Infosys’ BPM-EAI blog offers a platform to discuss the latest trends in the Business Process Management and Enterprise Application Integration spaces. Exchange thoughts, ideas and opinions with Infosys experts on how BPM and EAI programs can be leveraged to achieve operational excellence and maximize your return on investment.

March 22, 2014

Death of a Product - case Seebeyond

It is a very common phenomenon that a product or tool, which was once very popular, had numerous installations and clients, comes to a stage where the product company gets acquired by another. The management of the new company might have acquired the company for acquiring the best features of the product or the capabilities of the product team. The end result of being - that the product gets renamed/re-branded or the capabilities of the tool used in a new product the company comes up with. Once, a popular product, is shelved and faces death!!

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February 17, 2014

Transaction Volumes - Math or Science?

This is either a futile argument or a good one. It depends on who is talking and context. In any case it is not about the argument but for a problem case which solution option leads to a practical and real approach.
Consider a case: A company embarks on a new initiative project to provide a value add service to its existing customer base which runs above 40 million. Accordingly the expectation is that all these customers would need to either use their existing login or create an account in the company website.

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February 14, 2014

Converting Customers to Loyalists - The Human Touch

One of the largest Telcos in the APAC region recently launched a campaign called "Send and See" (#sendandsee) for all its customers. The organisation invited entries from all its customers to express interest in its campaign and a lucky winner was selected who was able to see her husband's reaction her gift of a watch from the wearable technology on the delivery man's glasses.
This is actually not the first time that the marketing wizards at this organisation have launched such a campaign. For the last few years, the organisation launched a "Billboard of Love" at the busiest street corner in Melbourne CBD on the occasion of Valentines Day. The giant electronic billboard allowed its customers to declare their affections for their loved ones by sending an SMS to a particular number which was then converted into a message and flashed on the giant screen. In fact, an image of the message on the billboard was also sent back to the customer to share on their favorite social network platform.
While at first look such initiatives may seem like completely unrelated activities for a Telco, these clever campaigns were developed to illustrate the possibilities of the connected digital living of the future. The technology to support them was already available and the execution was not exactly rocket science, what I want to focus on is the impact of such a campaign. 

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January 15, 2014

IoT goes mainstream - What does it mean for your Telco?

The recent acquisition of Nest (https://nest.com/) by Google for 3.5bn dollars has taken most of the techworld by surprise primarily because of high price point for the acquisition, making it one of the largest acquisitions by the tech giant in the last few years. As you may know, Nest is an organisation dedicated to developing smart appliances for various household applications. The company shot to fame when it re-invented the humble thermostat to enable it to analyse usage patterns and optimise the heating for the entire home ultimately leading to savings in energy bills. However, what most industry analysts find more interesting is that this is probably the largest affirmation of the mega trend of "Internet of Things (IoT)" which has been threatening to go mainstream in the next few years.

 

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November 15, 2013

CEP and Ubiquitous Computing

One of the Infosys 3.0 BTE theme is the Pervasive Computing. A nice example is provided in the YouTube video. The components comprising to provide a ubiquitous experience are Sensors Networks, Cloud based computing and Intelligence. Dissecting the intelligence part, a perspective can be developed using Complex Events Processing.

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November 14, 2013

A case for BPM: How BPM helps in creating tomorrow's customer onboarding process today

Across Industries, technology is transforming at a high pace and with this is increasing customer expectations. What was considered as a WOW factor last year is expected as basic requirement today. With increasing customer expectations, changing compliances organizations today have to look beyond customer relationship management to Customer Centric organization. Customer Onboarding is the first step where a customer gets connected to an organization and every additional on-boarded customer turns to be a contribution to the revenue of the organization.

Customer onboarding is generally considered to be a part of CRM process and last year while implementing one of the Customer Onboarding solution using BPM in back of my mind I had a few answers to find out - why BPM, if the same can be done with CRM, what extra value do our BPM solution bring, a part of it got answered very soon and other over the time.

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November 6, 2013

PEGA7: Someone heard community voice

Had the pleasure of attending the recent Pega Developer Conference in Hyderabad (27, 28 October 2013). The event was marked with the enthusiasm of the developer community who were eager to get know the new PEGA7, which had many great new features.

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October 29, 2013

Pega Developers Conference 2013

BPM (Business Process Management) has been catching my attention for last few months and some of my colleagues helped me in explaining this domain to me and this seems fascinating to me. BPM market is around 3 BUSD and is growing much faster than ERP and other related technologies. It is expected to grow to 8-9 BUSD in next 5 years with a CAGR of 14-15%.

When I got to know about Pegasystems (www.pega.com) conference in my own city Hyderabad, and Infosys being given an opportunity to send its practitioners to attend, I jumped onto the opportunity to know more on BPM from the horses' mouth itself- one of the leading BPM product companies.

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October 28, 2013

CSP's falling ARPU & Emergence of OTT: is aligning your product, marketing and customer strategy a possible solution?

OTT (Over the top) players emergence has been a pain point for most of the operators and revenues are getting hit, however looking this from a standpoint of product lifecycle, I would rather say that Voice and text plans for CSPs have just entered the maturity phase, although due to the emerging OTT players. It is estimated that WhatsApp1 & WeChat2 have joined the 250 million active users club recently with Skype having around 280 million users exchanging billions of messages every month.

