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With all of the advances in business process management, will BPM simply take over the role of ACM in the future?
Scott Francis Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
As I've said many times on my blog - much to the annoyance of ACM fans - ACM is just BPM. It never was a separate role or market as far as customers were concerned, or the market in general. Philosophically and theoretically it is interesting but when it comes to really using software, people just use BPM suites for these problems, or other non-ACM software.
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 1
Peter Whibley Accepted Answer
In a sense this has alreaady happened. ACM has already become a feature set within the BPM suite. Some vendors have ACM features, some don't. In reality BPM is a subset of ACM but like the VHS v Betamax the best doesn't necessarily come out on top.

I think a better question would be will BPM/ACM platforms still have a role to play with the rise of BPaaS?
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 2
Emiel Kelly Accepted Answer
Agree with Scott. Every company has processes. Every company (I assume) wants to make the best out of it. So it's all BPM.

But there are different type of processes that might perform better with a different type of steering. Some perform well when they are managed strictly, others benefit more from a agile or adaptive way of managing.

And yes there are software tools that support all these kinds of management. But it's not about the software (as many seem to think).

It's about the processe; the 'things' that should help you to deliver what you promise.

So ACM (as a product) is just to support a certain type of processes. But it's still BPM.

Saying it's different it's like saying that driving in a jeep is 'Jeeping' and in a SUV is 'Suving'. I don't care if you call i that way, but it's still driving to get from a to b.
Common Sensei at Procesje.nl
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 3
Keith Swenson Accepted Answer
At this point in time, i see three different responses from three people, with three different definitions of BPM. Which goes to show how pointless it is to discuss when there is no agreement on terms. Combine this with a "I have a hammer so everything looks like a nail" mentality, and the result is complete rubbish.

  • Scott says ACM is exactly the same thing as BPM, there is no difference at all, nothing to discuss. Scott might also believe that programming a process in BASIC is BPM as well for all I know.
  • Peter says ACM is a feature of BPM, but in reality BPM is a subset of ACM capabilities. ACM is any kind of coordination, and BPM is coordination around process.
  • Emiel believe that ACM is just a type of BPM, and that all processes are processes, and ACM is just certain kinds of processes.

None of these responses addresses the question of "Dynamic BPM" which is left even less defined than BPM. In the end all of these are just software systems that run on silicon based processors - if you ignore the user you might easily see these all as an extension of the basic formal logic laid out by the Greeks 2500 years ago.

I remember many discussions 20 years ago: "Will word processors take over spreadsheets?" Those who felt that spreadsheets would "win" pointed to how spreadsheets could do all of fonts and formatting that a wordprocessor does ... and more. Those who felt that wordprocessors would "win" pointed to how WP could do tables and calculations, and more. Yet, today neither category has eliminated the other.

Expanding on Emiel's the car analogy: it is like asking "Will SUVs eliminate sedans?" Meanwhile someone else says that "All sedans are he exact same things as SUVs" and another person says that "SUVs are basically just large sedans, a SUV is a kind of sedan" while others says that "a sedan is one thing, and SUV another, and why would anyone expect one category to 'take over' another category?" This is argument is simply about the meaning of 'SUV' and has forgotten that there are people out there who really do prefer one or the other, and care about more than just getting from point a to point b.

The point I have made, repeatedly, is that there are different kinds of users. There are users that prefer a spreadsheet over a word processor regardless of whether a word processor can do all the same things. These preferences are not whims; they come from the needs and requirements of the profession they are in, and in the goals they need to accomplish.

There are users who are knowledge workers who need a certain set of capabilities I call "ACM". PDSI and HPM, both include in their definition as "a system that allows you to model a process up front using a formalized modeling language, and to enact that process" do not meet that need, no matter how dynamic you make them.

From talking to people in the market, I feel most of them think that BPM is a category that includes both PDSI and HPM. However I openly admit that there is a wide disagreement on any particularly definition of BPM.

Thus neither PDSI nor HPM meet the needs of knowledge workers, and will not eliminate ACM.

It is entirely possible for a "product" to include features of PDSI, HPM, and ACM, but that does not mean that PDSI, HPM, and ACM are exactly the same things. Some feel they have to defend an entire feature category in order defend their product, and thus whatever feature category is attributed into their product has to "win" over other feature categories so they can make sales.

