BPM: A PRACTICAL WAY TO IMPROVE BUSINESS PROCESSES
BPM: A PRACTICAL WAY
TO IMPROVE BUSINESS
Atos Origin’s vision on Business Process Management
ExEcutivE summary 3
BPm: oPtimal, flExiBlE and transParEnt oPErations 4
BusinEss ProcEss managEmEnt in PracticE 5
BPm in rElation to othEr mEthodologiEs 10
imPact of BPm on thE organization 13
BPm roadmaP: think Big, start small, scalE quickly 14
BPm suitEs and suPPliErs 16
atos origin’s BPm sErvicEs 18
The term business process management (BPM) unites developments in areas such as workflow
management, application integration and process redesign, which used to be regarded as sepa-
rate. This uniting and today’s technological possibilities for implementing BPM provide organiza-
tions with new opportunities that were not available with the individual forerunners of BPM:
> optimization of business processes;
> flexibility when changing business processes;
> improving the transparency of operations.
BPM enables operations to focus on customers by centralizing business processes indepen-
dently of an organization’s existing departmental structure. BPM describes business processes in
models and executes the processes on the basis of these models. This allows the execution of
processes to be measured. Comparing the results with predefined norms reveals how they can be
optimized. As processes are executed automatically and precisely according to the model,
it becomes easier to report on the compliance with a variety of regulations.
BPM forms an ideal combination with a service oriented architecture (SOA), the standardization
and reuse of services and processes creating economies of scale and greater flexibility. New
process chains can be easily created by linking and integrating existing processes. The use of
services allows the underlying applications to be decoupled from the business processes, so that
modifications to these processes do not necessarily entail changes to the corresponding applica-
The implementation of BPM has implications for the way an organization conducts business
operations, as well as for its IT. This means it requires a BPM roadmap specifically prepared for
the organization and based on company strategy and maturity, incorporating the consequences
for the organization and a change management approach.
Although the market for BPM systems and their suppliers is consolidating, the field’s historical
background, which has given rise to a variety of IT platforms, means that two such systems might
not be comparable. Atos Origin is knowledgeable concerning the leading suppliers in all segments
of the market and has formed a partnership with each of them.
Atos Origin supplies a full range of BPM services, from strategy definition and execution,
to management and operations. It can support organizations with:
> restructuring the business along process lines;
> designing, modelling, improving and implementing processes;
> designing, creating and managing an IT landscape oriented towards processes and services.
BPm: oPtimal, flexiBile and
In today’s world, a variety of stakeholders place high > By utilizing the insights that BPM provides into busi-
demands on companies and other organizations. ness processes, they can be standardized, allowing
> Customers expect integrated services so that they their use in multiple situations. Not only does this pro-
do not have to endure being sent from one depart- duce economies of scale, and hence cost savings,
ment to another, can receive quick and clear as- but also opportunities for creating new processes
sistance from whatever channel they request it, and based on existing standardized ones.
can obtain information on the status of their orders > Thanks to BPM tooling, the hardcoded business pro-
and service requests whenever they want it (business cesses can be extracted from the legacy applications,
optimization). making it possible to change business processes or
> International competition means constant attention to create new ones without having to modify the cor-
profitability, sales and costs (business optimization). responding IT platforms.
> The market demands that organizations are able to > By describing processes explicitly in a BPM system,
quickly launch new products and services, penetrate it becomes considerably easier to submit official
markets and form and dissolve alliances (business reports to those bodies that monitor compliance
flexibility). with legislation and agreements. BPM ensures a high
> Government bodies and supervisory authorities degree of transparency for operations, thus simplify-
require transparency of operations and compliance ing accountability.
with national and international regulations (business
transparency). Figure 1 shows that the initial benefits provided by BPM
are in the form of cost savings – the low-hanging fruit –
BPM helps companies and other organizations over- and that more time, experience with BPM and maturity
come these complex challenges. on the part of the organization are needed before the
> BPM integrates operations through the implementa- flexibility benefits can be realized. As these benefits re-
tion of customer-to-customer business processes sult in strategic advantages, their added value is actually
that cross the boundaries of business units and the greatest in the long run.
departments (process chains). As a result, BPM
smoothes and speeds up the transition from a prod-
uct-centric to a customer-centric service provision.
