Business Process Management(BPM) Implementation - An Introduction
Given the nature of BPM implementation, no silver bullet exists for testing BPM implementation. In this post, we will focus on how Business Process Implementations occur at enterprises first, and then we will define a testing methodology for the same.
Business world has come a long way from the days when IT or computing power was used for accounting and administrative purposes only. From being a mere facilitator, IT has come a long way to run the business in many sectors like Banking, Telecom, Retail marketing etc.
Let us take an example to understand how IT has changed in all these years. In today's times when a customer wishes to buy a Television set, he browses for the available brands, specification & price online. He places an order for the chosen model online and makes payment via Credit Card. This process invokes several other flows internally.
a) As the order is placed, the inventory is checked and a 'unit' is blocked, inventory count is reduced accordingly.
b) During this process, if the inventory stock falls below a threshold, an order might be placed to the distributor for more pieces.
c) The credit card information entered by the user is validated by another gateway. A web service might return the authenticity, available balance etc. with respect to the credit card.
d) When the shipping mode is selected by the user, an order is placed with the external shipping agency.
e) The workflow might also place an order once in 2 days, consolidating all orders or immediately based on the shipping mode that was selected
f) Shipping company, in turn initiates a set of services based on this new request... ...so on.
This integrated workflow is an unattended automated way of B2B integration. This is much different from the way a customer visits the shop, asking for a TV, shopkeeper looking for a TV in his store and giving him the TV.
There are several methods of implementing the integration workflow. Real-world workflows could be much more complex than the above example. The automated workflow makes the entire transaction much faster and convenient for the end user and merchant. However, the fact that it is unattended and automated requires it to function right. The more complex is the workflow ecosystem, the more integration points surface and thus more chances of failure. A defect in the integration tier can result in loss of goodwill as well as revenue.
BPM products today, embed such industry specific integration solutions and are available as Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) products. Many enterprises plug such reusable integration products into their architectural landscape. Testing this orchestration is of utmost importance. We will see how to test a BPM implementation in the next blog..........