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  1. Peter Schooff
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. Tuesday, August 12 2014, 09:47 AM
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Several recent blogs and articles have mentioned that we are now in a new era of BPM. What do you think?
Bogdan Nafornita Accepted Answer
I wasn't even aware of being in an old era of BPM.

Seriously, this is actually the only technology area where I've seen such a terrific analyst obsession about announcing the next new BPM paradigm / major shake-up / disruption / Sci-fi scenario, up to and including annihiliation of BPM itself (in various apocalyptic forms, from cannibalism, through Darwinist evolution, to nuclear blasts).
Managing Founder, profluo.com
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+2 on the snailed it. Likewise, re: the "analyst obsession," most have their thumbs up their b^tts.

Gotta go, landing soon. ;)
  1. Patrick Lujan
  2. 2 years ago
nailed it.
  1. Scott Francis
  2. 2 years ago
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Tim Bryce Accepted Answer
Not sure if it is a new era. I would like to believe the BPM is returning to a place of prominence in the business community. For example, back in the day, if you were a good systems analyst (not software engineer), you were a prime candidate to take over a user department as you knew how it worked. You might also become a COO (I've seen it happen here in the States and over in Japan). Think about it; who better to assume management control than the person who knows all of its business processes?
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Tom Baeyens Accepted Answer
BPM (or at least the executable BPMS subset) will push forward and deliver BPM to non IT end users in the next years. One of the big values always has been to establish a common language, improve communication between business people and IT and offer more control to business people where they needed it.

As BPM Systems will get easier to use, more non technical end users will start to "Bring Your Own Process". It's an argument that has been around for quite a while and it helped to convey the value of BPM systems. But I believe that the more recent BPM's start to deliver on that promise.

This doesn't mean BPM is moving away from it's original values. In many scenarios, BPM is a crucial instrument to improve communication between business and IT people. But an extra scenario will be added in which business people can serve themselves to build basic process automations.
Tom Baeyens
Signavio.com
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Sure. BPM is here to cure a lot of unsolved-yet problems, e.g. #BPM for software architects - from monolith applications to explicit and executable #coordination of #microservices architecture - http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2014/08/bpm-for-software-architects-from.html

Thanks,
AS
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Anatoly Belaychuk Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
What? Again?! :)

What's interesting about BPM is that it fools analysts' predictions systematically yet it doesn't go away either.

It just moves on, grows slowly yet confidently, paying no attention to "BPM is dead, long live BPM" cries.

Maybe this is because BPM is a cultural thing more than technological? Cultures change slowly - only as generations are replacing each other, really. Unless a "force majeure" compresses time.
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You captured almost exactly how I feel about BPM here. In a sense betting on BPM the last 10 years has been mostly a contrarian bet that the value it produces can overcome the cultural resistance to this kind of change... and that BPM can morph and glide along top of all the technology changes... so far so good.
  1. Scott Francis
  2. 2 years ago
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Guest Accepted Answer
The problem is BPMS's are platforms and platforms are tough when it comes to implementation, roll-out and adoption. But the need for BPM is there and customers are either looking at modern tools OR alternatives.

A good example of alternatives is SaaS based b2b Apps. They provide ready-to-use solutions that have embedded business processes and are deeply integrated and support the modern connected way of life via mobile and tablet. Good example is Zendesk like support software that can adapt to a 'case management' requirement easily. Of course, there is a some amount of cutting the foot to fit the shoes here. However, if you compare the pay-per-use price of the SaaS apps and the cost it takes to implement the enterprise BPMS, the compromise is super justifiable. ;)


P.S:
My views may be biased as I am work at KiSSFLOW
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I don't know Suresh. The "tough" part isn't the platform(s). The "tough" part is business alignment, understanding, and shared vision. The differentiating processes that really define a company's value proposition are cross-cutting in nature. A process could care less about a company's organizational structure, they just cut right across. But like Jim said in his post, organizational capability..not so much yet. The answer however isn't to sub-optimize on alternatives which can't meet the need of where organizations need to be in reality. Not that you are wrong in any way to suggest alternatives, nor am I suggesting that alternatives don't provide value. The value however that businesses need to get their head around is truly end-to-end visibility and CPI. They just aren't there yet in a large scale manner; however it is a heck of a lot better than it was in 2003!
  1. Lance Gibbs
  2. 2 years ago
Suresh
You must be using old BPM software technology. Want a flavour of the future our research paper - it works one platform does it all - published last year http://www.igi-global.com/chapter/object-model-development-engineering/78620

