Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Liz McMillan, Sanjay Zalavadia, Stefano Stabellini, Elizabeth White, Scott Sobhani

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.

Summary
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
"We work in the area of Big Data analytics and Big Data analytics is a very crowded space - you have Hadoop, ETL, warehousing, visualization and there's a lot of effort trying to get these tools to talk to each other," explained Mukund Deshpande, head of the Analytics practice at Accelerite, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann returns to 'DevOps at Cloud Expo 2016' as Conference Chair The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited t...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profession...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
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...
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...