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What do you think is more important for today's business: BPM as a methodology or BPM as a technology?
Emiel Kelly Accepted Answer

Processes have been processes for billions of years.


There are several methods to get more grip on them and gadgets keep on being developed to support that.


But, it does differ from process to process.


See for example in 'simple' financial processes. You see a lot of automation stuff there.


In more craftmantship-like process it's less.


But it's the trick to define what's the best way to manage a process and how much of technolgy (besides many othere enablers) is suitable for that.


And defining that; sounds like methodology to me...
Common Sensei at Procesje.nl
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Walter Bril Accepted Answer

You can throw in zillions of BPM technology; if you don't have a well thought through BPM methodology, you are basically in the dark.


That being said: As we speak I am (again) witnessing a company that bought BPM technology but there is no plan, roadmap, methodology. Result: Inconsistency. A babylonian confusion of tongue and waste all over the place...
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Marco Mafra Accepted Answer

Hi all !!!

I would say that BPM as Discipline is more important for the business.




To support the BPM as discipline, We gonna have some methodologies and technologies that also are important to maintain and sustain a governance and to speed up the transformation required by business and market.



Between technology and methodology, methodology is more important ... because methodology will determine the level of technology to be adopted by BPM..... but at same time, there's a certain level of dependence between them. One can't succeed without other.





Rgds, M
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Michal Rykiert Accepted Answer

If you don't know what you're doing - there is no difference. The result will always be the same - waste of time, waste of money, etc.But if you do, BPM as technology will allow to achieve more (e.g. through automation).
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Brian Reale Accepted Answer
Blog Writer

Paper beats rock just like methodology beats technology. This is almost always true. This is true even for something like Uber. Just think about it. The technology is cool (my kids love watching the cars move around the screen), but the concept of the sharing economy is even more important.
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Rachel Accepted Answer

What a provocative question. I look forward to the religiously charged answers this week.


 


I will be a good fence sitter and say, both. How I see it, if you are a company that has a physical supply chain and assets your process focus is on standardization and BPM is much more a methodology—with some supporting technology—to you. If you are a digital business, your BPM focus is on change and innovation and BPM will be far more of a technology to you.


 


Since the transformation to becoming a digital business doesn't happen overnight, most companies will have a period of transition (that could last for many, many years) where they will need to focus on both. In turn, BPM as both a methodology and technology will be important to them. I recently wrote a blog about this very topic and what I thought was at the core of the digital business transformation here: http://tibco.cm/1NfF7tz
References
  1. http://tibco.cm/1NfF7tz
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David Chassels Accepted Answer

Let's remember that BPM was a tag created to remind IT there is an important need to recognise the importance of the people and process which is key to any business. Sadly the drive by big vendors to sell "processing" solutions had failed to truly support business the way the business really works. This resulted in a "gap" between people and such systems filled by many "off line" ways in creation of information which was both inefficient and risky.


So clearly BPM foundations lie in being that discipline but in context of expectation of being supported by relevant technology. As a methodology it really followed on from the BPR movement where expertise was readily accessible but the early supporting technology had to go through the natural evolutionary phase which undoubtedly did not truly support the people first thinking. In many respects the required end game was so also the hope articulated by many in the 1980s to write less code to see applications driven by businesses people indeed seen as critical to achieve the full potential of information technology. Interestingly such a dream was articulated by Bill Gates in 2008 calling it the "holy grail" of development.


With such poor relevant software to support BPM with early tools such as BPEL and BPMN perhaps the hype was very oriented towards methodology with poor follow up with the early technology tools. Undoubtedly BPM was becoming a little discredited which of course suited the big vendors.....and maybe why the Gates vision has yet to materialize from that source....? However with some original thinking and many years of R&D the game begins to change where how people actually work can be readily recognized resulting in removal of coding to deliver exactly what business requires, including the ability to readily change reflecting real business needs.


So to the question; now with knowledge of just how this new supporting software actually works in the hands of business people so the driver changes to the original Intention where technology is now the important driver as the enabler with methodology setting the scene...As users begin to realise it is now their ideas which can be implemented so methodology becomes easier to structure. The current drive for. "Digital" will see this evolutionary change for BPM accelerate and bring enterprise software to being a "commodity" with pricing benefits for customers...and real challenges for BIG vendors...?



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Maria Paz Accepted Answer

Methodology is important, I agree.


But we have to realize that methodology usually requires experts (AKA consultants) and not all businesses are willing to invest in BPM.


That's why technology has to help overcoming that barrier.


