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SYS-CON.TV
The Value of BPM Software
A business and technical perspective

An order management application will automate the actual order, perform the necessary product configuration and manage credit verification. But, as noted above, order management is, at most, a sub-process, that while critical, delivers value only if it is a part of an optimized order-to-cash process that encompasses all the upstream activities such as proposal and contract management with the downstream activities such as credit operations, shipment, invoice generation and cash collection.

Therein lies the fundamental concept of process orchestration. Automating a single sub-process or deploying a single best-in-class application does not deliver business value. That value is realized when the end-to-end process, spanning multiple people, systems and organizations is flawlessly orchestrated. That is precisely the value that a BPMS delivers, moving far beyond automation by orchestrating the execution of the end-to-end process encompassing all workflows, enterprise integration, roles-based process participant definitions, process execution, escalation and exception handling. The handoff from organization to organization and application to application is organized, consistent and produces results that are both predictable and repeatable.

Business Process Management Software Functionality
What does a BPMS do and how does it solve the challenges? While BPMS is often termed middleware, in reality it is much closer to "topware", sitting above and orchestrating the entire process (see Figure 2).

The creation of the Process Management Layer is a fundamental, yet evolutionary approach to the structure of IT systems. It is fundamental in that it requires the creation of logical layer in the architecture that separates the management of end-to-end processes from the underlying applications, infrastructure and data. The layer serves as both a repository of process rules and the core engine that ensures flawless execution.

Creating this layer is simply an extension of the 3-tier client/server architecture in which the user interface, business logic and data were separated. The process layer extends that design, creating a fourth tier that separates business logic from process logic, enabling vast productivity and cost improvements for processes that span multiple organizations, systems and applications. The Process Management Layer is evolutionary in that it leverages every IT system and application that is currently in place. There is no need for a "rip and replace" strategy - the existing application portfolio remains in place and continues to generate value.

The second dimension of the "what does BPMS do" is the software functionality. It can be broken down as follows:

Process Development: This phase includes all aspects of designing and building robust, highly scalable process applications and enables:

  1. Rapid modeling of any process, regardless of scope, regardless of complexity
  2. Robust simulation of process performance prior to go-live
  3. Application administration, including roles-based process participant management
  4. Easy connectivity to every back-end system and application that supports the process

    Process Execution: This phase includes all aspects of supervising the execution of the endto-process.

  5. Enterprise process execution, escalation and exception management through a secure, highly scalable process engine
  6. Automatic creation of a customized user work environment for each class of process participant

    Process Analysis and Optimization: A closed-loop process requires intuitive software to monitor and measure process performance.

  7. Monitor and measure real-time process performance through easy-to-use dashboards
  8. Measure historical performance against process KPIs, using advanced technology that isolates process breakpoints and automatically determines required changes
Implementing Business Process Management
The business case for BPMS deployments is extraordinarily compelling, generating savings that are significant, rapid and recurring. How should an organization get started?
About Richard Mattock
Richard Mattock has more than 20 years of experience in defining, designing, developing and selling enterprise software. Joining Fuego in 2002 as the Director of Product Marketing, Mr. Mattock brings the Process Owners point-of-view to Fuego's product lines with his knowledge of decision sciences and process improvement. As the VP of Product Strategy, Mr. Mattock is responsible for all aspects of Fuego's product definition and delivery to market - working closely with the development and sales/marketing organizations.

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