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Expenditures for business process management solutions are growing rapidly, and the growth will have been most significant between 2001 and 2006, said Ross Altman, Chief Technology Officer of SeeBeyond, during a recent ebizQ Webinar. Once reason he gave that helps explain the increase in BPM buying is that the “return on investment is significant for things like this,” he said. “The BPM solutions themselves generate ROI. It also has an impact on the ability of the company to generate ROI,” Altman said.

You can replay the Webinar, titled “You Can’t Implement BPM with BPM,” in its entirety at http://www.ebizq.net/webinars/5301.html.

Altman said that BPM allows you to do several things that could not be done before with the multi-step business process. “You can model it, automate it, manage, measure and optimize the flow of business process steps that span your organization’s systems, people, devices, customers and partners within and beyond your corporate boundaries,” he said.

“One can also measure outcomes, see patterns, track the success of various business processes,” and you can also go back and remodel when necessary. “You are managing processes that occur within applications, where people perform process steps, and also devices perform some of the steps,” he added.

BPM solutions have grown out of situations where “in certain cases, broad-based middleware vendors, they either bought or built BAM,” but need BPM solutions in order to have a more extensive solution set,” Altman said.

In order to understand where to go with BPM, Altman indicated it was important to understand where BPM comes from and how it started.

Altman explained that BPM comes from business process automation, and goes back to batch processing days. Initially, BPA was “a true straight-through process: There was no forking, no rules-processing. You went straight from step one to step ten. You acted on the same data but you had no specific transfer of information from step to step. There was a hard-wired sequence of steps,” Altman said.

Things began to evolve with scheduling program and scripting languages, so that developers could make the steps dependent on what happened in previous steps, he said.

Then came document management, and when we began to automate that process with software, that became workflow. We gained the ability to track the flow of documents, and that began to evolve to more robust workflow systems.


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