BI & BPM Buzz – Just another hype?

Business Process Management (BPM) blogosphere is buzzing with discussions on integration of BPM & Business Intelligence (BI) infrastructure. Some of the bloggers and analysts have even predicted consolidation of BPM and BI offerings into single product.

Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) is considered to be an integral part of modern BPM systems. BAM makes BPM system a complete process life-cycle management infrastructure by enabling user organizations to manage process life-cycle end-to-end in terms of “Define – Execute – Control – Monitor – Improve”. In my opinion, BAM is nothing but process intelligence functionality which is a sub-set of BI and hence I find this sudden surge in BI & BPM integration discussions indeed very surprising as it always existed.

BPM vendors have gone about addressing the BAM need of their users / customers in two ways:
1. Creating BAM functionality within the BPM system
2. Integrating their BPM system with a provider of BI system provider

The key question is as to how should user organizations enable the BPM implementations with BI capabilities? This largely depends on two factors:
1. Whether the BPM system being implemented by the user organization have BAM capabilities, and
2. Whether user organizations have implemented BI system

If user organizations already have or intend to implement BI system, then they should leverage their BI implementations by integrating BPM with BI system.

I strongly feel that in time to come large software vendors such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP will combine their infrastructure system offerings under one solution. Such infrastructure software will include BPM (Workflow), Business Rules, Content Management, BI, Portal, and Integration functionality. However, these offerings will be available as separate components and user organizations will have options to pick and choose components depending on their need. So do expect acquisitions and consolidations across these software domains. And hence needless to say that IT managers and leaders will have tough time in making choices while selecting systems and vendors for implementations across these software domain areas.

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