If BPM means everything, then it means nothing. If you want to define "BPM" as something other than this, feel free to take whatever positions you want. But please, if you take a position, give the definition of your terms.
References
  1. http://social-biz.org/2012/04/25/not-to-praise-bpm-but-to-bury-it/
Comment
Peter,

Some people insist that beer and bread are the same thing: the basic ingredients are the same: grain, yeast, and water. If you categorize things by their ingredients, then this would be true. However, the *experience* of bread is quite different from the experience of beer.

You seem to be in the camp of those who see ACM defined as "coordinating to completing a goal no matter what it takes" and in that sense BPM is one approach to achieve this. You are not alone.

However, this definition of ACM would include systems that are adaptive and systems that are not adaptive, so it is not the best definition of ACM, or at least is seems to contradict the "A" part.
  1. Keith Swenson
  2. 3 years ago
I look at this from a process rather than a user perspective. After all, all organizations are a collection of business processes not a collection of users.

All business processes are unpredictable (some much more than others) therefore if we are to automate the processes we need tools that can handle this unpredictability i.e. tools that have ACM (and Dynamic BPM) features. The amount of ACM features required will vary from process to process depending on their unpredictability.

Thus BPM really is a subset of ACM even though the BPM term has been adopted.
  1. Peter Whibley
  2. 3 years ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 4
Derek Miers Accepted Answer
Dynamic or adaptive - they are the same thing (as I have said before).

And yes, I do see the space merging ... BPM vendors have got better at supporting more dynamic behaviors in their systems ... as most of your current readers probably know - we (at Forrester) are in the throws of kicking off our DCM Wave with labs starting with the vendors in a couple of weeks.

Watch this space.
Comment
Derek, indeed you have defined these terms as being the same thing, but if you look them up in a dictionary you find that they mean very different things.

I understand how Forrester took the stand 3 years ago to call id "DCM", and you have to defend it. You can define "DCM" however you want, but don't say that the word "adaptive" means the same as the word "dynamic".

It is even possible that you have missed the really important aspect of ACM, and that is the adaptive part of it.

http://social-biz.org/2011/11/13/understanding-what-adaptive-means/
  1. Keith Swenson
  2. 3 years ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 5
Scott Francis Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
Keith I'm not interested in arguing with you about stupid things like BASIC.
"Scott says ACM is exactly the same thing as BPM, there is no difference at all, nothing to discuss. Scott might also believe that programming a process in BASIC is BPM as well for all I know." - from the person who claims things like Twitter or Asana are ACM (something neither of those companies would ever claim).

The fact is, all the "ACM" vendors seem to be BPM vendors. so there's really no difference. And to customers, there's no difference. As Peter and Emiel stated, ACM is just a good short hand for a set of features that BPM vendors have already included in their product offerings (to varying degrees of depth and success).

Emiel's post states it more clearly than I did, but i agree 100% with what he wrote and how he phrased it.

I'm sorry ACM didn't take off as an independent product segment. I know that's disappointing. But it is just reality. If you think we're all wrong, Silicon Valley has an excellent funding mechanism for people with ideas and the motivation to prove the world wrong.

I love the concepts of ACM but it is just part of BPM:
"So ACM (as a product) is just to support a certain type of processes. But it's still BPM. Saying it's different it's like saying that driving in a jeep is 'Jeeping' and in a SUV is 'Suving'. I don't care if you call i that way, but it's still driving to get from a to b." - Emiel -

that's exactly right. thanks for explaining it that way.
Comment
I never wanted ACM to be an independent product category. I have always talked about knowledge workers, and the needs that they inherently have. I have always said that a vendor that sells BPM (even with my definition) might easily also sell ACM. However, it is useful to talk about the capabilities of ACM so we can talk about whether a particular vendor is shipping something that supports knowledge workers. I don't care at all whether this is a product category -- and now I realize that you always thought I was trying to define a product category and it explains a lot of the cross purpose conversation.

I didn't see your definition of BPM in your response. But from what I can gather it is one of these:

[*] BPM: is any technology that supports a process. A process is a sequence or set of activities.
[*] BPM: is any technology sold by a BPM vendor.

