Why Should You Build Your Business Processes in the Cloud?
Stephanie Hlavin 110000JN25 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  bpm cloud the_navigator business_process_manageme... bpaas saas softlayer ibm
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by Bill Lawton, Program Director, Smarter Process Cloud Offerings, IBM
Many companies have benefited from using business process tools to improve their business, whether it is a simple, departmental type process or for enterprise-wide, business operational initiatives. These tools empower business people to understand and guide the creative process to improve their business in a meaningful and relevant way. For those not familiar with IBM’s Business Process Manager, it is a comprehensive Business Process Management (BPM) platform that provides visibility and management of your business processes. IBM Business Process Manager includes all the capability to discover and document, plan, implement, deploy, manage and optimize your processes. It also includes tooling and run time for process design, execution, monitoring and optimization. This set of capabilities, combined with a BPM approach for continuous improvement, enable the people that know the processes best to influence the outcome.
Easily visualize and model each process to help understand bigger picture
What does all this have to do with the cloud? Cloud computing is defined by NIST as “a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction." Cloud computing – and specifically applications and solutions provided in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model that are immediately available and ready to use – can empower people to be productive right away.
I’ve heard stories of companies that can take weeks, months and even years to start new projects because of various inhibitors. Things can slow you down, like the time it takes to order the software and hardware components you need for the project and then setting it all up to work. This can take time and only gets in the way of productivity. Cloud technologies are completely changing the way people think about the infrastructure and the speed at which they can accomplish something valuable for their business. Being able to tap into and use virtual services and environments that are ready to use can speed the entire process. This enables you to minimize dependencies on IT teams that may not be as agile, or have the bandwidth or budget to support your initiatives when you need them the most.
BPM on Cloud is IBM’s Business Process Management platform available as a fully managed cloud service. The cloud service went live in 2013 as a subscription-based service with the same world-class BPM capabilities available in the licensed product. It includes a BPM development, test and a highly available “Run” environment that is securely hosted in IBM’s SoftLayer data centers around the world. Each company gets their own dedicated BPM environment that is completely isolated from other companies’ data and secured with encrypted access to the service – giving you peace of mind that no one will gain access to your valuable processes and data.
Rapidly develop and deploy BPM applications with BPM on Cloud
The BPM cloud service is available anywhere SoftLayer has a data center and is managed by IBM. The managed by IBM part is a key benefit of this type of consumption model. As a user of this kind of service, you do not need to worry about details such as the hardware and operating systems that the software runs on or how it is configured. IBM provides the service in a highly available manner and handles patching the system when a security or software patch is required. IBM handles backing up the environment daily and generally monitoring and keeping the system running – freeing you to focus on your business. That is the power of BPM on Cloud!
Getting access to an environment like this within minutes or hours can be very empowering and complementary to using BPM in a more traditional manner. There is no one-size-fits-all model when considering the possibilities for leveraging cloud services in combination with services you may have locked away in your corporate network. There is even a term for this – “Hybrid cloud” – that describes the use of a variety of cloud and non-cloud technologies together for a common solution. An example of hybrid cloud is using BPM on Cloud with the included VPN service to connect to a corporate network to access services in a secure manner. Another approach is to publish services on the internet and connect to them directly over an encrypted connection.
Building and running your business processes in the cloud with BPM on Cloud can reduce the time it takes to gain value – at a lower up-front rental cost. Combined with starting small with the BPM methodology and blending the cloud services alongside your on-premise infrastructure is a great way to ease into and explore the cloud. Perhaps even a focus on doing just development and testing of your processes with the goal of placing the final solution on your premise is a perfectly good way to approach a new project. With this approach you can still leverage many of the benefits of the cloud while retaining control over production aspects.
Watch IBM BPM on Cloud in action with these YouTube videos.