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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BPM Conference – Vendors Showcase BPM and EA Capabilities

The recent event from BPM CON II – Intelligent BPM for the Productive Enterprise highlighted something that I have posted about before – the importance of EA & BPM convergence.

Admittedly, everyone has a different view on what BPM and EA is and how value can be derived from each but as with most things, real benefits come from combining individual concepts, methods and tools rather than just working with them individually on a case by case basis.

This  general principle of holism was concisely summarized by Aristotle in the Metaphysics:  “The whole is more than the sum of its parts”.

Reductionism in contrast, is sometimes seen as the opposite of holism. Reductionism in science says that a complex system can be explained by reduction to its fundamental parts. This sounds very much like the abstraction capabilities that Business Process Mangement and Enterprise Architecture provide.

No matter how you choose to define it, ultimately the focus should be on  how both can be used to solve tactical business problems while executing a longer term strategic roadmap. But I digress…..

The BPM II conference had four vendors presenting their capabilities and approaces to how BPM & EA could be used.

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Free SOA and BPM Webinar Roundup

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There has been a lot of talk in the press recently about SOA and BPM and convergence. In a recent article from Joe McKendrick entitled ‘Will vendors finally force SOA and BPM to mingle?‘ the following observation was made wrt BPM and SOA convergence:

  It may take time for the SOA and BPM worlds to come together anyway. It’s like the separate Francophone and Anglophone cultures that exist in Canada; the Scotts, Welsh, English, and Irish in the UK; the Flemish and Francophones in Belgium; or the residents of North and South New Jersey. They’ll all agree to exist under one roof, but that’s about it — they still want their own ways of doing things.

 As a result, I thought it may be useful to share some of my resources on SOA and BPM…. 

Gartner who have made 2 complimentary BPM webinars available:

  • Using BPM to Survive, Thrive and Capitalize in a Turbulent Economy
  • How to Use Process as a Competitive Weapon

Free registration for both can be found here

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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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eClarus – Roundtripping Business Process and SOA Modeling

I recently had an opportunity to review the eClarus Business Process Modeler from eClarus Software. I found it to be an intuitive, very feature rich and versatile tool mainly targeted to business analysts and developers who are designing and developing SOA solutions.

The product suite is positioned as a tool that is standards based and enables roundtrip business process and SOA modelling. eClarus is available is targeted at two categories of user:

  • Business Analysts
  • SOA Architects

The product has some interesting capabilities that can definitely be useful to individual users and small teams. The integration with other products e.g. Eclipse  (using a plugin) is especially useful, even though it tends to be  focused at development teams and the related tools sets used for configuration management etc.

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