Friday, 22 August 2008

Business Process Management (BPM) delivered by Software As A Service (SAAS)

In BPM SAAS Is Here - Is It a Storm Cloud For IT? , Wolf Rivkin suggests that the traditional Enterprise IT faces a challenge from a BPM-centric architecture of clouds. As with all future-state architectural views the model (link included here because it is difficult to find in original article) is tantalisingly simple and well ordered especially when compared with the rats-nest of current state architecture that we are all familiar with. A picture is painted of business-oriented services (CRM and the like); Data-centric services (Master Data, Warehouse etc) and BPM being utilised from cloud-space rather than neatly locked in the realm of corporate IT. Agility in business operations is supported by expression of Business Process and Business Rules. There are a few impediments to selling this idea.
  • The rats-nest current state is the start point and cannot be removed with a wave of the wand. Multiple future states will have to interact with variants of the current state architecture. So the future state is in fact more complicated than the current for the foreseeable future.
  • Although all the pieces of the future cloud architecture can be seen today, the interconnection of them is not a mature concept. How for instance is the customer data supporting CRM utilised from an unrelated cloud datastore?
  • Systems that enable the business process should be highly resilient. If a back office accounting system fails or is unavailable the impact on business is minimal but if a BPMS is controlling your business activities, no BPMS = no business. Simple events like Google's GMAIL failure illustrate the potential for stuffing up your business life.
  • Some business services may already exist and be valued in the current enterprise IT. Making an ERP installation operate peer to peer with an external cloud may be seen as a lot of unproductive work by an in-house IT shop.
That said, I would really like to work on solving the issues.

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