Is Your Business Process Ready for the Cloud?

By Theresa Mial, Managing Consultant, Business Process Management on Aug. 27, 2013 View Comments

Is Your Business Process Ready for the Cloud?

You’ve decided your business processes need to be automated and you’re ready to move forward with a Business Process Management System or Suite (BPMS). Your first step will be to conduct an exhaustive review of BPMS vendors to determine which one is right for your organization.

A key consideration in your vendor selection process will likely be the option of the BPMS vendor providing a hosted solution. Today, there’s a lot of buzz and excitement around the cloud, and a BPMS cloud solution can alleviate many of your hosting headaches. But before you get hooked on the cloud, you’ll want to ask your vendors critical questions about data security, redundancy, connectivity and scalability provided. These key questions will help you determine if you’re really ready for a cloud-hosted BPMS solution.

Four Key Criteria to Determine if the Cloud Will Work for You

  1. Data Security – If your company deals with a great deal of highly sensitive data about customers, partners, or clients, then data security is a top concern. Many think that data on a private cloud is safer than data on a public cloud. This is not necessarily true, and the measures in place to secure that private cloud may not be as foolproof as you think.

    Currently, your company may use data encryption to secure its information. The data can be encrypted when stored in the cloud, and it can also be encrypted when it is transmitted to the cloud. In my opinion, the data encryption is of far greater importance than private versus public. So, you need to ask: What type of security measures does the cloud enact?
  2. Redundancy – Redundancy is the replication of data, equipment, and systems in the event there is a failure with the cloud computing systems. Redundancy will help to ensure access to your data in the event the cloud’s physical disks, power equipment, and/or memory units stop functioning. What type of redundancy does the solution have for the cloud? Is that redundancy local(only within their main data center) or geographical?Clouds usually have availability zones. Can each zone fail on its own without impacting another zone? Make sure that the redundancy design and plan is closely aligned with the redundancy policies you have in place for your corporate IT services.
  3. Connectivity and Performance –You’re sitting at your desk and working hard to get the order or deal proposal out the door to the customer. You’ve been waiting 60 seconds and your BPMS screen has not been refreshed. How frustrating! Many times the culprit is the connectivity to and the performance of your servers, and in this case it would be between you and the external cloud provider. Do you know the current connectivity time experienced with other corporate applications? If so, compare that time interval to the connectivity experienced with the cloud. There may be differences, and you need to know if those differences are something that the users of the BPMS can accept. Are there peak hours during the day for your business? Can the BPMS accommodate the same performance levels regardless of the time of day?
  4. Scalability – In this case, scalability is the ability of the cloud to continue to perform its agreed function when the workload or scope changes. Most companies base their future projections on growth. As your company grows, you will accumulate more data or require more system performance as users increase with growth. For example, say your current data storage needs are 20 terabytes. Within the next 3 years, you expect to be at 50 terabytes. Will your new cloud have the ability to scale and meet your needs? If not, are there any additional costs to provide this ability based on projections for the future?

A BPMS cloud solution can alleviate many of your hosting headaches. But in the process, you need to ensure that your data is protected, accessible fairly quickly after any failure, retrievable in a timely fashion, and allowed to grow along with your business without any negative impacts.

Our BPM team would like to hear from you – what have you found to be the criteria used to evaluate a BPMS cloud?

Posted in: IT Security, Business Process Management