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It is common knowledge that you need to build on top of a good foundation. That advice may even be biblical but it certainly is part of an favorite old-time children's story. And even if modern parents don't tell the story of The Three Little Pigs any longer because of its violence, starting with a good foundation is still good construction advice. It applies equally to business process management (BPM) projects.

And the basis of a good BPM foundation is the process discovery effort. Although no BPM project should proceed without some form of process discovery -- and at least implicitly there is some kind of process discovery in every BPM project whether you admit it or not -- process discovery can be used to manage enterprises even without a BPM sequel. But thinking just in terms of BPM, the process discovery effort divides among:

  • Those of you that use the process discovery features built into your already acquired BPM suite or sold with that suite. Examples include using the discovery features in ActionBase; using the integrated features of Metastorm's BPM and ProVision brands, Lombardi's Teamworks and Blueprint, or Fujitsu's Interstage BPM product and Automated Process Discovery (APD) service; or using the Mega discovery software integrated with and marketed jointly with Appian.
  • Those of you that look first to freestanding process discovery software, because you have not yet made a BPM suite decision and/or don't think you should choose a BPM product before completing process discovery. Examples in this case include the use of APD, Blueprint, Mega, OpenConnect, OpenSpan, ProVision, Serena or Stereologic on an a la carte basis.
  • Those of you that don't think you should even make a software/technology decision before beginning process discovery. This is the advice of many management and BPM consulting firms. Many of the larger companies noted above offer such a service prior to beginning a BPM project and those that don't partner with someone that does.

The three approaches have advantages and disadvantages that you need to meld together in a mix that is unique to your enterprise's BPM needs and plans.


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