How Digital Business Process Management Transforms the Enterprise

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Technologies are available today that let enterprise teams design or redesign business applications within any system environment no matter how much “legacy” infrastructure there is underneath.

Just about every company wants “digital transformation,” which generally means having smart software that can carry out and automate a variety of business tasks, whether customer experience management, sales, logistics, anti-fraud and compliance, or resource management.

It’s relatively easy for startups to innovate in digital, of course, as they have “greenfield” processes and systems, and can quickly start out with all-cloud-based services in place to launch their ventures. It’s not so easy, however, for an established enterprise coping with legacy software and hardware.

For established enterprises, the move to cloud isn’t so automatic. There are existing systems and applications that may represent years’ worth of painstaking development and process development that continues to deliver competitive advantage and business value. These infrastructures support business processes that are thoroughly embedded within the enterprise, and are often so intertwined with the technology they are frequently painful to revise or remove.

It’s analogous to “a CIO who is faced with competing against new disruptive startups, overpowering kids fresh out of college drinking loads of Mountain Dew,” says Phil Simpson, ‎JBoss product marketing manager at Red Hat.

How legacy companies can innovate

Technologies are available today, however, that let enterprise teams to design or redesign business applications within any system environment no matter how much “legacy” infrastructure there is underneath. These tools and platforms, which fall under the umbrella of business process management software, can help legacy companies compete with any digital disruptors who emerge on their playing field.  

“The imperative for digital transformation applies to established companies that are finding themselves disrupted by all these new startups that have a more agile and are more able to change as their customers and markets change. Digital transformation is for established organizations that need to change in order to compete in new markets,” Simpson said.

At the core of digital transformation are processes that evolve and change as rapidly as the business changes – meeting customer preferences, releasing new products, pivoting to new markets, and forging new partnerships. The tools and platforms that enable this transformation include an emerging generation of business process management (BPM) and business rules management systems (BRMS) solutions, offering a way to rapidly build modern applications with a minimum drain on precious and expensive IT resources.

Digital BPM enables “apps not only to make decisions, but also manage and orchestrate business processes,” says Simpson. BRMS is a high-level architecture that includes “a rules repository where the rules are stored and managed.”

Digital transformation varies from organization to organization, of course, since there are countless systems and applications and supported processes that have developed over the years. It consists of building new applications and next-generation architectures on today’s open standards, using on-demand resources. For many organizations, digital transformation also means optimizing existing systems and application resources – integrating, replacing, or abstracting key pieces of their infrastructures into services.

Digital business process management

“There’s a lot of different components to digital transformation,” says Simpson. “Some are focused more on optimizing existing systems and applications and resources, and others are more focused on building new applications for next architectures.”

The stage for enterprise digital transformation is being set from four directions, including application modernization, cloud adoption, agile integration, and designing or redesigning process-driven applications.

The strategy of designing or redesigning process-driven applications is a key step toward intelligent integration. This consists of optimizing business process management and business rules management to rapidly map and deploy business technology services to ever-changing processes.

“Process-driven apps orchestrate resources within your organization — moving work through the organization, finding and routing it to the right people, and enabling collaboration,” says Simpson. “Process driven apps also automate manual tasks and manual decisions.”

To address this opportunity, today’s digital BPM and BRMS play a key role in helping enterprises in their digital transformation journeys. These tools and platforms serve to orchestrate resources within the organization, routing work to the right people and applications, enabling collaboration. Digital BPM and BRMS automate routine manual tasks, reducing manual work, and decision management. They also pave the way to robotic process automation, which is revolutionizing the handling of the countless routine and manual tasks that slow down productivity. Finally, these tools and platforms enable self-service, making it possible for business users to develop and maintain applications without going through IT departments. So, it doesn’t necessarily require hard-core coding skills.

The purpose and intent of digital transformation is to deliver value to the customer – quickly, with continuous delivery of quality and functionality. Digital BPM and BRMS is the keystone to this journey, enabling enterprises to rapidly deploy and configure business technology to ever-changing processes, when and where it is needed.

Learn more:

Resource center: digital process automation

Four tips for building smart apps

Using BPM applications for digital transformation

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About Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is RTInsights Industry Editor. He is a regular contributor to Forbes on digital, cloud and Big Data topics. He served on the organizing committee for the recent IEEE International Conference on Edge Computing (full bio). Follow him on Twitter @joemckendrick.

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