BPM: Alive and well, thanks

Even with more focus on real-time metrics, the BPM market is very much still kicking and growing.

David Kelly, founder and president of Upside Research in Newton, Mass., calls BPM a still emerging market “with lots of activity.”

“What we’re seeing is that as organizations begin to integrate their applications, they look to take the next step for how to manage them from a business process perspective,” Kelly said. So the integration trend is key to the growth of BPM.

For that reason, BPM vendors are flocking to adopt Web services to give customers the ability to expose whole, or pieces of, processes as Web services components. It allows companies to more easily and less expensively integrate their own processes with those of partners or customers.

The BPM supplier crowd is also doing deals -- technology and/or marketing -- to help their wares include more real-time features.

Intalio is a BPM vendor that is including features for both Web services and real-time links in its products. “We view BAM as an extension of BPM, or as one of the reasons why you might want BPM in the first place,” said Ismael Ghalimi, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Intalio, San Mateo, Calif.

In release 2.5 of its software, announced in September, the company focused on not just the real-time workflows, but on understanding what is actually in the information being passed around. It focuses, for example, on knowing that a specific purchase order may be at a particular point in the process, but that it also is for a certain amount of money; or that there are 15 purchase orders, for more than $10,000 each, waiting for approval.

“The challenge is to allow the process owners to specify the metrics that are used for their process,” Ghalimi said. The next step, in a future release, is to allow the BPM software to automatically store the massive amounts of information required for BAM on storage devices.

Another important reason to use BPM or business intelligence as a foundation for BAM, analysts say, is that setting BAM’s thresholds correctly requires corporate historical data. In other words, to know when to do something to change a process requires an understanding of what has happened before that particular moment in time.

Please see the related stories “BAM” by Johanna Ambrosio, and Web Extra: Business Process Modeling.

About the Author

Johanna Ambrosio is a freelance writer based in Marlborough, Mass., specializing in technology and business. Contact her at


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