This article elaborates on concepts of choosing a Business Process Management (BPM) vendor once a user has made a choice of the features he / she would like to have in a BPM suite. For information on BPM suite selection, please click on BPM suite selection guide.
Among the key factors that are considered when purchasing a BPM suite is its price. The cost of acquiring a customized BPM suite is greater than buying a BPM based template suite. The time and effort involved in customizing a BPM based template suite is significantly less and hence costs less than customizing a BPM suite from scratch. Again the decision of when to customize the BPM suite depends on the organization who wants to implement the BPM suite.
Let us consider the following insights which will help you determine a BPM vendor regardless of what your customization preferences are1:
- In a BPM suite once the entire business process is mapped and is executed, the desire of remapping some set of process(s) may arise. If a BPM suite provided by the BPM vendor does not allow you to remap a set of processes by adding or deleting a set of tasks, the entire business process may have to be remapped. This would lead to loss of time and resources. Hence it is important to find out the flexibility in a BPM suite to remap specific business process(s) without remapping the entire business process.
- It is important for a BPM suite to offer interoperability so as to integrate BPM operations with other supporting products or solutions. Most of the vendors offer XML (Extensible Markup Language) file format which is not helpful when it comes to integrating with other products/solutions. XPDL (XML Process Definition Language) is a popular file format which supports integration. It is wise to buy from a vendor who offers XPDL file format based BPM suite. It is also better to have the standard file format (XPDL, XML or any other format) offered by the BPM vendor to be exportable or importable.
- Accessibility to historic information of how certain tasks get executed would help in eliminating bottlenecks from the entire business process; hence optimize the business processes in a BPM suite. There are many BPM suites which offer the feature of providing information on process variables after execution. The information tracked varies between BPM suites as the design behind the suites may or may not be identical. Finding out the kind of information necessary for optimizing one’s business process before buying a BPM suite would ensure little or no customization necessary after purchasing the BPM suite.
- Some of the BPM suites offered by the BPM vendors have the option of adding modules in to the User Interface. Addition of the modules will increase the functionality of a BPM suite; thus take customization of a BPM suite a step further. Modules can be handy at some stage after implementing BPM in an organization due to change in the complexity of the business process(s).
For deeper knowledge, you may want to read BPM suite selection guide, a pathway suggested for selecting an appropriate BPM suite and BPM: When to start.
- Swenson. (2009). Kswenson. 21 questions to ask a bpm vendor. Retrieved July 24, 2009, from http://kswenson.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/questions-to-ask-a-bpm-vendor/