Friday, November 23, 2012

Process Uninterrupted

While Mobile Computing has been a feather in the cap for the IT industry for some time now, Mobile BPM as an application has only come into its own as recently as a year ago. This is a surprising fact for an industry dedicated to process improvement and operational efficiency in general. Key personnel on the field need to be connected to the business eco-system, centralized data and business processes for a truly agile business model and the lack of mobile BPM has been a glaring inconsistency.
In this excellent article from ebizq, the author examines why Mobile BPM has lagged behind other Enterprise applications. Differing Mobile standards, still maturing Mobile application platforms, technology barriers, legal barriers and a plethora of such reasons were instrumental in the arrested development of Mobile apps for business process management software.
The Mobile BPM scene today however has developed in leaps and bounds, with every BPM software worth its salt, ensuring a native mobile application as part of its service offering to bridge the business-field operator-end customer divide.
A robust Mobile BPM software application empowers users who are on the move to stay connected with their mission critical business processes while ensuring the security of their interactions. An easy-to-use mobile application that allows users to initiate processes on the move and also lets them perform process housekeeping tasks fulfills the first requirement of enterprise mobility - Anytime, Anywhere access to your business processes.
The changing face of the workforce means that a larger percentage of employees need to be integrated into the business – Mobile BPM means faster responses to workflow based processes and streamlined day-to-day operational activities.
So how much does the end user benefit from a mobile application for BPM software?
  • Improved enterprise wide collaboration
  • Anytime, anywhere access to business processes
  • Uninterrupted processes
  • Accessibility from wide range of iOS, Blackberry and Android platforms
  • Secure process interactions with electronic signatures?
Mobile apps for BPM software are finally moving way ahead of the ‘Approve, Decline’ mode with features such as:
  • Process initiation on the move
  • Act on workflow tasks on the go
  • Option to View and act on work items from mobile devices
  • Comprehensive Search features for specific work items
  • View of work items based on categories
  • Flagging of work items based on importance 
This definitely speaks heightened connectivity to any organization's central nervous system for uninterrupted efficiency.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tap into SharePoint potential with BPM software

With more than 3 million users worldwide, SharePoint is Microsoft’s fastest growing technology of all time.  With very little learning curve, flexibility in organizing information, easy search and retrieval of valuable information and several other benefits, more and more enterprises now prefer to invest in suites that combine portals, content management and collaboration solutions. Many CIOs will tell you that SharePoint is a critical component of their technology portfolio.

But SharePoint’s somewhat unplanned growth in the last 2 years has led to problems such as insufficient workflow processes, disorganized content and lack of cohesive site creation strategy. Although the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 stack includes sites, communities, content, search, insights and composites, one of its established uses is undoubtedly for improving process management functionality.

Almost every good BPM Software Suite in the market today integrates with Microsoft SharePoint.  If you are already utilizing Microsoft SharePoint for document management and enterprise content management, then BPM is something you will eventually want to consider to add advanced workflow capabilities. 
Of the myriad business benefits of extending BPM to SharePoint, these are key:
  • Business user empowerment: enhanced collaboration, allowing business managers to build enterprise wide workflows for processing documents, custom lists and content types in SharePoint.
  • Stronger processes: Centralized process management and analysis. Highly visible processes and promotes consistent practice of standards thus making processes reliable, repeatable and manageable.
  • Improved productivity: Manage enterprise wide content and automate and streamline business processes for agile decision making
  • Rapid ROI: Efficient processes with reduced processing costs and reduced IT investments

