Tag Archives: BPM

How to make more with BPM, Mashups and Integration combined

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I had many discussions recently about composite applications, process management and integration. A couple of years ago it looked like It would all be subsumed into a big BPM cloud. Well, it had not.

BPM Suites reinforced substantially the “high-end”, intelligent layer of their stack (processBig payload on a slim base optimization, complex event processing, process performance …). But they did little about integration and composition of information assets that were not designed to be integrated (about 80% or more of enterprise assets). It reminds me of a chicken – big payload on a rather slim base. That explains, at least partially, why BPM has not yet made it to the IT Mainstream.

What went somewhat unnoticed was the brief mushrooming of Mashup technology – which was targeted at power users, enabling them to recompose those existing information assets into new applications. That did not work because it still required skills that were beyond those possessed by the target audience (see A reality check on “citizen development”). Yet Mashup platforms (such as Convertigo) offer a very cost effective and compelling way to enhance BPM suites by extending their information base. The ability to interact with a key application without having to re-engineer it can make the difference in deciding upon the implementation of a BPM initiative.

Application Integration has also regained in importance, in particular when it comes to integration between Cloud and On-Premise applications. That is yet another facet of the orchestration of business processes, which is championed by BPM. Here I also see an increasing number of productive alliances, such as the recent partnership between Pallas-Athena and Magic Software.

All this leads me to expect that the next wave of consolidation in the BPM space would happen at the lower level of the stack, adding a rich set of easy integration and composition technologies to really enable the incredible potential of a full-fledged BPM system.

Why should BI be considered in isolation?

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There’s an evolving conversation at ebizQ about BI, questioning if BI is forward or backward looking (is it like driving while looking at the rear-view mirror?).

I’d say that driving without a look at the rear mirror can be quite dangerous. Rather than being holistic, we should consider BI as one technology which contributes to better management, rather than as an isolated panacea.

If you can apply BI to on-going data in order to make near real-time decisions, then you are not just looking backwards. Say that you approach traffic lights, and the green blinks announcing that it would soon turn to red. Should you hit the accelerator or the breaks? If your BI can give this answer, taking into account past behaviour and data as well as present data (speed, location, …) – then you have a good implementation.

We see this kind of implementation more and more. In the context of Process Management, one of the fast growing products (Appian) actually stems from BI and applies this technology to many facets of their product. Other BPM vendors do similar things. BI is also increasingly integrated in the Office environment with add-on products such as Panorama.

To conclude with a broader perspective, let’s not underestimate the relevance of history. History is part of our present and certainly impacts our future, and those who have a good understanding and insight of history usually are able to better interpret the present and make sound decisions about the future. I thing that this is what BI helps us do.