Let me apologize in advance: this is one of those yes and no answers.
First of all, we should avoid a debate on semantics of the terms. A lot of work was put earlier this year into a complete and agreeable definition of BPM
with participation by many of the experts. The result rather surprised me, but concluded that BPM is essentially anything having to do with improving work while thinking of it in terms of a process. This settled the question that BPM is an umbrella term that includes ACM and something else we must call a more "automated" approach to processes. I see two distinct automated approaches which I have called "Process Driven Server Integration
" and "Human Process Management
". By this new definition, ACM is a part of BPM.
I have been guilty in the past of using the term "BPM" to mean only the automated approaches, and I suspect Sandy is doing the same here.
If I may rephrase the question: are we beginning to see the end of the split between automated process support, and case management?
Four years ago at Fujitsu we released what we called "Dynamic BPM" which added the ability to create tasks on the fly at any point in a running process. It allowed automated processes to be extended with dynamic tasks thought up on the spot, and it allowed completely unscripted processes to include automated fragments, again brought in on the fly. We felt we had finally the unified environment where both ad-hoc and pre-programmed processes could exist. In watching people use this, we still found that there is a wide gulf between those environments that allow programming, that those that simply don't. Before we jump to the conclusion that the technical capability
of dynamic tasks solves the job, we need to wait and see whether this approach is successful in capturing true knowledge worker work. Experience has taught me to be skeptical.
Consider an analogy: there are many styles of music. At point in time, an orchestra was seen as a means of "reproducing" music faithfully. Then the recording industry automated that, and everybody has access to whatever great piece of music they want at any time for close to zero cost. But has the recording industry eliminated improvisation? If not, why not? Recorded music is like automated processing. ACM is more like jazz improvisation. Are they unified in any way? Why do these two music forms resist unification? I don't see any sign that live performances are completely eliminated by the recording industry. Would you even ask the question of when it will be that all forms of music will be unified? Why then, do we ask this question, in the field of office work?