A product like Invensys Skelta’s SharePoint Accelerator extends advanced BPM & workflow software advantage to Microsoft SharePoint 2010 for maximum utilization and broader adoption of native SharePoint capabilities. It makes sense for Enterprises to leverage existing SharePoint investments with the added BPM and workflow functionality – code free workflow design, extensibility of all BPM functionality such as queues, KPIs, dashboards, custom reports, built in SharePoint activities and wizards within workflows et al … to bring in the entire goodie bag – Process optimization, Quicker time to market, Operational efficiency across the board and of course better bottom lines.
Perhaps the best value addition BPM software brings to SharePoint is generating workflows from within SharePoint using built in SharePoint wizards and activities. Adds meaning to ‘Collaboration’ - both with dispersed knowledge workers and existing systems that integrate with SharePoint.
As an integrated platform, BPM software with SharePoint also lends itself to business application development for key areas of business.
By extending security and access rights management to documents in SharePoint, transparent, traceable processes and enhanced accountability can be enabled across the Enterprise.
In our next post, we discuss how Collaboration can be leveraged across the Enterprise value chain using BPM and workflow software with SharePoint.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wrapping up at Microsoft World Partner Conference (WPC), Toronto.

We’re just back from attending the World Partner Conference at Toronto (8th-12th of July). With 16,000 attendees and more than 100 exhibitors the event was a high voltage platform for showcasing Microsoft technology based products and new business models.

Key announcements included confirmation of Windows 8 RTM/GA dates confirmation (early August for manufacturers and Enterprise customers). There was of course all the excitement generated by the Windows Phone 8 integrated with Windows 8. Loaded with new business apps such as Words with Friends, Draw Something, Audible, Chase and PayPal, Windows Phone 8 could well emerge as the number one competitor for Android.

In the BPM software space, Skelta BPM software stood head and shoulders above in the BPM and Advanced Workflow area with a clear forward thinking roadmap including our SaaS based BPM offering delivered on Microsoft Azure. We made the most of the WPC platform to showcase Invensys Skelta’s BPM offering for diverse user groups – Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Value Added Resellers (VARs), System Integrators, CIOs and Enterprise customers.

Wrapping up, we were thrilled to be a part of WPC this year. Invensys Skelta is committed to help partner organizations align their product / service offerings in line with the Microsoft technologies roadmap. We aim to align our own embeddable BPM software offering with future Microsoft technologies so that our users may leverage their existing Microsoft investments for maximum ROI.

See you all in Houston next year.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Upcoming Webinars on BPM with SharePoint / New BPM application scenarios

We have two Free Webinars taking place in July presented by Ramesh Srinivasan, VP Worldwide Sales, Invensys Skelta – a BPM and SharePoint subject matter expert and BPM evangelist.

Register now to understand how to maximize your BPM investments.

July 10th Webinar: Shifting the Paradigm on BPM software
Technology Remains the same. So how do you leverage your BPM investments for sustained value?
How can Business Process Management optimize business outcomes and performance?
How can organizations bridge the gap between Discovery and Business Transformation?
Is there a defined framework to help create a BPM roadmap?

Join us to understand how to make your BPM software work for you.

July 12th Webinar: Tap the Power of BPM with SharePoint
Are you getting the most out of your SharePoint Investment? Extend BPM capabilities to SharePoint 2010. Learn how in our 60 minute BPM and SharePoint Boot Camp Webinar

  • Automate, optimize mission critical business processes
  • Realize rapid returns on your existing investments in Microsoft technologies such as SharePoint, InfoPath and BizTalk
  • Efficient enterprise wide collaboration with BPM enabled SharePoint
  • Content management capabilities within SharePoint made efficient with advanced BPM and workflow software capabilities
  • Share information with other, manage documents from start to finish, and publish reports to help everyone make better and timely decisions. Learn how to leverage BPM for SharePoint to drive market success
Join us for a webinar on the 12th of July, 2012 to understand the intrinsic capabilities of Skelta BPM and do more with Microsoft SharePoint investments.

Monday, May 28, 2012

What we don’t ask about BPM on Cloud - Pitfalls

Earlier this month we discussed the Implications of putting business processes on the Cloud - with this post we continue the thread with a discussion on potential pitfalls of BPMaaS.

With cloud adoption for BPM Software rising at a significant pace, it is clear that not just mid-market companies but Enterprises are looking to consume cloud based processes despite potential problems with delivering Business ProcessManagement as a Service (BPMaaS).

