|By Srinivasan Sundara Rajan||
|September 20, 2012 11:00 AM EDT||
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
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.
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new data-driven world, marketplaces reign supreme while interoperability, APIs and applications deliver un...
Oct. 9, 2015 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 283
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Oct. 9, 2015 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,392
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Oct. 9, 2015 05:45 AM EDT
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll share tips on how to speed up business initiatives, harness Big Data and remain one step ahead by apply...
Oct. 9, 2015 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 503
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
Oct. 9, 2015 05:15 AM EDT
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
Oct. 9, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 566
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
Oct. 9, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 500
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
Oct. 9, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 291
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Oct. 9, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 724
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
Oct. 9, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,215
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
Oct. 9, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 167
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Oct. 9, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 208
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Oct. 9, 2015 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 7,026
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
Oct. 9, 2015 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,133
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
Oct. 8, 2015 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 595
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
Oct. 8, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 118
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
Oct. 8, 2015 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 233
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT.
Oct. 8, 2015 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 7,472
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
Oct. 8, 2015 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 499
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
Oct. 8, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 656