The biggest challenge IT organizations most often face is not automating the business process, but rather discovering what the actual business process is.
More often than not, discovering what the business process is has turned out to be roughly equivalent to interviewing 20 witnesses to a traffic accident, all of whom saw something completely different. Meanwhile, on the IT side of the house, too many years of focusing on IT issues rather than the business has created a situation where no one is exactly sure what business processes are tied to what applications, and what applications are tied to what specific pieces of IT infrastructure. And just to make that more interesting, we're now introducing layers of virtualization that make it easier for application workload to move about the enterprise.
All of these issues make a new offering from Fujitsu in the business process management (BPM) a fairly compelling new development. Instead of interviewing business people about what they think the business process might be, Fujitsu is adding "sense and respond" capabilities to its Interstage Business Process Manager Version 11 offering.
The latest version of Interstage, which can be deployed in a cloud or on premise, includes what Fujitsu describes as patent-pending auto discovery technologies that can discover business process patterns in real time and then generate a model of those processes. Just as importantly, the software can be left running to dynamically discover changes to ongoing business processes that would then require a response from the IT organization in terms of how to optimize the underlying IT infrastructure.
In terms of BPM, the auto-discovery of business processes has been a major missing link for years. Without it, we could create models of business processes as they should be, but it was next to impossible to create a model with confidence that truly reflected the business process as it really was. As a result, the adoption rate of BPM solutions suffered because it was hard to deliver on the value of BPM as advertised.
And yet, if IT organizations are ever going to gain the confidence of business users, they need to start thinking about IT in terms of end-to-end business processes rather than enterprise application silos.