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Fricke on BPM and rules engine roles in an economic downturn

By Jack Vaughan, Editor-in-Chief

The global credit crunch is still just a few months old – the data says the U.S. economy has been in recession for about a year. Disheartening news of job losses are daily fare. Until recent bad reports from Intel and AMD, the technology sector’s recession experience seemed to be less harsh than that of others.

An upsurge in Business Process Modeling (BPM) and Business Process Management (BPM) may be in store given the rush of mergers, especially in financial areas. Meanwhile, in corporate HQs there is a lot of ‘what-if’ analysis going on that may result in some re-engineered business models.

Some people think software will play a big role for time to come, as corporations try to make a new way forward. Had an interesting conversation in this regard the other day with Pierre Fricke, who has both a historical and technical take on this.

Fricke, who serves as director of product management for Red Hat’s JBoss Div, said that, while businesses can be seen contracting, they still need improvement, and Business Process Management thus has a role.

“Unless you are literally going out of business, you end up with just more problems to solve,” he said.

The credit conflagration augurs new legislation and administrative procedures. Rules engines will need updating too, he said. “You can expect new regulations for mortgages, securities trading and so on,” he said. “The best way to codify these things is in rules engines.”

Fricke talked recently on his blog about the role technology played in combating the Great Depression. An IBM alumnus, Fricke knows the folk lore of Big Blue. How it sold electronic tabulators to the U.S. Government in the 1930s during The New Deal – tabulators that were used to fine-tune basic processes associated with New Deal programs.

Blogs Fricke:

“In the 1930s, emerging high technology in the form of tabulator machines and improved telephonic services continued to grow. IBM led the charge and had growth every year in the 1930s with expanded opportunities for tabulators to support the new regulatory environment and to help industries become more productive and reduce costs.”

He adds: “… it’s not the end of the world, just the end of an era.” That is a sentiment many would second.

What do you think? Is Business Process Modeling and Business Process Management still on the rise? Let us know.

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