Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: John Rauser, Liz McMillan, Madhavan Krishnan, VP, Cloud Solutions, Virtusa, Jason Bloomberg, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Microservices Expo

Microservices Expo: Article

"The Backdoor" – BPM Solutions Pay

"I tend to like to go with technology because it makes sense"

People who know me would generally agree I'm a straightforward guy - I pretty much just like to move in the direction I've said I was going, rather than try to move from side to side and finesse something. So when it comes to technology, I tend to like to go with technology because it makes sense, and I usually assume that most IT organizations work that way as well.

But when you look at a technology like Business Process Management (BPM), you can see that the straightforward approach may not be the best, fastest, or even most successful route towards deployment.

BPM is a tougher sell on a straight technology basis, because it relies either on an SOA or an EAI environment that enables a service approach, and because the capabilities it provides have to date been implemented, albeit poorly, in actual code.

BPM as a technology extracts the business rules of an organization using advanced modeling techniques and software to define the business rules, the "what happens when" outside of lower level code. Besides allowing for rapid change in response to changing business conditions, BPM also allows the business community to take a much greater role in the definition of behavior within their software environments.

Clearly, this type of capability can be an asset to an organization that is confronted with frequent changes, dynamic market conditions, or even the consequences of a merger between organizations with disparate computing systems. Yet, because of the nature of the way IT projects are usually funded, this capability is frequently a difficult sell.

Most IT organizations have to fund their projects as discrete systems, therefore you can fund a CRM system, or an Order Management system, or a General Accounting system, even a User Portal. Each of these systems provides an "end user" benefit, one that can be easily quantified and budgeted for. BPM, by contrast, potentially cuts across all of these systems, while providing little visible or tangible benefit.

That's at least partially because funding a development effort and cost usually neglects the operational and maintenance cost of a system. These costs can often be multiples of the original implementation cost over the lifetime of a system. As an example, think of some of the COBOL programs that many large organizations have been nursing along for decades. Compared to the cost of creation, the maintenance costs are many times higher.

This is where the BPM solutions pay - they help reduce operational and maintenance cost. Anything that is programmed has to be tested to death, deployed, and managed. The model-driven architecture (MDA) approach seldom actually works all the way down to the code level and back again, so even if there is some modeling or design, it's typically only documentation when the coding gets done, allowing errors and omissions to creep into the process and creating troubleshooting nightmares.

In contrast, BPM presents the rules in a modeling environment that is completely round trip, and can be tested and debugged more effectively, especially in the difficult cases where a business transaction requires crossing system boundaries. We've all experienced the "he said, she said" finger pointing that goes on when a process that spans two or more systems experiences difficulty. BPM reduces cost by taking the management, the modeling, and the implementation out of multiple silo-based systems and centralizing the capabilities needed to effectively implement business processes rapidly.

It should not be surprising that the calculations necessary to quantify this benefit are convoluted and involved. They require analysis of maintenance and operations, as well as a good understanding of the actual software development life cycle in use in a particular organization - something that is seldom present. Thus while the technology clearly provides benefits, quantifying its value and justifying its cost remain elusive. In the end, the straightforward approach to the problem, which is simply stating the need for the capability, must give way to a more devious approach that builds the capability into the price of one or more system upgrades or packaged implementations.

More Stories By Sean Rhody

Sean Rhody is the founding-editor (1999) and editor-in-chief of SOA World Magazine. He is a respected industry expert on SOA and Web Services and a consultant with a leading consulting services company. Most recently, Sean served as the tech chair of SOA World Conference & Expo 2007 East.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Derek Miers 02/15/06 08:27:44 AM EST

Naive, ill-informed, confused ... just three of the adjectives that spring to mind while reading this piece.

There probably isn't a Fortune 2000 company that is not gaining significant benefits from the deployment of BPM technology. Mostly these projects are still in the mode of strategic experiment, but the evidence is plain for all to see.

Some of Sean's assertions are just plain wrong (like the bit about BPM code being poorly implemented), while others show a lack of understanding of the real issues and benefits.

