BPM in the Cloud – What’s it all about?

Business Process Management is becoming more common place and has become accepted as a business imperative by most organisations. The adoption of Cloud based solutions that provide integrated process SaaS offerings is however still not as widely accepted but is finding traction.

A recent event from Cordys explains “How Cloud Computing Will Change Business Process Management” in which George Barlow, the CEO of Cloud Harbor, Inc. a Cloud computing software and services company presents a view of how:

…the  increasing relevance of Cloud computing, using BPM systems will be offered in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model and be delivered in on-premise service appliances behind the firewall.

… it explores these topics and provide a glimpse into these significant new business technologies to be delivered “in the Cloud”.

It is obviously a vendor and service provider view of the business and technological value proposition but in my opinion, the webinar (with audio option) is one of the better introductions to ‘BPM in the Cloud’ and is also supported by various analyst market forecasts.

Check out the webinar  here (requires short registration) or alternatively, the slides from the presentation are below for those who are ‘time challenged’   🙂

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What is the State of the Cloud? – An Overview

There are various views in the market regarding the adoption of Cloud computing  and as I have experienced with BPM, many folks are still struggling with trying to figure out what it is,where the value proposition is and how to quantify it. Some of the more common comments supporting the Cloud computing argument include:

  • Cloud computing is expected to grow in adoption within the next five years.
  • Drivers for adoption will include the need for higher levels of service at lower costs.
  • Benefits of cloud computing include faster development speed and better payment structure.
  • SMEs may be more interested in cloud computing in the next three years, particularly when they need to build or expand their data centers.
  • <add your own here….>

As a snapshot on the ‘State of the Cloud’ I have included a presentation from Interop 09 Enterprise Cloud Summit late 2009. It gives some introductory thoughts on clouds, how we got here and where it’s going. I would be interested to hear about your plans and experiences regarding BPM and Cloud adoption.

For further reading, have a look at this post that states Ovum Research firm has chosen Cordys as the the best fit for SaaS enabled BPM platform.

IBM BlueWorks – Value Proposition & Overview

Since the news broke earlier in the year, there has been much discussion regarding what IBM BlueWorks is and what its value proposition is comparison to WebSphere. As can be expected, there has also been some confusion.

In the light of the Lombadi Software acquisition, I thought this brief overview would be useful for the uninitiated. More information can be found at the IBM Blueworks Community site and for an overview of Lombardi refer to this post.

Pegasystems Announces New Additions to Cloud Computing Offering – SmartPaaS

Pegasystems has announced that they have released new offerings on their Cloud based SmartPaaS platform – Instance Manager™ and Instant Edition™.

The according to the write up in their press release:

SmartPaaS Instance Manager automates the entire life cycle of requesting, approving, creating and tracking development and test environments for Pegasystems’ SmartBPM solutions. Customers, partners and BPM Centers of Excellence (COE’s) can use this application to provision — in about 30 minutes — secure, high performance environments on Amazon Web Services. It also includes a sophisticated management console and reporting capability.

SmartPaaS Instant Edition offers a secure, high performance cloud environment to simplify the development lifecycle of BPM projects for teams working on projects from disparate geographies. The finished application is 100% portable between the cloud and internal data center environments.

Both offerings are available on a simple monthly subscription basis.

Opinion

It will be interesting to see how this offering from Pega compares to all the other vendors in this space including:

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BPM, SOA and the Cloud – Market Forecast 2015

In the recent Worldwide Business Process Management (BPM) Market Opportunities Strategies, and Forecasts, 2009 to 2015, WinterGreen predict that: facade

Business process management (BPM) and services oriented architecture engine markets at $1.8 billion for licenses, maintenance, and services in 2008 are expected to reach $6.2 billion by 2015. Products have a dashboard that supports ease of use for business analysts. The automation of process is what drives profitability for the enterprise.

The authors state that BPM is going to be at the heart of most organisational transformation initiatives and that:

Business process management promises to drive enterprise markets going forward by implementing automated process more efficiently. Automation of business process must be balanced with human exception management, which is managed by workflow. Business processes are enhanced by the ability to interconnect a range of different applications systems including general ledger, order entry, inventory, process control, and human resources.

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SOA Adoption – So Far, So Good….

Towards the end of 2008, Dave Linthicum issued his predictions for the year ahead in service oriented architecture. They are summarised below:bpm-questions-you-should-ask-your-bpms-vendor1

  • The interest in cloud computing (or WOA, Web 2.0, or insert current Webby buzzword here) will drive many enterprises toward SOA
  • The explosion in PaaS (platform as a service) will leave many enterprise architects and CIOs scratching their heads
  • The economy will recover, but most enterprises out there will focus on cost reduction
  • There will be a larger focus on inter-domain SOA technology
  • Jig will be up for poor SOA governance solutions out there
  • Most failed SOA projects will be traced to unqualified SOA architects
  • SOA the buzzword will become a bit less relevant and will begin to morph with concepts, such as enterprise architecture and cloud computing

So where are we?

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Why does Forrester think IBM WebSphere is now Cool?

IBM have made some interesting announcements related to BPM during their recent annual conference. The BPM specific ones are:

This announcement seems to have found traction with analysts and according to Forrester, IBM has now moved from being the “Goliath” to the “David” of the BPM industry. I have posted some excerpts from a post on Forrester BPM Blog explaining their postion:webSphere

…I have to admit, the functionality and depth presented by IBM underwhelmed the federal customer – they literally shook their heads with disappointment.  At that time, IBM was force fitting the WPS product to be a human-centric BPM platform.  I described it as a “headless horseman” – nice integration functionality under the covers, but missing the required interface for users to interact with their tasks and workflow.I have to admit, the functionality and depth presented by IBM underwhelmed the federal customer – they literally shook their heads with disappointment. 

At that time, IBM was force fitting the WPS product to be a human-centric BPM platform.  I described it as a “headless horseman” – nice integration functionality under the covers, but missing the required interface for users to interact with their tasks and workflow.

….Fast forward three years later…

IBM is placing very large bets on WPS leading them to the BPM promised land and has invested heavily to make the platform more business-friendly and accessible.

IBM has upped its game in BPM and is becoming a stronger human-centric BPM contender.  Business Space and BPM BlueWorks paint a new face on IBM that will attract more business-oriented customers that we’re frightened by the previous generation of tech-heavy IBM BPM offerings.

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