Lance makes good points and that “visibility” on its way as is “lease buy” that will be more flexible and better value than that SaaS?
  1. David Chassels
  2. 2 years ago
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Jim Sinur Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
Is BPM is playing a role in transforming organizations in a big way opposed to just cutting costs to survive a recession? Absolutely. Is BPM incrementally transforming the technical platform supporting these new and faster to market approaches? Absolutely. Is organizational management learning to manage at the speed of change that BPM now let's them do? Not yet. If that occurs, then BPM is in a new era. BPM keeps getting better and more pervasive, so it appears that one could declare a new era at any time. I think that is for those who are in a big sphere of influence, but I am sensing a change of gears in BPM thus more speed to results and innovation.
References
  1. http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-top-10-behaviors-of-winning.html
  2. http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2014/08/competitive-battles-coming-choose-your.html
  3. http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2014/07/its-time-for-intelligent-internet-of.html
  4. http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2014/07/will-case-management-dominate-end-to.html
  5. http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2014/07/internet-of-things-and-process-yields.html
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Larry Hawes Accepted Answer
I'm not sure if it's a new era, but BPM definitely continues to evolve. And rapidly at that. Here are some of the trends driving that evolution:

1. Networked business: As more organizations rely on partners to co-deliver solutions, the firewall becomes more porous and we need BPM solutions that span multiple businesses. B2B commerce networks like Ariba and Hubwoo are great examples of where this is heading.

2. Cloud: The cloud is a strong enabler of networked business, because it is a space in which organizations can more easily interoperate and share business processes. Cloud is also a key enabler of:

3. Mobile: Remote access to business processeses is becoming critical. Executives, even line workers in some fields, need the ability to access process-related information, make decisions and take action while out of the office.

4. Social: Enterprise social features have increased the capabilities of people to interact with one another in context of a business process. Rather than relying on email, which abstracts the conversation from the process, individuals can converse in realtime, directly within the tools in which they manage and participate in business processes.

5: Analytics: I've saved the biggest for last. As analytical capabilities become embedded in BPM tools, we are gaining the ability to analyze both process efficiency and effectiveness in realtime. When paired with heuristic capabilities, process analytics can deliver self-managing business processes that change themselves to optimize for current business conditions. We haven't reached that vision quite yet, but are making fairly swift progress toward it.

All of these technical forces are combining to reshape how organizations think about and do BPM. Maybe not a new era, but certainly exciting and potentially transformative times for BPM.
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Couldn't agree more on the effect of Enterprise Social - it allows groups to really focus around their process and reiterate it together.

I also feel that people are becoming more conversant with both IT and process - they are being trained by e-commerce into following and understanding processes and can now visualise their workflow in process steps.

The role of the business analyst is becoming redundant and pressure is on developers to turn the vision into reality.
  1. Peter Johnston
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John Morris Accepted Answer

It's not often that when reading forum contents online, at least associated with business, that one is prompted to laugh more than once -- and from the comments above I count so far three instances! And all in a good way: I think it's because there's "life in BPM"; you shouldn't laugh at the dead.



Several commenters have pointed out the persistence of BPM, and the slow increment of improvements. I think these comments are correct. I've noted elsewhere the view that BPM is "the core technology for work" and "work being the raison d'etre for business", that means BPM is centrally important. And if this is true, then the overall health of business growth depends to some extant on the success of BPM technology.



So, how successful is BPM now? The answers have been given already here. BPM-as-technology is increasingly capable, but not capable enough. And BPM-as-culture is increasingly present, but not present enough. Progress is being made, "slowly and surely" on both technology and cultural/governance questions.