Suggest you do a little more research next time before wading in to an area that you obviously have little contact with.

IMNSHO, SOA and BPM initiatives are fairly much joined at the hip. SOA is a "way of thinking" based around the notions of service orientation ... it allows an organisation to support the high level business capabilities that keep the firm in business, marrying that up to the low level technology and procedural elements.

OTOH, BPM is a business discipline that puts continuous performance improvement center stage in the way the firm is run. It involves a highly iterative approach to supporting the way systems are rolled out. From the perspective of this discussion however, BPM Suites provide the ability to orchestrate services in line with corporate objectives.

The ROI and business benefits are clear, making business justification relatively straight forward ... it just requires understanding of how those benefits transform into enhanced productivity, customer service, traceability and transparency.

Check out the papers on my site if you want an alternative view (or much of the material available on sites such as BP Trends, BPM.com)

SYS-CON Italy News Desk 02/14/06 07:19:24 PM EST

People who know me would generally agree I'm a straightforward guy - I pretty much just like to move in the direction I've said I was going, rather than try to move from side to side and finesse something. So when it comes to technology, I tend to like to go with technology because it makes sense, and I usually assume that most IT organizations work that way as well.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
While we understand Agile as a means to accelerate innovation, manage uncertainty and cope with ambiguity, many are inclined to think that it conflicts with the objectives of traditional engineering projects, such as building a highway, skyscraper or power plant. These are plan-driven and predictive projects that seek to avoid any uncertainty. This type of thinking, however, is short-sighted. Agile approaches are valuable in controlling uncertainty because they constrain the complexity that ste...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for t...
Cavirin Systems has just announced C2, a SaaS offering designed to bring continuous security assessment and remediation to hybrid environments, containers, and data centers. Cavirin C2 is deployed within Amazon Web Services (AWS) and features a flexible licensing model for easy scalability and clear pay-as-you-go pricing. Although native to AWS, it also supports assessment and remediation of virtual or container instances within Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or on-premise. By dr...
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
Many enterprise and government IT organizations are realizing the benefits of cloud computing by extending IT delivery and management processes across private and public cloud services. But they are often challenged with balancing the need for centralized cloud governance without stifling user-driven innovation. This strategy requires an approach that fundamentally reshapes how IT is delivered today, shifting the focus from infrastructure to services aggregation, and mixing and matching the bes...
identify the sources of event storms and performance anomalies will require automated, real-time root-cause analysis. I think Enterprise Management Associates said it well: “The data and metrics collected at instrumentation points across the application ecosystem are essential to performance monitoring and root cause analysis. However, analytics capable of transforming data and metrics into an application-focused report or dashboards are what separates actual application monitoring from relat...
The benefits of automation are well documented; it increases productivity, cuts cost and minimizes errors. It eliminates repetitive manual tasks, freeing us up to be more innovative. By that logic, surely, we should automate everything possible, right? So, is attempting to automate everything a sensible - even feasible - goal? In a word: no. Consider this your short guide as to what to automate and what not to automate.
DevOps teams have more on their plate than ever. As infrastructure needs grow, so does the time required to ensure that everything's running smoothly. This makes automation crucial - especially in the server and network monitoring world. Server monitoring tools can save teams time by automating server management and providing real-time performance updates. As budgets reset for the New Year, there is no better time to implement a new server monitoring tool (or re-evaluate your current solution)....
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
We just came off of a review of a product that handles both containers and virtual machines in the same interface. Under the covers, implementation of containers defaults to LXC, though recently Docker support was added. When reading online, or searching for information, increasingly we see “Container Management” products listed as competitors to Docker, when in reality things like Rocket, LXC/LXD, and Virtualization are Dockers competitors. After doing some looking around, we have decided tha...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
Digital transformation has changed the way users interact with the world, and the traditional healthcare experience no longer meets rising consumer expectations. Enterprise Health Clouds (EHCs) are designed to easily and securely deliver the smart and engaging digital health experience that patients expect today, while ensuring the compliance and data integration that care providers require. Jikku Venkat