Technology can be the tool to provide a more realistic BPM solution for smaller businesses and organizations. That's what we are aiming at with [url="http://www.flokzu.com"]Flokzu[/url]. It would be great if you, BPM professionals, could provide us with honest feedback.
References
  1. http://www.flokzu.com
Comment
if your target is for small business / orgs, this community may be the wrong one, as we mostly build solutions for the big companies out there. (and, we're experts rather than "regular" business users... so we may be the wrong audience to get useful feedback from.

moreover, tech doesn't overcome methodology, but it can support it or hinder it, imho.
  1. Scott Francis
  2. 1 year ago
Personally I wouldn't call a document workflow a process, but processes, like said in my own comment, happen in every company.

So they are already executed and managed. To me, the whole idea of #BPM is finding the most suitable way to execute and manage your processes.

In big enterprises they might believe that Magic Quadrant BPMS's might be the only way for that, but in smaller companies it might be just some good agreements and a whiteboard to keep track on all your cases.

So, companies who take their processes serious just don't buy some kind of technology, they buy technology that supports THEIR processes.

But to be honest; I spent big euro's on a very cool supercar, but when driving home I realized I live on a farm, that is only accessible via a bumpy dirt road...
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 1 year ago
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  3. # 8

Short answer - a right combination of them.


Unfortunately, at present, we have too many different BPM methodologies and, as a result, too many incompatible BPM technologies. Thus, for today’s business, it is important to have a unified BPM methodology and as many as possible BPM technologies which follow this BPM methodology.(see the 4th law of BPM – ref1)


Thanks,

AS


 
References
  1. http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2015/07/laws-of-bpm-business-process-management.html
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Scott Francis Accepted Answer
Blog Writer

If you put the word "should" in the question this would be easy :) It should be methodology. But, having understood a methodology you need to pick good technology to support the methodology. (If you don't think technology counts, pick a methodology that requires you to monitor public opinion and then try to gather that opinion without using surveys or social media... and only using a phone... wow, way harder and more expensive).


The other issue is to understand that BPM methodology well-followed means you can climb the hill, and good BPM technology means you climb the hill faster. But neither one will tell you which hill you should climb.


Maybe BPM Leadership is most important...
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Bogdan Nafornita Accepted Answer
It's both...?

But for the sake of an interesting discussion let's spill out a provocative answer and say: technology...

Let's run along that line of thoughts...

Methodology is important, but which one? Should we tailor it to our customer? What if we follow only partially the methodology? What if we have less experienced consultants, but which faithfully pursue the best-in-class methodology? Would we still succeed / fail?

I have in mind a very fresh example, where I am brought in to course-correct an ailing project. The SoW has about 263 pages, impeccably written, fully agreed with the customer, fully in line with the chosen methodology, all processes written and just in need for some testing. The technology is ok, the customer is fully aligned in terms of priorities. Yet the final product still doesn't run.

The take away for me is that methodology is a highly enticing concept, but very hard to grasp in real terms.

Moreover, since the question is specific about what's more important today, I believe that today the BPM methodology should be much closer to an agile, executable process model. And this implies a lot of modern technology.

Back to my example, first time I met with the customer team, they asked me: "How far will you go? Will you, like other consultants, draw some nice flowcharts, write some nice reports and bullet chart presentations and then run away?"

My answer to them was simple: "if I don't give you something you can execute right away, I have done nothing".

And I do this via the technology: the mockups simulate the actual application, the drawn processes go directly into the process engine, the data model is exposed and enriched together with the customer. The working prototype is signed off with the customer. And then we iterate like hell: the mockup HTML code goes directly into the portal interface design, the re-drawn processes immediately change the underlying Java code etc.

Do I still train people, align organization priorities, use the Harmon matrix?... yes! But do I go into transforming this into an actual, legally defensible, deliverables document? No.

To be clear, technology alone cannot save a project that was misguided and mismanaged. Even technology development has a lot of methodology embedded already. So I am not dismissing methodology.

But today, technology incorporates a lot of agility and this tends to replace / shortcut some methodological steps.

One of my favorite quotes (sure you're already tired of it) is "iteration beats planning". And this is how technology might be a bit more important than methodology.
Managing Founder, profluo.com
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Peter Johnston Accepted Answer

There is the old joke about the Irishman asked for directions. His answer... "Well, if I were you, I wouldn't start from here".


Nick de Mey put it differently... "You can’t look into the future with the tools from the past”


Harnessing the power of data is now life or death for any sizable business. It comes from everywhere - every financial transaction, every movement of goods, every customer event. Ignore or discard this data at your peril.


