Thursday, August 04, 2005

Agility in deploying processes - the missing piece

BPM vendors don't often pay much attention to the speed and cost of deployment of a process using their software tools. Most vendors describe in detail the various tools they have as part of the BPM suite - leaving issues like cost, time and ease of deployment to customer's imagination.

A look at some recent BPM implementations in the industry would highlight the fact that BPM implementations are mirroring deployment of Enterprise solutions like ERP, CRM, SCM and others. Not only that, vendors confuse the issues even more by clubbing architectural issues like SOA with a BPM implementation. Thus, often times BPM implementations get bogged down in complex discussions by purists regarding SOA, BPEL, etc. losing sight of key business drivers for implementing BPM solutions in the first instance.

An alternative checklists for users planning to implement BPM solutions should look somewhat like this:

1. Ease of taking an existing process (mix of ad-hoc automation and manual steps) and automating it using the tools and implementation services provided by the BPM solution vendor

2. Total time taken from Process Study to Process Design and Documentation to Development and Testing to Going Live.

3. Total one-time cost of the above - a combination of product license fee / usage based fee and implementation and custom software development services.

4. Ongoing cost of ownership - BPM implies continuous process improvement, which in turn means ongoing effort to improve the process model, user interfaces, integration points with other applications - both inside and outside the enterprise, etc. BPM vendors that can provide a lower ongoing implementation, support and maintenance cost - often leveraging their offshore bases can prove to be a real bargain.

Have you had similar issues implementing BPM in your organizations? Please feel free to comment with your experiences.

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