By Olivia Cahoon
Today’s businesses are rapidly undergoing digital transformation, resulting in the need for business models that align data and enable acceleration. Business process management (BPM) is a form of operations management that analyzes, models, executes, and monitors improvements.
According to Gartner, BPM solutions have evolved to include intelligent business process management (iBPM) suites. iBPM uses actionable, real-time insights from operations intelligence in order to augment the orchestration and automation of adaptive business processes.
The Role of BPM
To survive in today’s continuous innovation and disruption, businesses constantly adapt and transform. “Having a great team, the right strategy, and well-designed processes are not enough,” says Katherine Kostereva, CEO/managing partner, bpm’online.
Today’s companies seek systems that help align data, processes, and teams—enabling rapid adaption and a deeper connection with digital native customers. “That is why BPM technology today is reasserting its dominance as an important technology for driving automation, collaboration, intelligence, and acceleration throughout an organization,” offers Kostereva,
In fact, she cites a recent Gartner study, Six Essential Steps for Selecting the Right Intelligent Business Process Management Suite, which says the BPM market size is estimated to grow from $6.96 billion in 2016 to $13.52 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 14.2 percent. “The BPM market is driven by factors, such as the need to improve efficiency and visibility, adhere to increasing government compliance, and to increase the overall ROI of the organization.”
BPM plays a key role in driving operational efficiency by enabling organizations to automate processes and tasks that are paper-driven or manual. Most importantly, it enables workflow orchestration and the ability to implement outcome-driven automation that is auditable, consistent, and scalable, says Ying Chen, head of product marketing, platform, Pegasystems.
Pressured operational professionals with budget cuts traditionally drove demands for BPM. The operational professional’s role has since evolved and pivoted into one that is accountable for customer success, shares Chen. “As today’s customers are more empowered and vocal than ever, the best possible service is an expected feature rather than a nonessential one—otherwise they’ll take their business elsewhere.” She adds, “BPM serves as the technology backbone for ensuring a positive customer experience.”
The need for BPM solutions with added intelligence results in iBPM technology. iBPM enables business processes to continuously improve and experimentation with new business models. It also allows business users to be involved in frequent or ad hoc process exchange, while allowing IT to own technical assets such as integration with external systems and security administration, shares Kostereva.
She adds, according to Gartner, by 2022 50 percent of digital business technology platform projects will connect events to business outcomes using event-driven, iBPM-oriented framework. “With change being the new normal for organizations navigating the digital age, iBPM solutions have rightly been thrusted to the top of mind for application leaders looking to increase agility, operational effectiveness, and overall automation.”
iBPM solutions go beyond traditional BPM and leverage business rules, big data mining, machine learning, cloud computing, mobility, and social features. Kostereva says it advances the industry beyond traditional BPM, which faces criticism for being non-dynamic. “BPM solutions lack the flexibility to deliver operational excellence by being unable to incorporate the latest in technology advancement.”
To intelligently coordinate and manage process participants’ interactions, iBPM delivers advanced analytics, real-time activity monitoring, and decision management. It also enables citizen developers to partner with IT throughout the entire process lifecycle, which Kostereva believes creates rapid experimentation by reducing the time to facilitate and realize business process changes.
The use of iBPM is particularly important for businesses that operate nationally or globally and are required to support multiple business functions, languages, and business rules, says Chen. “iBPM challenges and collapses the silos that separate business units, empowering continuous improvement through evolving automation and putting customer outcomes at the heart of every process.”
Digital transformation strategies are critical for businesses to compete in today’s competitive landscape. “This strategy must enable them to quickly adapt to changing clients as well as company needs and demands, competitive threats, and industry-altering trends,” comments Kostereva.
She believes the most successful modern application leaders seek BPM solutions that enable digital transformation to accelerate. Kostereva suggests leaders find shortcuts—out-of-the-box solutions, integrations, and processes—to avoid being held hostage by a long, painful, and expensive BPM implementation and to accelerate integration.
iBPM technology drives better organizational alignment and helps application leaders to solve problems with different data sets, limited visibility across organization silos, and disconnected/broken processes, comments Kostereva. “To be responsive to changing customer and business needs, companies often add, remove, and improve automated business processes.”
Today’s companies respond to different types of market demands and empower employees with efficiencies to focus. Modern application leaders seek a variety of capabilities in software suites including directly capturing business objectives and strategies, measuring strategies and monitoring business activities, owning changes to business policies and procedures, and providing a foundation for business transformation through legacy modernization, shares Chen.
Traditional work processing involves manual searched and paper-based approvals. According to Chen, this requires chasing paperwork between offices and often demands toggling between legacy application screens. “Through automated processes and policies represented by business rules, iBPM solutions eliminate all this manual activity that increases both waste and errors.”
Organizational alignment and unification is an increasing priority for organizations undergoing digital transformation. As a result, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is advancing a variety of business functions with more advanced analysis, says Kostereva. This provides better integration with other tools and improves managing complex events. “It helps organizations to accelerate operations and decision-making.”