BPM is from another era. One where gathering data was so hard you only did it once and used it to set a process in stone, imposing it on everyone - not just employees but customers too. The methodology assumes change is a rare event and puts in place complex hierarchical management procedures. Basically it starts from the wrong end.


The technology assumes that data connections are hard. It takes a single set of procedures and designs them into a process, without cognizance of the fact that they are actually part of a web of interconnected processes. It creates a strait-jacket of rigid processes, which quickly become based on outdated information.


There are now remarkably few processes where a human adds value. Simple automated processes with an intuitive web or mobile front end can put the customer in control of the service they receive and align company procedures behind them to make everything happen seamlessly in a timely manner, completing the loop with data informing and improving the next iteration of the process.


That is a true process driven company. Many of the lessons of Lean, Six Sigma and BPM are informing the process. But we have much to unlearn too.


“Most companies do not have a strategy,” Freek Vermeulen, Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School, states. He thinks most organizations cycle between drifting and reacting. “To be emphatically blunt,” he states, “most companies and their top executives do not have a good rationale for doing the things they are doing and cannot explain coherently how their actions should lead to superior performance.”
Dynamic Process
Oxfordshire, UK
+44 (0) 1491 874368
+44 (0) 7590 677232
#dynamic_process
peter@dynamicprocess.uk
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Tim Bryce Accepted Answer
Naturally, I'll say "methodology" as it has been an inherent part of our "PRIDE"-Information Systems Engineering Methodology (ISEM) for a number of years. In a nutshell:

PHASE 2 - System Design

All of the sub-systems (business processes) are defined logically in terms of inputs, outputs, and logical files.

The overall test criteria for each sub-system is also defined.

PHASE 3 - Sub-System Design (executed for each sub-system separately)

This is where the workflow of the sub-system (business process) is defined, from start to end (physical design). Each procedure, both administrative and computer) is defined in terms of their data flow as expressed by inputs, outputs, physical files and records. The test criteria for each procedure is also defined, particularly the computer procedure.

PHASE 4-I - Administrative Procedure Design

This is where the instructions for each administrative procedure is written. We advocate the "Playscript" procedure language, but other techniques can work as well.

PHASE 4-II Software Engineering

This is executed in parallel with Phase 4-I. Here the programs within the computer procedure are designed, including the program logic for each. Testing criteria is also defined.

PHASE 5 - Software Manufacturing

Each program in the computer procedure undergoes a Phase 5. This is where the code is written and tested according to the test criteria in the computer proceddure.

Phase 5 represents the bottom of the system hierarchy. Now effort is made to proceed bottom-up.

PHASE 6 - Software Testing

All of the programs in the computer procedure are tested as a string and in accordance with the Phase 4-ii testing criteria.

PHASE 7 - Sub-System Test

Here, the overall sub-system (business process) is tested, including both administrative and computer procedures, as defined in Phase 3.

PHASE 8 - System Test

Here, all of the sub-systems are tested in parallel and in accordance with the test criteria in Phase 2.

NOTE: Phase 1 is a System feasibility study for a total system, Phase 9 is the System Audit.
References
  1. http://www.amazon.com/PRIDE-Methodologies-IRM-Tim-Bryce/dp/097861822X
  2. http://www.phmainstreet.com/mba/mbapride.htm
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Pritiman Panda Accepted Answer
Agreed with most of the comments shared. Both Methodology & Technology are very crucial and go hand-in-hand by complementing each other, for any Business Functionality Implementation

"Methodology" - is a theoretical and systematic way of approaching a solution (the ideal way)
"Technology" - is a practical way of approaching a solution (living with the feasibility of the product selected/purchased and level of customization that can be incorporated)

Methodology helps in envisioning a business functionality in a theoretical/ideal/systematic way whereas Technology helps in realizing it in the most real-time/practical way
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Jose Camacho Accepted Answer
According to my understanding of the question, if I have to give a degree in abstract of importance to the business, no doubt that I opt for BPM as a methodology and then the technology.
However, what is happening today in fact according to my own experience is that the technology is being override the methodology.
It seems a nonsense, but in my opinion has been the increasingly easy of use of emerging technologies that has allowed a greater independence of business (non-technical) teams to develop their own processes, and not so much the methodologies.
Alias, this is usual to find global IT architectures to produce artifacts used then by non-technical teams, but is more difficult to find business (process) architectures to define the guidelines of how to frame the operational business processes by each business team, in order to avoid redundancies and increase the global efficiency.
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