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Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) is any type of horizontal or vertical business process that’s delivered based on the cloud services model. These cloud services — which include Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) — are therefore dependent on related services.

Companies have been automating business processes for decades. Originally, they were forced to do so either manually or programmatically. For example, if a company wanted to make sure that a management system for orders looked up a credit check before issuing a transaction, the company built that request into a program.

In some cases, entire business-process outsourcing companies might implement processes either manually or through automation. With the advent of cloud computing, this approach is starting to change. Increasingly, companies are looking at a more service-oriented approach to services. Rather than assume you need a packaged application that includes business logic, data, and processes, it’s possible to select a process application that’s not tied into a single application.

There is a practical reason to select a business process service. First, an organization can select a process that matches business policy. It can then be used in many different application environments. This ensures that a well-defined and, more importantly, a consistent process exists across the organization. For example, a company may have a complex process for processing payroll or managing shipping. This service can be linked to other services in the cloud, such as SaaS, as well as to applications in the data center.

Like SaaS cloud services, business processes are beginning to be designed as a packaged offering that can be used in a hybrid manner. After all, business processes are the steps you take or the activities you perform to facilitate the delivery of products or services to your customers or stakeholders. These business processes can really be any service that can be automated, including managing e-mail, shipping a package, or managing customer credit.

The difference between traditional packaged applications and BPaaS is that BPaaS is designed to be service-oriented. So, BPaaS is likely to have well-defined interfaces. In addition, a BPaaS is a standardized service for use by many different organizations. Because these services are much more optimized to deliver a service consistently, they can leverage automation, standardization, and repeatability in the way the services are used and delivered.

The following characteristics define BPaaS:

  • The BPaaS sits on top of the other three foundational cloud services: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.

  • A BPaaS service is configurable based on the process being designed.

  • A BPaaS service must have well-defined APIs so it can be easily connected to related services.

  • A BPaaS must be able to support multiple languages and multiple deployment environments because a business cannot predict how a business process will be leveraged in the future.

  • A BPaaS environment must be able to handle massive scaling. The service must be able to go from managing a few processes for a couple of customers to being able to support hundreds if not thousands of customers and processes. The service accomplishes that objective by optimizing the underlying cloud services to support this type of elasticity and scaling.

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