The use of AI/machine learning allows enterprises to monitor how employees perform work duties by capturing data on employee desktops. “Applying machine learning to that data set enables enterprises to implement to continuous digital transformation,” says Chen. It also gathers insight such as the applications and paths employees use and new opportunities to automate work.
“When enterprises are able to complement their BPM efforts with these workforce insights, they are not only able to reap rapid benefits but also drive continuous change,” adds Chen.
To avoid challenges with AI/machine learning capabilities in BPM suites, businesses need to streamline and manage their data. According to Kostereva, organizations should feed machine learning models with large data volumes, frequently captured from various systems and sources. “Thus, the core challenge organizations need to overcome is the silo problem—fragmented data, disconnected processes, and manual operations in various business aspects.”
Common misconceptions about the use and privacy of AI/machine learning devices also contributes to challenges. A recent study conducted amongst 6,000 global consumers found that only 35 percent of consumers are currently comfortable with businesses using AI to engage with them, despite the fact that 77 percent said that they use things such as virtual home assistant, intelligent chat bots, or predictive product suggestions—all of which use AI, shares Chen.
The study suggests that a majority of consumers are confused about AI and how it is used. “An important part of removing the discomfort with AI in business must be the demystification and education of customers on AI and the benefits it can bring,” offers Chen. “From faster and more effective BPM and workflow management to better customer engagement, it is important for companies to communicate the positive AI use cases, so their customers become to feel comfortable with the emerging technology.”
According to Kostereva, to leverage BPM suites’ AI/machine learning capabilities, organizations need to feed machine learning models with large data volumes, frequently captured from various systems and sources. “Thus, the core challenge organizations need to overcome is the silo problem—fragmented data, disconnected processes, and manual operations in various business aspects.”
AgilePoint NX for low-code BPM supports process modeling, automation, deployment, and refinement. It enables mid-execution process modifications and updates. AgilePoint NX apps adapt at runtime to changing business conditions. Reconfigurations are made to app components manually without writing code.
The Appian Digital Transformation Platform is a low-code BPM solution that designs, executes, manages, and optimizes business processes. It’s available in flexible deployment models and includes features for social collaboration, native mobility, real-time process intelligence, and rapid application development.
Bizagi Modeler BPM software offers cloud collaboration, speed, and drag-and-drop design tools to bridge the gap between business and IT.
Bonitasoft’s BPM capabilities allow users to design, connect, execute, monitor, and optimize business processes while ensuring a high degree of control and visibility. Bonitasoft provides a single environment and enables technology for development and deployment of business processes including BPM notation modeling tools, process execution engine, business data modeling tool, and advanced monitoring and reporting solutions.
Released in 2011, bpm’online studio is an iBPM solution for mid-size to large enterprises. It features a low-code BPM platform to accelerate ongoing transformation, open API capabilities to build complex integrations, and capabilities that manage structured and unstructured processes with BPM and case management tools. “Bpm’online studio is an intelligent business process management and low-code platform with out-of-the-box solutions and templates,” says Kostereva. The solution combines AI with leading UX to accelerate user adoption. It’s available for $25 per month.
IBM Business Process Manager is a comprehensive BPM platform that provides tools to author, test, and deploy business processes as well as full visibility and insight to managing business processes. Its components provide a unified BPM repository to manage business processes and associated artifacts, tools for authors, administrators, and users, and a runtime platform. IBM platform is available in three editions to support various complexity levels—IBM BPM Express, IBM BPM Standard, and IBM BPM Advanced.
The Oracle BPM Suite includes business user-friendly modeling and optimization tools, tools for system integration, business activity monitoring dashboards, and case management capabilities. It is a single, comprehensive platform with a single design-time and unified process engine for process, case, rules, human tasks, forms, analytics, and integration. The suite provides support for human collaboration and improves process efficiency and quality.
The latest version of Pega Platform iBPM was released in spring 2018. It’s designed for enterprise-level businesses across sectors including telecommunications, healthcare, financial services, and the public sector. “Our software empowers business people to create and evolve their critical business systems, simplifying and automating operations so that organizations can reduce costs and improve business agility,” says Chen. It also empowers IT with a future-proof platform that eliminates manual coding.
TIBCO Software’s ActiveMatrix BPM solution facilitates valuable business insights and actions by presenting the right data to the right person. It allows companies to fuel digital transformation by enabling better decisions and faster, smarter actions. ActiveMatrix BPM provides capabilities for process automation, documentation, and patterns, predictive operations dashboard, a seamless digital experience, and human capital management.
Whitestein Technologies’ Living Systems Process Suite (LSPS) is designed to answer the needs of business and IT in one seamless, transformational package. It natively supports the creation of process applications that combine the structure of workflow, with the flexibility of case management. Global 100 enterprises, G7 customers, and small-to-medium sized companies use LSPS.
Modern application leaders seek technology that makes process adjustment simple and fast. BPM and iBPM solutions meet these needs by driving operational efficiency and helping businesses to align data and rapidly adapt.
Aug2018, Software Magazine