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Business Process Management (BPM) will infiltrate most supply chain IT landscapes in 2008, whether IT selects them or not. Upgrades to packaged enterprise applications will be the trigger for mass acceptance of BPM within supply chain organizations, but they will also change the BPM competitive landscape.
-Ian Finley, research director at AMR Research
AMR Research anticipates that experimentation with BPM will become commonplace within supply chain organizations in 2008, but not in a way that stand-alone BPM vendors might like.
In 2008, supply chain organizations will begin to experiment with BPM in earnest. BPM will provide supply chain organizations a cheaper and more flexible way to integrate their various supply chain applications and processes together and adapt to threats and opportunities more quickly. This will help companies transform their supply chains to be leaner, and more demand-driven. As companies realize BPM is a better way to realize these benefits, adoption will grow over the coming years.
The supply chain vendors will become the BPM vendors of choice for supply chain organizations at the expense of the stand-alone BPM vendors. Customers of packaged enterprise applications, like those from i2, Manhattan Associates, Oracle and SAP, will become BPM users when they upgrade to the latest releases of their supply chain applications, because these latest releases include competitive BPM tools embedded within them. For many companies, the experimentation with BPM will start with these new tools embedded in these new releases.
i2: Its Agile Business Process Platform (ABPP) aims to coexist with the BPM and SOA infrastructures of the major enterprise resource planning vendors. ABPP is intended to work with i2's solutions as well as integrate with non-i2 and existing legacy systems. The goal of ABPP is to help customers manage end-to-end processes, like S&OP or order fulfillment, leveraging multiple i2 applications. ABPP is not a generic BPM tool set for use on generic projects, but is an SCM-centric tool that enables customers to customize and extend i2's products.
Manhattan Associates: Its Logistics Event Management Architecture (LEMA) is designed to ease the integration of applications from Manhattan Associates and other providers. Its BPM capabilities currently don't extend deeply into individual applications, but promise to in future releases. Like the i2 ABPP, LEMA is not a generic BPM tool set for use on generic projects; it is best suited for integration across supply chain applications.
Oracle: It has acquired and built its way to a complete BPM and SOA suite of tools, called Oracle Fusion Middleware. The suite includes support for standard Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) and Java. It is suited to building new applications, as well as application integrations and extensions. Oracle's applications don't leverage Fusion Middleware's BPM capabilities extensively, but Oracle is building its Application Integration Architecture (AIA) and its next-generation ERP suite, Fusion Applications, using Fusion Middleware.
SAP NetWeaver: SAP continues to invest in building out its NetWeaver suite, including extensive BPM and SOA capabilities. NetWeaver supports BPMN, BPEL and Java and is suited to building both new applications, as well as application integration extensions. Its BPM capabilities currently don't extend deeply into most SAP applications, but promise to in new applications. NetWeaver BPM is a key component of SAP's new small company suite, Business ByDesign.
BPM Will Arrive in 2008. Adoption of BPM will grow as companies upgrade their supply chain applications and experiment with BPM for customization, extension and integration. The debate over the merits of BPM will begin to subside in 2008, and companies will begin to use BPM more extensively. However, BPM tools from third-party vendors will find themselves at an increasing disadvantage versus the BPM tools embedded in incumbent supply chain applications, because third-party BPM tools will add additional complexity and sometimes cost to customer environments.
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