Businesses are process-centric: people interact with people, people interact with systems, and systems interact with systems. Regardless of the types of processes a business runs — order-to-cash process, procurement process, insurance claims process, etc. — the more efficient and effective the process, the more competitive the business can be.
That’s why businesses put incredible effort into defining, building, and improving processes.
However, historically, application developers haven’t been particularly effective at implementing those processes within business applications. Either the processes are hard-coded inside the applications, making it difficult to determine if a process is effective as well as difficult to make changes to the process, or the applications have no notion of process, and the business uses the “yellow sticky note” method to ensure — fingers crossed! — the right thing gets done at the right time.
As part of our recent OpenEdge 11 release, we integrated Progress Savvion BPM into the OpenEdge platform to greatly simplify the development of business process applications within OpenEdge. Over the last couple of years, I have presented and talked to more than 1000 customers about OpenEdge BPM and the numerous ways they might use it within their OpenEdge application.
There are really 4 key benefits to using OpenEdge BPM: workflow management, business-level visibility, rapid development and customization, and model-driven integration. Over the next few weeks, I will go into greater detail on how each of these benefits will help to improve your business.
1. Workflow management
When it comes to establishing a business process, you need to ensure that the right steps are executed in the right order to meet specific needs such as regulatory compliance, supporting business best practices or delivering greater efficiency. With OpenEdge BPM, you have a way of ensuring it each and every time, and you’ll have a way of proving it.
2. Business-level visibility
To run your business efficiently, not only to do you need to know that a business process is being executed as you have defined it, but you also need to know that it is meeting your business objectives. You want to be alerted if/when you are at risk of not meeting your SLAs. You want to know how many instances of the business process are executing, what step each process is at, how long each step took, and where the bottlenecks are. With OpenEdge BPM, you get built-in visibility so you know exactly how the business process is executing based on the model that was defined.
3. Rapid development and customization
To maintain a competitive edge, you need the flexibility to quickly deploy a new process and rapidly modify the process to support evolving business needs. With OpenEdge BPM, you can quickly model the process using graphical tools. Developers can then enrich the process by adding user interfaces (which in many cases can be generated on the fly as well) and connect them to back-end OpenEdge-based business logic. Making changes to a business process can be done very quickly and, in many cases, with little or no involvement from IT aside from the actual deployment.
4. Model-driven integration
In many cases, business processes will need to connect to external systems in addition to your application. Because OpenEdge BPM contains a number of built-in adapters including Web services, JMS, and email, among others, integration to external systems can be done rapidly.
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