Integration World Day 1: Best Practices in Delivering Results with BPM

Bruce Beeco of Cox Communications told their story of how and why they implemented webMethods BPMS. Their goals:

  • Reusable processes independent of channel
  • Consistent experience independent of channel
  • Visibility into processes
  • Proactive on customer-facing problems
  • Automate manual tasks to reduce cost and errors
  • Improve time-to-market for new products and services

Overall, their goal is to move the processes out of the front-end applications using BPM, leverage existing services and provide monitoring and business health using BAM.

They started a number of BPMS initiatives, including monitoring and alerting around existing applications, modelling new processes, portal interfaces and others; some of these are in production, while others are just getting started. Being a Six Sigma shop, they took on business processes by creating a shadow process to an existing human process: they created a process model, collected data from the real world and correlated events to the model to provide some “visibility” into the process, particularly for the purposes of optimization.

He looked at the link between SOA and BPM, and said that you can’t do services without at least modelling the processes, since otherwise you just don’t create the right services: the models identify the service integration points and required functionality. He also addressed the issue of when to put functionality in a service versus a process in BPM:

  • Use BPM if it maintains state; services are stateless
  • Use BPM if you have variable complex outcomes; services outcomes are fixed and predetermined
  • Use BPM for composite process solutions; services are discrete entities
  • Use BPM for process visibility; services are black boxes

His key lesson learned was that BPM and SOA need to be done together in order to have a holistic view of your operations and business.

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