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BPM is a powerful tool, selected by many organizations to help them build applications that cross departmental boundaries and improve productivity. There have been challenges with the time and cost to implement these process apps, and the rising popularity of Low Code tools might lead you to conclude that BPM has had its time. We argue that the core benefits of BPM - process visibility, process metrics and process improvement are still valid, and that a BPM platform can work with a Low Code platform to deliver business results, fast.
Data Stores and CRUD
BPM was never intended to be a system of record but many BPM projects uncover data needs that are not fully covered by existing databases and systems. With a Low Code platform like Apex Designer, you can quickly create and deploy a back-end, consisting of a database and a REST API that can easily be integrated into your process apps.
Some of the largest process apps we have worked on have a significant “non-process driven” component. Using Low Code, you can rapidly build user interfaces for this non-process work, (e.g. creating and maintaining master data). This is often referred to as the “CRUD” UI (Create, Update, Delete). All this work can be done 10x faster than it would have been to do it natively in the BPM platform.
No Code UIs
Some organizations have a lot of similar, but not identical processes, which require a lot of similar UIs with minor variations. Building out all the combinations with standard BPM UI tools would take too long and be too costly to be practical.
We worked with a company in this position, and built Apex Forms to address this problem. It allows citizen developers to configure UIs based on the process data. The company was able to create over 400 forms supporting 150 process variants in just a few months.
Excel spreadsheets still reign supreme in many companies, and sometimes a spreadsheet needs to be generated on the fly based on the data payload of a process. Low code tools can be used to build more efficient integrations with applications like Excel.
RPA Bot Orchestration
A common use case for RPA is collecting data from multiple sources and consolidating it. A Low Code micro app can be created to coordinate the bot activities and consolidate their outputs before feeding them back to the relevant task in a process-friendly form.
Maybe process is not front and center in your business challenge. Maybe you have a preferred stack for user portals and business applications. The headless approach is to use Low Code to build an application to address the needs of your users, organized with information and tasks in a hierarchy that works best for them. This app can call BPM to initiate processes, and display tasks to users “in-context”.
We worked with a B2B payments processing company to build a CRM system that primarily revolved around displaying the status of payments and searching for specific payor and payee information. The system was also able to trigger BPM processes to allow agents to initiate multi-step processes like altering electronic transactions to paper check payments.
BPM and Low Code are a great combination to get innovation, automation and collaboration and make it affordable. This approach can take advantage of your Citizen Developers to help get solutions built quickly. It can also ensure your apps are secure, and work well with the systems you already have in place.