Business Process Management

Introduction
Organisations seek to improve their business process by making them more efficient, real time, automation and agile. The business demand was met with a suite of technologies, ranging from groupware and office automation, to workflow and more currently, BPM technologies (Bandara,Wasana and Indulska ).

Finding a vendor and which tool to use that can be very daunting exercises. One the other hand, vendors introduced innovative ways to meet their customers’ demands.

Gartner (Feb 2009) predicts that through 2012, managers and consultants will develop process – centric methods and disciplines analogous to those used in territorial and function organization.

This paper will review features are included in the BPMS suite. Discuss few vendors that are in the Gartner Major Quadrant, functions of BPMN, BPEL which are languages or execution standards that support a BPMS tool.

Description Of Business Process Management Suite (BPMS)
A BPMS is an integrated collection of software that enables the control and management discipline of business process (Gartner 2009). BPM enable-technologies have existed for so many years as point products supporting explicit control of particular aspect of a process, such as human workflow, document and image routing, system – system interaction patterns (Garter 2009).

The appearance of integrated BPM- enable technology is part of disaggregation of application software and is an example of the trend toward building software systems from small “chunks.” BPM-enabling technologies are available as separate specialty tools, integrated BPMSs, and are being adder to some major application packages (Janelle B. Hill, Jim Sinur, David Flint, Michael James Melenovsky, 2006)

For some vendors it is a lucrative profitable business. Gartner research shows that the BPMS market will have a compound annual growth of more than 24 % from 2006 – 2011 (Janelle B. Hill, Jim Sinur, David Flint, Michael James Melenovsky, 2006)

Business Process Management Suite Architecture
BPMS has been divided into four layers; Middleware/Application, Engines, Utilities and Knowledge (Paul Harmon). There are no standards set on what should be included in the business process management suite. Some companies look for tools that are workflow – centric, application integration or decision centric (Bptrends).

BPMS products need to be able to manage the access of other application. Few BPMS products can handle this function; they have to rely on existing middleware and application server products to provide support (Paul Harmon).

Rules Engine

The heart of the BPMS product consists of the engine that manages the runtime execution of the business process instance (Paul Harmon).

Rules Engine execute rules that abstract business policies and decision tables from the underlying applications, and make available more – flexi process changes (Gartner 2009). When a decision point is reached, the rule engine will determine which business rule apply and then execute them to determine the appropriate decision (Paul Harmon). If customer applies for a loan, business rule will determine if the loan is granted or not, based on the customer’s credit history. Business rules are managed by tools called Business Rule Management.

Workflow Engine

Workflow is one of capabilities delivered with BMPS. Some important parts of the workflow are poorly understood. The BPMS helps reviles better workflows by making their process execution visible and audited (Garter 2009). Workflow management improved things not only by managing the flow of work, but also digitising the information, thereby making the process as automated and paperless as possible (Ryan K.L. Ko,Stephen S.G. Lee,Eng Wah Lee)
Conclusion
It’s been almost a decade since BPMS tools entered the market. Business Process Management (BPM) is the most talked about subject. Yet I have found that information about the tool that support BPM, which is BPMS is not easy to find. Or there is not much information available. I can only imagine how difficult it is for companies to decide what tool best fits their needs. Companies will have to purchase papers from companies like Gartner and Forester.

Evidently BPMS is still new in the market. Their standard has not reached maturity. As much as BPEL and BPML are popular standards, their limitation and drawback have major impact in the BPMS.

For companies looking to implement BPMS tools in the companies can be very difficult. Companies go to big vendors that can support globally and have customer’s references. Word of mouth is a big deal. With the help of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, companies can save time to search for suitable products that can meet their needs. For companies who seek to explore the BPMS tools, or student who want to know what is about. Open -source vendors like Intalio and others who can offer their products for free.

It’s very interesting to see how this marking is growing. Vendors like IBM purchasing smaller vendors, but who are excelling to the BPMS field in order to improve their products. University of Cape Town ICTS department is planning to implement Enterprise Content Management (ECM). It’s going to be an interesting observation to see how they will choose the vendor. Will the UCT look within the companies that they have been dealing with like Microsoft SharePoint. Or they will look for a new vendor, how they will base their findings.

References
(Harmon, www.bptrends.com) ;

Janelle B. Hill, Jim Sinur, David Flint, Michael James Melenovsky, 2006. Gartner’s Position on Business Process Management, 1-26

Bandara, Wasana and Indulska, Marta and Chong, Sandy and Sadiq, Shazia (2007)

Major Issues in Business Process Management: An Expert Perspective. In

Proceedings ECIS 2007 – The 15th European Conference on Information Systems,

pages pp. 1240-1251, St Gallen, Switzerland.

Ryan K.L. Ko,Stephen S.G. Lee,Eng Wah Lee. Business process management (BPM) standards: a survey, 1-47. Available: www.emeraldinsight.com/1463-7154.htm 


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