Business Process Management Systems enable business people to create and change processes with little if any dependence on IT departments, and enable IT managers to cut operational costs. What’s more, BPMS helps bridge the business-IT gap.

How it does all that was illustrated in the ebizQ webinar, “The Operational Benefits of BPM,” part of our webinar series “BPM and the Real Time Enterprise”, sponsored by CommerceQuest.

In essence, BPMS puts the business process horse before the IT cart, explains Peter Fingar, executive partner of digital strategy firm the Greystone Group. Fingar, who pens a monthly column for ebizQ along with Howard Smith and co-authored Business Process Management - The Third Wave with Smith, says companies today spend 30 percent of their IT budgets on integration, in such forms as EAI and B2Bi. They do it, he says, to build end-to-end business processes. So if business process is the object of integration, asks Fingar, why not put it, and not the application, at the heart of business automation? And that, he adds, is precisely what BPMS does.

It’s about building a business infrastructure “on top of” an existing tech infrastructure and “exploiting” that infrastructure, letting business people build or change a business process without “returning to the tech plumbing” each time, Fingar says. The idea, he points out, is to integrate once to the business process level, then be able to collaborate across a company, and externally many times, priming an organization to be a real-time enterprise.

Fingar says BPMS is to enterprise computing what the world’s first spreadsheet was to personal computing. It wasn’t the invention of the personal computer that led to the personal computing revolution, he reminded viewers. It was Dan Bricklin’s Visicalc, which gave business people direct manipulation of numerical calculations, without needing to tap IT personnel to develop systems to do it. Business people just pressed a button and…Presto! The spreadsheets would calculate, and revise themselves. The business types could play “What if?” Similarly, Fingar says, BPMS gives business people the capability to analyze and design their own business processes and…Presto!… deploy them against an IT infrastructure.

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