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BPM Gets Out of the Back Office: Page 2

By Ann All     Feedback
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All: I assume companies are still using BPM to standardize their processes. But are they beginning to change the ways they look at standardization as well?

Chandler: Instead of point solutions, there’s more acceptance of BPM across the enterprise. I’m seeing folks start to say, “If I’m doing this in the U.S., why can’t I do it in other parts of the world?” How do you get different countries to adopt common processes and only customize the small pieces that are really different? That really involves organizational behavior and change management just as much as technology.

The cost pressures of the last three or four years have taken away the budget to create multiple systems. So organizations are more open to centralizing. You need to collect the sane client information: address, phone number, car information. I may have to differentiate between a “boot” and a “truck” as a component to an insurance claim, but I need to set up the claim and process it in a similar way regardless of where I am in the world.  I’m seeing more willingness from organizations to adopt common frameworks.

All: Are vendors updating their solutions to meet these needs?

Chandler: Pegasystems’ PRPC platform has always allowed you to make changes fairly easily. But their Chordiant acquisition allows them to put more of a predictive and CRM spin on it. And if you look at Progress Software when it bought Savvion, it’s got that whole RPM (responsive process management) suite and it’s going after responsive risk management. I think the message is right, and you find some of the tools and parts of the application back it up.

From a development standpoint, I think we need a better view into the application. When you build Java, you build Java. But when you build a PRPC application, you are configuring rules. You could take four different developers and put them in front of these BPM applications and you have different front ends to the development of that platform.

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[Vendors] all profess they can help you get a system installed sooner rather than later, and it’s continuing to improve, but it needs to get better. If you look at the development lifecycles, how can organizations can better take concepts and convert them to configuration or code quicker without having to mess around with it too much after it is done?  I think there needs to be better collection at the front end, converting it down to configuration and then a working application. That’s the next piece of it; how to make it easier to do without learning special languages.

All: Sure. But BPM solutions seem to resist standardization, with vendors all putting their own proprietary spins on it. Is that a challenge?

Chandler: Customers definitely want more common frameworks. Global 360 came from a document-centric perspective, Pega came from a rules perspective, Progress is coming from a couple of different angles  like workflows and alerts. From a simpleton perspective, I think it all boils down to the same thing. But these companies all think they have the best approach. I do think there needs to be some better standardization.

This article was originally published on January 11, 2012
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