Sometimes the challenge is knowing what to use when. It’s not just whether a technology will work as a solution, it’s whether a particular technology is actually the best solution for you needs.For example, organizations considering using SharePoint to facilitate a business process might be in great shape. Or, they might be better off considering a dedicated BPM solution for their problem. This week’s IT Briefcase column on BPM vs. SharePoint tells the whole story…
Things are really happening in the BPM space lately. And some of the real interesting changes are occurring in the cloud and social spaces. In fact, one vendor, Appian is focused heavily in these two areas (along with mobile), and even recently issued a press release trumpeting their leadership in cloud BPM. While this market has more to play out, Upside Research definitely thinks that Appian is taking BPM in the right direction with thoughtful approaches to enterprise BPM requirements. Read our full analysis of Appian and Cloud BPM in our recent IT Briefcase column.
When it comes to business processes, change is what it’s all about. That holds true even when it comes to business process management. By now we’ve probably all learned that business process management (BPM) is a great approach for automating business processes. And over the past few years we’ve found that BPM solutions have proven they are good for automating well-defined workflows and enabling organizations to streamline a wide range of business processes.
To help organizations better define their processes and process management needs, this Upside Research white paper on BPM and workflow tools takes a closer look at the distinction between activity-based processes and traditional flow-based processes, and how organizations can optimize their processes in the most effective way.
Not only are today’s IT environments more complex than ever before, but the current economic climate is making it more difficult for IT organizations to easily and cost-effectively meet changing business requirements. What’s needed is a way for organizations to streamline business processes, increase efficiency, and empower business users, rather than IT, to be at the forefront of business process change. In many cases, this is where a good business process management (BPM) solution comes in.
Upside Research, Inc. recently interviewed a national government security organization that had a critical need to manage the security of files exchanged among users, screening out malware, malicious code, and viruses. In this ActiveVOS-BPM-Implementation-Study-Upside-Research, we’ll take a closer look at the organization, its challenges, and the solution, and the business impact from its BPM deployment.
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.
What’s needed is an approach that takes BPM back to the basics and helps organizations achieve what the technology originally promised: increased business agility and increased efficiency. Focusing on the core competency of BPM and process automation enables businesses to do more with less, streamlining their key business processes and reducing costs. What’s needed is nimble BPM.
This Upside Research white paper on Nimble BPMexplores nimble BPM and takes a closer look at BP Logix Workflow Director as an option for streamlined workflow automation and process management.
Metastorm Corp. announced its second acquisition of the year on Wednesday, revealing its intention to purchase a European services organization. The acquisition of Process Competence, a European consulting firm specializing in helping organizations design and optimize customer-oriented business processes, follows Metastorm’s acquisition this past summer of Proforma Corporation, a vendor of enterprise modeling and business process analysis solutions. No financial details were released for this latest acquisition, but Metastorm stated it would be completed November 19th. Process Competence was already a certified Metastorm partner and a licensed distributor for the Metastorm ProVision modeling suite, one of the products that Metastorm acquired through Provision.
In a message sent to the media and analyst community, Metastorm identified a number of reasons behind its acquisition of Process Competence, including the fact that it provides an extension of Metastorm’s presence in Europe, adds best practice expertise in process modeling and optimization, and brings many leading European companies into the Metastorm customer portfolio. The company will retain all Process Competence employees as well as two of the three European offices.
The Upside Uptake
This acquisition adds several important aspects to Metastorm’s position. It provides instant expert knowledge of the Proforma products that Metastorm has been folding into its BPM ecosphere, enabling Metastorm to more easily transition into a company that espouses enterprise architectures and process models alongside business process management. The acquisition also provides Metastorm a stronger entry into some of the leading European companies that are already using process modeling tools and may be interested in expanding into a business process management platform. And, the acquisition of Process Competence also immediately builds Metastorm’s footprint in Europe, a market that the company has identified as a strategic geography.
