To cloud or not to cloud your BPM: that's the question

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With seemingly everything and everyone moving to the cloud, doesn't it make sense that your enterprise BPM should also be cloud-based?

BPM guru and US-based Holly Group founder, Steve Weissman, says there's more to moving to cloud-based BPM than doing so just because you can, or because it seems that everyone and everything else is doing so.

He points out that there are several factors that should be taken into consideration, the first of which is that everyone is NOT moving to cloud BPM. It's also important to understand your true motivation for contemplating such a move.

According to Weissman, it's important to understand exactly what cloud BPM is. He defines cloud BPM as having all or part of your BPM solution, which has automated the movement of information around your organisation according to predefined business rules, hosted on a vendor's server and managed that a third party's staff.

"The cloud actually can play an important role in boosting the value of an enterprise BPM solution. But it's no more a magic cure to all your ills than is BPM itself... you need to think about how BPM and cloud BPM will improve the way your business operates, be it independently or in combination with one another," he adds.

Weissman points out that the need to program, test, update and maintain various applications, and then installing and configuring new enterprising BPM software while ensuring it integrates well with other systems, often drives up BPM costs.

Because these tasks are often at the core of many cloud BPM services, you don't have to worry about them yourself.

"When you get right down to it, whether and where to let cloud BPM play a fundamental role is an outsourcing decision. In other words, can you best achieve your goals using your own infrastructure and people, or should you leverage someone else's? There isn't any one right answer, but it's critical to weigh several important factors," he says.

These factors include:

  • Your budget, both for technology and people.
  • Time, since there may be compelling reasons to get it done sooner rather than later.
  • The degree of openness of your internal infrastructure, which affects how complicated it may be to attain the level of interoperability you need.
  • How you feel about usability, which is particularly important in enterprise contexts because of the diversity of the users that need to be served.
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