By: Clive Longbottom, Head of Research, Quocirca
Published: 3rd September 2010
Copyright Quocirca © 2010
If you take a look at your business, you’ll see that it is run by processes. The problem is that these processes are not neatly packaged up under a single application—they are spread across a mix of applications and technologies. Although enterprise applications, such as those aimed at managing customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and the like nominally manage some of the business’ processes, there will be many processes that cross over between applications, or that are based on mainstream communication and collaboration tools.
Any move from within an organisation to create a single point of process management has historically been doomed—the rush for business process management (BPM) seems to have come and gone, and trying to force everyone to use SAP or Oracle eBusiness Suite is not only overly complex for the majority, but would tend to bankrupt all but the very richest of companies.
However, things may be changing. Over the past few months, I’ve been talking to a couple of interesting companies—one that has been around for some time, and one that is just hitting the market.
In the first instance, OpenSpan provides a set of tools that can abstract a process and then automate it. By monitoring and logging what a user does, the essential process can be uncovered and the steps can be easily replicated. Steps that are currently manual, such as moving data from one application to another, can be automated and the visual part of the process hidden from the user. Analysis of what is being done can lead to process optimisation and a direct impact on the overall effectiveness of the business. An inventory of functions is soon built up, and new processes can easily be built by aggregating these functions as required.
The other company is CIMtrek. This new company has been formed by Jon Pyke, previously of Staffware and of Cordys, and he is now bringing a new product to market which is aimed at creating a complete abstraction of business processes and allowing users to access them from where it most makes sense for them.
For example, let’s assume that there is a business process that is currently used within SAP, a process that it would be useful for a larger number of people to have access to. You could go out and buy a load more SAP licences—or you could abstract the process and redeploy it into a tool that is already used by those people. This could be Microsoft SharePoint, or IBM Lotus Domino, or it may be another enterprise application. The idea is to take the technical aspects of the process away and make it available as a service across a set of different access points.
The CIMtrek tool works through pointing it at the application involved, and it then creates an inventory of the functions and processes involved. Unlike OpenSpan, however, CIMtrek does not need the user to step through processes—it discovers and uncovers them itself. CIMtrek will also offer the capacity to use the tool for application migrations—for example, for an organisation moving from IBM Lotus Domino/Notes through to Microsoft Exchange/SharePoint—CIMtrek can migrate the processes from standard and bespoke Notes applications through to Exchange and SharePoint systems. Provided as a cloud service, CIMtrek will first provide capabilities to move processes between Lotus Domino and Google Apps—but other applications will be included rapidly.
As time goes on, CIMtrek plans to include more applications and systems in its purview, enabling users to create a complete library of corporate processes—and to then choose how these are provisioned across the user base, giving a great deal of flexibility to how a business approaches its process issues.
BPM has been the Holy Grail for many over the last couple of decades. Although it has promised much, the overall capability has been hampered through the need for a specific front end to be in place. OpenSpan hides a lot of the complexity, and CIMtrek provides the flexibility for organisations to choose the process access mechanism for themselves. OpenSpan also works with processes across applications, while CIMtrek is currently one application at a time. This points towards the two companies having hidden synergies that could be worth investigating.
Both companies deserve to do well.
Posted: 24th September 2010 | By Alice :
Nice article. After reading it, I went to www.google.com and learn more too!
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