Does BPM Software Really Benefit ERP?

by Paul Marrero 1. April 2011 09:53

I want to start a discussion regarding how BPM benefits ERP. So I will kick it off with a couple of paragraphs below. I would love to hear your comments.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are ideal for structured transactions such as issuing POs, managing customer orders, inventory transactions, A/P, A/R, etc. but do not adequately cover unstructured transactions and complex workflow rules. Business Process Management (BPM) fills this gap.  Arguments?

Also, ERP systems tend to be specific to a set of departments within an organization; again BPM helps to manage activity that extends beyond the ERP system to include suppliers, partners, customers and external systems that might be department or partner specific. A BPM system complements ERP, as the data elements in ERP are typically leveraged by the BPMS so that data does not have to be duplicated.

Thoughts, comments, arguments???

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Comments (1) - United States
4/6/2011 12:09:02 PM #

I think in addition to what is mentioned, BPM systems help to proactively move ERP transactions through an organization for better efficiency, Most ERP systems have some sort of workflow, but they tend to be fairly shallow in capability, and they not well leveraged since they tend need IT involvement. As a result ERP systems have had little effect on process improvement initiatives.

Most companies also have multiple ERP and/or departmental systems which exist outside the boundaries of a single ERP system's workflow engine. BPM can help to ensure a given process task is moved from one department to another even when each department is on a different system.  

ERP systems are still great platforms for storing mission critical data, and will continue to be the backbone for most companies; however BPM is fast becoming a standard for leveraging ERP data and helping companies become more process oriented. In the past, organizations have developed procedures as static entities to reference in a particular department. These processes have provided written guidelines for people to follow when performing their tasks, but they do not ensure they are actually followed. BPM helps ERP implementations to not only document their procedures, but to also ensure the individuals involved are actually performing their work according to the defined practices.


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