On Workflow, BPM, BPMS…and mobile phones (part 2)

Last week’s blog post compared workflow to older generations of cellular phones that route data, connect people to systems and to people. Similar to how smart phones from the 90s combine phone and Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) functions, Business Process Management (BPM) brings together process methodologies and technologies as a management approach to continuously improve processes and achieve organizational objectives. Like the evolution of mobile phones, BPM continues to evolve.

Let us continue the mobile phone analogy and take a look at what comes after BPM: BPM Suite.

The smartphones we use now days have come a long way from their earlier predecessors. Even though Apple’s iPhone was not the first touchscreen phone (Motorola A6188 was), its simplicity, elegance, and ease of use took the world by storm in 2007. Among other factors, one could attribute Apple’s home run to the seamless integration between the sleek and beautiful hardware, the responsive and intuitive iOS software, and the entire ecosystem of mobile applications on iTunes.

Remember the day when you would need a calculator, an address book, a day planner, a notepad, a GPS navigation system, a flashlight, a portable game device, and a [insert a widget you couldn’t live without]? Now there’s an app for that…and just about anything one used to carry on a day to day basis. All on one mobile device.

Before Business Process Management Suite (BPMS)
Before an integrated BPM Suite, business analysts or Lean Six Sigma experts would define and design existing processes in Microsoft Visio or a process modeling tool. Then they would give the process diagram to an IT specialists to program it and execute it in a workflow engine. There’s limited ability to manage, change, monitor, and optimize running processes so the processes are inflexible, expensive, and cumbersome to change.

Business and IT would also have to work together, reiterate, and go back-and-forth on requirements and implementations. At best, additional Business Rules Engine (BRE) or Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) software – usually from a different vendor or through a lot of custom coding – would be added the core process server to manage those aspects of BPM. Sounds like a royal pain? It is.

Business Process Management Suite (BPMS)
With an integrated BPM Suite, one gets a technology platform that supports an entire BPM lifecycle with the ability to design, model, execute, and monitor business processes. A BPMS handles the core capabilities of process documentation, capture, process automation, workflow, Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), analysis, process optimization, and change management. The idea is to provide end-to-end capabilities for business analysts and IT specialists to design and execute different components within Business Process Management all on one suite. Isn’t that better? It sure is.

Appian was the first to market with a comprehensive and natively-integrated BPM suite. It continues to innovate and lead the BPM market throughout the years with many firsts:

  • SUITE: A comprehensive and natively-integrated BPM suite (2004)
  • ANALYTICS: In-memory, real-time analytics (2005)
  • WEB: 100% thin-client architecture accessible via any web browser (2006)
  • CLOUD: Fully-portable on-premise/cloud delivery (2007)
  • MOBILE: Native Mobile BPM apps on all major mobile platforms (2010)
  • SOCIAL: Zero-training process-driven social business interface (2010)
  • DATA: Data-centric architecture treating data as a “first-class citizen” in process design (2012)

Appian’s recent initiative is to bring work and social software capabilities together. This shows continued focus and commitment to making the Appian BPM Suite a collaborative BPM platform with an intuitive, no-training interface for business analysts, IT specialists, and all process participants. Bring worksocial to your enterprise for the toughest business process improvement initiatives. Let us demonstrate to you why and how Appian can help make your BPM projects successful.

Please click on these links to read the other blogs in the series:

Cindy Cheng

Director of Product Marketing