The Value of BPM in the Cloud

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As a class of software, business process management (BPM) software has always been somewhat frustrating. It offers a lot of potential value to the business, but the complexity of setting up a BPM application has made IT organizations gun-shy about the whole category, especially given their experiences with cumbersome ERP applications.

But with the advent of BPM in the cloud, customers now have the option of experimenting on someone else's IT infrastructure. That option reduces the risks associated with BPM because now an IT organization doesn't have to commit a lot of IT infrastructure resources in order to let developers experiment with BPM software.

The trick, of course, is finding a BPM offering in the cloud that gives customers the option of allowing them to continue to run that application in the cloud or move it to their own servers, or potentially some other cloud computing platform, later on.

The latest BPM vendor to land in the cloud is Pegasystems, which this week launched Pega Cloud, an implementation of the company's BPM software that is available on a cloud computing platform managed by Pegasystems.

According to Ben Frenkel, principal for Pega Cloud Solutions, cloud computing will be particularly advantageous to Pegasystems customers because of the tight coupling of the modeling and production processes within the environment. Pega Cloud allows customers to model an application and then seamlessly execute it in a production environment.

The real value to that approach, says Frenkel, is that it reduces the friction associated with experimenting with building a BPM application.

Like most things worth doing, there's a lot of risk associated with building a BPM application. Any time you change a business process there will generally be resistance, and if the application fails there will be plenty of blame to go around.

Given the fact that most IT organizations have not had a lot of exposure to BPM, it seems reasonable to conclude that the best place to gain the hands-on experience really needed to succeed with BPM is going to be in the cloud.