BPMS - Business Process Management Suite

What is a BPMS?

A business process management suite, or BPMS, is suite of well-understood, integrated technologies which permit businesses, governments and organizations to create applications that combine models of new or existing functions, applications and human (or people) tasks into an automation of core business functions. BPMS systems create end-to-end applications in areas like product manufacturing, customer order processing or insurance policy underwriting. The best BPMS systems today support and implement the concepts of a services-oriented architecture, or SOA, environment for the modeling, design, development and deployment of business process applications.

What are some of the technologies that are in a BPMS?

Common technologies that are included in a BPMS include workflow engines, graphical business process modelers, document and content management, middleware and -- at the center of the BPMS -- an execution engine that executes the model on the computer.

(At Active Endpoints, we strongly believe the core BPMS technologies must be standards-based. Otherwise, an organizations'basic business activities are "locked up" in a proprietary IT system. Further, unless the BPMS supports standards-based technology, it becomes nearly impossible to integrate the BPMS with existing IT systems. Some of the most important standards included in ActiveVOS are BPEL and BPMN.)

The BPM application -- often just called the "process" -- is first modeled in a graphical designer. The modeling activity, usually done in collaboration with business analysts, end users and IT professionals, takes advantage of BPMS capabilities like simulation (see the BPMS simulation screen shot at the end of this topic), in which the resources and throughputs of the business process are tested.

Next, a developer takes the high-level model and transforms it into an executable service. Note that the developer does not "lose" the model -- which should remain in a form intelligible to the business analyst. Instead, using another capability of the BPMS -- the execution engine -- the developer will use a high-level, web-services-based designer to "finish" the business-level model and make it capable of running on a machine. This is the deployment version of the model. In the ActiveVOS BPMS, it is possible to exchange the business-level model and the execution-level model at any time. In this way, IT developers and business analysts can easily collaborate on the design, development and deployment of processes in the BPMS.

BPMS systems also typically include reporting and management capabilities, so users, IT staff and managers can understand how the business is performing in real time.

Is BPMS an important new technology?

According to the Gartner research firm, the business process management suite, or BPMS, category is among the fastest growing software markets. In 2007, Gartner estimated that the BPMS market will grow to US$2.6 billion by 2011. The Forrester research firm has an even rosier market forecast for BPMS: US$6.3 billion by 2011. Whichever report you believe -- or even if you do not accept either, it's clear that the BPMS marketplace is growing...and rapidly.

Simulation in a Business Process Management System (BPMS)
In ActiveVOS, developers can collaborate with business analysts and end users to create sophisticated BPMN process models that can be directly executed on ActiveVOS's BPEL execution engine