> BPM makes the business processes explicit, de-
fines them in models and automates their execution
based on these models. By continuously measuring
and analysing the metrics of a process, it can be
optimized, resulting in reduced costs, throughput
times and stock levels, as well as better services to
customers. The computerization of routine business
processes leads to lower costs and fewer errors.
Figure 1 BPM business benefits (source: bpmbasics.com)
management in Practice
Gartner defines BPM as “a management practice tomers can use different media for communicating with
that provides for governance of a business’s process the organization concerning the process: post, email,
environment toward the goal of improving agility and web or phone. To fully digitize the process, the required
operational performance”. But what does this abstract information is translated as necessary into an electronic
definition really mean? This section sets out BPM based form. Business services can also be supplied as web
on the BPM approach outlined in the previous section services to the organization’s partners in the business
for overcoming the challenges that complex organiza- chain.
The relationship between the various BPM applications continuous ProcEss imProvEmEnt
is clarified by presenting all the applications in a single BasEd on hard figurEs
model, based on the splitting out of strategic, tactical
and operational applications. Explicit definitions and models of business processes,
in a standardized language like BPMN1, are the core of
BPM. The models are executed by the process engine,
customEr-cEntric oPErations through a software module that invokes IT system services or
ProcEss oriEntation requests human intervention for the execution of each
process step. As the management of a process is fully
With BPM, the services provided to customers and computerized, the values of various process metrics
the business processes for realizing these services can be obtained (business activity monitoring): execu-
are centralized and placed under the responsibility of tion times of process steps, workload at certain points
process owners. Each process is separated from the in the process, number of error situations, etc.
activities - computerized and manual alike - of the orga-
nization’s business units and departments. If a business 1
Business Process Modelling Notation is a standard of the
process can be implemented in a generic from, cus- Open Management Group (www.omg.org).
Operational Department Department Department
Figure 2 BPM applications at different levels Figure 3 BPM places customer-to-customer processes
Based on this process intelligence, an operations BusinEss ProcEssEs as sourcE
manager can perform adjustments to a process by: of managEmEnt information
> deploying extra resources for the execution of manual
steps in the process; and Process intelligence is an excellent source of
> initiating action for exceptional situations that the standardized management information. This no longer
process concerned cannot handle. (An example has to be compiled using complex consolidations of
could be failing to resolve a customer’s complaint extracts from databases, but can be derived directly
within the allotted time.) from the execution of business processes. Management
not only receives strategic reports based on information
Process intelligence is also analysed as a way of as- that becomes available, but can also define in advance
sessing the process itself and identifying possible im- the key performance indicators (KPIs) necessary for
provements (such as performing two controls in parallel validating and monitoring these processes. Accordingly,
and, hence, shortening the execution time of a delivery BPM is a mechanism that generates quantitative data
process.) from business processes. This data is used to flesh out
management strategies such as Lean and Six Sigma,
of which continuous process improvement is a key
As well as reports for senior management, process intel-
ligence is a source for the reports required in connection
with the compliance with a raft of regulations. Since the
execution of the business processes has full computer-
ized support and adheres strictly to the process design
model, this information provides the maximum possible
transparency for business operations.
Design Validation Analysis
Figure 4 Continuous improvement of processes Figure 5 Reporting based on process intelligence
i think it’s like thAt But this is whAt hAPPens in PrActice...
BAsed On the interviews And
AssuMPtiOns, yOu’ve gOt tO
dO it this wAy! why?
i tOtAlly ridiculOus
BEst PracticE: ProcEss dEsign BasEd on ProcEss intElligEncE, not on assumPtions
The principle underlying the approach is that analysing and changing processes should be based on
genuine, accurate data, and not on assumptions. In reality, many managers have no insight into the pro-
cesses for which they are responsible, because information on these processes is difficult to obtain. The
first step on the road to transparency is to implement the existing processes in the BPMS so that their
metadata can be collected. This ensures that a correct picture will emerge of the processes in practice.
This picture will often differ from the one expected and documented. Reality plays by its own rules, with
bottlenecks and delays coming clearly into focus as a process advances. Following a number of improve-
ment cycles, the process will have a design that allows it to execute more efficiently and rapidly than was
previously thought possible.