As we mentioned in a previous Upside Update, the Proforma acquisition enables Metastorm to differentiate itself from some of the other original, pure-play BPM vendors. While other BPM vendors have developed partnerships with enterprise architecture and modeling solutions, Metastorm’s acquisition of Proforma is a solid statement of their vision of the breadth of solution required for real, strategic business process management. The acquisition helps move Metastorm closer to competing against some of the infrastructure-oriented enterprise software vendors (i.e. IBM, Oracle, and EMC) that have made BPM their focus over the past year or two.
In our previous article, we also mentioned how Metastorm was facing a challenge with its purchase of Proforma, because it challenges Metastorm to re-align its sales force to make the enterprise sale that is required for enterprise architecture. The combination of enterprise architecture, business process analysis, and BPM is not necessarily an intuitive one, and therefore Metastorm faces a certain level of education in the market to convince its installed base and prospects that the three go hand in hand. The acquisition of Process Competence makes this task easier in the European market, because the seasoned sales and services staff at Process Competence can easily hold the conversations at the highest levels within the enterprises they service. This enables Metastorm to more quickly gain a foothold into these European enterprises and bring the entire EA – BPA – BPM combination to fruition.
We believe that this acquisition by Metastorm is yet another indication of the need for BPM vendors to be thinking of the broader picture when crafting their BPM product strategies. At the same time, it’s also an indication to organizations that their BPM strategies should extend beyond simply automating, managing and optimizing individual processes. When done right, BPM can provide strategic value to organizations across the entire enterprise.
At the heart of every business is a complicated web of processes that form the foundation for all operations. These business processes are the lifeblood of the organization and typically include all of the humans and systems that exist within the enterprise. Since they play such a central role, business processes must be as efficient as possible to make the business as effective as possible. As a result, finding ways to automate and improve business processes has become a major focus for today’s organizations as they struggle to find ways to become more agile and responsive to changing business climates.
In fact, an entire market—business process management—has grown out of the desire to improve existing business processes and build new processes and services that will differentiate a business from its competitors. Business process management (BPM) solutions aim to provide enterprises with a common platform that can tap into all resources, both human and system-based, to create, manage and optimize effective business processes that span the enterprise. BPM solutions can help organizations to maximize their existing technology and human infrastructure by linking existing systems and automating tasks that can free humans up to add value elsewhere within the enterprise.
Over the past decade, BPM has evolved from a number of other technology pre-cursors, including workflow, integration and process automation. Through this evolution process, BPM has picked up a number of best practices that enable companies to use a “new” technology that has been road-tested in the past. As such, companies from all industries have started using BPM because, in short, it works. BPM can make a huge difference in how your company responds to market pressures and how it proactively tackles new business needs. Not only that, it changes the economics of managing the business through improved process performance.
To help organizations start their evaluation and understand the context for a BPM purchase, Upside Research has prepared this State of the BPM Market, as a starting point for future evaluation of this dynamic market. This report follows up on the trends and information discussed from Upside’s previous market evaluations published in June 2004 and October 2005, and provides a current snapshot of where the BPM market stands at the beginning of 2006.
By taking a look at a current snapshot of the BPM market, combined with a consideration of current hot spots, how related markets are growing, and finally what the next year holds for BPM, organizations can gain a more complete understanding of how BPM can positively impact their organization. For maximum benefit, Upside Research believes that most organizations should combine this context-setting information with an evaluation of BPM products from both a business and IT perspective to identify the most appropriate solution.
It’s always easier to understand what you need to know after you know it. That’s why we’ve prepared this brief handbook for business and technology managers who want to learn more about business process management (BPM) solutions.
While trying to understand any new technology can be difficult, getting your hands around the differences in BPM solutions can be particularly troubling because so many vendors are coming into the market from very different perspectives—workflow, enterprise application integration, document management, and more.
This Upside Research Survival Guide provides business and technology managers with the overview needed to understand the benefits of BPM technologies and identify the characteristics of BPM solutions that are important for their particular needs.