Business Process Management in India

Friday, July 30, 2004


CSC's Jim Boyd, senior director of products and solutions for the financial services market in Europe, made a provocative and well received keynote presentation to delegates at the recent inaugural Business Process Management (BPM) Exchange, organised by IQPC.

Citing other industries, he drew delegates' attention to how technology can be used to not only improve how existing processes are managed but also how new technology and techniques, such as web services, can be used to create radically different ways of doing business.

"The overriding benefits of applying the discipline of BPM with the application of the most effective technology to resolve process issues mean that companies can do existing things better and do new things entirely such as create hybrid products or divest of non-core functions "Jim explained. "Given the complexity of processes today, having the agility and flexibility to simplify these is what companies are crying out for today. This is what BPM can achieve and this is where its real power lies."

Jim went further and suggested that BPM could bring about new growth opportunities for financial services companies to specialise by market differentiating competencies. Companies specialising in the management or servicing of a particular kind of risk could more easily join up with similarly specialised organisations to provide complementary competencies - so effectively operating in a virtual enterprise.

But he also warned that the substantial level of hype in the BPM technology area could lead to levels of expectations that cannot be met and undermine what can be achieved.

"What we're trying to advocate is that the effective application of technology needs much more than just technology," he said. "The real point of these new technologies is that they will only deliver their potential when used imaginatively by experienced practitioners."

The organisers of the BPM Exchange concur, having received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the event and its place as a forum for healthy discussion. Tim Mann, general manager for the IQPC Exchange events, comments, "Certainly one major theme that came out for us was that of the human and cultural challenges of BPM implementation being of greater significance than the technology challenges. Clearly, success with BPM will be dependent on internal buy-in and take up from those affected by any changes."

The BPM Exchange in London saw more than 130 vendors and end users networking to engage in debate about best practice and workable solutions in the BPM space. More than 200 pre-arranged meetings took place that had been pre-selected by both practitioners and solution providers.

To download a copy of Jim's presentation (2.9MB), please go to:

Tibco Draws Business-Process Road Map

Tibco Software Inc. is using software from its $217 million acquisition of Staffware plc to upgrade its ability to manage business processes.

Staffware is one of a handful of companies cited by market-research company Gartner last month as market leaders in business-process management. Tibco is part of the "system-to-system" segment of the business-process-management market, dominated by middleware integration vendors, such as IBM with its WebSphere Business Integration Server and BEA Systems with WebLogic Integration. All three can spot and track business processes as they move through their middleware and have been adding business-process management to their core integration and application-server products.

The system-to-system vendors "are strong at managing the technology-centric portion of the business process and have pushed the market forward," analyst Jim Sinur wrote in the June 25 report. The segment has been one of the fastest growing areas of a market that amounted to $1.2 billion in 2002.

By incorporating Staffware's ability to track and manage a single business process, Tibco will be able to increase the stakes in its competition with other middleware vendors. Tibco has been offering the capability to monitor multiple instances of a business process and report on how well repetitions of it are performing. With the addition of Staffware, now called Tibco BPM Group, Tibco will be able to offer the ability to zero in on a single business process, track it, and troubleshoot it if something goes wrong, says Matt Quinn, Tibco's director of technology.

Tibco's standalone business-process-management product will be Staffware Process Suite. It will be available to work with Tibco's integration products, including its BusinessWorks integration server, in the fourth quarter. Staffware Process Suite, priced at $400,000, will be available in the first quarter of 2005 for Linux and Windows.

Stretching Business Process Management the CSC way

Business Process Management is a broad topic and every time I listen to a vendor it gets stretched and pulled a little more in some unique way. A visit to CSC to hear about their e4 Architecture stretched it again in ways that interested me.

The e4 Architecture defines what are the required parts of a BPM solution, then populates some of this with suggested technology from a variety of vendors, although CSC will incorporate existing BPM technology from their outsourced clients' environment. The core of the CSC solution is the Business Process Engine based on a solution from Intalio.

The first stretch was to see a business process diagram that included swim lanes, defining the different roles, or departments, involved in the process. This is not a new diagramming technique but surprisingly I have not seen it as a standard, or even discussed, option in other vendors' solutions. I have developed business process definitions (specifically related to internal IT business processes) and have seen the power of the swim lane paradigm; when I developed them it would have been great if I could have automated the solution directly from the diagram rather than having to develop a set of manual processes that were difficult to enforce.

The next stretch was more profound and started with a disagreement on nomenclature. Howard Smith, from CSC, said that they would consider a medical record as a process and in fact any other complex record as a process. I dislike the extension of the use of the word 'process' that describes an action to cover a record which holds a state. This is similar to the American habit of verbalising nouns. However the discussion did highlight the limitations of much BPM thinking. Business Processes are event centric, some event occurs, it triggers a business process, the process completes and that is that. A business process has a single start activity and a single end activity. Whereas if you look at business processes from a record centric point of view more complex processes and interactions emerge. For those who like to understand the theory behind this should investigate pi-calculus.

The final stretch is that business process management needs to be managed, in particular their needs to be a way of measuring the maturity of use of business process management in an enterprise. Having measurements of this type will enable a roadmap to be developed to move the enterprise up the maturity ladder. CSC is developing such a maturity ladder and the methodology to move enterprise up the ladder.

CSC's prime business is IT outsourcing so the e4 architecture and the consulting that goes with it is available to their outsourced clients. One wonders if they might, should, expand this service to a wider audience.

Forrester Ranks Savvion as a Business Process Management Market Leader for the 2nd Year in a Row

Savvion BusinessManager 5.0(TM) Recognized for Design, Automation and Architectural Strength

SANTA CLARA, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 07/30/2004 -- Savvion®, Inc., the company that knows business process, today announced that for the second year in a row that its business process management system, Savvion BusinessManager™, has been identified as a market leader in the prestigious BPM Wave report published by Forrester.

Forrester Wave reports are known as the definitive resource for business and IT managers responsible for the lifecycle processes of corporate content. The BPM Wave report is based on the BPM TechRankings, which assess and weight over 200 separate criteria covering design, scalability, orchestration and optimization. Coupled with a rigorous hands-on product review of Savvion's latest release of its award-winning BPM system, Savvion BusinessManager, that was conducted by Forrester analysts, Forrester's Wave reports recognizes groundbreaking technologies that deliver significant value and a proven return on investment.

Of 10 'pure-play' BPM products reviewed in the research report Savvion BusinessManager 5.0 received the highest 'Leader' ranking. Savvion was acknowledged in the report for "offering consistent capabilities across all criteria, making it the most effective at managing the complete process lifecycle." Additionally, in an article published in Destination CRM magazine Forrester Analyst, Sharyn Leaver stated, "Savvion BusinessManager 5.0 is the strongest across the board when considering design, automation, and human workflow."

About Savvion

Savvion develops business process management (BPM) software that improves business performance and reduces costs within and across functional business units. Savvion's lifecycle approach to process enables business and IT to truly collaborate to bring process improvement initiatives on-line in less than 90 days while delivering a 200% - 300% return on investment. Over 160 global business enterprises, public service agencies, and systems integration firms, including 15% of the Fortune 100, use Savvion systems to manage their business, from workgroup to enterprise, in real-time. Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, Savvion can be reached at www.savvion.com or 888-544-5511.

The Savvion logo, Savvion, and Savvion BusinessManager are trademarks or registered trademarks of Savvion, Inc. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.