The BPM Cloud SaaS Revolution
By Gregory Zupan, Founder, Zupan eSystematic Solutions
Technology is revolutionizing the manner in which individuals work and live. With lower costs, smart mobile technology is permeating the consumer marketplace and collecting massive amounts of personal information, i.e. location, storage contents, accounts, etc. The majority of consumers click “I Accept” without reading detailed agreements. Awareness of who owns the data collected and what it is used for is crucial. Businesses generally take security seriously and involve legal counsel. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a way of securing trade secrets, a.k.a., intellectual property. NDAs are signed for legal repudiation of potential confidentiality infringements. For example, if financial information from a publicly traded or private business is breached or leaked, it can lead to many issues, from negative press to governmental policy violations. In the past, and today, many large enterprises still choose on-premises Business Process Management (BPM) with firewalls to mitigate security risks. But, is on-premises BPM value worth-while considering the burdens?
BPM enables business process transparency allowing IT and business alignment for uniformity, stabilization and automation. Applying BPM reduces long-term costs by improving efficiency and effectiveness of operations primarily through process simplification. Based on top-down vision, traditional application of BPM is through face-to-face, or virtual, stakeholder planning meetings to define and reach consensus-based action plans. With today’s fast-paced, virtual workplace, collaborative productivity tends to be inefficient; meeting outcomes are misunderstood or lost in meeting minutes and lack accountability.
The traditional, on-premises BPM software framework is shifting to Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) due to many benefits: simplified architecture integration, continuous improvement cost reduction, agility for ramping new business, lower long-term administration costs, and automated recoverability. The key benefit of BPM Cloud SaaS is virtual collaboration. Enterprise-wide social networking eases communications during business process planning and operations monitoring. If there is a problem or disagreement with a service process model, Subject Matter Experts (SME) can interact on-line to reach an agreement and retain a record of decision.
Metadata for auditing trails provides proof of closure to promote forethought on sensitive topics and follow-through.
BPM Cloud SaaS also links operations activity data with process model steps for IT dashboard just-in-time Key Performance Indicators (KPI). This change monitoring assists with strategic, operations and customer status reporting. Using Cloud allows the joining of numerous data sources for Business Intelligence (BI) metadata aligned with business process models. Predictive knowledge can automatically identify problems and potential market changes through inferential statistics. IT Cloud framework with BI enables uniformity, promoting data quality, for improved statistical data analysis and data mining potential. BPM Cloud SaaS modeling and monitoring capability aligns with ITIL Framework, aka, IT Service Management, allowing convenient indicators and historical trending analysis for continuous process optimization efforts. For governmental regulation, SaaS providers now include non-proprietary, standardized data formats allowing BPM process model industry aligned interfaces.
Even with these benefits, tight IT budgets and doubt can lead to hesitation. Traditional hierarchical management approaches tend to mistrust Cloud security and commonwealth ownership of data. Case in point, the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 for health care Privacy Rule and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) of 2009, restrains access to Protected Health Information (PHI) by “covered entities.” Despite business process models excluding electronic health records, the health care industry has hesitated using Cloud due to the risk of governmental violations. Within the profit industry, these risks predominately influence investment decisions. Education is key to help build trust in Cloud. Management’s approval of Cloud and role model use cases can, in turn, promote change in popular opinion.
“BPM enables business process transparency allowing IT and business alignment for uniformity, stabilization and automation. Applying BPM reduces long-term costs by improving efficiency and effectiveness of operations primarily through process simplification”
Cloud classification types include public, private or hybrid. Public is completely open allowing multiple enterprises, using existing architecture and source data to share the data collected. Private is on-premises Enterprise Data Warehouse , eliminating external access, but at a high cost. Private Cloud administration requires engineering staff to establish architecture and constant maintenance. When confidential data elements are involved, going hybrid provides compromise. The decision to invest in Cloud BPM SaaS requires consideration of all stakeholders’ expectations. I recommend researching existing business infrastructure and usability through trials on differing BPM Cloud SaaS providers. Before final buy-in, an underpinning contract agreement ensures legal enforcement to verify compliance with business policies and governmental mandates, which ensures individual security expectations.
To compliment managerial decision making, BPM Cloud SaaS can improve confidence and efficiency by linking process models with historical business data, operations SMEs’ insight, and customer input. This provides increased business productivity through delegation from few ones to many, with auditable tracking records. This in turn, promotes group interaction, collaborative alliances, trust and controlled autonomy. BPM Cloud SaaS adoption is needed to become agile with fast-paced, competitive change while building virtual teamwork that is operationally transparent to all. Allowing hybrid BPM Cloud SaaS design review of development and optimization efforts proliferates an understanding of current state business and improvements to stakeholders leading to greater savings and capability maturity level.