So, yes to the question that we are in a new era, an era characterized by the confidence that BPM is proven and accepted and that it will become increasingly useful.
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Emiel Kelly Accepted Answer
BPM is daily business and is influenced by so many things (from technological, social, politic, climate etc) that it enters a new era every day.
Common Sensei at Procesje.nl
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Ian Gotts Accepted Answer
Like the frog in boiling water that doesn't notice the change until it boils to death, "BPM" (vendors, analysts, bloggers) have not recognised the gradual shift. But, the signs of BPM death are all around. Sorry to sounds so negative, a but pessimist is what an optimist calls a realist.

No one is buying BPM. Customers are buying "increase sales effectiveness", "more engaged customer experience", "more responsive support", "regulatory compliance", "better shared services"...... All these require BPM techniques, methodologies and technologies.

Which leads me to - BPM is embedded in specific applications such as CRM, Support, Call Centre, Compliance.

So the role of generic BPM is dead. It is everything and nothing.

Case in point. Cordys, who has "a next generation Business Process Management Suite" was bought by OpenText for $33m. Cordys has had $180m of investment. And then compare it with the explosive growth in vendors selling BPM wrapped up as customer service, or support, or even managing expenses etc etc.
Comment
Some BPM vendors are doing "ok" but compare them to the growth of other vendor spaces and they are lack lustre. The best is Pega with 20% growth. CRM, support, service are blowing them out of the water.
  1. Ian Gotts
  2. 2 years ago
I hate to rain on the raining on the parade, but Cordys was all about execution. They didn't execute. They raised more money (by far) than Lombardi did and Lombardi had a nice exit in selling to IBM. IBM, Pega, and Appian continue to do well. And BPM is finding its way into more specific applications - often as OEMed software. And open source BPM is still growing. For every example of a specific explosive growth app, we can find another 5-10 that have imploded or withered. Explosive has never been the growth trajectory for BPM. The fact that it isn't explosive now isn't a sign of doom.

Far from "not noticing" the change, BPM vendors have been adapting to technology change over the last ten years better than most categories of software or concept. We've seen failed and successful attempts to put BPM in the cloud, on mobile, in open source projects, into OEMed targeted solutions. Every instance of BPM starts generic and then quickly becomes specific - that's how it works. And that's why it works.

The vendors may yet do everything right with respect to technology and still be rendered obsolete by automation or robots. So be it. In the meantime, I'm going to go back to building a nice business in this so-called dying space :)
  1. Scott Francis
  2. 2 years ago
I agree 100% - exactly my point earlier in this thread.

You comments are reflect the blog post I wrote a month ago
http://bpm.com/Blogs/bpm-is-dead.html
  1. Guest
  2. 2 years ago
Hmm "growth" well that should be profits but not so with big SaaS sure revenue but losses growth to match Sales Force and Workday good examples. Why because cost of build and maintaining too expensive using old software technologies; why are we still coding business logic when it never changes nor will it in the future?

The "new" BPM supporting ones that can address enterprise level requirements at fraction of cost with in built adaptive capability and flexibility to treat a “sale” as a "lease buy" will one day (soon?) really finish that old model (I have a plan.....working on it!).
  1. David Chassels
  2. 2 years ago
So take salesforce. In 2004, nearly doubling every year. Now only growing 35% YoY. Frog boil? or just a natural consequence of getting bigger? Freely admit 35% is a lot better than the top line growth of lots of other companies in the space, but I don't agree that 20% means you're dead. Software markets have always produced both platforms (like a BPMS or an app server) and "solutions" like CRM applications. Unit values decrease over time, but overall volume of units goes up. At some point it becomes "slow growth" whether you're a platform or not.

Be happy to share BP3's growth rate at EOY. BPM isn't dead for us. Growing faster this year than last year.
  1. Scott Francis
  2. 2 years ago
@Scott Francis

great points on execution and open source, although Lombardi was also hemorrhaging cash when they were acquired by IBM . I also would bet that BP3 has higher profit this year than Salesforce and their CRM 35% growth. Salesforce, for all of their hype has yet to turn a profit in 15 years of business.
  1. Jason Noker
  2. 2 years ago
@jason - i left lombardi in 2007 so I can't speak to "hemorrhaging cash" with first-hand knowledge, but they weren't burning threw cash when I left :) As a bootstrapped business, BP3 has had to be profitable from year 1.

