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ebizQ Editorial Coverage Areas

ebizQ covers the entire spectrum of technologies in the business integration arena. Whether it involves integrating applications and processes within an organization or connecting enterprises to their suppliers, partners and customers, ebizQ is there to bring its users pertinent, compelling information about the technologies that make it happen.

Among the technologies we follow:

Automated Workflow Management
Workflow management involves moving information, documents or tasks between people or machines within an organization. Typically, the goal of workflow management is getting the right information to the right person in the right order and at the right time. Automating that process can dramatically improve efficiency and productivity, reduce response time, prevent errors and cut costs. For those reasons, automated workflow is a common goal for business process management (BPM) programs and initiatives.

Business-to-business (B2B) refers the exchange of goods, services or information between business organizations, rather than between companies and consumers (B2C). The term also extends to transactions with other partners and suppliers throughout the supply chain, such as financial institutions and third-party logistics (3PL) companies. Business process management (BPM) initiatives can contribute to B2B commerce both through internal improvements and by automating business processes all along the supply chain.

BPM & Enterprise 2.0
Enterprise 2.0 refers to the integration of Web 2.0 technologies into a company's intranet, extranet and business processes. The Enterprise 2.0 approach is expected to apply an increasingly strategic role in business process management (BPM). Enterprise 2.0 initiatives are often intended to increase productivity and innovation by allowing users to easily share information and collaborate on tasks and projects. Such initiatives may be in-house or Web-based, and they may involve a company’s partners or customers as well as its employees.

BPM & Enterprise Architecture
As no application (or business process, for that matter) is an island anymore, organizations must invest in and use enterprise integration and enterprise architecture approaches to create effective IT infrastructures.

BPM & Web 2.0
Web 2.0 commonly refers to a “second generation” Web representing a transition from static Web pages to dynamic, interactive, application-rich sites that typically encourage user participation. Web 2.0 also refers to providing improved ability for people to meet, network, collaborate and share information online. This approach makes it easier for users to collaborate on business process management (BPM) and process-improvement initiatives. Blogs, wikis, video-sharing and social networking are among the many examples of Web 2.0 technologies.

BPM Suites & Platforms
Market forces are compelling organizations to make dramatic changes that help cut costs, reduce risk, and capitalize on revenue opportunities. Business process management suites (BPMSs) can serve as the common ground for business and IT professionals to create more agile, efficient, and cost-effective business processes to help companies rapidly respond to market needs.

BPM, SOA & Cloud Integration
Business process management (BPM) projects increasingly rely integrated approaches to service-oriented architecture (SOA) and cloud computing. SOAs incorporate modular reusable business services that have clearly defined and standardized interfaces. As a result, these architectures maximize reuse and business agility and enable rapid business change. Cloud computing generally refers an Internet-based approach outside traditional on-premises computing architectures. Business process management suites (BPMSs) and other BPM products are increasingly offered in cloud-based versions. Find BPM-SOA resources in this section.

BPM: Customer Management
Experts say that, in many ways, business process management (BPM) and customer relationship management (CRM) are moving toward convergence. CRM software increasingly offers some BPM functionality, while BPM initiatives are addressing customer-management issues such as acquiring new customers, retaining existing ones, planning for peak business periods and managing customer feedback. To learn more about using BPM to support CRM and improve customer experience, see our collection of tips, articles and other resources.

BPM: Financial Services
Business process management (BPM) programs and initiatives can improve organizational productivity, efficiency, effectiveness and even profitability--but only if the underlying BPM technology is correctly deployed. Our collection of strategic and tactical tips, resources and learning content provides expert advice on successfully choosing and implementing business process management suites (BPMSs) as well as solutions for decision management, operational intelligence, advanced analytics and other BPM-related activities.

BPM: Government
Federal, state and local government agencies use business process management (BPM) to automate workflows, aggregate and analyze data, improve record-keeping, boost productivity, respond to citizen requests and cut costs. Agencies are also using BPM to better serve constituents by coordinating services and records throughout their own organizations and even across multiple agencies. Many government agencies increasingly rely on BPM to ensure compliance with the constantly growing number of statutes that regulate their activities. Find BPM-government resources in this section.

