BPM in the Real World
Composite Applications in Today’s BPM World
By Kalpa Shah, Vice President, Skelta Software
Editor's note: All you need to know about cloud computing is right here.
The demand for enterprise applications is definitely on the rise, and a business,
in this day and age, can easily find a software package to address almost any
aspect of the business. Solutions for facets like CRM, ERP, SCM, MRP, etc. are
quite easy to come by, with a plethora of vendors trying to fill the existent
marketplace. However, just as businesses strive to create their place under
the sun, the same also applies to vendors of business solutions, and this has
given rise to the integration of these solutions under a single umbrella.
The idea behind running composite applications is to move the focus from individual
application development, to integrating them into a single unit instead. These
applications also work in addressing the gaps between existing applications
and creating solutions specific to specific tasks, allowing the business process
to follow the steps laid by the solution as opposed to having users work as
mediators in between different processes.
The Changing Facade
Solutions created using Business Process Management platforms differ from the
solutions developed not so long ago, as BPM solutions deliver 'process'
models and metadata mapping instead of delivering database instantiations and
database models, as in the case of conventional solutions. Service Oriented
Architecture (SOA) components now run completely independently, and human interaction/decision
making is now a part of the entire automation process as well. This gives the
end user the ability to configure/assemble components as required while also
streamlining them with one's existing web based services. Besides, by uniting
the human workflow aspect with automation process, the overall workflow can
be managed in a more effective manner.
One very important aspect of composite applications is that they generally
do not aim at 100% functionality. This is simply because they come with a range
of executable components which can then be sequenced as per the end users
preferences. Instead of complete functionality, such solutions aim at dynamic
assembly, flexibility, integration, and extensibility.
What to Expect
With more and more businesses making the required infrastructural changes,
one can expect the ability of a BPM solution to enable composite applications
to be one of the key components in a BPM implementation. You should also know
that composite applications go beyond the realm of SOA, and various large businesses
have already gone ahead and deployed various service enabled applications aimed
at leveraging SOA in different forms. This also makes it important for such
solutions to look at incorporating the various services/components that are
being clubbed together.
The benefits are manifold; BPM enabled solutions can help streamline the business
process, it can help bridge the business/IT gap, the integration capabilities
help leverage on existing IT investments, it can help reduce operational costs,
it can diminish business risks, it would be easy to implement; it would be a
hastened process, and it would also allow both vertical and horizontal scalability.
As a customer, before any BPM implementation, I would definitely ask the question
Does this BPM platform help me create applications rapidly and integrate easily
with existing systems?