Becoming a business process management consultant

As business needs continually change it will become essential that your clients have business process management (BPM) technologies in place. Find out what BPM tools and services to offer as a business process management consultant.

Business process management (BPM) has become a hot topic as businesses strive to keep processes in stride with a constantly changing economic environment. The trend toward automating business tasks to make them more efficient, flexible and adaptable is growing -- and that's good news for channel professionals: BPM vendors need process management consultants.

"The BPM market is growing even faster than we forecasted last year," according to Connie Moore, research director for industry research firm Forrester Inc.

Forrester released a market overview in January 2006 that predicted overall revenue from software will grow from $1.2 billion to $ 2.7 billion by 2009, a more than 21% compounded annual growth rate. Moore attributes the growth to the partnership between service oriented architecture (SOA) with BPM software.

However, BPM software vendors tend to be on the smaller side, and can't always keep up with the supply and demand, Moore said. They don't have the manpower to go out and target vertical markets, or the systems integrators who can implement and

"The BPM market is growing even faster than we forecasted last year."
Connie Moore
Vice President and Research DirectorForrester Inc.
deploy the business process management system and teach employees how to use them. This affords channel professionals opportunities to offer BPM consulting services to small and midsized businesses (SMBs), as well as large enterprises.

Business process management consulting opportunities

Moore's assessment echoes what our site's business process management expert Andre Troung said in an interview earlier this year: Business process management consulting holds great potential as an area of growth. He recommended aligning with BPM software vendors, such as Webmethods, SAP or Microsoft, and learning how to use BPM tools, such as Guided Procedures and Visual Composer.

More on business process management (BPM)
Service-oriented management in the channel
Microsoft, HP team to provide business solutions

Business processes: The basis for linking BPM and SOA

Last year online publication BPTrends posted The 2006 BPM Suites Report; which described the product suites offered by today's core group of BPM vendors. In a recent email interview, executive editor and industry analyst Paul Harmon explained that, as the market is still young, most companies are still working to determine how to best use the technologies.

"This is a great opportunity for value-added resellers (VARs) and systems integrators to tailor and use business process management systems (BPMS) in specific niche markets," Harmon said.

A Forrester report titled Increase Business Agility with BPM Suites identified four business process trends:

  • Processes change more often then expected.
  • Process changes are made by business analysts -- not developers
  • BPMS acquired service assurance (SA) platform for multiple business processes.
  • Companies are using BPMS to implement service-oriented architecture (SOA) adoption and provide composite applications.

Moore said that the partnership between BPM and SOA is feeding the growing trend because it created a new wave of BPM capabilities. While BPM offers real-time monitoring, measuring and assessment tools, SOA's modular middleware and development tools give business analysts the ability to model the BPM process and customize it to reflect current business processes, expand upon them or change them altogether, without having to code applications. This hands businesses the reigns and forces the technology to accommodate business processes rather than the other way around. But business analysts generally aren't technology experts and that is where channel partners can step in and offer technological expertise as a business process management consultants.

Since the SOA powered BPM architecture enables companies to create and change processes quickly and easily, it will create a competitive edge that businesses won't be able to ignore, according to Jesse Shiah, Co-founder and CEO of Microsoft partner Ascentn Corporation. The modern BPM suites, like the ones offered by Microsoft's BizTalk, allow for models to be designed and modeled as XML, making it easy for businesses to change as needed. He said that business process management presents a huge opportunity for resellers and consultants.

"BPM is going to be the next generation operation infrastructure," Shiah said. "Every company is looking for business agility. Channel partners need to understand a new architecture separating business logic of the business process from the underlying implementation such as integration with back-end applications. Every company will be looking for this architecture."

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