Technology doesn’t exist for its own sake—it ultimately serves the needs of the business. But when business needs change rapidly and dynamically, it can be extremely difficult for a company’s IT infrastructure to keep up.
Yet when designed correctly, a good IT infrastructure not only keeps up with business change, but it enables greater, faster, and broader innovation. That’s especially true when it comes to business process management (BPM). BPM solutions are one of the ways to automate, manage, and optimize business processes, enabling organizations to meet dynamic business needs effectively and efficiently.
Upside Research recently came across a good example of a company that has successfully adapted its traditional, statically-oriented IT infrastructure to meet more dynamic business needs through the use of SOA and BPM.
Western Governors University is an online university that was facing student management challenges as it continued to grow at a significant pace. Of particular urgency was finding a way to create a student change management system that could orchestrate the flow between legacy applications and new applications, and provide an online student interface where the students could enter their data via a web page. That data would then trigger different process-driven requirements for the university.
The university is in a rapid growth state, and was looking for a BPM solution, one that would be based on standards and could incorporate human tasks with automated processes. While many of the processes were student-management related, they reflect the types of problems that most organizations face as they continue rapid growth and have legacy and new systems that need to communicate. The broader issues this academic institution faced were: the need to convert manual processes, eliminate costly errors, reduce inefficiencies, and create flexible processes that reflected the changing nature of the online academic calendar, as well as reduce the manual resources and headcount required to manage the process.
The IT organization at WGU launched a search for a BPM system that was standards-based and supported a services-oriented architecture. WGU investigated multiple different tools but ultimately and quickly found ActiveVOS to be the only solution that came with the full set of functionality required out of the box. After considering several of the other solutions (including JBoss jBPM and coding a solution themselves), WGU selected the ActiveVOS business process management system (BPMS) from Active Endpoints. In this Upside Research Implementation Brief, we’ll take a closer look at the university, its challenges, and its decision to select a model-driven BPMS over a set of non-integrated tools as the foundation for its SOA architecture. We’ll also examine the business impact of its BPM deployment.