Emergence of the intelligent Business Process Management Suite

The intelligent Business Process Management Suite (iBPMS) is a new generation of BPMS enhanced with machine and human intelligence. It is an emerging BPM technology that helps to meet the need of intelligent business operations. The iBPMS expands on the traditional BPMS by adding new functionality to support intelligent business operations, such as real-time business intelligence, complex event processing, deep human collaboration and mobility.

An iBPMS is a transformational tool for business – it is about managing the sophisticated coordination of work at scale (quote: MWD Advisors, 2013). According to the definition of Gartner is an iBPMS ‘a complete set of integrated composition technologies for managing all aspects of process — people, machines, information, business rules and policies — supporting a full process discovery, analysis, design, development, execution, monitoring and optimization cycle, in which business professionals and IT collaborate as peers’.

An iBPMS uses explicit process models, rules and goals to coordinate the interactions among people, systems and content as equally important aspects of work. 

The core capabilities / components are:

  • A model-driven composition environment for designing processes and their supporting activities and process artifacts.
  • Content interaction management to support the progression of work, especially cases, based on changes in the content itself (such as documents, images and audio).
  • Human interaction management to enable people to naturally interact with the processes they are involved in.
  • Connectivity to link processes to the resources they control, such as people, systems, data, event streams, goals and key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Active analytics (sometimes called continuous intelligence) for monitoring activity progress, and analyzing activities and changes in and around processes.
  • On-demand analytics to provide decision support or decision automation using predictive analytics or optimization technology.
  • Business rule management to guide and implement process agility and ensure compliance.
  • Management and administration to monitor and adjust the technical aspects of the iBPMS.
  • A process component registry/repository for process component leverage and reuse.

Organizations choose an iBPMS for a variety of goals, depending on their ambition level and organizational development strategy. Some may start with a solution that is focused on efficiency or effectiveness improvement and grow from there to a transformational stage. Others may remain focused on solving only a specific type of challenge, like improving their straight through processing (STP) rate or establishing a Single Point of Contact.

Organizations must select the unique buying points that are relevant for their situation and be aware that the same concept name (e.g. goal driven) and technological component may have a different meaning and impact depending on the vendor and product. 

Well defined suites solve the problem that business logic is deeply hidden in the system and only can be adapted by means of expensive adaptations of standard functionality. The current restrictions on current business applications are largely caused by mixing application code and business logic. Instead, new BPM technology lifts business logic above the line in terms of both technology and methodology. By moving business logic above the line, many business/IT alignment problems are solved. Business is in charge of agility, IT is in charge of stability.

The new iBPMS generation is often (re)built from scratch on and is completely model, event and goal-driven, and preferable based on the latest semantic technologies. In a world of semantically rich linked data, also process must possess semantic capabilities to exploit business moments to their maximum. Meaning is the sweet spot of the intelligent enterprise (see also: Playing Jazz in the GRC Club).

New suites also focus more than the traditional process management suites on supporting operational decisions, which are emerging as a critical element in successful organizations. Operational decisions are the day-to-day decisions taken by organizations as they run their business: the eligibility, pricing, risk and marketing decisions that drive transactions and customer interaction.
Orchestration goes hand by hand with governance, monitoring, assessment, reporting, and visualization and simulation capabilities. Adaptability and adaptation in pre time (before an event is happening), real time and near time become critical differentiators in a competitive environment that need to be supported by an iBPMS.

A standard iBPMS based solution is positioned in a dynamic business environment in which:

  • Strategy is impacted by a volatile environment.
  • Knowledge intensive tasks are performed.
  • Cases have to be handled.
  • Decisions have to be made.
  • Events and new information change the course of action.
  • Interactions and transactions have to be supported.
  • Rules and regulations are omnipresent.

Organizations using an intelligent Business process management suite to its fullest extend can enjoy significant quantitative and qualitative benefits. It is however a fact that all mentioned iBPMS characteristics have an impact on the required competence level of an organization that wants to benefit from the implementation of an iBPMS.

For more information see: Blueprint for an iBPMS competence center; leverage the transformational power of intelligent Business Process Management Suites and accelerate intelligent business operations.

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