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By: Pedro Robledo, BPM process management expert
The selection of software for the technological implementation of the Business Process Management (BPM) discipline will depend mainly on whether we want to cover the entire BPM life cycle or only some of its phases. The selection methodology explained below is valid for both cases, but when defining the evaluation criteria, it will be necessary to take into account what is the scope sought (with respect to the BPM life cycle), in order to evaluate similar products.
If what we are looking for is a BPM technology platform that covers most of the phase of the BPM life cycle for the continuous improvement of business processes, we have several types of platforms following Gartner's classification: basic BPM platform, BPMS (Business Process Management Suite) and iBPMS (Intelligent Business Process Management Suite). It will be essential to pay attention to the criteria that are evaluated in the analysis carried out by the analysts (Gartner, IDC, Forrester ...), so as not to rule out solutions that do not appear in these reports, because they could be adequate solutions for our requirements. Or, it can be considered a set of software solutions from different vendors that compliment each other (although both vendors and their future should be studied).
Figure 1 identifies the differentiating characteristics between the three types of BPM platforms classified by Gartner.
Figure 1. Differences between the 3 types of BPM Platforms
Process for the selection of BPM Platform
For the selection of the best BPM solution, a specific process must be defined that adjusts to assess how the solution responds to our specific technical requirements, but without ignoring other important criteria such as, for example, the future of the supplier and its situation in the market (it will be analyze later). When I advise on software selection, I recommend relying on the following process (high-level modeling in Figure 2) that includes three main phases:
Figure 2. BPM Software Selection Process
Phase 1. Define criteria for the selection and compile a list of potential suppliers
Phase 2. Analysis of received proposals from potential suppliers
Phase 3. Analysis solutions / finalists and select winner
Definition of criteria for the selection of BPM platform
To understand which criteria can be included in the list of requirements to be weighted later, and thus qualify with arguments a BPM platform proposal, the reports of the main technological analysts can be used: Gartner, IDC, Forrester, Ovum and Info-Tech. I am going to review what each of the main analysts is based on, so that later each one can decide their own evaluation criteria.
Each Analyst evaluates the BPM market with different concrete criteria (see figure 3), which can help in the selection of BPM software. But in each evaluation the selection will depend on the company's own requirements and how they align with what each vendor offers, so it will be necessary to define in the RFP the specific criteria necessary to carry out a correct evaluation.
Figure 3. Evaluation Criteria used by the main Analysts
In my consultancies helping organizations to select their BPM platform appropriate for their requirements, I suggest focusing on defining specific questions on 6 axes of study grouped into two main assessment groups:
Figure 4. Assesment axes of a BPM Platform
1. The vendor of the BPM solution (provider). Evaluating:
a) Feasibility of the Supplier, studying its geographical location (locally with its own office or through a distributor), company size, market share, organizational structure, product maturity, manufacturer's maturity, supplier's origin ...
b) Vision of the Supplier, evaluating its evolution as a manufacturer, product roadmap, number of versions per year, product offerings, investment in R+D+i ...
c) Services of the Provider, valuing their training services (On-site, Online, Free -Videos / MOOC / books / Manuals-, their consulting services (Implementation / Business / Technical ...), support services (online, local), 24x7, maintenance services…
2. The BPM product and services offered. Evaluating:
a) Costs Products and Services (Consulting, Support and Training), assessing the type of users needed (floating licenses - concurrent -, permanent licenses, by subscription); individual acquisition, packages, discounts...; annual maintenance costs; included version updates; support costs; installation cost; training cost; consulting cost; licensing: opensource, on-premise, public / private / hybrid cloud (saas, iaas, paas, bpaas); free 30 day testing tool ...
b) Product Technology, valuing Technology .NET / JAVA; Operating system (Mac OS, Windows, Linux, Unix ...); Language; Accessibility; Hardware Requirements; Software Requirements; Mobility; Connection Social Networks; Integration…
c) Product Functionality, studying the different necessary requirements that we want to comply with the BPM solution.
Each group will be weighted with a specific percentage depending on the importance that the evaluator considers. Figure 4 shows usual percentages. Specific questions will be included within each axis, marking the most important in red and the rest in black. The questions are qualified by a specific percentage depending on their importance, following this formula:
Points = [(∑red points x 8 / red questions x 5)+(∑ black points x 2 / red questions x 5)] / 2
To get 0 to 5 points
In this way, when evaluating all the candidates' proposals, the questions can be rated, getting a final grade for a solution, and making a decision based on the results.
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