Figure 6 Assumptions about processes are dangerous
standardization of BusinEss ProcEssEs flExiBility of ProcEssEs and it systEms
If an organization uses BPM to any extent, an analy- Another SOA aspect of BPM is the segregation of
sis of business processes and services will reveal that business processes from business logic. As stated
some processes and subprocesses can be stan- above, the management of processes is provided by
dardized, allowing their use in multiple situations. For the process engine, whereas processes were often
example, a process initially specific to a certain business previously hardcoded in the algorithms of the business
partner can be made generic and put at the disposal applications. Application functions are now in the form
of an entire market. Or the invoicing procedures can be of standardized services invoked for the execution of
removed from a number of product-specific delivery ser- process steps.
vices and standardized. Not only does the above pro- This type of architecture provides the required flexibility,
duce economies of scale, and hence cost savings, but because firstly
also makes it possible to create new processes based > the control exercised by the process engine can be
on existing standardized ones. The standardization and changed without the need for modification of the
reuse of processes and services also falls within the underlying IT systems (for example, if the sequence
scope of an SOA. of process steps changes),
> the execution of a process step can be optimized
without affecting the output of the process in ques-
tion (for example, if a manually executed process step
is computerized or the implementation of a service is
optimized without the need for changes to the
corresponding service contract).
Figure 7 Process management segregated from
execution of process steps
corE ElEmEnts of BPm
Broadly speaking, the core elements of BPM are:
> customer-centric business operations through
> explicit descriptions of process flows in the form
> process intelligence used for measuring the KPIs
of business operations;
> management discipline to use process intelligence for
continuously optimizing business processes; and
> computerized support for the execution of business
Design Validation Analysis
Department Department Department
Figure 8 The relationship between BPM applications at the strategic, tactical and operational levels
BPm in relation to other
BPm: thE convErgEncE of Existing BPm as thE starting Point
mEthodologiEs for nEw dEvEloPmEnts
Although BPM provides revolutionary opportunities, Although BPM has its roots in the past, it provides
not everything about it is new. Almost all the advanta- opportunities for the application of innovations such
ges of BPM have been available under another name. as business rules management or real-time process
The power of BPM therefore derives mainly from the simulations and analyses.
convergence of business and IT disciplines that were
previously approached in isolation from each other.
These separate disciplines have converged in terms of
the objectives they try to achieve, approach, supporting
technology and management governance.
1 1. Making business operations process or customer
Process Centric centric, sometimes a spinoff from business process
6 2 2. Process quality management methodologies such
as Lean and Six Sigma for continuous process
Management Improvement improvement.
3. Corporate performance management as a way of
monitoring a company’s strategy.
Business Process Management 4. Enterprise application integration (EAI): computeriza-
tion of the message streams between the applications
3 that carry out the various parts of a business process.
Work Flow 5. Workflow management (WFM): the computerized
Management support of operating processes, often in the form of
document flows with staging posts at the people who
4 carry out the process steps.
Integration 6. Enterprise content management (ECM): the digitiza-
tion of business information and the management of
Figure 9 BPM, the convergence of different methodologies.
how BPm and soa rEinforcE Each othEr The BPM approach has a bias towards business
objectives that are more tangible, such as shorter
On page 8, SOA was mentioned in connection with lead times, compliance with statutory requirements,
certain features of BPM (standardization and reuse of improvements in the quality of business processes,
processes, and the segregation of processes from and reductions in downtime.
SOA reinforces BPM as regards the realization of flex-
To understand how SOA and BPM reinforce each other, ibility. Without services as the future-proof elements of
a proper understanding is needed of their differences the business and IT landscapes, the flexibility of BPM
and the realization of the objectives they are intended to can reach no further than changes in the control logic of
support. business processes. Changes in the definitions of pro-
> SOA is essentially a style of architecture, a method for cess steps by themselves lead immediately to changes
building and implementing organizational and techni- in IT systems, because computerized process steps
cal systems, characterized by design principles such are linked directly to applications, technically as well
as modularity, loose coupling and standardization. as functionally3. In the absence of standardization and
The principle idea behind SOA is the management of reuse of services and processes, BPM can lead to local
system complexity to raise the level of flexibility and suboptimization.
adaptability2. In this context, BPM solutions seam-
lessly fit an SOA environment (see textbox below). BPM reinforces SOA through its focus on tangible busi-
> As explained in the previous section, BPM is a ness solutions. Two benefits of this are the prevention
management approach or discipline focusing on the of SOA projects remaining IT exercises and the facilita-
improvement of business processes (as regards their tion of business involvement in the defining of corporate
design, implementation and execution). services and the making of agreements on terminology.