BPM: Healthcare & Insurance
By using business process management (BPM), healthcare providers can cut costs and boost productivity by, among other things, streamlining and automating workflows and improving record-keeping and billing processes. BPM is widely used in insurance companies to speed up information flows, providing agents and other key players with accurate, up-to-date information. That can eliminate bottlenecks and time-wasting tasks, improve underwriting results and enable faster response to changing business demand, emerging opportunities and new regulatory requirements.

BPM: Supply Chain
Business process management (BPM) can help enterprises view their supply chains comprehensively and optimize them for better performance. BPM can provide those benefits not just throughout an individual enterprise, but to outside suppliers, partners and other key parties as well. Ultimately, BPM can improve efficiency, visibility, control, accountability throughout the entire supply chain. To learn more about BPM for supply-chain management, see our collection of tips, articles and other resources.

Business Activity Monitoring (BAM)
Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) refers to the combination of business process management (BPM) and operational business intelligence. BAM solutions provide real-time alerts in response to metrics signaling that something in the business needs intervention. BAM technology also enables real-time business intelligence, trend analysis and data mining that can provide information on how best to respond to alerts. Finally, information gathered by BAM can provide valuable data points for strategic-planning initiatives.

Business Event Processing
Business event processing (also known as complex event processing) helps organizations monitor and act on business events in near-real time. Event-processing programs aggregate information from distributed systems in real time, applying apply rules that reveal key patterns, relationships or trends. This type of "situational awareness," or "sensing and responding," helps companies quickly anticipate, identify and respond to both potential opportunities and possible threats. Learn more about business event processing from our tips, interviews and other resources.

Business Process Analysis & Optimization
In business process analysis, companies review existing processes and practices with an eye toward improvement, often by automating them. Business process optimization refers to making processes as effective as possible. Optimization begins with analysis, typically by taking process performance data from the process-modeling stage, and identifying potential or actual bottlenecks. That analysis can lead to enhancements applied to the overall process design to improve efficiency and overall business value.

Business Process Intelligence
Business process intelligence fuses business process management (BPM) and business intelligence (BI). Process intelligence involves monitoring analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs) and linking them daily activities and business processes for the purpose of ensuring that the entire enterprise is moving toward declared performance goals. Process intelligence can be strategic, tactical or operational in nature. See our collection of tips, articles and other resources for more information on process intelligence.

Business Process Management (BPM) Standards
Business process management (BPM) professionals are continually grappling with creating standards for the methodology and the supporting technologies. BPM is the subject of multiple existing and emerging standards, many geared to process modeling. Well-known standards include Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN)2.0 and Business Process Execution Language (BPEL), among others. Our growing collection of tips, articles and other content can serve as resource for keeping up with constantly evolving BPM standards.

Business Process Management (BPM) Technology Implementation
Business process management (BPM) programs and initiatives can improve organizational productivity, efficiency, effectiveness and even profitability--but only if the underlying BPM technology is correctly deployed. Our collection of strategic and tactical tips, resources and learning content provides expert advice on successfully choosing and implementing business process management suites (BPMSs) as well as solutions for decision management, operational intelligence, advanced analytics and other BPM-related activities.

Business Process Management (BPM ) Best Practices
Business process management (BPM) best practices can go a long way toward ensuring success of your BPM programs and projects. Ultimately, tried-and-tested best practices will make your business more efficient, more effective and more capable of adapting rapidly to ever-changing industry conditions and market demands by improving productivity, streamlining workflow and eliminating bottlenecks. Learn more about BPM best practices in our growing collection of tips, articles, expert advice and learning content.

Business Process Management (BPM) and Enterprise Content Management
Enterprise content management (ECM) refers to methodologies and technologies used for managing a company's content, or information, in support of its business processes. Put another way, ECM allows an organization to manage its unstructured information assets, regardless of where they exist, and map them to those business processes. Besides enhancing business process management (BPM) ECM is designed to enable more effective information-sharing, better operational performance and improved compliance with internal rules and government regulations.

Business Process Simulation
Business process simulation plays an important role in the continuous improvement approach to business process management (BPM). By running business process simulations, companies can predict how business processes perform under specific conditions. Simulations can also be used to test process design, measure performance, identify bottlenecks and test changes. Ultimately, process simulation can identify the most effective process flow and help prevent problems from cropping up during process execution. Simulation models can be very simple or highly complex.

