anagement) A structured approach that models an enterprise's human and machine tasks and the interactions between them as processes. BPM software provides users with a dashboard interface that offers a high-level view of the operation that typically crosses departmental boundaries. The dashboard integrates with all the applications that perform processes as well as related databases. It can be used to trigger the start of a unit of work, and it provides a single interface to the end user.
Evolving from document management, workflow and enterprise application integration (EAI), a BPM system can monitor and analyze tasks in real time and set off alerts when specified limits are exceeded or a response is not received within a specified time. It can also automate the often ad hoc, human-centric processes associated with responding to these alerts.
Management for People/Machine Systems
For decades, systems that are entirely automated have more or less taken care of themselves. However, operations requiring a mix of people and machine procedures employ BPM as a higher-level management system that keeps track of them both.
Over time, a BPM system can provide historical data of human-machine interactions that might be extremely difficult to obtain from information systems, especially disparate systems from several departments or systems running on different platforms.
The BPM Suite (BPMS)
A BPM system may comprise a variety of independent packages or a comprehensive business process management suite (BPMS), which includes tools for modeling and analysis, application integration, business rules, business intelligence (BI), activity monitoring and optimization. Advanced BPMSs provide a development tool for creating forms-based applications, which are often the start of many business processes. The most leading-edge BPMSs provide enterprise architecture and full-scale enterprise modeling capabilities that help align strategy with process execution. See BPML
. See also BMP
A Metastorm Model
Sophisticated BMP suites provide a graphical tool for designing the processes and workflow as in this example from Metastorm. Underlying the icons are the details, which include the actions, interfaces and triggers. In this illustration, only the model is shown. The window border, icons and menus from the Metastorm software were eliminated to enlarge the model. (Image courtesy of Metastorm Inc., www.metastorm.com)