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Recent IT Investment Research analysis finds that without business process management (BPM) software an enterprise's governance strategy might have some hard-to-see holes that will only become apparent when the Securities Exchange Commission, the Federal Drug Administration, or a similar organization calls. The leading BPM software suppliers are tuned to this need. However, there is slower uptake among users, many of whom are simultaneously trying to improve enterprise and IT governance. Enterprise governance is all about meeting compliance requirements, such as those imposed by Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) in the U.S. IT governance is about getting the best results from services oriented architecture (SOA) and similar new infrastructure efforts. The two overlap where IT is an important asset that also needs to be governed in the enterprise sense.

IT Investment Research found five non-exclusive ways BPM suppliers enable enterprise governance. There are multiple choices in the Microsoft only world including options from the market leader itself, as well as open source BPM like Red Hat's. There are products available from other software market leaders such as Adobe, IBM and Software AG. There are pure plays from Lombardi and Appian, as well as hybrid options offered by suppliers Metastorm and Pegasystems. There are products based on mature technologies as well as the latest architectures, such as SOA and Representational State Transfer (Rest). The functionality can be delivered on-premise or via Software as a Service (SaaS). Lastly, enabling governance with BPM can be accomplished by partnering among BPM suppliers as well as by going it alone.

Getting Free Independent Help Understanding the Options
Multiply these five approaches by their various permutations and there are dozens of ways to apply BPM to enterprise governance. The good news is that a user-centric, non-profit called the Open Compliance and Ethics Group (OCEG) provides free help. Its Capability Model lines up governance requirements with technologies, including BPM. The model (available at www.ocge.org) identifies 34 elements of good enterprise governance (such as context monitoring, risk analysis, preventive physical controls, and so forth) and dozens of technology types that enable these elements. The model states that only enterprise content/knowledge management (ECM/KM), document creation, and risk management software are more relevant than BPM software in enabling the best practices embodied in the 34 elements.

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