Introduction to BPM Suites

by Grant HEnson

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The interest in Business Process Management (BPM) and BPM Suites has increased significantly in recent years. This surge in interest can be attributed to two major changes in the business landscape: the ubiquitous adoption of the Internet and the progression of workflow systems.

The Internet and XML

In the past few decades, business managers have been discussing processes and process changes. However, it is the widespread adoption of the Internet, coupled with the development of XML, that has ignited this renewed interest in BPM and BPM Suites.

The Internet has made it possible to integrate enterprise applications more easily. This is because the Internet and XML allow data to be packaged and linked between applications. This has led to more streamlined and efficient business processes.

The Evolution of Workflow Systems

The evolution of workflow systems has also played a role in the rise of interest in BPM. Workflow systems manage the interaction between employees and data. Early workflow systems were primarily used to manage document processing. Forms were scanned, stored in databases, and then routed to the appropriate employee for processing. Once an employee processed a form, it was automatically routed to the next employee who needed to work on it.

By the late 1990s, workflow systems had been integrated into Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications to make it easier for employees to interact with ERP applications. However, it soon became clear that managing multiple workflow engines, one for each ERP application, was a complex process.

It became apparent that a single workflow engine, capable of managing all employees and all applications used in a complete business process, would be more effective. This realization, coupled with the push from Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) vendors to incorporate workflow elements into their products and a similar drive from workflow vendors to add EAI elements, ultimately led to the birth of BPM.

The Benefits of BPM

BPM offers a number of benefits to businesses, including:

  • Improved efficiency: BPM can help businesses to streamline their processes and reduce costs.
  • Increased customer satisfaction: BPM can help businesses to improve their customer service by providing a more efficient and timely response to customer requests.
  • Enhanced compliance: BPM can help businesses to comply with regulations by automating processes and ensuring that all data is properly tracked and managed.
  • Improved decision-making: BPM can help businesses to make better decisions by providing insights into their operations.

The Future of BPM

The future of BPM is bright. As businesses continue to adopt BPM, they will see even more benefits, such as:

  • Greater agility: BPM can help businesses to be more agile and responsive to change.
  • Increased innovation: BPM can help businesses to innovate by providing a platform for experimentation and improvement.
  • Improved collaboration: BPM can help businesses to collaborate more effectively by providing a shared view of their processes.

BPM is a powerful tool that can help businesses to improve their operations and achieve their goals. As businesses continue to adopt BPM, we can expect to see even more benefits in the years to come.

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