Here is a quick rundown of top 4 concerns of running business processes on cloud:

      The primary concern today is that the core strengths of Cloud based delivery models – elasticity and scalability may not meet expectations. However, as Gartner’s Michele Cantara points out, “That can be ok because most buyers don’t need all the attributes of Cloud. So it’s less expensive to buy a business process as a contract for 100 users than it might be to buy on-premise software, and while it’s not purely pay-for-use, it’s still a saving”. 

      Security: Another obvious issue is of course related to data security and IP rights. In a multi-tenant Cloud environment, it is important to be vigilant about information security. It is a simple fact that no security system is infallible (think Google and Sales Data security laws also vary with geographies and jurisdiction becomes an important issue in this case. One needs to be aware of where exactly the BPM application or process related data will be hosted. Also, when it comes to process governance on the Cloud, the vendor needs to have a robust exception monitoring system in place.

      SLAs: Any vendor offering solutions delivered on Cloud is evaluated through hard bound SLAs and vendors delivering BPM applications on the Cloud are no different. However, apart from the usual parameters such as Uptime and Security which are the cornerstone of a successful delivery, SLAs need to be stringently evaluated for actual process performance. Does the process achieve the business aim it was meant to? Accessibility and Mobility are not concerns limited to on premise solutions and need to be evaluated for processes that rest on Cloud.

   Pricing: Although there are several hybrid pricing models available, typically, Cantara says, Cloud service providers price their services based on a range of users; the customer pays for services whether or not they’re being used. That is subscription-based, per-user pricing. The Process CafĂ© blog summarizes this well Costing models for BPM in the cloud will need to be carefully scrutinised to ensure that they will not inhibit the future development of the processes themselves. As such the owners will need to understand how the costing is done and what will be the impact of making a change. This will then need to be made transparent and matched against the cost of implementing such a system as an in-house cloud system rather than a purchased SaaS operation. 

      A BPM Pilot that is tested on a critical process and modeled for the long term is definitely an evaluation best practice. Our next post will discuss which processes could be on Cloud vs On-premise.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Business Processes on the Cloud – Implications

As per A Strategy Guide for Business and Technology Leaders — and the Rest of Us by Andy Mulholland, Jon Pyke and Peter Fingar, Business Process Management as a Service (BPMaaS) creates unique business processes designed for specific purposes to link together multi-company value delivery systems that in the past weren’t feasible or economical to join together. BPMaaS is all about the complete management of business processes, and puts business people in charge of their processes. In many ways, BPMaaS is what sets enterprise cloud computing apart from consumer cloud computing. Unique business processes are how companies differentiate themselves, and are thus paramount to the enterprise use of cloud computing for competitive advantage. BPMaaS covers the full lifecycle of business processes, from their conception, design implementation and optimization. Bringing BPM capabilities to the Cloud enables multiple companies to share a common BPM system and fully participate in an overall end-to-end business process. 

So what does it mean to put your processes on the Cloud? On the one hand, there are the obvious benefits of collaboration across dispersed geographic locations and a more cohesive value chain enabled by collaboration beyond the firewall. Business Process Management as a Service (BPMaaS) is also an excellent way to test project pilots and then have them delivered on demand putting the controls directly in the hands of business owners for decisions on size of investments, scalability etc.

On revenues, BPMaaS radically reduces risk and startup expenses for innovation initiatives letting companies take more small bets and test out more new ideas. With no upfront capital expense, new projects can be scaled up instantly if they take off, or shut down quickly if they fail. This sort of elasticity promotes agility and provides a launch pad for truly innovative ideas.

Beyond the firewall, putting processes on the Cloud also allows organizations to collaborate in new ways with its trading partners, and collaboration is the key to gaining competitive advantage across the value chain. By establishing shared workspaces in “Community Clouds” employees from multiple companies can work together as a “virtual enterprise network” and function as though they were a single company. They all participate in the same value delivery system, sharing computing, communication and information resources. This is especially important as no one company “owns” the overall value chain.