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October 24, 2013

IBM BPM vs Pega PRPC - a Practitioner PoV

Below is my take on various aspects of end-to-end BPM solution development in IBM BPM vs PEGA PRPC.

 

My  observations are primarily centered around ground realities in terms of industry adoption. The strengths indicated below are relative to each other.

Sections of the blog meant for Business Leaders and Decision makers - [TTM and TCO for the solution], [Market presence, Sustainability and Delivery risk], Future trends

 Sections of the blog meant for Architects and Techies - Tool features [Inception/Elaboration/Construction/Transition] 

 

Going forward in this note, my reference to IBM and PEGA would be to IBM BPM 8.1 Advanced and PRPC 6.2 SP2 respectively. Also, i will be talking only about OOTB features and will not touch upon customization aspects as they can be pretty context sensitive.

 

TTM and TCO for the solution

 

PRPC can be looked upon as "BPM in a box". It provides BPMS along with necessary ancillaries like BRMS(Very strong), Case Management(Very strong), BAM(Strong), EAI(light), CEP (Very light) in a single runtime environment(and license). We will be needing CDM for full-blown predictive analytics separately.

 

To achieve the same feature offerings in IBM BPM, we will be needing the following licensed products around the core offering - WODM (Strong BRMS and Very Strong CEP), IBM Case Manager (Very Strong), Websphere Business Monitor (Strong BAM), EAI (Very strong built-in ESB OOTB with Advanced flavour of the BPM product). We will be needing COGNOS for full-blown predictive analytics separately.

 

The industry BPM frameworks provides by PEGA seem to have a strong edge over IBM.

 

With the above details in place, we can think of the efforts needed to deliver an IBM BPM equivalent solution by integrating different products(expensive IBM services is a must to get the landscape up and running), application maintenance/support and inter-twined product version upgrade costs.

 

PRPC is touted to be very expensive (relatively), but i feel that the cost would be justified in terms of ROI delivered to the business by quicker TTM and lower TCO.

 

Market presence, Sustainability and Delivery risk

 

Looking at the product evolution path, PEGA tracks back to rules whereas IBM to integration-centric workflows.

 

Lombardi (human-centric BPM side of IBM story) is an acquisition by IBM to fill in the space that integration-centric WPS is struggling with. Both the tools rank similarly in terms of their market presence and maturity in the BPM space. PEGA has always been business-centric whereas IBM is quickly catching up on that front with Lombardi and ILog (rules) acquisitions.

 

Coming to sustainability and risk of solution delivery factors, IBM ranks higher due to its humungous  base of distributed thought leaders and knowledge base.

 

Tool Features (OOTB)

 

One major advantage i can think of for PEGA is that it can run on any J2EE compliant appserver like Tomcat, JBoss, Weblogic, Websphere, etc. The customers will have more choice and need not get locked into a single vendor.

 

I would like to broadly categorize the tool feature comparison into Inception, Elaboration, Construction and Transition phases of typical BPM application development roadmap.

 

Inception and Elaboration

  1. Requirements Capture - There is no built-in requirements capture tool in IBM similar to DCO in PEGA. Requirements traceability is a big known problem in IBM
  2. Base Platform Code generation facilities - There is no tool similar to PEGA's application accelerator in IBM

Construction

  1. Channels for application development - Web is the defacto interface for building a PEGA application. IBM has both web (cloud-based BlueWorksLive) and eclipse-based desktop rich client called Process Designer (aka Authoring Environment)
  2. Code reuse - PEGA is truly object oriented when compared to IBM. Let me take some examples to explain this interesting aspect. While both the tools offer reusable service development using toolkits/RuleSets, PEGA provides class inheritance, polymorphism (circumstancing), composition, overriding and similar OO application development features.
  3. ORM - PEGA provides OOTB ORM features for the application-specific data. There is no such feature available in IBM
  4. Reporting features - Lots of OOTB reports are available in PEGA which are extremely easy to customize. There is a little set of similar features available in IBM via Tracking definitions, Cognos and Business Space gadgets. PEGA has a definite w"edge" (i meant a huge edge :-)) here in terms of the available spread of features and ease of use alongside report optimization features for better performance
  5. Code versioning - PEGA offers fine grained control with strong checkin/checkout built-in features. There is no checkin/checkout concept in IBM (via ProcessCenter). While IBM tool aids a true distributed collaborative development (where every developer can access others' saved changes in realtime seamlessly) it lacks the feature of change-by-change level tracking.
  6. Process administration and Debugging - Both the tools seem to fare equally on this front.

 

Transition

  1. Ease of deployment - IBM has centralized and strongly governed deployment model where unit tested code can be deployed to any of the target runtime environments (QA/UAT/STAGE/PROD).

 

 

Future trends

Integration with social networking sites - PEGA has integration with Twitter and facebook.

 

Mobile enablement - PEGA has OOTB support for mobile. IBM has come up with a platform named "WorkLite" for mobile integration needs

 

Cloud BYOL, PAYG models - IBM has a pretty strong cloud coverage that supports public/private/hybrid cloud models.