A recent question How do you think the cloud will change BPM? raised by eBizQ got a flurry of conflicting answers.

Part of the problem is back to the definition of BPM (process discovery vs process automation vs operations platform). Some of it is possibly a theoretical perspective on  the cloud – the “It is just technology” view.

But at Nimbus we have had a cloud offering for 5 years, so my comments are based on real world experience for over enterprise 100 clients in every industry including Nestlé, SAP, Novartis, BP, BestBuy Europe and Toyota.

And what is surprising is that the behaviour is not as expected.  Yes, 90% of new clients use the Nimbus Cloud for reduced speed, risk and cost reasons. But they do not necessarily see the cloud platform (currently) as a long term answer.  This is not a reflection on the robustness or quality of the Nimbus Cloud service.

Let me explain:

The Cloud for business users speeds up implementation, reduces cost and risk.

Business users have a transformation project and they want to start mapping to understand/optimise their processes and want to then provide the mapped content as the operations guide / manual / platform to all business users, to the auditors and also to IT to reconfigure the back end applications (SAP, Oracle, Salesforce.com) or build a new workflow application (BPMS).

Previously the options for the business users were

– get IT to find a server and install Nimbus Control (ie wait 3-6 months)

– be forced to use an “inappropriate” IT modelling tool (System Architect, ARIS, CaseWise, Provision)

– just start using MSOffice (Visio, Powerpoint) with the obvious limitations of lack of central management, collaboration and governance.

With the Nimbus Cloud users can get going immediately using the right tool for the job, purchase from OpEx rather than CapEx, and also prove the business case for wider rollout with reduced risk. Then after 6-18 months we are seeing many (but not all) clients decide to install the Nimbus Control application on premise.  As we offer both options clients have choice.

We are hearing the migration on-premise is for several reasons

– the tight integration with the core systems (Active Directory, email, document management, business intelligence, enterprise applications). This is possible with a cloud app (as Salesforce.com has proven), but it is easier on-premise

– the security of critical IP – the DNA of the business – processes, metrics, documents, policies, collaboration

– the scale of the roll-outs – 10,000-300,000 users – means it is a core centrally managed application

– and IT Departments exist to install and run applications, so the cloud is stealth outsourcing which takes jobs away.

A couple of quotes that bring it to life:

“Using the Nimbus hosted services helped us quickly get a pilot project underway and prove that our lean operations initiative was working”  Toyota

“We met the CFBA’s compliance requirements on time thanks to the rapid implementation made possible with Nimbus hosting capability”   ING Bank

“The project has been aided in a huge way because it was hosted by Nimbus”  Carphone Warehouse

Enough said.  Or maybe not.  Let the debate continue.

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