Gone are the days when you could write a monolithic program that performed ever y function you needed to implement your business solution. The pace of change is accelerating. To keep up and stay ahead of the competition, you need tools and processes in place to quickly adapt, yet remain flexible. Your company can’t afford to spend months or years adding new functions and capabilities to existing systems. An infrastructure built on a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a great beginning, but you need more than a collection of services with a standard way of describing and accessing those services through a service bus. The discipline of Business Process Management (BPM) can give your company the technology to leverage your SOA to create a truly agile infrastructure.
Business processes differentiate one company from another and yield competitive advantages. Companies with superior business processes endure. However, changes to your business processes don’t happen by chance.
BPM is a discipline that provides a way to build your business processes in a dynamic, flexible manner so you can achieve the agility you need. Figure 1 shows five aspects of a BPM system that will be described in more detail. These include capabilities such as:
• Process choreography
• Human Interaction Management (HIM)
• Business rules management
• Dynamic Service Selection (DSS)
• Business event management.
BPM combines these technology capabilities and your expertise to accelerate business process improvement and facilitate innovation. BPM builds on your SOA infrastructure by providing the technology to combine your business services into a composite business solution. This article describes each of the major capabilities of a BPM solution and illustrates these capabilities from the perspective of a fictitious insurance company.