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  1. Peter Schooff
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. Tuesday, January 10 2017, 09:51 AM
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It seems like the term digital business is here to stay, so how important of a role do you think processes play in the digital business?
John Morris Accepted Answer
Simple question with big implications. (1) How important are (2) processes in (3) digital business.

The question gets to the core of what BPM.com is all about. Let's explore this:

a) The work of business is work, which is the purposeful expenditure of effort and resources.
b) Digital business is just business. Like all business, digital business is therefore all about work.
c) Work is either process- or project-oriented. Project work can be seen as process work depending on point of view.
d) Process concerns repetitive work patterns. Because of economics, repetitive work is the core of the work of business.
e) Processes therefore are not just "one category of business work", rather processes, i.e. organized repetitive work, are the core of business.
f) Therefore, by definition, digital business is process business and is centrally concerned about process work.

For bonus points, let's add the implications for BPM, rather than leave this as a thought experiment.

g) All work depends on technology for force-multiplication of resources, especially people.
h) Automation is the general umbrella term to describe technology applied to the work of business.
i) By definition, BPM automation technology is the technology of the work of business, because only in BPM automation technology is organized repetitive work, i.e. process, a first-class citizen of that technology.
j) Specifically, compared to all alternatives where process is not a first-class citizen of the technology, BPM automation technology enables higher productivity in the manufacture and management of the automation artefacts we desperately need to achieve our digital business automation.
k) All other technologies (e.g. data storage, business rules, AI, UX, analytics, packaged apps etc. etc.) are orthogonal (i.e. complementary and more or less distinct) to BPM technology.

So, digital business can be built on any work automation technology. But the best technology on which to build a digital business is BPM automation technology. BPM automation technology is purpose-built to automate the business processes which are the core of the work of business. Build your digital business on BPM automation technology and increase the probability of your success.

(This is the argument that is being developed in the BPM.com series of papers: Why BPM Is Unique And Important)

There's a world to win for BPM automation technology.
Comment
Thanks for your feedback Boris! There are so many nice things to say about BPM, that I think sometimes we lose track of exactly why BPM is so centrally important. Business people get tired of hearing "BPM is good for you" or "technology 'X' will help you be agile" etc. So, if we can logically deduce that BPM is different and important, then we can make bolder truth claims. And that in turn can translate into a better BPM sales pitch.
  1. John Morris
  2. 2 months ago
John, simply fantastic proof! I m happy that somebody still remembers that process management grounds on logic and deduction. We should sometimes remember Aristotle :)
  1. Boris Zinchenko
  2. 2 months ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 1
Walter Bril Accepted Answer
Processes are key IMO to digital business. But there is obviously a catch. And that catch is old thinking versus well, new thinking. As looking at your current business processes and then use new technology (blockchain by any chance ;-)) as just process enablers is not sufficient (anymore). That's pretty old thinking.

New technology is causing more and more the need to rethink "why do we as a business exist in the first place". The combination banks and blockchain are a great example of old thinking using new technology. So it basically comes down to: As soon as you have figured out if you still have a valid reason for existence, you might want to look at your current processes and conclude you need to (process) reengineer your shop big time.

Reality check though: There will be (and are) definitely hybrid situations (again: see banks and now private blockchains) and in that case, process analysts will have a life time job :-).
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 2
Bogdan Nafornita Accepted Answer
A digital business architecture is comprised of a sum of digital:
1. experiences (interfaces)
2. engagements (processes)
3. records (data)
4. insights (analytics)

So, yeah, pretty critical.
Managing Founder, profluo.com
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 3
Emiel Kelly Accepted Answer
Digital or not; a process is still a process. And every organization has, or at least plays a role in them.
Sharing my adventures in Process World via Procesje.nl
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 4
Boris Zinchenko Accepted Answer
By definition, digital business is based on computers, digital devices and digitally managed systems, such as auto driven cars, drones, industrial equipment and IoT. All these systems contain digital processors, which execute processes in forms of commands and programs. Therefore, digital business, at least on a low level, entirely consists of processes. Digital business exists in a form of processes.

Of course, most of these processes are too technical to be considered as business processes in a classical sense. Moreover, on higher management level some or all business operations are managed by humans, employees and company management. Nevertheless, their role in case of digital business is optional and visionary in a sense that fundamental business processes can be automated in this case more than in any other type of business. This gives BPM unprecedented opportunity and power to run and transform digital business on all its levels.

Process hierarchies appearing in digital business can be described by various fractal models. Below we illustrate how process and organizational structures propagate across scales in digital world from processor cores to simulated city landscape modeled through these abstractions.

http://caseagile.com/wp-content/uploads/Intel-Itanium-Processor-9500-635x388.jpg

Intel’s Next Generation Itanium ‘Kittson’ IA64 Processor Detailed

http://caseagile.com/wp-content/uploads/markjaybeefractal_small.png
References
  1. http://wccftech.com/intel-itanium-kittson-ia64-processors-32nm/
  2. http://markjaybeefractal.com/downtownbloxville/
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 5
All important.

I can't think of any work that does not have a structured component, even, pure research, where you have to document attempts/fails.

In Canada, we get government tax credits for R&D, but only if the work is properly documented
References
  1. http://www.kwkeirstead.wordpress.com
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 6
Jim Sinur Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
I think process is essential to digital along with other forms of work management, AI, algorythms, big data, advanced visualizations, robotic programming, model driven, integration, IoT, application components and smart process apps. The form of processes will be different than we have know them in the past, but they will be the key glue for business outcomes. Processes will be more dynamic and out on the edge; not just aimed at central control only. Processes will be a major contributor to digital business platforms.
References
  1. http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2015/12/2016-process-as-enabler-of-work-in.html
  2. http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2016/04/process-applications-king-of-business.html
  3. http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2015/04/target-innovative-process-and-business.html
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 7
Agree with Jim and Bogdan. I would say that process is critical for doing business digitally. Because doing business digitally implies
- using much more artefacts,
- handling them much faster,
- operating with much higher accuracy,
- collaborating with much more participants (even things) and
- during much more often changes.

No one (even current robots) can carry out it efficiently without processes (done properly, of course).

Thanks,
AS
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 8
David Chassels Accepted Answer
Digital in business is about business operations; really that simple supporting external and external users. Unfortunately digital is a term used too easily with little understanding beyond a web interface! Politicians in particular are culprits here as it sounds like they know what they are taking about! However at last it is now being recognised it is more that data on a web page and is about the creation and use of information requiring the "back office" support. This takes us straight to the people and processes thinking BPM just what and how created. Such is the mess of legacy it is now being recognised that to achieve a sustainable solution which needs to support constant change that a new "Platform" of supporting software is required which can work with legacy and support the vital Adaptive capability. It is a paradigm shift and that journey is starting ...long overdue....?
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 9
Jonathan Yarmis Accepted Answer
This is a trick question. What makes a business a "digital business" is the electronic connections between and among its processes. If all you've done is automated processes that were heretofore done analogly (if digitally is a word, so should analogly), without connecting them to other digital processes, then you haven't really accomplished much.
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 10
The work that people do is the process... and will stay, digital or not. 'How' you operate will btw probably change fast due to the digitalisation.
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 11
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