  Examples of this include:

  • Healthcare applications include numerous data fields that are unique to the healthcare industry
  • Call center application users mainly use the keyboard for all data entry as opposed to navigating through a form using the mouse
  • Sales application users, who spend the majority of their time out of the office, require web based applications compatible for mobile device usage

Many applications today offer workflow components as an extension of the core application.  While orchestrating data and tasks within the application may be serviced by this extended workflow component, it is often the case that multiple applications need to be bridged together to ensure data is consistent throughout all of the company's applications.  A BPM Suite provides the best value to technology partners by integrating customized front end solutions with data and process orchestration in the background.

Two vital components of business processes must be shared as the business processes execute:  the business data in the business process and the metadata of the process itself.  For example, if a new credit card application process is started on Monday, 9am US EST, the following information may potentially need to be exposed for use in other applications:

BPM Server Applications

A BPM Suite must have interfaces to allow business process data and process metadata to be accessed easily, quickly, and in native data formats (non-proprietary).  Some of these interfaces may be extensions of the BPM Suite itself and some may be interfaces with common existing applications.  Examples include:

  • Open documented interfaces to the BPM Server / Engine components giving access to business data and engine events (as shown above)
  • Integrations to Microsoft SharePoint for document management and security (where documents created through BPMS activity are saved and shared)
  • Integrations to email servers and services where notifications from the BPM Server can be customized to include business process data
While "Out of the Box" functionality provides for rapid process deployment, having open and extendable interfaces provides the ability for a BPM Suite to "fill in the gaps" of a company's existing IT application suite.  A BPM Suite certainly can serve as the backbone of a company's IT portfolio, but it should not be the case that is HAS TO.

Relevant Links:

Business Process Efficiency Driven by Data Integrity

Dynamic and Flexible Routing in Business Processes: Unstructured Processes

Flexibility in a BPMS is Essential


Chris Adams
VP Product and Technology

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This post was written by MK Strupe