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"Flexibility is everything. BPM must be agile"

Changing business processes makes exceptional demands on company control solutions

Faced with increasing globalization, it is essential that a company can differentiate itself from the growing number of competitors. But this process isn't exactly straightforward, and is associated with a multitude of requirements. Now, more than ever before, anyone who wants to continue running a company successfully is forced to focus on their customers' requirements and to adapt their own resources to every single customer request. The decisive levers in business are therefore the ability to react and the ability to adapt. This means that: nowadays, companies must create integrated processes and be able to adjust them to handle the ever-evolving demands of business. The key to coping with this task is to be able to manage business processes efficiently. A good Business Process Management solution can be a real help here. However, there are a few things to bear in mind when looking for the right software.

"Flexibility, scalability, the ability to integrate, and ease of implementation, are the key features that future-proof today's IT solutions," emphasized Andreas Mucke, CEO/shareholder at the BPM specialists Inspire Technologies. "The BPM architecture in new solutions must be designed to enable it to handle the new demands that arise in business processes with a minimum of modification, and while the system is running. It must be possible not only to modify the processes at run-time but also to resolve inconsistencies at the same time. Flexibility is everything. Today's BPM must be agile."

Bespoke, powerful process control with the BPM inspire suite
Using modern process management solutions, such as the BPM inspire suite, companies can extend individual solutions, such as automated invoice processing or contract management, time and time again, to rationalize the process, for maximum profit - from data entry to the creation of different views or using the data in different processes. For example, compliance issues, such as risk management, can be implemented effectively in the solutions, to get the process started as quickly as possible. As shown by this example, additional new solutions – either based on existing templates, which can be supplied directly by BPM inspire along with the suite, or individually – can be implemented in the company on a rolling basis. This exceptional flexibility is also reflected in BPM inspire's modular structure, in which existing applications (for example, CRM) can be supplemented quickly and easily by extra processes (for example order processing or project development).

To enable companies to adapt their process portal quickly and efficiently to handle changes, it is essential that not every process has to be completely remodeled. This is where predefined templates and solutions, such as Contract management, Invoice processing, Applicant management, Travel cost accounting, Complaint and claims management, Incoming mail processing, De-Mail solutions, the Internal Control System (ICS) and many others, really come into their own, like those provided by BPM inspire for a whole host of possible applications. Of course, you can also design your own. The decisive factors here are compatibility with existing interfaces and monitoring solutions, and the automation of existing tools.

In addition to providing web services, a BPM suite should also be able to act as a central middleware and integrate mature IT structures from a process point of view, with the aim of reducing the time and effort spent administering individual applications. In practice, the highest demand is for the Business Intelligence, ERP, QM, PPC, document management and archiving, and OCR and capturing functionalities. But what exactly does a BPM suite need to be able to control business processes in real time? "When the BI system signals that something unexpected has happened, the processes linked to it must be adapted to handle the new situation as quickly as possible," explained Mucke. "For this reason, the engine must hold the data it receives from the Business Intelligence System in readiness, like a "data cloud", so that it can be provided as and when necessary. In addition, it must be possible to modify processes at run-time to ensure that processes which have already started don't simply disappear into thin air, and to prevent the creation of inconsistencies."

As well as carefully selecting a flexible solution, it is particularly important that a company checks which price model is involved when purchasing a BPM suite. Andreas Mucke recommends: "Companies should check whether they need additional licenses for individual solutions, if they intend to extend their BPM step-by-step. Some suppliers use this pricing strategy, which can result in much higher costs at a later date. To enable a truly flexible approach to be taken, when modifying existing processes, it is also essential that they actually can be extended and adapted."

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