Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What is BPM - a quest, a journey

I was talking to abunch of people at OMG's BPM think tank and there was a lot of confusion about what exactly is BPM.

Instead of trying to define what BPM is - lets see what is it that people are trying to achieve when they are talking BPM.

Cat 1 - Business users needing to document their processes
Cat 2 - Single project champions, take one process at a time, design and deploy it.
Cat 3 - Users seeking Enterprise BPM.

Cat 1 users can use any tool.
Cat 2 users may succeed in their specific project but then taking it to the next level is going to be a tall order. Reusing vendor specific components will be hard, if not impossible and definitely increase the TCO (total cost of ownership) manifold. Do you want vendor specific code etc to lock your enterprise wide components. Or do you want open standards based implementations.
This leads us to the third category of users who are starting small but thinking big. The components they build will be standard compliant, can be independently reused, change their specific implementation based on new business requirements / technological advancement and would therefore be an enterprise asset. The TCO will be lower if your solution uses industry wide standards adopted by majority of tool vendors, thus guaranteeing a wider skill pool as well.

Hopefully, based on the above there can be a better appreciation and common understanding of BPM but I am sure it is much more than just the categories of use cases. More later.

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