Why You’re Struggling with Your BPM Suite

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Are you using a business process management (BPM) suite such as IBM Business Process Manager, Pega, Appian, jBPM, or Bonitasoft? If so, do any of these problems sound familiar?

  • The software was hard to install, and we need specialized knowledge to maintain it
  • We haven’t been able to fully integrate the software with other parts of our tech stack
  • It’s hard to find developers who know how to make the software do what we need it to do
  • Our developers have to work around the software’s technical or functional limitations

These problems stem from the fact that many BPM suites are built on a closed architecture and take a proprietary approach to application development and process automation. That’s not just annoying for your IT team; it also limits your business agility by making it difficult and expensive to roll out new or updated processes in response to customer feedback, your competitors’ offerings, developments in your market, and changing regulatory requirements.

Closed architecture vs. open architecture

Many BPM suites are built and delivered as monoliths, meaning all parts of the software are tightly integrated and can’t be unbundled. It’s difficult, or even impossible, to use just one component of a monolithic BPM suite. This makes it hard to gradually adopt the software, often forcing teams to adopt an expensive and risky “rip-and-replace” strategy. Monolithic BPM suites also tend to have a closed architecture with very few options for extension, customization, or communication with other software or systems.

In contrast, Camunda Platform has an open architecture that’s designed for use either as a fully integrated platform or as a set of loosely coupled components that you can easily merge into your technology landscape—including enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and other business applications.

The open architecture approach starts with extensive APIs based on common standards such as REST, JSON, and OpenAPI. These are standards that many developers are familiar with, which reduces the learning curve when they start using Camunda. 

Standards-based APIs also make integration with other software and systems much easier. For example, Generali Switzerland was able to integrate Camunda Platform with their internally built, microservice-based Connection Platform in under six months, despite their developers having no prior knowledge of Camunda software or BPMN.

Camunda Platform’s open architecture also allows you to customize and extend platform components to suit your business needs or personal preferences. For example:

  • You can use plugins to implement specific process execution behavior in the BPMN Workflow Engine 
  • You can customize Tasklist to match the look and feel of your organization’s branding
  • You can extend Modeler with additional functionality such as auto-save and tooltips

Thanks to the Camunda developer community, there’s a rich ecosystem of open-source extensions that can help you get started with customizing the platform.

Vendor-specific approach vs. developer-friendly approach

Most BPM suites that have a closed architecture also take a proprietary approach to application development and automation; this usually involves a proprietary development framework or IDE, restrictive tools for building simple GUIs, and inconsistent support for interfaces with external systems. It takes time and effort to learn how to develop in the way that a specific BPM suite requires, and it’s a skill that must be continuously maintained, which often leads to a lack of sufficiently skilled developers in the organization.

At Camunda, we’ve prioritized software developers from day one. When Camunda was first established, we focused on Java developers; but now, we consider any developer, no matter which language they prefer, to be a natural fit for implementing processes in Camunda Platform. 

Teams can use the type of environment they’re familiar with when creating, testing, and operating the applications they develop. For example, they can work in their preferred code editor or IDE, program in the language they like, store their code in Git or another version-control system, run automated tests and implement continuous integration using a tool like Jenkins, and manage their containerized applications on a platform like Kubernetes. There’s no need to adjust to any Camunda-specific way of working. You can learn more by checking out the Camunda Community Summit keynote from our CTO, Daniel Meyer.

Replacing Legacy BPM: Solution Selection Factors

Based on reviews captured by IT Central Station, this whitepaper outlines the limitations of legacy BPM solutions and considerations for deciding on a replacement. Get your copy today.

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