Wednesday, April 27, 2011

BPM and ERP - caution

I see a number of blogitems on BPM and ERP appear.
A quick mindshare, based on some painful experiences (and a bit of bluntness, I admit)

So you have this big ERP system (or maybe even multiple). And you experience repeatedly how difficult it is to move from a datacentric to a agile process centric application view.... Adapting processes is a pain? UI is outdated? Connecting to eCommerce frontend a nightmare?

Then a BPMS supplier comes in, and sells you this great new layer of technology.


Some simple questions:
- You invested heavily in the ERP system and now it is full of user screens.
Are you really going to rebuild (duplicating) all of them in a BPMS?
- Your ERP system is full of business rules
Are you really duplicating many business rules in your BPMS/BRMS?
- Your ERP system has workflow capabilities (that might even be growing in maturity)
Will you really move all workflow capability to the BPMS?

You might end up with an even bigger monster....

And another lesson: if you will deliver the project, and need to work together with the ERP vendor or other service partner, responsible (making money) of the ERP system - beware of politics...


max said...

We build another layer BPM to ease the work of IT manager, but how responsive it is to assume that we change the rules in BPM and get the results across in our ERP System.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Juan Vázquez said...

I do not really understand your position. Are you on the camp of having only ERP?

Roeland Loggen said...

@Juan: not at all. I am just warning that in a complex ERP environment, integrating BPM technology is not as simple as most BPMS vendors suggest.
And that ERP vendors have an interest in keeping BPMS vendors out.
This mix can be quite tough. And it means making tough architectural decisions that might not feel optimal sometimes: have duplicate rulesets, user interfaces, etc.


Ben Benjabutr said...

I think the problem is not about ERP but the way ERP is implemented. In order to save time and implementation cost, lost of companies just ignore "business process re-engineering" part. The result is that they unknowingly automate poor processes using ERP.