Process On The Fly #2 – Process Is The New App
The next-generation of Business Process Management and Business Rules Management Tools is so powerful that it actually can be seen as the successor to custom-built applications. Being able to define detailed process flows and decision trees enables both business and IT to create powerful, differentiating solutions that would have required extensive custom coding in the past. Now, much of the definition can be done on the fly, using visual models and (semi) natural language in the nearest proximity to the business.
With the increasing demand for digital interaction with customers and business partners, Enterprises need to open up their IT Systems to external parties without compromising the security and stability of the internal applications, and yet provide the business functionality in a fast and agile way.
This is both a requirement from the inside-out of the enterprise (i.e improving the agility for their knowledge users), and from the outside-in for improving the customers experience across multiples channels.
Over the years, ERP systems have been extensively customized to address organization-specific requirements. This arguably leads to tailored support for the business in a siloed manner, but at the same time, involves mounting costs for maintenance, high dependency on the personnel involved in the customization, long timelines to deliver change, and increased risks in upgrading the ERP system. The situation is certainly not better with bespoke software — often based on complex or aged programming languages — which makes it all the more difficult to maintain or extend the code. So the way the enterprise address their customers/partner demands is costly and not efficient.
In the current situation most communication with customers and business partners is done in the old-fashioned way of phone, email, externalised websites and sometimes still even with fax. Externalised websites deliver the closest to what is required for digital interaction, but acts more on an atomic one-way communication channel, a customer orders a product, raises a complaint or requests a quote. On a more sophisticated Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) level, such as approval flows, quote discussions, product complaints interactions a more direct interaction with the business partner or customer is required. In the digital space – customers and business partners want to engage seamlessly thru any channels and expected a personalized response.
The process application in the cloud
The best of both worlds can be created by bringing back the business functionality to out-of-the-box usage of the ERP system (or simply leave the custom code alone, in the case of bespoke software) and at the same time introducing a high level of agility, by means of externalized ‘process apps’. All without customization or coding. The ERP system is used as originally intended and designed, resulting in more predictable behavior of the system related to usage and performance, maintained in a more standardized and cost-effective way. The process app externalizes the needed functionality into highly customizable solutions outside the core applications. They’re supported by rules engines and task inboxes and can be delivered to different channels, including — notably — mobile devices.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) cloud applications
enable flexibility on top of the application landscape while minimizing the effort required by IT. PaaS application support business functionality such as process execution, integration, mobility and business data/intelligence. With PaaS we are now able to weave business partner communications into the company internal application landscape. Proces Cloud apps, such as the Oracle Process Cloud
, are part of a PaaS solution that interact on the one end as an interaction channel with customers and business partners and on the other end as a proxy to all internal applications. The communication between the PaaS solution and the internal systems is based upon a fixed integration channel that is both well secured and ensures that on the one end the required performance is provided for the interaction and on the other end is not disrupting the internal application landscape.
Expert: Leon Smiers
Part of Capgemini's TechnoVision 2016 update series. See the overview here.