Over the last few years, business process management has been a major focus for vendors and buyers in the area of IT-based business integration. Vendors have been banging the drum loudly about its necessity while buyers have been attracted by its overt charms. However, the last year or so has seen a gradual shift in buyer perceptions at least, with concerns beginning to mount about business process management's capability to deliver real business value and return on investment.

There are a number of acronyms that have emerged to describe the ability to manage business processes and the underlying IT implementations with a view to being able to easily integrate them. BPI (business process integration) and BPA (business process automation) seemed to be fairly self-descriptive terms, but typically the IT industry selected the slightly more vague business process management as the accepted nomenclature. The idea behind business process management at its most basic is fairly simple - business process management is about being able to integrate and manage business processes from the business viewpoint, with all the IT implementation details concealed and automatically redefined to match the needs of the process changes.

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