@David - growth without a qualifier means revenue. profit growth is another metric, also quite important. Growth without profits implies that you're "buying" the growth in some fashion.
  1. Scott Francis
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Shelley Sweet Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
"New era" seems kind of like overkill or marketing hype to me, but yes BPM is moving into different arenas. I am glad to see the business being more active in leading and improving processes; I am also seeing more interest in enterprise improvements, although these are still difficult because of political and change management issues. The biggest shift I am seeing is that BPM is becoming part of a 'solution' sell -- meaning that BPM is not the lead but just part of a larger solution for the company - the process part, the workflow part, the agility part, and others.
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Lance Gibbs Accepted Answer
I think this is a great discussion, and I am not seeing any dissenters. I like what Ian said although I don't think you can conclude the death of BPM, in fact I am reading it as "why BPM". BPM in a vanilla sense, yes I think it's not so much dead as the notion of BPM is mainstream at this point. However all of the things being discussed here is supporting the inevitable evolution of value-add specificity.

The Millennial generation getting a foothold in leadership positions within organizations, combined with the extreme individualism of consumers with their "instant knowledge" of products and services will be the new era. As the baby boomers move out and the digital natives (thinking more recent natives) move in to the workforce, they will be the folks to accelerate cultural change. They just don't have the same threshold of forgiveness for bad experiences as we have seemed to suffer (blue screen/reboot, poor experience/tolerate) and I fully expect them to be the instrument of change. Likewise, when every consumer has basically tailored their lifestyles to how they want to experience the world (work, leisure, etc), they will not compromise. Customer loyalty, that is going out the window quickly.

So what of BPM? Well, I hear from companies all the time, "We are blind to where the work is". Yes, yes you are. BPM is moving from the focus of productivity and efficiency to that of visibility and along with that, innovation. If you can see, you can lead!
It is exciting times with the different adoption and usage scenarios for BPM evolving. A company will have to be able to engage a customer at every interaction that customer may have with them; and I am not talking enterprise automation here. Humans are more important than ever to processes. Customer experience is everything (You reading this SiriusXM?)

Yes, BPM is entering a new era or perhaps another way to view it is BPM usage is evolving as the world does...and it is going to be remarkable. What a ride!

Just my 2 cents..great discussion folks!
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E Scott Menter Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
Evolve or die, right? So sure, BPM is always on the threshold of its next evolutionary development. There are two, non-mutually-exclusive directions it's headed:

  • An under-the-covers engine powering "packaged" solutions.
  • A rapid development and deployment platform for bespoke workflow-driven apps.

Both fill important niches, so expect to see BPM, however disguised, for some time to come.
http://www.bplogix.com/images/icon-x-medium.png Scott
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Perfect !
  1. Guest
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John Morris Accepted Answer
It's fun how almost any question ("How does BPM affect the price of eggs";) draws out the same answers (on one hand "BPM is doomed" or on the other, "BPM is the price of eggs.";) So it's worthwhile to all agree what BPM is. I know this question has been "thoroughly explored elsewhere" (to put it politely).

But if we say that BPM-as-BPM is failing because we define that BPM is now embedded in everything, that claim assumes away a lot of the power of BPM. From my perspective, BPM is the formalization in software of work, in other words, the direct modeling of what we and businesses "do". And that formalization does not "disappear" when it is embedded in CRM.

For example, if BPM is inaccessible in a CRM system, then one shouldn't buy that CRM, because an important aspect of what you're buying is the embodied processes and rules. Enough of the black box already.

BPMN 2.0 probably doesn't fully meet the challenge yet, but eventually BPM will approach a richness and capability comparable to what has been achieved in the domain of accounting. Of course for accounting you can deploy your chart of accounts and policies in any number of ways; likewise you can deploy your BPM in any number of ways that helps make money or provide better service.

Let's start with an ontological statement that "BPM exists", which is to say that a commonly agreed language of the modeling and execution of work exists. And that body of knowledge will be increasingly useful, and supported by training and careers and standards. The fact that we aren't there yet is just an opportunity.