I am not sure which of these it is. It would help if you could explain what sorts of things would NOT be considered BPM. However, according to either of these definitions, I agree and ACM system as a kind of either of these definitions of BPM. I said I would play with any definition you provide, so please don't make me guess what your definition really is.
  1. Keith Swenson
  2. 3 years ago
The first time someone agrees with me ;-) I can retire.
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 3 years ago
And to me BPM is not technology. I always say it's daily business because I think every company just has processes and BPM should be about getting the right level of grip on these processes.

So that should start with making clear the results (products/services/sold problems) you want to deliver as an organization. Next be clear what stakeholders expect about those results, to finally decide what 'the right level of grip' means for your processes (strictly workflowish, more dynamic, cbc)

Many organizations might deliver the same stuff, but the characteristics of their processes might completely differ.

So to me BPM is not about software. Of course there is a lot of software that will help you to support the characteristics of your process, but there are still a lot of processes that don't need software. At leas no software that 'steers' your process.
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 3 years ago
Keith, definitions of theory don't matter to me, what matters to me is practical application. practically, in the market, no one is asking for their adaptive case management solution. They're asking for bpm. Practically, everyone is solving "ACM" problems with "BPM" software. You're arguing cars and boats, i'm arguing "transportation". Of course, it is more trivial than that - it is more like cars and trucks, because the differences are not that great when you get down to technical details.

Sometimes at a high level things appear to be quite different. In practice, they may appear quite the same (for example, one could make this argument about politics - in theory, conservatives and liberals have quite different philosophy but in practice, often govern in similar ways).

I think it is fine to talk about ACM capabilities in theory, but since no ACM fan that I'm aware of is capable of doing so without contrasting to BPM, i can only conclude that either (A) you don't really think it is part of BPM, or (B) you know it is part of BPM but are trying badly to convince others it isn't.

Finally, as to definition. It just isn't interesting to me to parse individual words - "a sequence or set of activities" is such an inadequate way to describe a process. I know that is how you like to think about these issues, but it isn't how I think about them, and from my experience with customers, it isn't how they think about them either. Your customers experience your business as a sum of its processes and the processes they interact with. you can choose to manage those (or not). BPM is the best way i've seen to do that. ACM, as targeted as it is at improving the individual's performance within the firm, is just the other side of the coin and boils down to tactics rather than strategy, and fits right into BPM both technically and philosophically.

I don't find defining "not-BPM" a very interesting exercise. I can think of lots of examples, but examples aren't a definition. And there are lots of problems that would benefit from a BPM approach, but for which really good packaged software already exists (so, there's not a good market opportunity for BPM software, though you might still leverage BPM methodology in those spaces). Note: given the context of the question for this one, software is assumed. So i'm not even worried about hypothetical situations that don't actually occur in situ with software :)
  1. Scott Francis
  2. 3 years ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 6
David Chassels Accepted Answer
This is one of the very searching questions and where FUD, which has already emerged in answers, will please the big vendors still selling 20th century software dressed up to deliver the right words. So let's just take a moment to "define" the key aspects.

First "BPM" is NOT a technology it is a discipline or a "practice" that puts people first as the driver of creation of information in any business. There are no limitations in thinking which has roots going back long before IT’s tag of BPM. The big limitation has been IT capabilities to support such an unfettered approach?

ACM is a software application specific to one particular aspect of business which by definition adopts BPM principles. So what are the key attributes to "Adaptive"? The first is that it adapts to the user requirements. Take the UI where as the users log on it recognises the state of any tasks and will present dynamically for that instance all required information to enable the authorised user to do the job in a simple and logical way including allowing entry of new information only once to enable next steps to be addressed. This Adaptive capability extends to users driving change in the process as required. This may be designed in to allow easy change by the user at run time but it also should support change in policy / strategy decisions requiring new ways of working.

In addition such Adaptive capability starts the minute build starts which acknowledges it is not really necessary or indeed wise to have a final spec as the process will evolve quickly as users are engaged coming up with ideas as build takes place in their language - no programmers! So it is not just “Case Management” it should apply to all Enterprise requirements SCM, HRM Value Networks etc indeed anything where people drive outcomes formal and informal that require digitising. As such Adaptive Software becomes the alternative to COTS and Custom Coded so clearly a BPM tag not appropriate, yet it does support as a discipline.

