BPM & Automation  - 6min

Streamlining business processes: The power of BPM in overcoming integration challenges

Streamlining business processes: The power of BPM in overcoming integration challenges
June 06, 2024

Streamlining business processes: The power of BPM in overcoming integration challenges

As business organizations automate and adopt new technologies, the challenge of integrating diverse individual systems is becoming increasingly complex. Data silos, system incompatibilities, and inconsistent processes can reduce operational efficiency, affecting business competitiveness and agility.

Process automation through Business Process Management (BPM) is our special area of expertise at Bonitasoft. Does BPM process automation have something to offer when it comes to full IS integration and robust information systems? Well, yes it does! Let’s have a look at BPM as a prevention and a cure for common integration-related maladies. First, the ailments - what challenges does the team face as it automates business with heterogeneous enterprise IS?

Challenges in Information Systems integration

Challenges arise from the need to integrate information systems across different parts of an organization - challenges that can cause disruption of the smooth operation and efficient management of business processes. 

  • The technical complexity of integrating disparate systems, each with its own unique architecture and design can be daunting and can very likely result in data silos. This complexity often requires specialized knowledge and can lead to prolonged and costly integration projects, especially where different systems are involved at different steps in an end-to-end business process, or in a set of related processes.
  • Different systems may also use incompatible technologies - this is a classic issue with IT modernization that includes legacy software! - making it difficult to achieve seamless communication between them. Information silos exist where data is trapped within one system and not accessible to others.
  • Additionally, the integration of information systems may require changes in business processes and workflows, especially if it’s something particularly far-reaching, such as ERP systems that target the whole organization. 
  • As organizations grow and evolve, information systems need to scale and adapt. Ensuring that integrated systems are flexible enough to accommodate future growth without requiring extensive rework is also a challenge.
  • Integrating multiple information systems raises concerns about data security and compliance with regulations. Each system might have its own security protocols, and aligning them without compromising data protection offers its own challenges.

How a BPM platform integrates data silos and connects heterogeneous technologies

A BPM platform acts as a vital process backbone, utilizing connectors, APIs, and other interfaces for two-way communication with databases and platforms like ERP and CMS. This setup helps synchronize data across different systems, effectively reducing data silos.

For legacy systems without modern APIs, BPM platforms enable integration through a programmable backend. This approach preserves existing investments while extending the functionality of older technologies.

In modernization efforts, BPM platforms ensure that process-based applications have user-friendly interfaces, while the backend seamlessly connects with various information systems as needed.

Additionally, BPM-based solutions orchestrate the flow of information, data, and tasks across systems and departments, streamlining processes and optimizing resources throughout the organization. This orchestration improves efficiency and aligns departmental activities with broader business objectives.

The role of Business Process Management technology in digital transformation across Information Systems

Process automation platforms can make integrating information systems easier and more manageable. A flexible BPM-based platform plays a pivotal role by serving as a foundation for integrating new technologies while improving and automating processes across the enterprise. 

The implementation of a BPM platform offers a bridge between an organization's current operations, its old and new technologies, and its digital aspirations. This is why many businesses rely on BPM technology to manage people, processes, and tech including robots and systems—it helps pull everything together while avoiding overspending on unnecessary features and digital expansions. 

A BPM platform foundation ensures that digital technologies are effectively integrated into business processes to enhance performance, customer experience, and agility. Business and IT use BPM to streamline continuous process improvement through automation, where businesses must constantly adapt to rapidly changing technologies and market demands.

The automation capabilities brought by BPM technology, alongside AI and other breakthrough technologies, allow organizations to streamline operations, reduce manual errors, and improve efficiency. By automating repetitive tasks and leveraging data analytics for process optimization, companies can free up resources to focus on strategic initiatives and innovation​​.

BPM approach and technology has a top-to-bottom effect

The adoption of a BPM approach in digital transformation strategies also ensures a global approach that encompasses the entire organization. While supporting business needs and promoting efficiency, effectiveness, and adaptability in the entire organization​​, it also makes even seemingly painful undertakings like switching between major software providers smoother and more efficient. 

This approach streamlines operations and enhances efficiency and improves customer satisfaction by delivering value more effectively​.

Choose the right BPM tools

Select a BPM platform that fits your business's specific needs. Look for tools that offer robust integration capabilities in addition to user-friendly process modeling, dynamic workflow automation, and analytics features. 

Best Practices for implementing BPM in Information Systems integration

Implementing BPM  in information systems integration with an interoperable platform is relatively straightforward. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

Define clear goals

Before starting, establish a clear understanding of what you aim to achieve with BPM in your information systems integration. Identify specific business processes that can show measurable improvement, and define measurable objectives for efficiency, cost reduction, or customer satisfaction​​​​.

Map out current processes

Understand and document your current processes, to identify inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and areas that can benefit from automation. 

Process mapping tools that use the BPMN standard can be particularly helpful in visualizing the flow of information and tasks across different systems​​. Standards are important for escaping vendor lock-in.

Engage stakeholders early

Involving all relevant stakeholders, including IT staff, business leaders, and end-users from the beginning helps ensure that the BPM initiative aligns with both business goals and user needs. 

Stakeholder engagement is critical for gaining support, understanding different perspectives, and ensuring the BPM solution meets actual business requirements​​.

Involving stakeholders along the way also aids user adoption of the resulting applications.

Choose the right BPM tools

Select a BPM suite that fits your business's specific needs. Look for tools that offer robust integration capabilities, user-friendly process modeling, dynamic workflow automation, and analytics features. 

The right tool should also be scalable and flexible to adapt to future business changes​​​​.

Implement in phases

Tackle the BPM implementation in manageable phases rather than attempting a full-scale rollout at once. 

Start with processes that are critical to your business and have a clear, measurable ROI. This phased approach allows for learning and adjustments as you progress​​.

Provide training and support

Ensure that all users - IT and business - are appropriately trained on the platform and / or its applications and processes. Ongoing support is crucial for addressing any issues and ensuring that users are making the most of the new automated, fully integrated business process applications.

Key takeaways

While integrating enterprise information systems with end-to-end operations is certainly challenging, it’s critical for businesses looking to streamline operations and boost efficiency across the enterprise. Well-handled integration allows for smoother business processes and data sharing across all departments of an organization. 

Tackling the integration of various systems and technologies can be complex, but through the use of a BPM-based process automation platform, the outcome often leads to better decision-making, more efficient processes, and a competitive edge in the digital world. The key lies in aligning the integration to ensure that every step taken contributes to creating a more connected and effective digital environment.

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