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How to adopt business process management (BPM) with Appian

Business Process Management (BPM) solutions orchestrate between different systems, people, and processes, enabling business analysts to model and optimize their organization’s human-centric business processes.

Taking an API-first approach to BPM provides a natural abstraction for system tasks like “create order,” which should be implemented outside of the BPM. APIs exposed by Anypoint Platform can handle all complex system integration requirements — keeping the business process “business-friendly.” However, there are two key points to consider:

Business process readability

Organizations want to adopt BPM because it helps to formalize a business process description, via BPMN annotation. The same description can be interpreted directly as an executable in the BPM Workflow engine. It helps to mitigate risk, as we have a direct relationship between what we see and what actually gets executed.

However, while BPMN annotation is an industry standard, the way a business process is modeled highly depends on the process architects. It isn’t unusual for the same business requirement to end up with two completely different BPMN models, as the process architects will always apply their personal interpretation. Both processes can be accurate, but it will highly impact future enhancements as the business process might be only readable by the process author.

Human and system-based task abstraction

As part of the business process readability, it is important to have a formal way to clearly identify and segment the tasks that are needed to support a business process. These tasks are either human-based or system-based. System-based tasks can be abstracted as APIs. Inappropriate identification and segmentation will also impact the overall business process readability, as well as the subsequent enhancement.

To address these points, it is important to have some modeling principles — commonly shared across the organization — to empower BPM/API benefits.

Using Appian to integrate third-party apps for BPM

Over the years, organizations have developed software solutions to enhance their business offerings along with the customer experience. Too frequently, those applications become isolated silos of critical business operations, and failure to unite them exposes the organization’s inefficiencies.

Appian’s low-code software development platform, BPM, and case management capabilities enable organizations to more easily develop applications. The platform automates the creation of forms, data flows, records, reports, and other software elements that are needed to be manually coded or configured.

This, combined with Anypoint Platform, enables customers to integrate their enterprise third-party data faster and quickly deliver new applications to end-users, whether on-premises or in the cloud. For example, Amgen, a leading pharmaceuticals company, used Appian with MuleSoft’s CloudHub, API Designer, API Manager, and Anypoint Exchange to orchestrate global product label changes.

The Appian/MuleSoft partnership provides users with an API-led approach that simplifies integration. In this ecosystem, Appian owns the user relationship, and MuleSoft owns the system relationship, bringing modernization to legacy systems through exposed Experience APIs. Appian’s robust workflow, rules engine, collaboration, document storage and full suite of user-facing components translates to Appian’s API Connector on Anypoint Exchange, making it easier for Appian users to access, transform, and reuse data from legacy and SaaS applications through well-governed APIs to drive agility at scale.

Appian RAML interface describes the Appian API in a clear, human- and machine-readable format. Additional HTTP Connectors from Appian allows easy orchestration of MuleSoft APIs from Appian interfaces, rules and processes. Users can create powerful business apps fast with Appian’s intuitive drag-and-drop design.

Features include:

  • Web and mobile user interfaces: create engaging user experiences that are instantly available on the web or native mobile apps for iOS and Android.
  • Case management: unite data across the enterprise inside a single record view while seamlessly connected to collaboration and action.
  • Business process management: orchestrate humans and systems in a holistic business process while measuring performance to achieve continuous process improvement.
  • Decision management: design adaptive business rules to drive intelligent decisions and enforce corporate policies.
  • Low-code app development: quickly create powerful apps with Appian’s integrated and web-based IDE and drag-and-drop design.
  • Standard connectors: connect to enterprise systems or MuleSoft APIs using Appian’s standard web services connectors.

Learn more

To learn how Anypoint Platform can unlock your BPM solutions, download Best practices for business process management (BPM) integration.