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.

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AIIM BPM Industry Watch 2009 Report – Released

AIIM have released their annual report on the state of the BPM industry which is based on the experiences of over 450 BPM users within the AIIM community, this report details how long the payback period might be and the likely return on investment (ROI) across a number of potential process types.

The study also covers the biggest project issues and critical factors for success. Users told us where they prefer to buy their BPM tools and what features and functions they have found to be most useful.

It also goes on to reiterrate the point that most practitioners of BPM and Enterprise Architecture have known for many years and I have seen with most customers I have worked with over the years.

Business Process Management (BPM) is not widely recognized as a single software product or even as a suite of related software tools. It is, more accurately, a business management practice which might utilize a number of dedicated software mechanisms.

…BPM takes on both broader and deeper aspects. Broader in the sense of integrating with other enterprise applications, taking in electronic forms and edocuments, populating transactional databases and providing a single point of interface for users. Deeper features include process modelling and simulation, reusable process modules, and process monitoring and optimization.

By its nature, BPM is an intrusive technology. It has an excellent track record of investment return largely achieved by changing and re-shaping business processes for higher performance. As an agent of such change, the implementation of BPM presents many challenges, particularly when a process crosses departmental boundaries, or when the proponents of the BPM project are not from within the Line of Business affected.

Key findings from this BPM report include:  Continue reading

Gartner Release Enterprise Architecture MQ 2009 – Findings

Earlier in the year I posted about how EA and BPM are merging in both the practioner and tools space. This was also highlighted by evidence  from reports by Gartner and Forrester.

Gartner has released their latest analysis of the Enterprise Architecture vendor market.

Their overall assessment is favourable and in summary states the following:

  • EA tools adoption has increased despite economic challenges
  • Tools vendors have increased the richness of the features and functionality of their tools sets
  • Merger and aquisition activity (Software AG buying IDS Scheer) has provided momentum for 2009/2010.
  • Most tools seem to be more well rounded and now include, modelling, business intelligence and analysis capabilities that use a single data repository.
  • Open source and entry level tools have emerged and are seen to be gaining acceptance and interest but it is too early to tell what type of adoption there will be by a wider audience.
  • There is recognition in the market that entry level and no cost offerings can pose a longer term threat to vendors. This is as a result of vendors not listening to customers and not not aligning themselves with customer needs and their associated adoption of a fit for purpose EA tool.

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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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Insurance IT Budgets 2009 – Strategic Planning vs Tactical Gains

The Insurance Industry, as with all other industries, are under pressure to reprioritise their business plans and initiatives as a result of the current economic climate (see previous post). They are reassessing thier positions and evaluating where and when to invest in new IT initiatives and equally importantly, where to cut back.  

Reading a recent article it became clear that various insurance companies have opposing views to what the future holds and how they will be moving forward in the short to medium term.

As far as the insurance industry is concerned, there was no such thing as a finalized IT budget for 2009. Most CIOs had their budgets in hand in January, but none knew just how far the economy would fall, how their organizations would fare or how technology spending would be affected as a result.

But while the overall economic picture remains in flux, insurers’ IT budgets seem to be falling into two key categories: those with a view toward the future and the strategic deployment of technology, and those that are taking a more tactical approach to technology in an effort to realize short-terms goals and ride out the recession.

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