Business Process Management Gets a Digital Makeover

The past decade has seen the automation of back office business processes through Business Process Management (BPM) technology adoption in three distinct areas: document-centric BPM, human-centric BPM and Straight-Through Processing (STP) with integration-centric BPM. Since then, we have seen extensive back office use-cases—such as payments reconciliation, customer on-boarding, Know Your Customer (KYC), anti-money-laundering (AML), loan approval and trade reconciliation processes—also becoming automated. With the advent of the Social Media, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) era, we are witnessing the convergence of all three types of BPM, delivering comprehensive front office (such as multichannel customer experiences across sales and services) and back office process automation.

In fact, BPM is going through a seismic shift that warrants a sharper focus on customer-centric business process development to facilitate two-way customer interaction capabilities. Today, many organizations are quick to adopt mobile and social channels to facilitate simple business processes, such as approvals, complaint management, travel or accommodation services, sales force management, and more.

Organizations are also starting to experiment with advanced BPM use-cases, using analytics and context-aware techniques. Entry barriers to BPM adoption are also being removed through BPaaS platforms, enabling rapid development with cloud models. This presents a big opportunity for organizations with the right strategy and focus when applied to the following areas:

Align Business, Operations and IT KPIs

As BPM processes are becoming more customer-centric, alignment of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) across business, operations and IT layers are becoming more important. Marketing or sales executives, back office operations and business solution architects should play equal roles in defining goals and objectives.

Popular modeling tools help bridge the gaps that exist between business and IT, establishing business and process KPIs to continuously measure and optimize performance. Agile prototyping and piloting can also help align KPIs and set the right expectation across customers, business, operations and IT.

Infrastructure Agility and Resilience (Cloud)

Infrastructure on-demand is a key driver for agile BPM adoption. There is a huge disruption in the cloud services (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) paradigm, where multiple vendors are providing a host of services, such as BPaaS, integration PaaS, and API management on cloud; application development on cloud; and web content management, big data and analytics on cloud. Most large BPM vendors offer both on-premise and cloud solutions. The key is to choose the right cloud services to expedite BPM adoption.

Before embarking on a large BPM initiative, organizations must ensure they have a clear infrastructure strategy. Prototyping and piloting on an agile cloud infrastructure helps to prove the business case rapidly, and secure funding for next stage. It also helps build a differentiated business process to get a competitive advantage quickly. 

Sandbox, Dev Ops and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)

BPM adoption requires an agile process, which facilitates rapid prototyping, continuous improvement, and incremental release. This equates to speed-to-market and risk reduction. Setting a robust development, test execution, continuous integration and delivery platform across the application lifecycle (from development to production) is the key to success.

The focus should also be on an integrated sandbox or lab environment, as well as end-to-end ALM tooling, provisioning, and delivering seamless release management capability across development, testing, staging and production environments. Aggressive open source and cloud technology adoption are a few of the ways to create a mature environment.

A well-planned selection of tools will help create a truly agile application lifecycle environment

Agile delivery methods and Model driven Testing

Robust agile software development principles need to be adopted to promote adaptive planning, evolutionary development and continuous improvement. Agile development also encourages rapid and flexible response to change. Some aspects, such as pair programming, Scrum, extreme programming, test-driven developments and story-driven modelling, need to be built into an SDLC framework. Finally Model driven testing with automated test case generation and execution will ensure end to end test coverage.

Focusing on the above aspects will help organizations transform into a customer-centric business.

At Dell, we have more than 15 years of experience providing integration and BPM services across healthcare and lifecycle services; banking, financial services, securities and insurance (BFSI); and commercial customers. With a global resource pool of certified professionals skilled in popular integration engines, such as Ensemble, Cloverleaf, Rhapsody, TIBCO, AMX, Oracle, IBM, PEGA and pre-built accelerators to reduce development and migration effort, Dell's BPM offerings can be ranked among the best in the industry.

For more information visit Dell Enterprise Business Integration

About the Author: Abhi Chatterjee