Keep It (Relatively) Simple for BPM Success


Business process management (BPM) is one of the most promising, most frustrating areas of enterprise technology.


Systems that define, encapsulate and automate change management of the key business process sound like a sure-fire winner. But, as with most exceedingly complex concepts or systems, the devil is in the details. Business processes are by nature pretty fluid, and over-engineering and over-management is always a potential risk.


Our Mike Vizard notes that some BPM providers are now aiming to wrap a social media component into their BPM solutions, as a way to harness (or rein in, depending on your point of view) the free-form nature of social collaboration for the structured world of BPM. Neat trick, if it works out.


If you are looking to get a better understanding of the basic concepts that drive BPM, we have several resources you should check out here in the IT Downloads Library. These resources are available for free download to IT Business Edge subscribers.


A BPM and Workflow Handbook Excerpt from author Linus K. Chow offers a series of mini-case studies from organizations that have used BPM to effectively capture and optimize their business process. The 16-page PDF goes into a fairly detailed discussion of how service-oriented architecture (SOA) can maintain a level of abstraction that can then be used in the more refined BPM universe, and introduces terms like architecture-driven modernization (ADM). You also get a lot of very detailed flow charts, as you can see below:



It's a pretty deep dive, but BPM is a complex technology. Very useful information.


BPM: "Band-Aids-Not a Cure for Corporate Ills," a book excerpt from author Terry Schurter, discusses the common misstep in BPM implementations of trying to fix - "Band-Aid" - an under-performing business process by brute-forcing a lot of process control onto something that just doesn't work very well. Band-Aid processes commonly:


  • are placed under software control
  • have complex process models
  • embed many business rules in the process software
  • are built from a command-and-control perspective


The 11-page excerpt has a lot of sound advice for those considering BPM, most of which centers on avoiding too much complexity. As Schurter puts it:

If you want to be a mechanical or aeronautical engineer, then go build bridges or rocket ships, not business processes.

Sound advice.

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