What Is Distributed Business Process Management?


This is about distributed business process management.

Distributed business process management is the observation and improvement of operations within a business to improve and optimize workflow and results.

If you want to learn in detail what distributed business process management is, then you are in the right place.

Let’s get started!

Distributed Business Process Management Demystified

Distributed business process management focuses on the logistics of dealing with orders within a virtual enterprise.

While standard business process management handles the organization of processes within an organization, DBPM focuses on the methods used in fulfilling and distributing orders.

DBPM can also refer to how one can identify issues within the distributing system, make changes, and monitor these systems to make sure they run smoothly. This can include workflow setup and more significant logistical problems.

Within DBPM, the central figure is often known as the virtual enterprise (VE) coordinator. This central organization must communicate with suppliers to maintain the production chain.

To maintain success, DBPM should focus on the outcome and create a consistent business-wide system.

The Concept of Integrated Logistics

Within distributed business process management, integrated logistics is a core concept. This business management process focuses on the flow of materials and information necessary to maintain end-product distribution.

Within integrated logistics, the focus is often on ensuring that the necessary components successfully make it to their destination.

Integrated logistics also helps connect the information about these processes to marketing, production, and other relevant departments.

With integrated logistics serving as a core component in the distributed business process management system, it not only helps the processes continue, but also helps optimize production, the costs of such, and even potentially increasing the quality of the end products.

Potential Issues within Distributed Business Processes

Often, issues within distributed business processes can involve a delay within one part of the system.

As manufacturing products or maintaining stock usually requires more than one organization within the VE, a delay in one aspect can impact the whole chain, potentially changing delivery dates of end products.

Distributed business process management systems and strategies play a role in successfully solving these issues.

Often, the intricate nature of the broader supply chain means that individuals don’t have all the information they need to handle a problem.

DBPM can help share the necessary information and create an alternate plan to solve the issue.

Decision Support Systems can also help with addressing these issues.

Without a well-maintained DBPM system, data cannot pass between organizations within the virtual enterprise efficiently.

Distributed Business Process Management Systems

While one can conduct DBPM by regularly evaluating and planning for different scenarios, distributed business process management systems are programs that can help coordinate and disseminate information throughout a virtual enterprise.

These systems do not operate wholly independently but can serve as virtual guides and organizers of the relevant information necessary to help maintain a VE.

They serve many roles and help execute various steps within the distributed business process management methods.

DBPMS Task 1: Virtual Enterprise Supervision

The core goal of this DBPM aspect is to communicate production-related information successfully. This system allows for VEs to keep their production schedules and plans up to date.

The system can also provide suggestions whenever a more significant action or decision is necessary.

DBPMS Task 2: Logistics Management Decision Support

This element helps identify and resolve conflicts within the broader supply chain. By using integrated logistics and observation, the system brings conflicts to the attention of the VE.

Based on the type of conflict detected, a DBPMS will suggest an action, provide simulated results of a decision, and compare the outcome of rescheduled production to the current system.

DBPMS Task 3: Configuration

Within a DBPMS, configuration assists with supervision clauses for VE members, as well as production bulletins.

DBPMS Task 4: Interoperation

This functionality helps monitor interactions between the DBPMS and other systems at work within the virtual enterprise. 

This helps better coordinate the different members within the virtual enterprise with the distributed business process management system, helping to achieve a more reliable organization and overall levels of management.

With these features in place, distributed business process management systems serve to improve and streamline the execution of DBPM, allowing for other stages of business process management like improving existing processes and analyzing existing information to progress much more smoothly.

Successful Data Labeling is One Key to Fully Utilizing Distributed Business Process Management Systems

DBPMSs can only correctly operate if they have accurate and useful data to both track and analyze when necessary.

Each relevant piece of data should have a specific label within it to determine what categories they fit into.

This process is essential because, without it, you run the risk of both having irrelevant data included in or relevant data missing from a logistics management decision support sequence.

Either of these scenarios can cause a poorly informed decision, negatively impacting end-product distribution.

The Common Warehouse Metamodel (CWM) is an example of current technology that helps with these processes.

The CWM already has predetermined sets and categories for the significant relevant types of data necessary for successful distributed business process management.

By adopting a standardized system, any data does not only need to be useful to one virtual enterprise. Instead, data can be more easily shared and integrated into any DBPMS that uses CWM data standards.

As such, all players within a virtual enterprise can smoothly share metadata with each other.

The CWM system also has the benefit of allowing users to see the origins of specific pieces of metadata.

This information includes not only the source but also when and how it entered the more extensive system. By tracking these origins, it’s easier to understand if data is relevant and reliable.

While a distributed business process management system can run without using CWM tags to organize metadata better, using such a system makes DBPMS tasks much more efficient, further benefitting the complete virtual enterprise.

Other Elements of Distributed Business Process Management

Distributed business process management systems do conduct many of the specific tasks involved with DBPM, but they are not the only stages and elements necessary for successful organizations.

DBPM shares many other functions with standard business process management, such as:

  • Correcting issues in processes and improving them before automation setup
  • Standardizing any processes that occur throughout multiple places within a virtual enterprise
  • Looking at existing processes and implementing potential improvements when possible, rather than aiming for a sense of perfection
  • Assigning responsibility for specific areas of procedures to help negate the risk of momentum for growth decreasing over time
  • Allowing for continual changes within the systems to refine all involved processes better and further
  • Organizing all changes around set outcomes rather than specific tasks to work towards a virtual enterprise’s betterment

Another essential aspect of distributed business process management is that these elements and tasks happen regularly, rather than just once.

As a virtual enterprise grows and changes, the needs and requirements to maintain successful distribution capacity can differ from its previous state.

As such, distributed business process management is a never-ending task.

However, regularly completing these assessments can be the underlying key to overall improvements within an organization, leading to further success and growth.

Benefits of Learning About and Implementing Distributed Business Process Management

For relevant virtual enterprises, understanding distributed business process management can be hugely beneficial to growth and organization.

At its core, DBPM’s purpose is to help improve a virtual enterprise’s overall performance. DBPMS further helps make this process much more efficient, as they can readily provide the data necessary to make decisions and changes.

In scenarios where part of the end-product production process may become delayed, effective DBPM helps to soften the blow of any potential issues. It can be possible that a problem is quickly redirected (such as gaining a new source of a product in the supply chain) without delaying delivery at all.

Like anything else, distributed business process management is not a guarantee that all problems can become negated.

However, it does allow for more active options and decisions in the long run.

Is There Much Difference Between Standard Business Process Management and Distributed Business Process Management?

While we’ve been discussing distributed business process management, it does share many similarities with regular business process management.

So you may be wondering if there’s much worth in viewing them separately.

At their cores, both BPM and DBPM have similar goals: the observation and improvement of operations within a business to improve and optimize workflow and results.

Distributed business process management is more focused on the distribution aspect, however.

For example, standard business process management may focus on optimizing and evaluating the workflow within any organization.

Likewise, it can also apply to any business, no matter what industry they are a part of.

Distributed business process management could apply to any business that creates and distributes a physical end product.

While the exact type of product can vary, the necessary data and tasks are more accurately applicable to DBPM.

As such, anyone who wishes to be successful at distributed business process management should understand the core concepts of standard BPM first, but they should also know that more specialized knowledge will be necessary to optimize their virtual enterprise best.

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