I think Forrester religiously sticking to “Dynamic” fails to address the much bigger picture that “Adaptive” addresses as I and others have noted. Dynamic is a function capability that contributes to the Adaptive Applications.
.
As for the tag "Intelligent" associated with BPM. Sorry this is FUD in my book. Adaptive should embrace all aspects of intelligence which should include
Intelligent orchestration this ensures the right information delivered to the right person at the right time from any source to any device
Intelligent process which can recognise user decisions and dynamically present next appropriate steps
Intelligent forms entering data only once
Intelligent coordination of all business logic requirements linking seamlessly front and back-office (process, workflow, rules, events, state etc)
Intelligent agility in the supporting technology for easy change making it a future proof investment supporting constant change driven by users
Intelligent reporting real time measurement and including “social” aspect of people interaction formal or informal as required

So Adaptive Software that builds Adaptive Applications (including ACM) is the new BPMS (Suite or Solution?) - says what it is so let’s remove FUD…….?
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 7
E Scott Menter Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
Well I wanted to reply but after reading all the other posts, I'm afraid to. ;)

This argument is what the analysts have wrought. I tend to agree that case management is a use case (pardon the pun) for BPM, but I have no dog in that fight. People buy products they think will solve their problems in a way that makes sense to them. The products don't fall neatly into discrete categories, no matter how hard industry observers try to squeeze them in there. My employer offers a BPM solution that enables you to run well-defined workflows, or ad hoc workflows. No BASIC (though you can add some C# if you're into that sort of thing).

Whatever emerges from all of this will no doubt have elements of the various solutions available today, plus some other stuff. And the analysts will see it and declare it good and give it a name we can all argue about.
http://www.bplogix.com/images/icon-x-medium.png Scott
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 8
Max J. Pucher Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
Several points:

Businesses do not really care about market fragment but they need to software to be competitive. That's what this is about.

BPM is an approach to organize the purposeful collaboration that makes up a business. Which means it is about people working together (=collaboration) towards objectives and goals (=purpose) and producing happy customers and profits (=business).

BPMS are utterly unable to adress these three elements unless they are managed through a huge bureaucracy (proven by the necessary and existing consulting market around BPM).

Yes, ACM is a form of BPM but that does not make every BPMS that sports an ad-hoc task feature functionality similar to an ACMS. In my definitions and implementations ACMs there are three distinctions:

1) Design by doing which neither iBPMS nor Dynamic BPM support. You can modify the process with ad-hoc tasks while doing but not have the business create new templates except the most basic flows.

2) Goal-orientation which is not just organizing towards milestones. It actually defines the goal to be achieved and the process is only complete when the goal is reached. BPMS do neither have the feature nor can they support the necessary free-flow collaboration. It also has to have a very flexible deployment mechanism to support business to make improvements. Social interaction is not goal oriented either.

3) Enhanced functionality in the area of UI, rules and content which has to be embedded in the process engine to allow the business creation and adaptation of the collaborative effort. Only this provides continuous improvement and learning without the need for a huge technical and analytic bureaucracy.

Lastly, ACM has already taken off as an independent segment as both Forrester Research and Gartner Group are running fairly extensive studies and report on the market segment to be published in early 2014.

It is the BPM consultants and the BPMS vendors who are spreading the FUD and continue to claim that existing BPMS have the same functionality which is really easy to disprove. Features that these BPMS vendors DO NOT have are usually proclaimed as unnecessary, much as Steve Ballmer claimed that no one would want to work with a touch screen ...

In the end the iBPMS, D-BPM, Social-BPM, and SPA markets all document the need for a homogeneous platform for purposeful collaboration that is adressed by a mix-and-match approach of functionality and consulting today.

http://isismjpucher.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/advancing-bpm-by-adding-smart-or-intelligent/
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 9
I think we all should thank Max for ending the unhealthy battle between BPM and ACM. Considering that the BPM domain is converging right now, are we ready to discuss a BPM reference model and, perhaps, a BPM reference architecture? Having them as commonly-agreed industry standards, the clients will be able to benchmark all products for functional completeness and performance thus creating an objective basis for the competition and innovations.

