Finding the best BPM tools

Business process management is still ruled by Visio. But Hurwitz says it may not be the best tool for improving processes.

Ongoing research into the area of business process management (BPM) continues to show that the majority of business personnel still use Microsoft's Visio to build desktop models of business processes.

Hurwitz Group learned that 50 percent of companies will use Visio to model the orchestration of enterprise Web services usage. The key issue here is that the product is both highly flexible and easy to use for non-IT-trained professionals. This two-fold nature is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing inasmuch as the tool can be picked up by anyone with basic application savvy, enabling users of all types in all kinds of departments to model operational processes. Particularly with the renewed emphasis on business accountability and improved operational efficiency, more companies are scrutinizing their processes for problems and requiring more BPM.

But the problem of Visio resides in the lack of execution environment for the model. Modeling business processes without an execution environment certainly has an important place in the enterprise's assets. These models can be guidelines to improved operations. But too often the models remain static works of art that don't truly guide or drive effective operations. Herein lies the rub with Visio. It's a great tool for building models, but is it a great tool for managing and improving processes?

The Hurwitz Take:
Companies can use Visio to their advantage for executing business processes through a software product in a number of ways. Both Handysoft and PegaSystems deliver products that consume Visio models to fuel internal models in their respect BPM products.

Enterprises can also choose a tool that, while not Visio, does have the same quality of ease of use at the typical user's desktop while adding two key capabilities: direct integration with Excel and immediately executable business process models in a single environment. The recent launch of Nobilis Ci is just such a choice for enterprises.

Nobilis is focused on BPM at the desktop productivity level. The price and skill sets required are all precisely tuned for individual business users to build more efficient processes that don't require IT coding. Nobilis also provides its enterprise server when desktop users are ready to connect into the larger IT infrastructure. However, the bottom line is that today's enterprise business users are finally getting some solid, easy-to-use, and executable ways to model and manage business processes.

Bringing BPM to the People
First published by Hurwitz, September 27, 2002
By Tyler McDaniel

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