From the Enterprise Perspective: BPM in the Cloud

bpm-in-the-cloud - BPM LeaderEvery now and then we come across differentiating new technology which creates significant hype and reshapes the technological and business world. It changes the way the business operates and facilitates enterprise to achieve competitive advantage.
Cloud is one such technology which has proven this and everyone is aware of. Forrester has predicted that cloud computing market will increase from $40.7 billion in 2011 to more than $241 billion by 2020, with a year-to-year growth of over 20 percent. This shows tremendous traction towards cloud based technologies and platforms among corporates. It is creating tremendous buzz in the technological front.

BPM in the Cloud

The efficiency and effectiveness of BPM and Cloud as independent entity is widely recognized and accepted across different end-user verticals. BPM in the cloud has started to gain traction in the enterprise circles. Enterprises have also started capitalizing on the opportunities available in adopting BPM in the cloud to fully harness the collective benefits and potentials of this combination.

If this combination is a proven success formula, then why is that other players are still hesitant to follow them? What are the inhibitors that hold enterprises from moving towards this combination? Are there any challenges associated with this implementation? If so, then what is it that organizations must look for before going in for BPM in the Cloud? What should they perform to overcome such challenges to transform them into potential opportunities?

BPM in the Cloud – Benefits

Enterprises go in for BPM in the Cloud for a variety of benefits. Some of the drivers are:

  • Economical – BPM in the cloud doesn’t require any upfront capital investments. It has only operating expenses associated with it thereby reducing the overall cost.
  • Scalability is another feather which adds value to business without any considerable increase in investment.
  • Improvements in operational efficiencies – Easy and quick deployment to end users.
  • Shorter time to market – Time taken to build the infrastructure is reduced thereby changing the way business works
  • Collaboration across the enterprise – Inter and intra-enterprises’ processes can be effectively managed by collaborations with partners across the value chain.
  • It enables enterprises to focus more on their core capabilities.

Other benefits include:

  • It provides competitive advantage
  • It offers a continuous process improvement
  • It improves regulatory compliance
  • It increases revenues and profits

BPM in the Cloud – Overcoming Challenges

Despite these notable benefits, enterprises still are in dilemma towards adoption of BPM in the Cloud. So there are some inhibitors which create this resistance in their minds. Let’s understand what are the challenges and inhibitors in adoption of BPM in the cloud from an enterprise perspective. Also let’s analyze how to overcome these barricades and what the enterprise to-dos are for successfully harnessing the power of BPM in the Cloud.


Highly sensitive Customer data and Vendor information are with the cloud service providers. This makes it extremely vulnerable for unauthorized access and modifications. In a highly commoditized market with little or no differences between products of different service providers, the business process is the USP for survival. Since it resides with cloud service providers, enterprise processes are exposed which make them vulnerable for competitor’s access.

To-do: Secured identity and authentication monitoring mechanisms with efficient encryption should be in place and regularly monitored to prevent any unauthorized access. It is the enterprise decision to decide on the processes that should be in the cloud and those that should be in-house.

Risk-averse Mindset

Most enterprises have a conservative mindset. They don’t want to take risks with the fear of losing its current market position. They don’t foresee the potential opportunities on long run that might arise from the successful implementation of Cloud. Another reason for their resistance is the Fear of Failure. They have a notion that they will fail if they go in for this change.

To-do: Enterprises should come of its shell and carefully analyze and check where cloud adaptability fits in its enterprises’ process. Also they should analyze what impact it creates in their business on long run. They should perform cost benefit analysis of BPM in the cloud and should proceed forward with a positive outlook if it is beneficial.

Unknown Reliability of Infrastructure

One of the prime factors for any successful enterprise is its ability to maintain continuity of its business. This solely depends on the cloud service provider’s capabilities and reliability of its infrastructures. If the service provider fails, the enterprise business comes to a halt. Even if there is some problem, the service provider should have the ability to restore the business in minimal time.

To-do: Vendor capability and credibility has to be scrutinized properly and their disaster management processes have to be validated time to time.

Integration with in-house systems

An enterprise has several applications of different types in-house. Integration of BPM in the cloud with in-house applications is always a big challenge. Also scalability and upgrades should not affect the in-house applications.

To-do: The enterprise should effectively manage and test the integration of in-house and cloud applications and resolve any issues which arise. This makes the transition smooth and easy.


The concept of sub-contracting has emerged wherein cloud service providers outsource few of its operations like server maintenance et cetera to other providers for minimizing cost and to focus on its core capabilities. So accountability of any issues which arise will be difficult to track and identify.

To-do: Enterprises should enter into a contract with service providers specifying all these details with clear demarcations of ownership and accountability of issues. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should also to be included in the contract and have to be periodically measured and monitored.


There is clearly no question of doubt on the collective benefits derived out of BPM and cloud. However, enterprises’ success depends on whether it has struck the right chords and the approach it adapts to deliver and derive the necessary values for its business out of this combination. In short, BPM in the cloud will definitely move enterprises to the next level in achieving collaborative success if the challenges are identified and addressed effectively.


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By Saravanan Balaraj @ Infosys Ltd. | April 5, 2012

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