The consumer's guide to selecting a BPMS

22 Jan 2013 - Mickey Farrance

As BPM takes hold in business, and BPM suites and tools proliferate, making a decision on which BPM solution is best for you and your business may not be simple.

If you will be evaluating potential solutions for your specific needs via a proposal process, what should you be asking for?Some of us here at BonitaSoft have learned our way around RFPs, both issuing and responding to – from big government projects to small vendor contracts, with an assortment of oddball experiences in between.

In our collective wisdom*, we’ve learned that an RFP that requires short descriptive paragraphs as the response to a series of questions is harder to respond to, harder to evaluate quickly – and proves better information with which to evaluate well.

We’ve taken our collective wisdom and developed an RFP guideline that consists of a series of questions to ask of, or about, a BPM suite provider.  It may not be exhaustive, but it’s a pretty good basic set of questions that require essay-type responses, with examples – not a simple set of yes-no checkmarks. "Yes/no" checklists are easy to score, but may not provide the best information to evaluate a BPMS. This set of questions suggests that you can evaulate on:

  • Architecture and scalability
  • Installation and development environment
  • Use of standards
  • User interface for tasks
  • Human task assignment and delegation
  • User experience
  • Integration
  • Business rules
  • Business Activity Monitoring and operational analytics
  • Openness
  • Support and maintenance
  • Education and training
  • Pricing

Consider the “BPMS Buyer’s Kit: Sample Request for Proposal” as a model and tell us what you think. Was it / would it be helpful to evaluate the key distinctions between available offerings? In your own experience, have you found other key questions that have helped your decision-making process?* Yes, that wisdom, as in what you get when you learn from your mistakes!