In 2014, the top priorities for business process management (BPM) initiatives focused on extending mission critical business processes to support the mobile workforce and redesigning business processes to deliver exceptional customer experiences. During 2014, Forrester also noticed a growing appetite to move business critical processes into the cloud using BPM platform-as-a-service solutions. And, although customer sentiment for BPM was mixed to negative in 2014, software vendors reported respectable double-digit revenue growth for BPM solutions. Sounds like it’s time to pop the bubbly and celebrate, right?

Not quite yet. In 2015, BPM will fight to expand its relevance in the front office and will need to shed serious weight to better align with age of the customer imperatives that prioritize speed-to-market over analysis and complexity – traditional hallmarks of the BPM discipline and software solutions.  Together, with my colleague Craig Le Clair, we expect 2015 to be a tipping point for the BPM market.  In 2015, customer-obsession – the relentless focus on winning, retaining, and serving customers – will disrupt and reshape the entire ecosystem for BPM:

  • All major BPM software vendors will shift to focus on process apps.  Heightened customer and employee expectations for rapid process change will shine a bright light on the need to reduce lengthy analysis and design times typically associated with BPM.  At their core BPM software and techniques provide low-code approaches to quickly build and deploy process apps that directly engage customers and better guide employees to deliver exceptional customer experiences.  In 2015, Forrester predicts that all major BPM software vendors will streamline their products to focus on “app-centric” approaches to BPM that put external customers at the center of design and development.  The traditional “operations-centric” approach will remain relevant, but will take a backseat in 2015.  App-centric approaches will also feed the need for rapid process change through smart process apps – configurable vertical and horizontal apps built on BPM platforms – in the cloud.
     
  • An increasing number of BPM projects will be run by customer experience teams.  Over 2013 and 2014, Forrester saw an increasing number of BPM teams adopt customer experience practices, such as customer journey mapping and ecosystem mapping.  In a Q3 2013 Forrester/IQPC survey, over 30% of BPM professionals indicated they used customer journey mapping as a key process change technique.  However, a separate trend that is not getting as much visibility is around customer experience teams adopting BPM techniques, such as Lean and Six Sigma.  In 2015, Forrester predicts that customer experience teams will either subsume process change teams or hire an increasing number of process experts that can help them implement critical business process changes connected to customer experience. Parallel to this prediction, Forrester expects an increasing number of companies to co-locate customer experience and process change initiatives under the same umbrella.  To succeed, these teams will need to build a set of shared capabilities that connect customer experience, process architecture, and rapid execution.

No doubt, 2015 will be a bumpy year for BPM professionals.  However, every major disruption presents rich opportunities for reinvention – on both personal and professional levels.  If you want to know more about these trends and what they will mean for your initiative, you can download and read the full report or contact us.  You can also browse the full list of Forrester’s 2015 Predictions reports

I want to hear from you. What are your big predictions for BPM next year?  Do you agree that customer experience and customer-facing process change will reshape the landscape for BPM in 2015? Do you feel that BPM software vendors will make the investments needed to truly support front-office initiatives or do you think they will continue to primarily focus on operational improvement?  Post your thoughts in the comment section, contact us, or feel free to shoot me a quick email at [email protected].

Clay Richardson
Clay serves Enterprise Architecture Professionals and is a leading expert on business process management (BPM) software, services, and methodologies.

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