BPM and BI enable better decisions

14 01 2010

There are many recognised and well documented benefits of BPM (Business Process Management), many of which focus around the benefits that empower users to make better decisions. The same can be said for high level staff, people who take decisions on how the business should go about doing business. Many BPM suites provide a dashboard that allows management and key staff to review process performance, throughput etc. However, do we need to know more than these basic operational facts?

Business Intelligence (BI) can help

Now I don’t have a great amount of experience in the BI field. However, I am very aware that BI (at least the concept, practices and technologies) can add real value to BPM management dashboards. While it is great to know the through put of a particular process for example, it would be far more informative to see the type of “cases” or “workitems” that are in that process. The type of customers involved, their requests, who are carrying out the majority of cases here, what other applications are having a factor on performance etc. This is where BI can add real value.

By integrating either good BI practices or a good BI solution with BPM, you enrich the overview of how a business process is performing, and to an extent, how your business itself is performing. In addition, vast time savings will be made with regards to gathering decision making variables and showing these as informative reports.

BI solution or an intelligent BPM platform?

This is the question…It’s all well and good trying to integrate a good BI solution with your BPM platform, but this won’t be simple. Because of this the market is moving to BPM vendors purchasing BI providers (maybe vice versa) in order to bring something different and more informative to their product offering.

To write a complete BI solution would be hard, however BPM vendors can go a long way to providing BI in their own dashboards, the key is time and investment. The outcome may not demonstrate as nicely “Out of the box” as established BI solutions, but many of the benefits of using a BI solution will be incorporated. I am sure we will see many BPM solutions including “open source” BI solutions in their own product offerings over the next 18 months…

There are of course exceptions to the rule. My own company provides a BPM platform that can provide BI capabilities within processes and reporting dashboards. This is done because the maps themselves and the data stored are implemented at a more technical developer level (rather than at a high level mapping environment). This provides great flexibility in what information you want to gather and effectively store ready for reporting on. The same integration capabilities are available with custom reporting and custom dashboard controls, allowing reports to integrate with other LOBs and or its own BI type of system.


No matter how you choose to implement richer reports, the point is that organisations should look to BI principles when executing BPM reports or viewing dashboards. The more relevant information that is available, the more likely you are (as a business) to make better more informed decisions, which can only be a good thing. In addition, financial savings are very apparent when looking at how much money it costs to generate similar types of reports from legacy systems / other LOBs…All in all, BPM and BI is a natural fit, one which vendors and customers alike should take advantage of.



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