The set of ideas, tools, and techniques that deal with business processes, known in short as Business Process Management (BPM), has been around for a couple of decades.
Large-scale ERP and client/server implementations absorb the attention of IT departments and distract the innovators. The underestimation of the importance of integration in connecting end-to-end business processes, coupled with proprietary application architectures, continues to make it difficult to realize the promise of BPM.
Companies are realizing that functional excellence and product commoditization are not sufficient to ensure customer centricity and innovation. Visionary executives consider the set of integrated capabilities that deal with the full life cycle of business processes as the key to an accelerated evolution towards process maturity.
Two of the major roadblocks to adopting and implementing BPM are the lack of understanding of Business Process Management Software, and not knowing how to get started.
Most important, companies that make a beginning will realize that BPM's expense and risk are several orders of magnitude lower than traditional IT development.
In order to support both process improvement and operational management, it is essential that the various capabilities of BPM form a set of cohesive tools for modeling, analysis, workflow design, user-interface design, governance, and metadata.
Business processes originate with the customer, traverse various functional departments of the company, and flow back to the customer. In this journey, the processes rely on both systems and people for handling business transactions.
A true BPM platform handles not only the components of business engineering such as modeling and analysis, but also the components of software engineering such as integration, connectivity to existing IT infrastructure through adapters, and enterprise-class middle ware management.