For someone who consumes Cloud based services and business process management software, it is key to remember that Cloud delivery is still in its infancy and accounts for less than 10% of all software product and services delivery models. As per a Gartner report, recognize that BPM PaaS vendors' view of elasticity generally means that they will enable more services and more capacity for you, but in many cases, this enablement is not automatic and not really elastic.

Plan your budget with the understanding that, even when "elasticity" is automated, it is usually only automated to increase, rather than decrease. As a result, your payments may stay the same, even though your consumption decreases.

Examine the multi-tenancy claims of a BPM PaaS or cloud-enabled BPM platform vendor against Gartner's CEAP multi-tenancy reference model. The aforementioned limitations in elasticity suggest that vendor claims of more-advanced "shared everything" multi-tenancy maybe exaggerated.

In our next post we will further examine potential pitfalls of BPMaaS and Processes that could be on the cloud vs. on premise processes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Old Technology, New Bottle.

Technology doesn’t Change … as was pointed out to me the other day by a senior colleague, only the interpretations evolve into new application scenarios. Sometimes they even come full circle in shiny new packaging.

A case in point is the Outside In approach or philosophy which evangelizes a Customer focused model for all business processes. Sound familiar? Customer Centricity Anyone?

There are currently in existence more than 6000 known BPM methodologies focused around the customer, so this begs the question “Why do we need another one”? As per Steve Towers of the BP Group and founding father of Outside In however, this approach is really a philosophy and work ethic rather than a business methodology wherein getting a grip on all aspects of the customer experience is the key to consistently delivering successful customer outcomes (SCOs). 

The message here is simple – “Stop doing irrelevant processes to free up costs by examining each process for customer centricity”. Translating this to measurable results, for those companies following the Outside In approach, order of magnitude has significantly improved by 20% in a period of 3 months and these results are being claimed as the bottom tier of actual figures. Speaks volumes for a renewed approach to customer focused business practices doesn’t it?

What is supposedly different about Outside In is that in the usual customer approach, most CEOs view customer centricity through the functional silo way of working while as per Outside In, every process should really exist only to achieve a SCO. The key enablers to this approach are Process Diagnostics that provide insights into worthwhile process engineering.

There is an underlying belief that even companies who have done some process improvements can derive benefits from the Outside In approach. Function based KPIs related to customer accounting, customer service, customer retention etc. don’t guarantee SCOs but designing processes around SCO is bound to work.

In e-governance for example, SCOs can be achieved through a single window, ‘Anytime Anywhere’ delivery of citizen services rather than the one portal for each service approach.

So even if technology doesn’t change at the speed of light, our ever changing business eco system calls for distilled philosophies based on proven track records and experience.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Clouded Judgement?

So it seems like the jury is still out on how well BPM will migrate to the cloud but that doesn’t seem to have interrupted the momentum in the least bit! Many will agree that the exciting thing about cloud, apart from being an option to On Premise is the opportunity for new business and software delivery models to develop. At some level, this sort of innovation has to mean improved functionality and cost efficiencies.

But hosting a BPM tool on the cloud also means that first level of engagement now rests with the end user rather than the “IT department” – this is a huge challenge which begs for new ways to deliver BPM on the cloud.  

Remember when Cloud solutions were served up through some clearly defined delivery models ? 

- Software as a service (SaaS) which may be termed very simply as on demand software (and associated data) that is hosted centrally and delivered on browser

- Platform as a service ( PaaS) or the middle layer that provides a computing platform or solution stack as a service

- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) that offers physical or virtual machines from data centers billed typically on a utility computing basis

Then with the kind of huge investments biggies such as Amazon, Rackspace and Microsoft put behind Cloud, everyone was hard pressed to jump on the Cloud bandwagon - sometimes with little or no readiness. Newer delivery models with no gestation became words being bandied about. So now along with  Enterprise as a service (EaaS) and Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) the new kid on the overcrowded block is - iPaaS (Integration Platform as a service).   But more on that in another post.

