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Before an enterprise begins to implement business process management (BPM)
software, it needs to decide whether its business processes are primarily straight-through
or are mostly workflow-driven. They also need to decide whether the processes
are conducted primarily over an Intranet or an extranet, are event- or data-driven,
case-oriented or ad-hoc, and so forth. But because designing and developing
one software package to handle these multiple permutations is a work in progress,
users still have to choose one flavor of BPM middleware.
Did you know you can supercharge your supply chain by leveraging BPM with SOA? Click here to learn how.
During the middle of the last century, the applicable saying in the U.S. for
many choices was: "That's why Howard Johnson's has 28 flavors." But
no supplier wants to be the Howard Johnson's of BPM in the 21st century, so
suppliers are working to handle customers' needs, standards and interoperability
requirements in one package. IT Investment Research regularly speaks with BPM
users about the business issues they face, the business processes they need
automated, and how their BPM solutions meet their expectations. The users' responses
outline the major features BPM suppliers will concentrate on in upcoming product
Using BPM to automate supply chains
I find that users want to start using BPM with suppliers and customers, but
that that sort of deployment is in its infancy. Users also indicate that when
the enterprise itself is the result of mergers and acquisitions (as is often
the case), it is a lot like using BPM with suppliers and customers.
Eric Otterstein, Senior Director of IT at Assurity Life Insurance Company,
a Global 360 BPM user, notes that Assurity is the result of the 2005 merger
of Security Financial Life and Assurity, which itself was the result of the
merger of Lincoln Direct and Woodmen Life. One of the objectives of the mergers
was to offer both direct and independent agent marketing channels, which sets
up classic supply chain automation issues that are handled by BPM software such
as Global 360's.