Last month I attended a two day workshop on BPMS (Busines Process Management Suites) in Reston Virginia. In case you are not familiar with BPMS here is a short introduction:
BPMS represents a new paradigm in business and IT collaboration in that it allows the business side of a large enterprise to be more involved in the design and changes-to core business processes. Using an integrated suite of tools and runtime components, BPMS enable the automation, integration, optimization and monitoring of business processes. Using a business modeling tools to visualy create and modify a process (similar to Visio), a business user can lay out the activities that make the process work. For instance you could define the process of approving a consumer loan, including all the human-centric interactions (reviewing the application, retrieval of credit score, forward to risk group for feedback, communication with applicant, etc). A technical team (IT) will typically use a BPMS process design tool to establish the integration links with the underlying software packages which are activated by the process (think Orcale, SAP, CRM, ERP, etc) as well as designing data, flow, business rules and user interaction forms. The Process Engine then executes the process design, applying the business rules, interacting with the underlying systems on one end and with end users on the other, in effect acting as an intermediary or abstraction layer.
In the next posts on BPMS I will discuss the impact of using BPMS and some products available in the market.