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Anne Stuart’s BPM in Action

Michael Dortch

The Big Mash-Up, Continued: What Does BPM Want?

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As I've mentioned here previously, I (along with some other industry observers whose opinions I respect, sometimes more than my own) fervently believe we're watching the colliding convergence of multiple technologies. These include, but are not limited to, BPM, event-driven architectures (EDAs), enterprise information integration (EII), information lifecycle management (ILM), master data management (MDM), and service-oriented architectures (SOAs).

This time out, I want to throw out some more detailed musings about the forces driving BPM closer to EII, ILM, and MDM. While these latter three areas are overlapping and often only vaguely defined, they all attempt to address the same core needs. As I see it, there are two that matter most.

Need the First: The ability to base every business action, decision, and process on the most accurate, consistent, secure, and timely information available, without fail.

Need the Second: The ability to answer the "Journalism 101" questions about that information - who's using what, when, where, why, and how - accurately and completely, on demand at any time.

These are the needs underlying increasing industry focus on "one version of the truth," a phrase cited frequently by those focused on tasks or goals such as data quality or management of customer or product information.

But meeting these needs as completely and consistently as possible is also essential if BPM is to succeed and deliver maximum business value. Processes developed, enforced or revised based on inaccurate, inconsistent, or just plain wrong information are opportunities to make what we called sardonically in my young analyst days "career-limiting decisions."

But don't just take my word for it. Recent survey-based research conducted by me and my august colleagues at Aberdeen Group finds that companies using or planning MDM know more about "time to information," the time between business activity and delivery of useful information to decision-makers, than those with no MDM activities or plans. Aberdeen research also finds that most companies are pursuing EDA plans, and that those companies also pursuing SOA and/or MDM plans are going after EDAs more aggressively.

Now, even if you could build an EDA or an SOA without BPM, I'm not sure I'd want to see the results. And even if you have no plans for EDAs or SOAs, the more business-critical your processes become, the more they require effective management, and the more that management requires the best information available.

Drop me a line if you'd like to see the Aberdeen research I've mentioned. Also please drop a line or post a comment if you're pursuing BPM initiatives in concert with EII, ILM, and/or MDM, or if you have supporting or contrarian ideas about this particular element of The Big Mash-Up.

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Business process management and optimization -- philosophies, policies, practices, and punditry.

Anne Stuart

I am the editor of ebizQ.

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