Cloud BPM, SAAS and SMEs – A Perfect Match?
BPM, and the implementation of BPMS, has long been considered the domain of large companies with high numbers of complex processes, enterprise systems to integrate, business analysts on staff, and massive capital budgets. I believe that assertion no longer holds as SAAS based applications are now making process automation relevant to SMEs.
We have all seen Microsoft invest heavily in the SAAS market with Office 365 amongst their flagship offerings. SMEs can now afford to use the enterprise class technologies including Exchange, Dynamics and SharePoint to differentiate their business processes. Five years ago these technologies would have been considered out of reach for the SME due to high set-up and maintenance costs. This is clearly no longer the case.
As impressive as the products mentioned are, a significant driver for the growth in the traditional BPM market has been the need to automate processes and data across enterprise technologies. As SME’s use the same products it is inevitable that they will require similar integration solutions.
Large organisations find change hard. They employ people as project managers, business analysts and change managers just to implement new systems. Few can honestly describe themselves as Agile. Contrast this to an SME where Agility is not seen as a luxury, but more of a necessity.
If SMEs cannot change rapidly they will disappear quickly. They need to re-invent their processes and seek to continuously improve to remain successful. They cannot afford to add manual steps which add no value and delay service to the customer. SMEs don’t possess the appetite, budget or IT staff to implement on-premise BPM solutions. Their key to maximising value from SAAS must also be found in the cloud.
I work with the Kofax TotalAgility platform, which is now available as a SAAS solution in Microsoft Azure, with a rental price model. TotalAgility provides the desired integration between these Microsoft products via a user friendly interface. There is no code required so processes can be rapidly created, keeping costs low.
Consider the following complicated sounding use case.
Challenge: A customer wants to request an appointment for a sale visit.
Solution: Using TotalAgility, running on Azure, a web page can be created to facilitate the request. On submission:
- An appointment can be booked in a SharePoint 365 Calendar with an SLA driven task assigned to the relevant sales manager (a business rule would determine the manager),
- A new prospect record can be created on CRM Dynamics on-line to record the interaction,
- A document detailing the appointment is created and saved in a new SharePoint folder, before being sent as an attachment to the customer, with details of the sale person who will call.
It might sound complex, but this is a zero-code process that can be completed in a matter of hours.
The combination of an agility-enabling BPM tool with a business pre-wired to embrace agility is for me a perfect match. In the world of SAAS, I believe cloud based BPM will become increasingly important to SMEs just as on-premise has for large organisations.
If you want to discuss more about how Kofax TotalAgility 6.0 running on Microsoft Azure can help improve your business agility please contact me at AnthonyMurphy@LitheIT.com for a chat or visit www.litheit.com for more information.