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Big data making BPM software more valuable

Malcolm Ross, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, Appian
April 2, 2013

In most corporate IT departments, technologies create value by generating a return on investment. In some cases, a solution can be important without generating an ROI, but for most solutions, the ability to create profits is key. As big data gains prominence in many industries, the potential for ROI generation through business process management software solutions increases, adding value to the technology's already prolific potential.

Looking at big data and BPM

In theory, big data and BPM software do not really interact. Big data systems involve extremely complex storage architectures that fit firmly in the back office, while BPM focuses on taking what gets done in the back office and aligning it with day-to-day business process goals. However, practical applications for big data depend heavily on successful BPM deployments. While organizations can get a lot out of big data without BPM, using process management technologies alongside big data can unlock the full potential of the analytics movement.

While big data systems generally function in an extremely specialized way, the actual information has to get to end users effectively if it is going to mean anything. For the most part, big data is used for two purposes - strategic and operational responses. From a strategic perspective, the analytics enabled by big data enable organizations to look at and processlarge quantities of data over a prescribed stretch of time, and make key business plans for the future based on this data. The access to unstructured information enabled by big data is invaluable in this area because it allows companies to quantify points that may have been impossible to attach statistics to in the past.

From an operational point of view, the value of big data comes from handling large amounts of structured and unstructured data quickly and getting the results of that analysis to end users so they can make better decisions about interacting with customers, making sales and developing short-term strategies.

In these cases, the actual use model for big data involves getting the information into applications that can be delivered through the cloud to a variety of end user devices. Big data delivery has to become social for optimal success. This is where BPM software comes into play. The technology adds a level of social functionality and intelligence to data and application transmission, so end users get what they need for the processes they are trying to complete at any time. As a result, BPM can unlock the full potential of big data for strategic and operational gains.

Malcolm Ross

Vice President of Product Marketing