Thanks,
AS
Comment
Alexander, cute! But I neither started nor ended a battle between ACM and BPM.
You can go back to my posts from 2007 to find that my disagreement is with BPM methodology, especially where it ends up trying to squeeze the business into a flow-chart straightjacket. That is still the BPM/BPMS norm today. ACM is a kind of BPM effort but it has its own much simpler methodology embedded.

The least thing anyone needs is a BPM reference model or architecture that is as distant from business needs as is the usual BPM project. Industry standards are always too little too late and despite our work at OASIS, that won't change. You are dreaming if you think that there will be an objective basis for product comparison at any time. Vendor marketing efforts and differering analysts opinions will most certainly make sure that won't happen.

Business people need something they can touch and work with and create the goal-oriented processes without IT involvement or external consultants having to do process design. Process goals and related collaboration must be intuitive and not need any BPM experts or consultants and therefore it doesn't need industry standards, reference models and architectures. This is a BPM-INWARDS look AWAY from the business and even further away from the customer.

It is amazing how much whatever one says is distorted to support a different agenda.
  1. Max J. Pucher
  2. 3 years ago
So who takes this on where the big vendors could well take a very big "hit". This will require deep understanding of how the supporting technology works the elegance of the architecture and truly closing the gap between "IT" and business. Let's also remember the solution should see reduction of legacy cost another bullet to be bitten by vendors?

Such capabilities will come from new players so the old model of reliance on big marketing budgets and thus a financial analysis will need to be replaced by independent technology assessment involving deep understanding of how business really works to “benchmark all products for functional completeness and performance thus creating an objective basis for the competition and innovations.”

Well said AS the real challenge is the next step of “doing”!
  1. David Chassels
  2. 3 years ago
Thanks David,

I think W3C is the example of how the BPM industry should progress – they have Web architecture, many standards and services for compliance validation. Vendors of web browsers follow those standards first and then compete in the performance. 15 years ago, about 20 % of efforts for Web-enabled applications were spent to accommodate the difference between various browsers. Right now, HTML5 is a must for all browsers and modern Web-enabled applications.

Certainly, we need to “convert” the BPM from vendor-centric market to customer-centric one. As I already wrote, potentials of BPM are not yet fully realised. E-governments, e-governance and healthcare are particular sectors which will gain a lot from a “better” BPM.


Max,
The main word is “unhealthy”. Instead of the battle between BPM and ACM, we are moving to a battle on how BPM+ACM can serve better the business and customers. The convergence is here - more and more coordination techniques (in addition to the classic template-based one) are used (e.g. http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2012/07/coordination-techniques-in-bpm-social.html).

A BPM reference model and reference architecture are typical “public goods” and thus should not be compared with a usual BPM project. The business uses good standards, but a single company can’t afford producing “public goods”.

I see the business people need slightly different. Although the core business processes in each enterprise are unique, they are “constructed” from typical business working practices – e.g. delegation of authority, group approval, 4-eye check, collaborative expertise, etc. Those practices can be made available for the business as actionable patterns (i.e. explicit and executable process fragments). The use of such patterns will certainly help business to concentrate on their unique challenges and not waste time re-inventing the wheel. But, to reach this level, it is necessary the BPM industry to work together on the basis of reference models, agreed architectures and approved standards.

Thanks,
AS
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 3 years ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 10
David Chassels Accepted Answer
The time has come to grasp the nettle and think outside the box of "standards" which can indeed I believe has held back progress and continued for too long the "mess" in Enterprise Software. The ray of hope is in "BPM" (as I have already defined) and now addressing the next generation supporting “Adaptive Software” to reflect the real world of work. I have no doubt this "Adaptive" tag is both relevant but in context business can readily grasp this to get them to believe!

Max sums up "Business people need something they can touch and work with and create the goal-oriented processes without IT involvement....." He does add without "consultants" but the real world is that people as so busy they do not really want to "do it” themselves. Plus the reign of "fear" of IT over 50 years requires informed mentoring to get things back on track! Yes within a decade Max may be, indeed will be, right but not now?