In fact one of the biggest BPM opportunities is staring us in the face, also mentioned in other comments, which is the "experience" opportunity. Experience-as-human-response is the stuff of marketing; experience-as-deployed-software is the stuff of BPM. Experience is better when it's done in BPM. Because it's explicit and more easily changed.
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Comment on Bogdan's comment...

CRM is indeed just another business process. As is Marketing Automation - full of decision trees and if this, then that actions. And e-commerce - perhaps the ultimate end-to-end process.

BPM vendors are missing a trick in not creating out-of-the-box solutions for these areas.
  1. Peter Johnston
  2. 2 years ago
Well said, John.

Related to your CRM comment, I think CRM is actually just another business process and the tool should help manage that process.

There was a picture joke related to this that expresses exactly why buying the tool without the process is wrong. Two executives are chatting and one says"something along these lines: "We bought this CRM system, now all we need is another system that makes the salespeople follow up on the leads from the CRM system"
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
  2. 2 years ago
yes.
  1. Scott Francis
  2. 2 years ago
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David Chassels Accepted Answer
Let’s remember BPM is the IT tag for people and process sitting at the front end where businesses are built. So certainly not dead.
The real issue has been the supporting software which has been so complex when so many different "components" are bolted together. Fact is Enterprise Software remains in the dark ages and needs a step change which must be focused on the people call it “outside in” "digital" “internet of everything” mobile whatever must have that quick build with in built flexibility and transparency in what has been built.

This requires one platform that covers all the required logic and needs. Certainly should not be custom coding yet build custom adaptive solutions at the enterprise level that includes CRM SCM HRM Case Management and all those digital requirements that business and government need.

So yes in that context it is a new era but will they be called “BPMSolutions” I doubt it. They will called what they deliver with "adaptive" tag? BUT must have adopted the BPM discipline to get there. Buyers you need to understand “how” your vendor builds these adaptive applications and whatever MUST readily support change by the business.
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Michal Rykiert Accepted Answer
I think BPM is on a path of evloution rather then revolution (or new era...). Some of the directions of this evolution are good (less coding, more business-users friendly), some are worse (so-called social BPM), and some are a natural consequence of currently occuring trends (or hypes if you prefer) like cloud-BPM.

@Bogdan: Great you mentioned CRM as a process. This is how in fact the thing works in my company. CRM process (with couple of sub-processes) is simply one of many configured and handled within BPMS we use, and it works just fine. So if it is possible to have CRM within BPMS, why have both? This in fact may be a major step for BPMS - to get a chunk of CRM market.
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yes, of course the BPM system should do CRM as well!
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
  2. 2 years ago
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Max J. Pucher Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
There is a simple reason that BPM isn't dying and that it is 'entering a new era'. The meaning and purpose of BPM is continuously being changed to match to whatever the current fad in management is. All software claims to cut costs, increase revenue and improve quality. So does BPM and so what? Yes, one call call it evolution, but that is another misrepresentation. BPM software and related methodologies can't evolve because of the inherent limitations (complexity, enforcement, staff reductions, bureaucracy, no empowerment) in the approach. The selling points that Jim is mentioning change year after year but what is underneath more or less stays the same with irrelevant expansions in feature lists to be compared by analysts.

But yes, I have been calling ACM a form of BPM and I said that the old form of BPM will eventually go away. Clearly I was blasted with unfounded claims of BPM successes. That new era will only happen once enough vendors and consulting companies have changed their tune and sing the new song. Then they will claim that this was BPM's purpose and intent all along. Let me point out ONCE AGAIN that there are NO independent studies that prove the long-term business benefits of large scale BPM. Why? Because there aren't any.

In the end I really do not care much. I have come off the silly BPM bandwagon. It is after all the application that counts. And I do not mean the hardcoded stuff that Pega, Appian and others are delievering through their service partners. For me BPM (meaning ACM) is about empowerment. Removing the need for these hard- or pre-coded applications (Smart Process Apps is another term for it) is the future. Current BPM software and current methodologies will be obsolete, but clearly the market is fighting that trend and wants to retain those revenue streams. So it is NOT the successes, but the marketing billions that BPM as it is alive. Anyone claiming any different has a good reason to do so.