For now, how do organizations differentiate the real deal from a drummed up version? As Hollis Tibbets succinctly  puts it “if it's not multi-tenant, if it's not elastic, if it's not scalable, if it doesn't have modern tools for development and management (i.e. it looks more like Windows 3.1 than Browser) then it's not the real deal …”

What I think though is that if we look beyond the multiple messages all clamoring for space, one of the clearly visible benefits that emerge is that BPM on the cloud transforms the value chain for Enterprise – a neutral space outside a firewall means capturing participation from customer and partner facing processes for true collaboration. 

But what with many organizations viewing BPM on cloud as the answer to their unresolved process issues, the waters are only going to get muddier before we begin to understand the true and tangible value of BPM on cloud – any way it is served.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Invensys Skelta Partner Contest Winner!

Invensys Skelta (BPM software provider) VAR - The IT Bunch win "Name the Whitepaper Contest" with their inspiring title text.

"The aggregation of Business: ROEI and Skelta BPM"! 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

BPO Business Transformation through BPM?

The BPO business hub in India has been growing at the rate of 70% every year and is now worth $1.6 billion. In an industry that employs 1, 00,000 people, there is bound to be cost competitiveness due to the sheer numbers –in other words, high volume intellectual capital. For business success in what is already a crowded space, only 100% customer delight can make the cut and spell the difference between high profitability and a mad clamor to stay afloat.
So what is in the BPO success mix?
Cost savings obviously – the bedrock of the BPO industry
      Increased efficiencies through optimized SLA management
      Increased bottom-lines
      Response to change

In order to consolidate and find new differentiators, BPM promises operational efficiency in a sector heavily dependent on quality and rapid turnaround.  So Business Process Management and BPO are all about cutting costs but if you cut to the chase what is it about a BPM product that delivers value here? It has to be about getting your workforce to do more within tight SLA frameworks and to do it right.

Lauren Bielski in CIO points out quite accurately that BPM in BPO makes digital what used to be flow charts scribbled on white boards or sketched out on notepads.  This method allows subordinate processes to be more easily taken over by contracted outsiders in jobs such as loan processing, application support, or claims processing.

Business Process Management in this scenario can rapidly define, modify and deploy processes cost effectively while at the same time providing for continuous monitoring of performance and projection of resource requirements.

If we’re talking specifics, a robust Queue Management system designed to accelerate productivity with its dynamic queue allocation is integral to BPM for BPO. Common task dispatch patters such as FIFO, LIFO and round robin are well supported as are custom dispatch patterns, automatic, semi-automatic and manual modes of task dispatch.  BPM can differentiate in this one process that makes or break a BPO operation – project delivery.

Long term fixed priced BPO contracts in the backdrop of escalating operational costs have long been the bane of the BPO industry. However, the sector has shown potential to be profitable. Now with more and more BPOs focusing on business transformation with BPM software, maybe it can?

BPM framework for BPO

Thursday, February 16, 2012







The marketing folks at Invensys Skelta (who know a thing or two about Whitepapers!) will announce a winner in a week.


1. A White Paper named by you! - This White Paper will be featured prominently on the Invensys Skelta corporate website, Partner Portal and all Social Media Sites
2. Your company's name in the title credit
3. Links to your company's unique profile page on our corporate website

For any clarifications, please email us on

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Proof is in the Pudding?

Following up on my post last week on what goes into the making of a BPM project, let’s talk a little more about Proof of Concepts (POCs). To truly gain traction from Discovery to Automation and to zero in on the right BPM software, a POC showing your vendor’s competency on a number of issues is essential. It’s simple really – Don’t Invest till you Test!

When it comes to evaluating a POC, there are the usual suspects

-         - Time to delivery from start to finish
-         - Sustainability (does the vendor have the bandwidth and skill to support optimization over a long time period)
-        -  Human reaction to change
-        -  Ability of the product to react to change

But apart from these the most critical test of concept is the scope of the POC. A scope bound POC which is a sub set of the actual BPM project offers enormous clarity to the process owner.  More importantly, as a BPM customer you should be cognizant of your exact BPM requirement before evaluating vendors ... the idea is to map the software to your needs rather than spend time and money on a POC to reinforce its inherent strengths.

