Cloud Security Authors: Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Dana Gardner, Elizabeth White, Kevin Jackson

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Computing: BPM Solutions

Best Practices for Implementing Cloud BPM

Business Process Management solutions enable business people to quickly and easily capture their business goals as models that can be instantly turned into intelligent, automated processes. No or minimal software development, and no wait for IT resources.

The Business Process Management solution is a complete set of tools for creating, executing, and optimizing business processes. This enables unparalleled collaboration between business and IT managers. As a result, business processes are automated and optimized to improve efficiency and agility while costs are lowered.

The following are the salient features of BPM implementations in enterprises.

  • BPM solutions manage long running business processes across enterprise
  • BPM solutions manage interaction within the enterprise and outside the enterprise
  • BPM solutions support human interaction at various points within the business process flow
  • BPM solutions facilitate the adoption of SOA(Service0Oriented Architecture) to bridge the gaps between the IT process and business processes

BPM Components
A comprehensive BPM suite consists of many components, the following are the typical components of the suite.

BPM Studio / Modeler: Business Process Management studio enables collaboration between business and IT. It is generally a design tool built for the business analyst to design and simulate any type of process simply by dragging and dropping process elements based on the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) standard onto role-based swim lanes.

BPM Process Server: The BPM Process Servers provides a run-time environment for running business processes. It provides native support for various industry standard BPM Process notation methodologies. Irrespective of the licensing needs for packaging, typically process server involves these sub components also.

  • The human workflow service provides features such as, Task routing to users, groups or application roles. Deadlines, escalations, notifications, and other features required for ensuring the timely performance of a task.
  • Business Rules sub component, where by process analysts can change business rules without stopping business processes. Also, externalizing business rules enables process analysts to manage business rules directly, without involving process developers.
  • SOA suite which provides the back bone to expose the legacy components as coarse grained services, so that the business processes can be realized.

Adapters and Connectors: A typical Business Process implementation within an enterprise involves multiple legacy applications which will be realizing the sections of the business process and hence a BPM suite framework should include a rich set of adapters and connectors to various legacy applications and packaged ERP applications.

Cloud-Based BPM: The implementation of BPM solutions for enterprises has changed much of its nature due to the rapid adoption of SaaS (Software As A Service) delivery mechanism where by much of the portions of a long running business process are delivered by different vendors from different platforms. The following diagram provides a high level view of BPM involving SaaS.

On Premise Business Analyst: This will be a human actor who actually models the business process that will be automated through the Solution.

Cloud Based BPM Modeler / Studio: BPM Studio or modeler enables the business analyst to diagrammatically model the Business Process, this is offered as a Cloud Based Service to facilitate rapid provisioning across the enterprise users. One of the implementations of cloud based BPM modeler is IBM Blueworks Live. IBM Blueworks Live is Cloud Based business process modeler, belonging under the set of IBM SmartCloud applications. This application is designated to help organizations capture and then automate their business processes, and help them collaborate in the task of doing so.

BPM Process Server on Cloud: Once the Business Processes are modeled they needs to be deployed on to a highly scalable Process Server that also connects with multiple back end processes. Cloud BPM Process Servers are becoming more of enterprise standard. http://www.cordys.com/platform-as-a-service, Cordys is one such implementation of BPM Process on Cloud. Cordys can be consumed in a Platform-as-a-Service model and provides all of the facilities required to support the complete life cycle of building and delivering Cloud applications and services.

SaaS Based Business Services: In the recent times enterprises either adopted complete Business Process As A Service (BpaaS) or a part of their business process which is a business service (popularly termed as SaaS) from Cloud. This brings interesting possibilities about demarcation of responsibilities between Cloud Based BPM Service (i.e the Platform) and to the Business Services (i.e the SaaS based Services).

Cloud-Based BPM and SaaS Best Practices
While the SaaS Business Services can be part of a Cloud based BPM, where do we implement the Business Rules and other technical processing within the flow of a business process ?

As highlighted in my diagram it is best to implement the,

  • High-level macro processes of the business process flow , including the business rules related to the selection and usage of individual business services (SaaS based), inside the Cloud Based BPM Server
  • Low-level micro processes and associated human work flow within the SaaS based business services, i.e., utilize the out of the box work flow features of the respective SaaS solutions. Most of the SaaS/BpaaS solutions provide their own business process work flows which needs to be leveraged to the fullest potential. For example :
  • o For example in Workday (www.workday.com), Workday Business Process Framework gives you the ability to configure and reconfigure processes whenever and wherever you need-without the involvement of IT.
  • o In SalesForce, The Visual Process Manager helps companies easily automate specific business process like call center scripting, sales quotes, and new employee on boarding.

This kind of demarcation will provide the best results due to the following.

  • The high-level Business Process Flow and associated routing rules are best implemented in the cloud-based BPM Modeler and subsequently moved to a BPM Process Server.
  • This makes enterprises highly agile with respect to implementing the business processes
  • The low level micro processes are shifted to the respective SaaS offering, which ensures that the Business Process itself not tightly coupled to the SaaS solution and the SaaS solution can easily be replaced with another one addressing the much needed interoperability needs
  • Also the SaaS solution will have the advantage of best implementing the low level micro processes in their own turf.

Cloud BPM forms part of Gartner's future vision on Cloud Computing and emerging technologies and it's benefits are obvious to the business (The Cloud BPM (bpmPaaS) market is slated to grow 25% year over year, and 40% of companies doing BPM are already using BPM in the cloud). However there are some challenges to be taken care.

  • Adapters and connectors to various on premise business services
  • Seamless integration between cloud-based BPM modeling service and cloud-based BPM process service across vendors
  • How the low level business services / micro level processes implemented on SaaS solutions able to communicate back and work with the high level business processes implemented on the Cloud BPM Process Server ?

However, with the innovations happening from various vendors these will be addressed soon.

The above notion of a best practice is more of a thought process, there needs to be reference implementations for the same to prove the value of it, especially in a SaaS interoperability scenario. Please write to me if you have come across any platforms and / or architectures implementing best practices in cloud-based BPM.

More Stories By Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

Highly passionate about utilizing Digital Technologies to enable next generation enterprise. Believes in enterprise transformation through the Natives (Cloud Native & Mobile Native).

@ThingsExpo Stories
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, will discuss the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docke...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
Cloud based infrastructure deployment is becoming more and more appealing to customers, from Fortune 500 companies to SMEs due to its pay-as-you-go model. Enterprise storage vendors are able to reach out to these customers by integrating in cloud based deployments; this needs adaptability and interoperability of the products confirming to cloud standards such as OpenStack, CloudStack, or Azure. As compared to off the shelf commodity storage, enterprise storages by its reliability, high-availabil...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
We all know the latest numbers: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from last year, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. We're rapidly approaching a data production of 40 zettabytes a day – more than we can every physically store, and exabytes and yottabytes are just around the corner. For many that’s a good sign, as data has been proven to equal money – IF it’s ingested, integrated, and analyzed fast enough. Without real-tim...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it ...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...