This whole issue has been subject of serious R&D for some 20 years and indeed has been on the agenda of many but the breakthrough just never emerged. We adopted a novel approach with some very simple facts first people are the source all information and second business logic never changes. Recently we had a paper published here http://www.igi-global.com/chapter/object-model-development-engineering/78620 One of the objectives was to remove need for coding and we adopted a “declarative architecture” that very elegantly combined front office people interaction directly with back office support. Interestingly it was only after we built this capability that we decided to make a “graphical” interface as the build environment. We were not driven by the “BPM reference” model of which Max is understandably critical. In recent years the R&D focus has completed the “orchestration” requirements to use legacy indeed will be a significant contributor to reduction in needs for much of old legacy?

So what are the business touch points that set expectations for this new “Adaptive” alternative to COTS and custom coding, which is not restricted to ACM. From my experience that started in the 70s here is my simple list

1. Users drive all requirements direct into the required BPM supporting “Adaptive” build technology to deliver exactly as required without need to code.
2. It should be transparent to all what is actually built and deployed
3. Users can change at run time any aspect of managing work as required where such need anticipated and bigger operational changes can be quickly implemented thus “Adaptive” to their and the business needs. As such will be a future proof investment
4. The UIs are dynamically created with all required information for specific instances i.e. “Adaptive” to that user’s requirements
5. Information should only be entered once on any form ensuring one version of the truth!
6. A single technology platform covering all the business requirements including Workflow, rules, events, content, state, data manipulation, data orchestration and of course the UI; all requiring only one underlying data structure.
7. As I have mentioned before “intelligent” capability should be embedded to be used as required.

The future must see more understanding of “how” vendors’ offerings actually work to deliver on these basic needs whether as an enabling tool as “Adaptive Software” or as the “Adaptive Application” with pre-built domain knowledge where ready to be very quickly customised, recognising all businesses are different; as AS said “…. creating an objective basis for the competition and innovations.” After all that is what business is all about and BPM moves up to enterprise level to help sort out decades of “IT” complexity as customers paid a high price for an extended evolution of Enterprise Software.
Comment
As the discussion moved to "enterprise software", I think, my blogpost "#BPM to reduce IT #complexity" can be of interest - http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2013/11/bpm-to-reduce-it-complexity.html

Thanks,
AS
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 3 years ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 11
David Chassels Accepted Answer
Well said Emiel "That's why I call it all BPM, it's all about making your processes do what you promise. And I don't see a process as 'blocks with arrows'" As I have said there should be no limitations in thinking it has been IT that has constrained the digitisation which can deliver empowerment of people to just get on with their job!

Michael mentions "...process is an ordered sequence of steps following predefined logic..." but not always? Take say need to do research there will be a process to agree the scope budgets etc but then the researcher will just do what he has to do. The only constraint or process requirement may be "time" and need to report. If time limits pass and no report a “process” will trigger to "investigate" what has happened?

The required supporting BPM technology that delivers the Adaptive capability can truly bring empowerment but measurement tight or loose is required. This should not be confused with the target culture which can be so damaging to business and society as a whole.

There should be no confusion between BPM as the discipline and Adaptive Applications (including ACM) that delivers as I have described. Maybe BPM.COM need to grasp this nettle of definitions and expectations based upon the latest software technology…..?
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 12
Keith Swenson Accepted Answer
ACM is something you do. It is not something you buy, it is not a product category, it is not a market.

There is another thing I will call XXX which is also is something you do. It is not something you buy, it is not a product category, it is not a market. It is the art and practice of modelling business as a process and the continual improvement of that. I can't use the term BPM for this because so many people here refuse to define their terms and we argue only about the definition of a term. I avoid this by talking about XXX.

Which roles in an organization do ACM, and which roles do XXX? There is an interesting, very important difference between these categories of roles.

When a detective solves a crime, they are doing ACM. When a lawyer pursues a legal case, they are doing ACM. When a doctor helps a patient, they are doing ACM. These people are actively involved in managing the cases. They are the end-users of the system, and they do ACM directly.

XXX is different. When a doctor uses a process application, such as expense report, he is not doing XXX. When a salesman triggers a product fulfillment process, he is not doing XXX of product fulfillment. When an executive approves something in an an approval process, that executive is not doing XXX. When you use an XXX application, you don't do XXX. You benefit from XXX, and the organization benefits from XXX, but the users are not doing XXX in any real sense of the term. The people actively involved in managing the business processes are not the end-users, but the business analysts and programmers who make applications for the users.