A BPM customer should drive the outcome of a POC and test for compatibility with existing IT environments among other things. Introduce scenarios that test vendor agility and response to process change – indication of a strong services team means that you gain from the vendor’s BPM project experience when it comes to building a new application around the product.  For a BPM vendor of course, a well defined POC directly translates to cost efficiencies and in depth understanding of the client’s requirement.

Invest more technical resources in rolling out a POC and you have yourself a sustainable BPM customer who views you more as a BPM partner and less as a software vendor.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

10 Point Program for BPM Excellence

What really makes for BPM project success? Visualizing a lean and efficient business structure, or how to “Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast!”

  1. First, identify a few processes that are costing the company’s bottom-line, increasing turnaround times or represent a compliance risk.
  2. Put together a think tank of subject matter experts, process owners and forward thinking individuals from your organization to draw up a new goal based process.
  3. Look at your internal technical skill set and various platforms in your IT landscape and evaluate BPMS tools from vendors that fit well with your existing IT investment.
  4. Choose a BPM software vendor to develop an initial proof of concept (POC).
  5. Run and test the process. Revise, revise, revise till you get it right.
  6. Measure the new process for KPIs which are key to your business – common measurement indicators are cycle times, cost implication and customer satisfaction.
  7. Deploy the process and continuously monitor the Business Activity for improved achievement on overall governance aims and better customer offerings.
  8. Synchronize and Collaborate with teams on potential ideas for competing in the market and use these as BPM opportunities to scale up your BPM initiative.
  9. Consider integrating your BPM software with your existing ERP system and extend the bandwidth of your process optimization tool.
  10. Leverage organizational knowledge and market intelligence to constantly update your process with a trial and deploy methodology.
Redirecting resources to find and close business opportunities, rather than spend time looking for information spells Operational efficiency and results in better bottom lines.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Future Forward! - BPM Futuristic Trends

Future Forward - BPM Futuristic Trends :

How can Business Process Management optimize business outcomes and performance? Last year’s leading BPM events and the views aired therein by the industry’s thought leaders all bring out a dominant and somewhat worrying scenario – after a decade, Process Agility is still a pipe dream for organizations struggling to connect BPM technologies with their real world business processes.

Companies continue to focus on process automation as the quick fix to achieving Business Process Management goals without clearly defining end performance parameters and process improvement metrics. There is a need then to step back from the blinding array of available BPMS and concentrate on building operational resilience achieved through continuously introducing new process incidents for goal fulfilment and performance measurement. The need is also to identify a set of techniques that allow people, processes and information systems to adapt to changing patterns repeatedly.

The success words for the future of BPM include Activity Monitoring and Business Intelligence – a greater shift towards “predictive” instead of the “reactive” models being followed; Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) and Business Event Support as an important aspect of any full service BPM platform whilst evaluating best fit BPMS by organizations. BPM platforms with a strong focus on BAM, will come out on top by providing the critical visibility today’s embattled organizations need to establish relevant business goals and accountability.

The road this year will organically lead to social BPM - an ideal scenario where knowledge workers and partners model collaborative processes and BPMS designs address needs of unstructured process such as those that rest with knowledge workers. . As organizations begin to see the light about creating structures that are operationally resilient, BPMS as a technology takes a back seat. Key features of BPMS that support real world company goals for operational intelligence such as BAM and Process Designers for continuous process improvement take to the forefront of BPM as a solution to achieve operational success.

Business transformation has emerged as the key to sustaining organizational success and there is negligible concern on technology issues. Processes as a platform must necessarily come to pass as more and more users are vested in the belief that processes will eventually run in the cloud (both public and private).

The economic downturn has everyone looking inward and setting the house in order. Going forward, structured process automation will slowly give way to process management for unstructured processes – harnessing knowledge repositories within enterprises.

The emerging face of BPM extends accountability to process management as the means to optimize business outcome. This means that BPMS needs to keep pace as organizations start adapting process at the pace of business changes and not at the pace of their BPM package!