Using the general word (with 123.839 meanings) "process" never made much sense. Or other non saying things like end-to-end or customer-to -customer.
Although the ideas behind what we call BPM make sense, I always try to bring some context by referring to "these are the useful things what we do here for our customers"
Liker "Deliver Pizza", "Installing software" or "Deliver training"
The big challenge is of course to agree on the usefullnes of the result of those....eeeh... processes.
Already answered that question last week :-). And basically it's actually dead simple: We just need to replace the phrase Process with Profit.
So BPM becomes: Business Profit Management. Watch how many CEO's will pay attention...
Jokes aside, I'll repeat the comment I gave on this Pulse article by Keith Stagner:
It's already 2 decades ago when I read "Beyond Reengineering" by M. Hammer. Not much later I understood its all about the "why". Answering the why of any activity in the context of adding value for the customer justifies the reason for existence. No customer value = no reason whatsoever for existence.
Unfortunately BPM got way too much sucked into the technological / commercial / pick me area. It was all about (technical, automated) execution of process and not anymore about the why. And leaving (loads of) gaps (that were too difficult for automation).
Therefore it might be an idea to combine the customer journey with Business Process Knowledge Management rather than BPM. The incentive behind it being: What about when John " Spreadsheet" Doe leaves your company...
As currently is happening to the term blockchain, the same has happened to thet term "process." On short term basis there will be not so much profit, so investors and CEO's will look quickly at the next hype.
The problem is wider than just the term "process":
Click on the URL to get to an article I wrote last week . . .
Is it time to rename "Business Process Management" to "Business Performance Management"?
but that will not work because there already is a movement called "Business Performance Management" in a crowded market area PLUS there are several other key methodologies needed to go from operational objectives to strategic objectives. The BPM we know would remain a key module in a wider arena.
At first sight, I don't see the Business Performance Management software products doing a very good job on other than perhaps analytics and dashboarding. .And, given the evolution of analytics to real-time predictive analytics, it may be that these products need to evolve or have an almost singular focus on dashboarding.
See Capterra's list of "Top Business Performance Management Software Products"
Now may be a good time to put a focus on how the gap between operations and strategy can be narrowed.
Whenever people get hung up on terms, I step back and say, "it's simply the work you do that matters."
That's it. It is the "work you do."
Let's stop wasting time defining things and trying to get people to understand our terms and just help them.
Maybe to align our understanding of the ‘process’ concept first?
If one can do “Business Process (as explicit coordination of work) Management” then performance and profit will come.
We always defined the hierarchy of an Information System as:
LEVEL 1 - System
LEVEL 2 - Sub-System (a business process)
LEVEL 3 - Procedures (both Administrative & Computer)
LEVEL 4 - Programs (for Computer Procedures)
LEVEL 4 - Operational Steps (aka Tasks; for Administrative Procedures).
For more info, see:
How to kill a technology: define it in generic business terms. I call it "the lure of the generic".
Here's a blog post I wrote in 2009 on this topic:
A technology is not its outcome. BPM or process is not their outcomes. To confuse the two is to confuse the customer and to put on the table all the other ways of doing the same thing.
Do we need a new word for accounting? Or engineering?
Maybe the word "process" could be adjusted a bit. I always liked "workflow", even though for historical reasons it's not very popular. But it sells well.
Our discomfort with the word process is a huge sales issue. It's an identity crisis. Either BPM technology exists or it doesn't. And it does. BPM technology, as the technology which uniquely concerns the work of business should be seen as a core business technology. Along with business rules, BPM technology helps you automate the work of business. This is something to be proud of. And to get better at talking about. And selling.
For BPM the P could be process or performance the later certainly would gain quicker attention at "C" level but fact should remain it is the way to think how outcomes achieved. Let's remember BPM was coined in context of IT in recognition of that gap between people and the inside out driven systems of "processing". Trying to change the BPM concept would be a mistake and cause confusion. After all BPR still means something?
I think the real challenge is what do you call the supporting software that could achieve that quick buy in? I think Walter hit a button with Knowledge. Add the must have Adaptive capability in the Software and the much loved TLA tag could be AKS....? The real trick is to explain in business language how it works to deliver better knowledge to improve operational performance reflecting the inevitable future change; making it a future proof investment.
Let's compare ("again") to accounting. Accounting enables us to track "performance" and "profits". These are terms which "catch the attention of C-suite executives". But accounting is still accounting. You can't sell something by selling only it's benefit. (See my note above on the "lure of the generic"). An outcome is not a feature; an outcome is not a technology. Like it or not, we are in the technology business. Accountants are also in the technology business, the accounting technology business, at least the ones that are successful. They figure out how to sell outcomes AND accounting at the same time.
I do like the points John is making above. I still use “process” when I specifically mean process, but when referring more generally to the things we model and create using BPM, “application” is a better term. Our focus has been on process for so long, we tend to forget that we're creating much more than that: we're building user experiences, defining and rationalizing business rules, generating dashboards and reports, all wrapped up with some ETL, web services, and analytics. Process is but one block in the giant Minecraftian castle of BPM-powered applications.
Workflow is associated with a rather well-defined flow of work, e.g. a conveyer belt or flow-chat . It ilikes the laminar (or streamline) flow of a liquid. Its mathematic (WHY a flow has this shape) is very simple thus such a flow (WHAT) is rather predictable and the operational excellence (HOW) is straightforward.
Unfortunately, there is also another kind of flow – turbulent one. Its mathematics is more complicated, it has no analytical solution and its behavior is not easy to predict (as far as I remember from my university time, we used some computer-based simulation models to visualise turbulent flows). The operational excellence is not managable by "streamline" way any more.
Modern processes are more dynamic than conveyer belts, so more explicit coordination techniques have to work together to simulate behavior of complex systems of processes.
I agree with some of the views above about basically just helping people with their problem and not getting hung up on the term.
We are beginning to think about "service design" as something that might be better suited to any service. More in the link on our blog cited within this post.
This makes more sense in the world of "anything as a service" - since a service outcome should be predictable and reliable. We are just saying that instead of a cloud service, this is a human-delivered service.