Business Process Visibility & Monitoring
The goal of business process visibility is providing a complete view into an enterprise's processes. From an operational perspective, process visibility can show that transactions and other activities are processing accurately. From a business perspective, process visibility shows whether processes are correctly aligned with key business goals. Business process monitoring helps provide such visibility, allowing organizations to proactively identify potential problems while ensuring that processes map to overall business objectives.

Business Rules Management
Business rules are clear, formal policies for how an organization responds to pre-defined events, activities or changes in its business environment, including in its business processes. A business rules management system (BRMS) can automate those policies, allowing for quick, easy changes and reliable monitoring of resulting decisions or activities. Business rules and BRMSs can save time, increase organizational agility and responsiveness and accelerate business process management (BPM) efforts.

Cloud BPM
Organizations are increasingly interested in using cloud-computing solutions to enhance their business process management (BPM) solutions. Cloud-based BPM offers multiple benefits, including improved agility, increased enterprise-wide visibility and accessibility, more effective monitoring capability and new opportunities for collaboration capability—often at reduced cost. At the same time, cloud BPM comes with concerns about security, regulatory compliance and reliability. Look to this section for coverage of all those issues.

Complex Event Processing
Complex event processing (CEP) software aggregates information from distributed systems in real time and applies rules to discern patterns and trends that would otherwise go unnoticed. This gives companies the ability to identify and anticipate opportunities represented by seemingly unrelated events. With CEP, businesses can map discrete events to expected outcomes and relate series of events to key performance indicators (KPIs). CEP gives businesses insight into which events will have the greatest operational impact so they can focus their resources to seize opportunities and mitigate risks

This section chronicles the emergence of CEP applications and products, and to discuss their relevance to managing the event-driven real time enterprise.

Continuous Process Improvement
Continuous process improvement refers to ongoing efforts to improve business processes. In truth, most business process management (BPM) efforts are constant works in progress. But continuous process improvement is a formal, ongoing approach to improving processes (and, ultimately, productivity, services and products). Processes are constantly evaluated, often based on employee and customer feedback, then adapted as needed to meet organization goals. Improvements may be made incrementally or in large-scale "breakthrough" implementations.

Decision Management & BPM
Decision management refers to a systematic approach to automating and improving decisions underpinning daily business operations. Decision management can drive value and improve business performance through the use of technologies such as business rules and predictive analytics. Ultimately, decision management aims to increase the precision, consistency and agility of these decisions as well as the business processes that support or drive them. It’s also designed to decrease decision time and cost.

Dynamic Case Management (DCM)
Dynamic case management (DCM) is an approach to work supported by technologies that can automate various aspects of each case. It is a semi-structured, yet collaborative and dynamic, process that is driven by incoming events. As they arrive, those events change the context of the information, requiring responses from the caseworker. DCM is viewed as especially important for handling "untamed" business processes--that is, those lacking structure or with no added value. It also provides for dynamic allocation of work.

e-commerce, also sometimes called Business-to-Consumer (B2C), covers the tools, techniques and practices that enterprises adopt to do business on the Web.


End to End Process Orchestration
Business process orchestration involves the coordination and central management of process events or components. Business process orchestration often involves a variety of components that are compiled into a new application or process. Orchestration differs from a similar concept, choreography, in that it implies a single coordinating force, or "conductor," rather than multiple participants. Like business process modeling, business process orchestration can be graphically depicted in a diagram.

Enterprise Collaboration
Collaboration refers to individuals, groups or organizations working together on a common project or toward reaching shared goals either synchronously or asynchronously. Collaborative programs (commonly known as groupware) enable all project participants to work collectively on the same documents, tasks or projects, even in different locations and at different times. Collaborative tools—which may be either traditional software or Web-based applications—typically fall into three categories: communication tools, conferencing tools and collaboration-management tools.

Enterprise Portals
An enterprise portal provides an organization’s employees, customers and partners with a single Web-based point for interacting with each other and with applications, processes, documents and other information. An enterprise portal serves up personalized applications based on users’ individual roles, locations, preferences or other factors. By delivering customized, constantly updated and highly relevant content via a familiar Web browser, enterprise portals can provide valuable support for business process management (BPM) and other organizational improvement efforts.