... and BPM … and no BPM
SOA … > well-defined demarcation of processes by > difficult to interest the business;
means of services; > risk of too much focus on technology;
> enterprise architecture approach for > few short-term business benefits;
> standardization on a single environment for
process management, service management
No SOA … > risk of focus on short-term success in specific
> very limited flexibility
> without an enterprise architecture foundation,
BPM is just another process silo;
Figure 10 Benefits of a BPM-SOA combination
Service Oriented Architecture beyond the hype - Atos Origin vision on SOA (white paper), Huub Bakker et al., version 1.0, 20-11-2007.
If an SOA is subsequently implemented as a result of defining a service for each process step, this will not produce a functional
decoupling. Services are not the same as process steps!
BPm, convErgEntiE van vErschillEndE 1. Proces of klant georiënteerd inrichten van de bed-
BEstaandE ondErwErPEn rijfsvoering, soms als resultaat van Business Process
Reengineering (BPR) activiteiten.
Hoewel BPM revolutionaire mogelijkheden biedt, is Process Service Proces kwaliteit management aanpakken zoals Lean
niet 2. SOA
alles nieuw. Vrijwel alle onderdelen van BPM zijn eerder en Six Sigma voor continue procesverbeteringen.
onder andere namen naar voren gebracht. De kracht 3. Corporate Performance Management als aanpak om
van BPM komt dan ook vooral uit de convergentie Business Process strategie van een onderneming te monitoren.
bedrijfskundige- en IT-disciplines die in het verleden 4. Enterprise Application Integration (EAI); automatiser-
Process Step Process Step
gescheiden werden benaderd. Deze onderwerpen ing van de stroming van berichten tussen applicaties die
zijn naar elkaar toegegroeid in termen van te bereiken stukken van het bedrijfsproces uitvoeren.
doelstellingen, aan pak, ondersteunende technologie en 5. Workflow Management (WFM); de geautomatiseerde
besturing door het management. ondersteuning van operationele processen, vaak in de
Core Business Service Core Business Service SOA
vorm van de stroming van documenten langs mensen
die stappen in het proces uitvoeren.
6. Enterprise Content Management (ECM); het digital-
Service Orchestration iseren van bedrijfsinformatie en het beheren van digitale
Step Step dossiers.
Basic Service Basic Service
Software Software Software
Component Component Component
BPm solutions sEamlEssly fit an soa EnvironmEnt
The architecture of a BPM solution is characterized by the explicit segregation of the control logic of business
processes from the execution of their individual process steps.
The controll of business processes is carried out by a BPMS, based on the process models. Services are invoked
for the execution of process steps, meaning that a process uses a service.
The completion of a business process also represents the provision of a service, since it can be described in terms of
the inputs and triggers to initiate the process and the outcome of the process. Hence, a business process also realizes
This occurs at various detailed levels of the architecture. Services define the exterior of the system, processes
The figure below shows services and processes at a number of detailed levels. BPM operates at the highest level,
where processes and process steps are meaningful to the business. SOA is also involved at the business level,
not with a focus on processes, but on business services.
At the service orchestration level, the purpose of the processing algorithm is to combine the services output from
different software modules into a service meaningful to the business. Service orchestration is mainly a technical
integration issue, outside the scope of BPM and SOA.
Figure 11 Processes both use and output services
imPact of BPm
on the organization
oPErating ProcEssEs alignmEnt of BusinEss and it
Because BPM brings changes to operating processes The combination of BPM and a services-based architec-
in its wake, some jobs will disappear, some will change ture creates the opportunity for simplifying the alignment
and new ones will be created. For example, the person of business and IT4 . Until very recently, there was a wide
who delivers mail internally will give way to an automat- gap between the requirements business wanted satisfied
ed stream of documents, and the duties of an opera- and the systems that IT departments delivered. The only
tions manager concerning the directing and controlling way to bridge this gap was by the time-consuming and
of processes will be taken over by the process engine. error-prone documentation of the business needs, fol-
As a result, the role of an operations manager will be- lowed by their translation into concepts that made sense
come more interesting in that it will move to the tactical to an IT department.