There is VALUE in distinguishing these two because the needs and requirements of these two categories of roles are different.

Some believe that XXX is the original meaning of the term BPM, and we probably all agree that 10 years ago a BPMS was created purely to support behavior of XXX. There is a lot of literature that supports this.

Some here say that everything you do in a business is a business process, and thus there is only one category of system, and it is all called BPM. What the lawyer wants to do with a process is exactly the same thing as what the business analyst wants to do with a process. If you actually look at these two professions, they actually care about very different things. There is value in thinking about and understanding how these different users work. Motorcycles and automobiles are both vehicles, thus everything is a vehicle. True enough, but banning the term "motorcycle" prevents you from talking about how motorcycles are different from automobiles, and how the needs of the drivers are different.

Some here believe that BPM is a marketplace or product category, and that the definition of a BPMS is whatever vendors that call themselves "BPM Vendors" deliver. BMW makes both motorcycles and automobiles. Just because a single vendor delivers both, does not imply that motorcycles are the same thing as automobiles. Nor does it mean that there is a "war" between motorcycles and automobiles, and that one of them, either motorcycles or automobiles is going to 'win' and become dominant. The drivers of each have very different needs and desires.

Can a single system be delivered that supports both XXX activity and ACM activity? Certainly. Paper and pencil will support both XXX and ACM. And there are better systems that support both as well. The goal is not to find a single way to do everything, but to understand the individual differences between what different roles want and need to do. Ultimately I am sure we will have smart-phones that enable both XXX and ACM, but before we get there, we need to understand the differences between the needs and desires of both categories of work, and not simply refuse to believe that there is any difference.

If you want to say that both XXX and ACM are both called BPM, then that is just fine, and I don't care about that debate. What I do care about is the wants and needs of the ACM worker, as contrasted with the wants and needs of the XXX worker.

The readers of this discussion have to decide if they want clarity about how people work and what they do, or if they just want a label that includes all possible actions. The "BPM-Unionists" claim that a BPMS can support all types of behavior. How does claiming that all people are the same, help you to understand their differences? The industry has moved beyond the "one size fits all" state, and we are now identifying distinct categories of worker behavior. These categories are useful in helping to understand how to structure our world.

If you, the reader, believe that all people and all roles are the same, then feel free to believe that there is only one category of process support, that there is no need to talk about the difference between XXX and ACM. However, if you see and understand that knowledge workers are a distinct category of workers, and you want to understand the differences between the needs and desired of knowledge workers and others, you will find that discussion in groups talking about ACM.

Who sells it, and what name they put on the package, does not matter.
References
  1. http://social-biz.org/2011/11/13/understanding-what-adaptive-means/
Comment
Keith
I have read this a number of times and frankly as a business person I found it confusing. We must think in business language that technology must support. Business is actually quite simple; business logic never changes it is about people "doing things" to create an outcome and empowering them can bring significant benefits. But this does require real time "measurement" to allow people to judge and change as required. IT has failed on this we must move forward with clarity as to "how" this is achieved. Thinking BPM is the start the supporting technology delivery must be "adaptive"?
  1. David Chassels
  2. 3 years ago
"The "BPM-Unionists" claim that a BPMS can support all types of behavior. How does claiming that all people are the same, help you to understand their differences?" -

ah well. you misunderstand. we are claiming that all types of behavior are supported by BPMS software and the like, not that all people are the same. Nice try to turn us all into some kind of dystopian process-fascists :)

If you, the reader, think for yourself, you'll ignore the hyperbole and implied value judgments in false choices like "all people and all roles are the same" (good God no one believes that), and if you don't believe that, then your only choice is to agree with Keith! :)

Love false choices. Once worked for someone and i asked if we were hiring any more sales folks to help hit our goals for the next year (which included doubling the revenues) - he turned to the room and asked "who wants to hire 1000 sales reps!? " everyone says no. well, that wasn't the question. Considering we only had 4 or 5 at the time, I was wondering why the plan called for hiring NONE in the next year. False choices are an excellent rhetorical vehicle but a very poor logical argument.
  1. Scott Francis
  2. 3 years ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 13
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