Human-Centric BPM
Human-centric business process management (BPM) refers to a BPM approach that focuses on human interaction more than on processes or documents. Human-centric BPM is designed to more closely align people and processes, relying on user-friendly tools, such as dashboards, that help business professionals better understand the processes—and, where appropriate, better manage them.

Intelligent Process Automation
Sits at the intersection of Business Intelligence (BI) and BPM, where features like performance measurement and alert monitoring combine to drive process flow. Hybrid BI/BPM systems are often considered the most important future wave of enterprise software.

Mobile Integration
Mobile Integration involves the integration into an enterprise infrastructure of mobile devices such as PDAs, cell phones, "crack" berries, pagers, and other mobile devices. Articles in this section cover mobile standards, architecture, technologies, vendors and products.

Mobile Middleware Integration
Mobile middleware is a type of enterprise software designed to connect enterprise applications with remote workers who need access to them. Typically, workers access these applications via portable computers, smart phones and other mobile devices.

Operational BI
Operational Business Intelligence (BI) refers to a proactive approach to complement traditional business intelligence systems. This approach allows employees at all tiers of responsibility—strategic, analytical and operational—to participate in problem-solving and decision-making. Operational BI differs from traditional BI in that it can provide real-time information on system activity and events; it also tracks business performance in real time.

Operational Intelligence
Operational intelligence is an approach to data analysis that helps companies make decisions based on the real-time data they generate every day. Operational intelligence is typically targeted to front-line workers, such as call-center employees, who need the most up-to-date information possible to do their jobs. Operational intelligence can take place in tandem with business processing so that problems can be spotted immediately rather than after the fact, as they are when traditional business intelligence is used.

Process Discovery
Business process discovery (BPD) is often a first step in business process management. It refers to a collection of techniques and tools for defining, mapping and analyzing existing work processes to document the current state of business processes, providing a baseline for improvements. BPD may be manual or automated.

Process Governance
Process governance refers to rules that organizations use to manage business process management (BPM) programs and initiatives. Process governance typically involves setting standards and priorities for BPM efforts, identifying BPM governance leaders, defining BPM project participants’ roles and creating internal BPM “centers of excellence" or "competency centers" to share process-improvement best practices. Learn more about process governance in our collection of tips, articles, expert advice and other resources.

Process Modeling
Process modeling refers to representing an organization’s real-world processes, typically with the goal of analyzing them and then improving them to boost productivity, efficiency, effectiveness, agility or quality. Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) refers to a standard method of illustrating processes with flowchart-like diagrams that can be easily understood by both IT and business managers; the current version is BPMN 2.0. Learn more about process modeling from our collection of tips, feature articles and other resources.

Process Monitoring

Process-centric BPM
Process-centric business process management (BPM) refers to a BPM approach that focuses primarily on processes themselves, rather than on people or documents. Process-centric BPM often involves three stages: discovery, implementation and maintenance. Discovery is widely viewed as the most important stage; according to Gartner, organizations with successful process-centric BPM initiatives spent more than 40 percent of the total project effort on that initial phase.

Software as a Service (SaaS) refers to a software-delivery model in which vendors or service providers deliver applications to customers over a network, usually the Internet. In the SaaS approach, companies essentially “rent” the applications, often for a monthly fee, rather than buying and installing packaged software on their computers or servers. SaaS is an increasingly popular choice for many businesses because it streamlines administration, updates applications automatically and can be accessed from anywhere. SaaS applications are now typically delivered over a cloud infrastructure.

Service Governance
Service governance supports business process management (BPM) by creating reusable enterprise-class services and monitoring their deployment and reuse across an organization. Such efforts are directed by a service governance organization that may include a governance leader (often the platform architect), a cross-functional governance council and a services "librarian." This organization oversees service definitions, sets service-ownership boundaries and appoints services owners. Learn more about service governance in our tips, articles and other resources.

Social BPM
This amorphous, still-evolving term refers to approach that uses social techniques and tools to develop and improve business processes. Using technologies such as wikis and social-networking sites allows organizations to undertake user-driven business process management (BPM) initiatives leading to user-generated improvements. Essentially, social BPM is collaborative BPM in a networked environment. It can extend BPM access and decision-making to select external partners without compromising the exclusivity of the core group.