level (HR-management, quality control, etc.). Employees
might fear that the introduction of BPM will mean the BPM and SOA provide business and IT with a common
loss of jobs and more supervision of their work, given language and coding system, so that alignment becomes
that BPM allows deeper insight into all kinds of process simpler and more precise. The services with their stan-
information. It is important to prepare for this fear and dardized semantics (actual meanings) are the words and
the resulting resistance when introducing BPM into an the architecture is the grammar of that language. BPM
organization. gives the business control over the use of services in its
business processes, allowing the IT function to concen-
Fortunately, BPM is ideal for implementing changes to trate on the application software and technology for the
processes and organizations iteratively. This represents implementation of the computerized services. Accordingly,
a fundamental difference between BPM and BPR, a discussions about harmonization need only concern the
management methodology popular in the 1990s involv- definition of services.
ing an almost revolutionary approach to changing out-
of-the-box processes. By opting for BPM, an organiza-
tion puts a lot more emphasis on gradual change.
As indicated above, BPM entails a shift of manage-
ment’s attention from the day-to-day control of operat-
ing processes to matters with a higher tactical content:
> resolving situations that prove to be outside the
scope of standard processes;
> giving consideration to process improvements based
on process intelligence that BPM presents. Apart
from managers, employees have an important part to
play here of course.
The impact of BPM on an organization depends largely
on how it is implemented.
4 This also applies to the harmonization and collaboration between business departments or business partners.
BPm roadmaP: think Big,
start small, scale quickly
BPM is not something you buy or build. It is a manage- PlatEau Planning By thE clovErlEaf mEthod
ment discipline that an organization has to adopt. The
introduction and use of BPM is not a one-off project The BPM roadmap is based on plateau planning, an
therefore, but a process requiring a roadmap for its approach that allows adjustments to the implementation
complete, phased and planned implementation. BPM process because of changes in the focus and priorities
is not a universal solution, but rather an approach to of the organization or experience with plateaus already
be applied in a variety of areas at strategic, tactical and established. For plateau planning, Atos Origin uses its
operational levels, as described in the previous section. proven cloverleaf method, which is oriented towards
The BPM roadmap lays out the priorities and op- creating a comprehensive plan for each plateau. The
tions concerning the application that is suitable for the method considers the four leaves -
organization in question. Accordingly, it is specific to an > management and organization,
organization. > processes and services,
> IT systems and infrastructure
An organization’s BPM roadmap cannot exist in isola- > people and culture
tion, but needs to be integrated into the standard plan- in combination. This balanced method is ideal for BPM,
ning cycle of the business, for the simple reason that because this has a broad sweep that takes in organiza-
BPM is not an end in itself. tional, process-related and technological aspects.
Performance IT systems &
Processes & Services
People & Culture
Figure 12 Cloverleaf method for plateau planning
Each plateau comprises several projects managed us- Maturity models are used during the assessment study
ing a programme structure. The projects might concern as tools for analysing the maturity of the organization
the application of BPM to a specific business process or from different standpoints, mainly, though, to perform a
the implementation of BPM itself, such as the selection reality check on the definition of the first plateau. These
of a BPM tool, training of management and employees, models do not provide the guiding principles for prepar-
putting the governance of processes in place, or em- ing a BPM roadmap, only the limiting conditions.
bedding BPM in the employee participation structure.
A complete business case is also drawn up for each
plateau. diffErEnt imPlEmEntation stratEgiEs
As stated, BPM implementation strategies differ from
BPm roadmaP assEssmEnt study case to case. BPM is sometimes implemented using
an architecture-driven approach, in combination with
Atos Origin develops the BPM roadmap for an organiza- an SOA for example. In other situations, BPM is the
tion as part of an assessment study in which: vehicle for implementing Six Sigma quality enhancement
> the business and IT visions and strategies are programmes. And in yet others, BPM is introduced as
included; an extension to the implementation of workflow and
> the existing situation as regards processes, manage- document management.
ment, governance and IT systems is documented;
> an outline is produced of the long-term business and
> a BPM vision and implementation strategy is devel-
oped, taking into account the organization’s change
style and capacity;
> an outline plateau plan is made, including an evalua-
tion of whether the BPM roadmap can or should be
integrated with other business and/or IT programmes,
such as those for the adoption of an SOA;
> the first plateau is defined and planned in detail, and
> a sound business case is prepared for the first plateau.
