2010-04-30

Comparison of technologies for BPM - BPMS vs Workflow

This post is inspired by two discussions http://mainthing.ru/item/204/ and http://blogs.gartner.com/janelle-hill/2010/04/22/do-you-understand-the-difference-between-workflow-and-bpm/.


Just briefly repeat that I see three concepts behind Business Process Management (BPM):

[the theory] BPM as a management discipline (i.e. using process to manage business)
The purpose of this BPM is to help an enterprise to realise its Vision,
by considering and governing explicit flows of business activities that span the enterprise’s systems, employees, customers and partners within and beyond the enterprise boundaries, and with using modeling, automation, execution, control, measurements and optimization of such flows.

Those 6 steps in the BPM loop (model, automate, execute, control, measure, and optimise) are applied iteratively, continuously and not necessary in the same order each time. There are no limits on “how often” to apply them and there are limits on “optimisation criteria”.

[the tools] BPM as a software (BPM suite or BPMS)

[the practice] BPM as a portfolio of the business processes of an enterprise, and the practices and tools for governing the design, execution and evolution of this portfolio (BPM system)

One can implement a BPM system without any automation, for example, an ISO 9001 Quality Management System is a BPM system in which (very often) processes exist in paper and employers’ minds. Such a BPM system is difficult to use and to evolve.

Usually, it is necessary, but not sufficient, to use a BPMS to implement a BPM system. Because one of its the most important and less visible characteristic of any BPM system - flexibility - should be carefully architectured.

Previously, we used workflow technology to implement enterprise BPM systems. BPMS is certainly a better fit for this job.

WFBPMSin BPM loop
0.41in model
0.31in automate
0.41in execute
0.41in control
0.11in measure
00.2in optimise
1.65.2total

WF vs BPMS for coverage of BPM artefacts
WFBPMScomment
00.5for events
0.21for rules
0.91for roles
0.30.8for activities
0.31for data
0.81for documents
0.40.8for audit trails
01for KPIs
01for services
2.98.1total

Thanks,
AS
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