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Those closely watching the BPM space realize that this segment of the market has evolved over the past ten years from a number of technology precursors, including workflow, application integration, process automation, and enterprise document management.

Today, BPM is largely regarded as a discipline combining software capabilities and business expertise to accelerate process improvement and facilitate business innovation. Essentially, BPM governs an organization's cross-functional, core business processes. It helps organizations achieve strategic business objectives by directing the deployment of resources from across the organization into efficient processes that create customer value.

The focus on driving overall top- and bottom-line success by integrating verticals and optimizing core work (such as order to cash, integrated product development, and integrated supply chain) differentiates BPM from traditional, functional-management disciplines. In addition, intrinsic to BPM is the principle of continuous improvement, perpetually increasing value generation and sustaining the market competitiveness (or dominance) of the organization.

The characteristics of BPM are complementary to an organization's SOA strategy with both viewing the use of technology as a business driver. BPM enabled by SOA is a discipline enhanced by a flexible IT architecture to accelerate the creation and reuse of business services in support of efficient process change and rapid process deployment. Bringing together the most advanced SOA-based software capabilities, along with broad expertise, helps provide a higher value BPM solution.

Specifically, organizations can benefit from BPM through:

Process Insight and Optimization: the first step in many BPM engagements is to simply monitor what is happening. Having the ability to truly understand what is happening inside the business will then cement and facilitate the ability to enhance the most important and impactful parts of an organization.

Accelerated Process Improvement: this benefit is not just about improvement and optimization. It's about how fast you can identify the parts of the business that will drive change and how fast you can implement and deploy those changes to make the improvement happen.

Flexible Design for Future Change: Finally, it's critical to not only make infrastructure changes once, but to be prepared for the inevitable future changes that every organization faces. Using an SOA complemented by best practices helps ensure that the deployed and optimized processes can be adapted as flexibly as possible to changing business needs.


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