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 Café 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.


  1. An interesting concept, I would love to put the scenario on my own process improvement project as this will help me a lot. I am using a process simulation software for getting better results.

  2. Security is definitely a big issue. Many businesses I've seen looking to improve their process efficiency will want to keep everything in house. Whether the threat is real or not, the perceived lack of control will delay the integration of the cloud.