Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) is any type of horizontal or vertical business process automation solution based on the software as a service (SaaS) business model paradigm, which employs a cloud computing service model.
Out of these cloud services, BPaaS is positioned on the top layer of the XaaS services architecture. The XaaS services architecture includes Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)l,
Therefore, it is clear that BPaaS services are dependent on the other XaaS related services.
Organizations have been trying to automate their business processes for decades. Originally, they were forced to do so either manually with business machines and tools, or programmatically by applying computers.
For example, if a company wanted to make sure that a orders management system checked for mistakes with an invoice before issuing the transaction, the company would have to build that request into a tailor-made or custom program, which would have been developed specifically for that application and that company.
In some cases, entire business-process outsourcing (BPO) companies implement their process solely manually or with the assistance of automation applications to service their end customers.
However, the main approach to this is beginning to change thanks to the emergence of cloud computing.
Increasingly, organizations are looking at a more service-oriented approach to their process automation requirements.
Now, organizations are offered the possibility of choosing a business process solution which is linked to both internal and external cloud services which connect a number of applications and databases (both third-party and customer-owned) instead of having to look for a packaged application that includes processes, data, business logic, etc.
Practically speaking, there is also reason to opt for a business process automation service.
First, an organization can select to automate a process that matches a determined business policy and then evolves when this business policy changes along the time. Moreover, this can then applied to a variety of different application environments. This ensures that the process is traceable, homogenous and consistent throughout the organization.
For example, an organization may have complex processes for processing the order-to-cash, new employees onboarding, accounts payable or managing assets. Those services can be linked to its own legacy applications in the customer’s data center as well as other services in the cloud e.g. SaaS applications.
Like SaaS cloud services, business processes automation solutions or BPaaS are beginning to be designed as a packaged offering that can be used in a 100 % public Cloud environment on also in a hybrid manner combining them with private Cloud facilities, and in-house legacy systems.
After all, business processes are a collection of linked tasks which find their end in the delivery of a service or product to a client. This explains why, when providing efficient BPaaS solutions, organizations involve already existing automation solutions.
By definition, these business processes come under any service that can be automated. Examples of this would be: generating, publishing and distributing documents, identifying users, e-mail management, doing surveys; the list goes on…
Increasingly, this type of automation is supported by robots or bots with the combination of BPM platforms with RPA technologies.
The main difference between traditional packaged applications and BPaaS is that BPaaS is designed to be open service-oriented. So, BPaaS is likely to have well-defined interfaces.
In addition, BPaaS is a standardized service for the use of many different organizations. Because these services are much more optimized to deliver a service consistently, they can leverage automation, standardization and repeatability in the way the services are used and delivered.
Nevertheless, end users appreciate a high level of customization to be comfortable with the applications they have to use.
In that sense, the use of BPaaS supporting technologies that can asure at the same time that solutions are 100 % standard but 100 % customized with the use of dynamic Process Application Servers, will be a crucial step forward on the massive diffusion of BPaaS services.
The following characteristics define BPaaS:
The BPaaS model sits on top of the other three foundational XaaS cloud services: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.
A BPaaS service is configurable based on the process being designed.
BPaaS solutions are designed to be open service-oriented and then must have well-defined APIs so it can be easily connected to related services.
A provider servicing BPaaS must ensure its capacity to ensure the full customization and the full integration of each process class with the rest of applications, databases and services the process requires to interconnect with.
BPaaS must be able to support multiple languages and multiple deployment environments because the customer cannot predict how a business process will be leveraged in the future.
A BPaaS environment must be able to handle massive scaling. The service must be able to go from managing a few processes for a couple of customers to being able to support hundreds if not thousands of customers and processes.
The service accomplishes that objective by optimizing the underlying cloud services to support this type of elasticity and scaling.
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