Asia behind peers in BPM, but catching up

Asian companies are 18 months behind Western peers in business process management deployment, but will catch up in six months due to competition, says Software AG.

Asia is about 18 months behind the United States and Australia in terms of business process management (BPM) system implementations, but it will be a short six-month catch up for the region, say two Software AG executives.

In an interview, Paul Henaghan, senior vice president of webMethods, Software AG Asia-Pacific and Japan, said Asian CIOs typically operate on more stringent budgets compared to counterparts in the West.

That, coupled with the competitive nature of business in the region has made CIOs more adept at doing "more with less" here, said Henaghan.

Bjorn Brauel, Software AG vice president and deputy CTO, said this has led to Asian CIOs being "good at getting value out of IT investments"--a viewpoint he said makes him optimistic about business prospects in Asia, because CIOs are often pressed to look for innovative ways to get things done within their means.

Furthermore, said Brauel, the public sector in countries such as Singapore and India have displayed a "strong drive to coordinate is very BPM-like in mindset"; the effects of process-driven management styles trickling down to corporations bodes well for the SOA vendor, he said.

Accordingly, now is the time for developers in the region to adopt model-driven development ideologies, rather than focus on traditional hard-coding, to fulfill demands from business managers who are getting increasingly BPM-savvy, said Brauel.

BPM has come a long way from its roots, said Brauel. While it started out as "just another business methodology" with "big pieces of paper on the walls which had no real impact" on the way businesses were run, its place in business is now firmly that of a "bridge" between IT and the business.

"BPM is not a technical concept, it is a balancing act between human and IT interactions," said Brauel.

So SOA vendors who preach BPM strategies now need to see a more holistic picture of IT and business ends, added Henaghan.

"The market has matured from pureplay BPM...increasingly, BPM is not a technical discussion, and loses its way the minute it becomes that," he said.

Software AG recently launched an online BPM and continuous process improvement (CPI) resource it terms the Software AG Business Community. It has stocked the resource with development tools, process frameworks and best practice guides.

According to Software AG, the resource caters to the "new developer community" focused on analysis, modeling and composition skills, replacing traditional coding and programming as a key expertise.