Getting started with IBM Business Process Manager

Business process management (BPM) is the systematic method of examining your organization's existing business processes and implementing improvements to make your workflow more effective and more efficient.

Every organization uses business processes to accomplish work. A business process is a set of business activities that represent the required steps to achieve a business objective. For example, you might have a business process that handles credit card disputes. In this case, the business objective is to resolve the dispute in an efficient and accurate way in order to minimize cost to your organization and to retain customer satisfaction. The process itself includes all of the steps needed to meet the objective (in this case, it might be activities like receiving the claim, examining the validity of the claim, deciding whether to remove the charge, and informing the customer of the decision).

Business processes often require a combination of internal activities and activities that must be performed by humans. Therefore, we can look at business process management as the intersection between people, processes, and technology.

The business process management approach is iterative; you don't implement it once, never to be touched again. Instead, you design, model, create, simulate, monitor, and optimize your processes on a regular basis. The feedback you receive from testing and monitoring your processes drives continuous improvements to your organization's workflows.

The following diagram illustrates the main tasks and activities that users complete to achieve business objectives and the IBM® BPM components that are used in the lifecycle process.

Interactive high-level flow diagram that illustrates the main
tasks and activities that users complete to achieve a business objective.
Click a box for more information, or shift-click to open a new browser. Creating a process Running and debugging processes and services Installing, deploying, and undeploying applications in the runtime environment Participating in processes Monitoring IBM Business Process Manager system performance Monitoring IBM Business Process Manager system performance Measuring and improving business processes
Process design and modeling
The design and modeling phase can include designing and modeling new processes in IBM Process Designer to support the organization's workflow and business goals. It can also include examining existing processes to determine whether they should be included, either as-is or with improvements. Process design and modeling is typically done by business analysts, process analysts, or both.
Process development and testing
After your business processes are defined, designed, and modeled, they must be implemented. The process development phase focuses on adding the activities, services, events, user interfaces, business objects, and other artifacts needed for each process.
In order to develop successful business processes, you need to integrate testing (or playback) into your development efforts.
Process deployment
After your processes have been implemented and tested, deploy them into your run time environment, where they can be used by your customers or employees. If you have service modules that are not part of a process application and that are ready for use in the runtime environment, deploy them using the serviceDeploy utility or the administrative console.
Process participation and performance monitoring
You can use Process Portal to work on your assigned tasks and collaborate with others to complete the work efficiently. If you have the associated permission, you can also work with process instances, or use dashboards to view and act on the performance of individuals, teams, and processes. While your process applications are deployed, you can monitor them to make sure they are performing as expected.
Process improvements
You can monitor the overall system performance of IBM BPM and its process applications in the Process Inspector, the Process Admin Console, or the IBM BPM Optimizer. You can also refine process models for better performance, and configure and use key performance indicators to analyze process and task performance.

The process application is the fundamental container for processes and their components in IBM BPM. Process designers create process applications in the authoring environments, and might include services, tasks, and artifacts needed to support execution.

From the Process Center, process applications are deployed to the Process Server, which is the process runtime environment for IBM BPM.

For additional information about the various factors that influence an IBM BPM project, see Chapter 1: Introduction to successful business process management and Chapter 2: Approaches and process discovery in Business Process Management Design Guide: Using IBM Business Process Manager.