BPm suites and suPPliers
Although BPM is not itself an IT application, the use of a > composite applications – commonly known as busi-
computer system for BPM (BPMS) is essential. A com- ness services – the module that provides computer-
prehensive BPMS includes the following components: ized functions in the form of services that can be
> the process designer – which a business analyst uses invoked by business processes;
to model and simulate processes (employing BPMN > knowledge management – which allows employ-
for example) ees to share tasks, content and documents among
> the process engine – which executes process flows groups and teams;
(written in BPEL or BPML for example), with manual > document management – that enables electronic
tasks being delivered to the intrays of employees and documents, images and other files to be stored in
calls being issued to services in the case of comput- folders and managed;
erized steps. > tools that facilitate cross-departmental collaboration –
> the business rules engine – which holds the defini- such as forums and bulletin boards;
tions of business rules, including the conditions > a business analysis function – that provides reports
governing their application; and dashboards from which managers can identify
> a process analysis function – also referred to as issues, trends and opportunities;
business activity monitoring (BAM) – that provides > a portal – that functions as a communal, personalized
continuous feedback on the status of processes; user environment giving access to the above tools.
Con gement bor
e Process Applic
Figure 13 Components of a BPMS. Source: Gartner
As stated on page 13, BPM arose from the merger of
various methodologies, including WFM, ECM and EAI.
As suppliers of BPMS products often have a back-
ground in one of the original areas, the stronger func-
tions of their products reflect this. Thanks to ongoing
development, as well as mergers and acquisitions in
this market, the scope of BPMS suites has expanded
further. In practical terms, however, the integration of
different components united in a suite under a single
logo is not always optimal.
With the backgrounds as a framework, Forrester divides
the market for BPMS products into three segments:
‘human centric’, ‘document centric’ and ‘integration
centric’. Atos Origin is knowledgeable concerning the
leading suppliers in all three segments and has formed
a partnership with each of them.
> IBM > TIBCO
> FileNet > Global 360
> Oracle > SAP
> Cordys > JBoss
> EMC2 > ARIS Platform
Figure 14 Atos Origin’s partnerships with BPMS suppliers
atos origin’s BPm services
Under its Consult-Build-Operate concept, Atos Origin > Business process provisioning – execution of busi-
provides services for all parts of the BPM life cycle, from ness processes by Atos Origin, such as in the form of
strategy definition and transformation, to the leverag- payment services that Atos Worldline provides;
ing of BPM solutions. The BPM services relate to the > Process modelling & design – the design, modelling,
business structuring provided by Atos Consulting and simulation and validation of processes;
to the technology required for BPM. The diagram below > Process monitoring & analysis – set up and execution
shows the BPM portfolio of Atos Origin. of monitoring and analysis, based on KPIs, manage-
ment reports, etc.;
Atos Origin’s BPM services stand on a foundation built > IT landscape process enabling & integration - trans-
from generic enterprise architecture, IT governance and formation of the IT landscape, for example, to a
change management services. They comprise: service-centric architecture, including integration of
> BPM strategy – services for developing a BPM the IT systems and the business processes;
strategy and roadmap that cover the entire range of > Process support & IT execution - provision of IT sup-
business and IT operations, including the support- port for business processes, including management
ing business case, creation of acceptance within the and maintenance of IT systems.
> Process centric organization – services that focus
on making an organization process-centric and
customer-centric, and on the change management,
enterprise architecture and other resources needed to
Consult Build Operate
Process centric organization
Architecture & Governance
Process modeling & design Process monitoring & analysis
IT landscape process enabling
Process support & IT execution
Figure 15 Atos Origin’s BPM services portfolio
aBout atos origin
Atos Origin is an international information technology services company. Its business is turning
client vision into results through the application of consulting, systems integration and managed
operations. The company’s annual revenues are EUR 5.8 billion and it employs 50,000 people in
40 countries. Atos Origin is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic Games
and has a client base of international blue-chip companies across all sectors. Atos Origin is quot-
ed on the Paris Eurolist Market and trades as Atos Origin, Atos Worldline and Atos Consulting.