Gartner just wrote a study that machine learning is entering mainstream applications. So finally, the machine learning agent we are offering for ACM since years will be considered normal and not a risky proposition. Hardcoded Smart Process Apps will be considered what they are: instant LEGACY applications that no one can maintain und improve for reasonable cost.

The most ridiculous idea is that CRM is being improved by encoding it too into rigid processes ... there goes another area where positive human interaction that creates emotional attachement between vendor and customer will be killed off. Rather than empowering people to service customers as they need to through collaborative, adaptive processes, enforce rigid interactions that ignore customer expectations. Well done, BPM! You are certainly here to stay once all the experienced service staff has been replaced by cheap fools with tools.
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Peter Johnston Accepted Answer
Not so much a new era of BPM as BPM being dragged, screaming, into a new era of IT.

2007 ushered in this new era. When the iPhone came out, the user experience was transformed. Suddenly IT was easy – just add an app. Portable too. Connection and integration were drag and drop. The user experience was pictorial, with swipe to navigate. Big IT was dead (though it still twitches).

It built on three other seismic events which had passed BPM by.

One was the internet, which democratised information and put business people in charge of a lot of things they’d previously had to leave to the experts. They no longer had to simply accept what the experts told them – they could look it up and check it. The “guru” was dead.

Second was social networks which democratised collaboration. Suddenly it wasn’t good enough for the project manager to condescend to meet with the people involved in a process - top down one-off collaboration was no longer acceptable.

Third was that process had become core to many parts of the business, bypassing BPM.
Amazon and e-commerce put process at the core of order processing, despatch and delivery – and at the heart of customer service along the way.
Marketing Automation and CRM put it at the heart of sales and customer acquisition.
And HR, Quality and Project Management tools embraced process technologies. Process replaced silos at the core of the business.

Meanwhile BPM was still singing out of the guru hymnbook the refrain of the nineties – we can downsize your workforce. Still using waterfall to produce disruptive step-change which took years. And still bringing Zombies out of the woodwork to justify itself - the guru's holy trinity of Lean, Six Sigma, TQM.

There is a new era of Process. One where…
Business people drag and drop to create a process, then use Lean Startup techniques to quickly iterate it into a better process than any individual can design.
Data exposes sub-optimal areas continuously and everyone collaborates automatically to reduce errors and latency and optimise resources in a continually evolving process.
Real-time intelligence makes processes dynamic and responsive to events.

And just as apps reduced IT costs, BPM must move to a pricing model where changing a process costs a few dollars, not tens of thousands.

Whether that era of Process still involves BPM is up to us. Can we change as fast as the market? Or are we forever stuck with the slow-moving dinosaur companies which use BPM today?
Dynamic Process
Oxfordshire, UK
+44 (0) 1491 874368
+44 (0) 7590 677232
#dynamic_process
peter@dynamicprocess.uk
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  3. # 19
Jason Noker Accepted Answer
the new era isn't in BPM technology it's in the messaging, marketing, and adoption. In the last few years the leading BPM vendors have successfully crossed over from the "cost" side of the business to the "revenue" side of the business.

The result is a further stratification of the BPM market - you have the big 3 leaders and then everyone else is making a better buggy whip.

What we have today is the leaders and everyone else. From a sw perspective Pega has always been a leader and never been what is considered traditional BPM. They've always been focused on solving specific business problems rather than the 'platform' message. If you see what Pega/Trefler is talking about today you would have no idea they were even classified as BPM by Gartner - their message is much closer to CRM or CEM.

After Pega you have Appian and IBM. Appian is essentially last man standing of the pure-play platforms. After 10 years of development their platform is now on par with anything in the market and rather than chasing the leaders they are now dictating to the rest of the market (see antennae acquisition).

IBM has a financial advantage and unlimited budget to acquire. The message is still muddled but the ELA's are still happening at the enterprise level.

What's left if everyone else + open source. Everyone else (other than Tibco) is making better workflow platforms and fighting over table scraps.

It's not a new era of BPM, if anything it's the end of the traditional BPM era. Go to the Gartner BPM conference and you see 200 people, go to the PegaWorld user conference and you see 2000.
References
  1. http://follow me: www.twitter.com/jnoker
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