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What are the implications of the integration of BPMS and Cloud Computing?

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This question comes from Dave YoukersWhat are the implications of the integration of BPMS and Cloud Computing? Could we ultimately end up with a "catalog" of optimized business processes, with operational functionality delivered via "cloud" distribution channels?

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  • Cloud Computing is simply a delivery approach. It means a project does not need to wait for their internal IT department to install and configure software for them.

    So implications. The project team can get going immediately using the BPMS to develop a BPM workflow application. The don;t even need to talk to IT.

    The downside is that most BPMS appliations need to integrate with other systems/applications/data sources within the organisation (unless of course they are in the Cloud too).

    So they still need to go and talk to IT who may take a very dim view that the project team bypassed them and started using a BPMS in the Cloud.

    So - if Cloud is part of a companies IT strategy, a Cloud BPMS is an excellent idea. If cloud is a way of avoiding the IT roadblock, then less effective.

  • Catalogs of common business processes already exist within packaged ERP/CRM applications.

    BPM is more about processes that make up company's unique strength and competitive advantage. These don't come with catalog, they are tailor- or self-made.

    As for the distribution, more options is better for sure but deploying business-critical solutions in a cloud has serious security/legal issues, especially for non-US resudents.

  • Being able to implement a process and connect team members to it in hours not weeks is the big advantage of BPMS in the cloud. And as has been said the issues lie in the integration of the workflows with other business systems. Some BPMS systems do enable cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-premise integrations. Feel free to contact me directly to learn more about that.

    We are easily seduced by the idea that the cloud is always in reach but we should consider how we interact with cloud-based BPMS when we are not connected to the 'net. When looking for a solution that is cloud based ask your vendor two questions:

    1) Can I interact with the system in a cached manner when I am not connected to the cloud?

    2) Can I interact with the system from a my handheld device when I am traveling and away from my computer?

    And "interact" needs to be sufficient to support your role. If you need to transition items, run reports or assign tasks in the full user interface you need to be able to do that in the remote or off-line user interface too.

    Set the bar high for your vendors, challenge them to meet your needs, don't compromise.

  • These are orthogonal subjects. BPM is an approach to creating applications, while "cloud" is a way to lease compute power without having to pay for the hardware as a capital purchase.

    Fujitsu has offered BPM in the cloud for 18 months. You can run the exact same BPM application on a lap-top development server, a clustered high availability on-site server, or host in our cloud environment. There is no difference in the BPM application, it is just a matter of how you want to pay for the compute power.

    As for "Could we ultimately end up with a "catalog" of optimized business processes" There was a project in the mid 90's at MIT to attempt to collect such a catalog. It was a serious effort, but did not produce anything. i have seen the standard processes that Anatoly talks about, and they are never fully ready to be used. The problem is that there really are no standard processes. I am afraid the dream to eliminate the need for management to actually define the work is just a pipe dream.

    In any case, deploying the BPM on the cloud does not significantly change the application that is deployed.


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