Business process management offers many enticing benefits, including impressive ROI. The problem is, it often fails. BPM in a cloud environment can help you overcome barriers to a successful implementation. Every few years, we come across a new technology wave that either reshapes the landscape or substantially enhances the application of existing technologies. Cloud computing is one such wave that is affecting almost everyone in the technology and business world.
The emerging trend of hosting software and applications in the cloud is significantly affecting BPM (business process management) adoption. Many enterprises have embraced BPM technologies but still face big challenges in terms of rapid hosting and implementation. BPM offers a compelling set of business transformation capabilities and demonstrable ROI, but historically, more than 50% of BPM projects have failed to meet the expectations and desired adoption level. Fortunately, combining BPM with the cloud model can overcome many of the traditional BPM challenges.
A cloud-based implementation derives value from three areas:
- Economic (no capital investments, pay by use, expand/shrink resources as needed)
- Architectural (commonly accessible environment and resources for development and self-service provisioning)
- Strategic (outsourced ownership of infrastructure and operations enabling focus on core activities).
A BPM suite must address these value elements to be classified as cloud compliant.
Benefits of BPM on the cloud
Despite BPM’s long history and well-documented benefits, about half of all BPM initiatives fail, according to findings from leading analysts. That’s essentially leaving the success of a major business and technology initiative up to a coin flip! BPM in the cloud can overcome a number of the typical challenges of BPM.
1: Minimal technology constraints
No single BPM tool can meet all the requirements for an enterprise. Because BPM technology decisions may vary from problem to problem, technology choices can hinder overall BPM success. The economics of the cloud and easy provisioning inherent in the cloud model enable enterprises to test multiple technologies with minimal upfront investments. The cloud effectively eliminates technology lock-in, so that businesses can reap the benefits of BPM across the enterprise.
2: Time to market
BPM is all about creating agility, so lengthy technology implementations run counter to the BPM mission. Slow deployments are not only expensive but also reduce the benefit of BPM and can result in a loss of stakeholder buy-in for future projects. BPM in the cloud can reduce the time it takes to ready a BPM system from months to minutes or even days.
3: Collaboration across and within enterprises
BPM enables an enterprise to collaborate in terms of intra- and inter-organizational processes. However, traditional localized BPM implementations do not support external supply chain and value chain processes. Departmental BPM implementations in local environments defeat the larger objective of orchestrating end-to-end business processes, and they’re reflected in the strategic KPIs (key performance indicators) and operational excellence.
Putting BPM in the cloud creates a borderless environment for supporting geographically dispersed teams and complex processes. Cloud-based BPM facilitates collaboration with partners across supply chains and improves management of processes that cut across environments.
4: Enterprise rollout
Most organizations are structured as silos, and their BPM investments are departmental. In a traditional organization, there is no motivation for anyone to have a shared infrastructure and set of assets that can be leveraged across teams. A cloud environment provides a centralized and commonly accessible BPM medium for achieving enterprise-level process excellence. Standards, open architecture, reusable components with interoperability, and knowledge management emerge as strategic needs.
5: Centralized control and governance
As organizations start rolling out BPM at the enterprise level, the focus shifts to governance, standardization, optimization, and scalability for successful adoption and realization of BPM benefits. A business process competency center (BPCC) can provide a central repository of information for addressing these needs and hosting it in the cloud makes it easily accessible. The ability to collaborate and share will be facilitated due to the very nature of shared infrastructure and common environment.
Cloud computing offers many advantages for BPM adoption and eliminates some of the key challenges that have hindered the success of conventional BPM implementations. When you put BPM in the cloud, enterprise BPM and inter-organization process automation can become a reality. The sheer ease of deployment, reuse, shared knowledge, and collaboration aspects are bound to foster process innovation to a greater degree.
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