General

Business Automation Tools: The Evolution

Let’s start by understanding the evolution of business automation technologies.

It is possible to provide automation of repetitive tasks, to delegate intelligent decisions to the machine and most importantly to provide horizontal visibility. Real data collected help managers tune the organization engines. Advanced technology goes beyond by performing activities even humans can’t do: it can make decisions based on analysis of mass quantities of user data in real time, split that data into segments, identifies anomalies, and expose them.

Business Automation is all about Digital Transformation. It is the heart that pumps energy to the rest of the technology ecosystem. Without a proper functioning, effective and fast-changing business logic, the rest of the software park is not worth the effort.

When BPMN specification took roots on the business territory, several solutions were provided to attend to the business unit needs. These tools started by allowing a certain level of automation. It allowed the usage of BPM concepts by implementing BPMN specification. It is named Business Process Management Suite (BPMS).

A BPMS, is a software that provides support to the whole process improvement life cycle— process discovery, definition and design, implementation, execution, monitoring and analysis, and finally, optimization.

Looking back at BPMS pioneers it initially supported assets which followed BPMN specification. Moreover, it was used mostly as a centralized, monolithic, orchestration software, and usually was represented as the core of the architecture.

The year 2014 was marked by Martin Fowler’s article, Microservices – A Definition to this new architectural term, which defined microservices architectures. Techtrends started to revolve around decoupled, independent, specialized cloud-native services and were spread by leading names like Google and Netflix.

The mentioned article written by Martin Fowler is a strong reference for people who seek information about what are microservices, how this concept came up and which problems it tries to address. This article can be found on the following page: martinfowler.com/articles/microservices.html.

After that, the architecture diagramed above simply didn’t fit these new concepts. This added up to the lack of support for different modeling specifications and contributed to the decrease of the popularity of business automation tools. These happenings were not enough to make Business Automation Tools go extinct.

Now we welcome a new era of Business Automation where trending technology concepts are applied in order to deliver decoupled cloud-native business driven applications.


This blog post is part of the first section of the jBPM Getting started series: Welcome to a Business Automation era.

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