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As Jim Sinur writes in this blog: "As much as we hear about not having a common definition of what a process really is, process is going viral anyways. What are the reasons for this explosion of process?" So what do you think? And if so, what reasons do you give?

Tuesday, March 03 2015, 09:59 AM
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    Tuesday, March 03 2015, 10:34 AM - #Permalink
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    Managing processes is daily business and I think Jim is right that technology offers us more and more possibilities (but please, stop calling it smart ;-) to manage them faster, more adaptive, more agile, more cloudy etc.

    But I wouldn't call it viral, but just call it progress and making the best use of stuff available.

     

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    Tuesday, March 03 2015, 11:01 AM - #Permalink
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    I agree that the concept of process has gone "viral" meaning that people understand the concepts and often see work as processes. Now with BPM suites providing more capability for seeing processes work real time and even enabling iterations to be more agile. Processes will be more viral as more employees have the capability to see and measure their own work processes and make changes themselves but we are not there yet.

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    gB
    gB
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    Tuesday, March 03 2015, 11:05 AM - #Permalink
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    The term “viral” as used in social networks is not exact for what it is happening with processes. But it does represent the feeling we are experimenting: a soft revolution in which everybody is starting to realize that need to manage their business process professionally and adopting the right technologies for that.

     

    New terms and disciplines appear (i.e. “Advanced Case Management”), other reborn (i.e. “Knowledge Management”), and new applications of existing technologies appear (i.e. “Business Intelligence”). All these momentum lead us to think of a “viral” expansion of the BPM Discipline.

     

    In short, it is not viral as we know it, but there is a wave of new technologies and reborn of others under the BPM umbrella that puts process in the agenda of every CEO. 

    • Emiel Kelly
      more than a month ago
      I might turn old, but in my opinion that was already happening in the 90's.
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    Tuesday, March 03 2015, 12:00 PM - #Permalink
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    Not sure viral quite the right term but yes at last has risen up the agenda. Common sense drives process..or should! I think the rise of "digital" has more to do with process being highlighted as we have recognised for decades business it is all about people something old enterprise software failed to support.

    So now with next generation software that process support can deliver digitisation across the organisations involving people hence tag viral ?

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    Tuesday, March 03 2015, 12:06 PM - #Permalink
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    Nope. I think what has gone, is going viral is "connectivity" and "visibility" and process, along with a lot of other things, is along for the ride. "Rising tide" and all that.

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    Tuesday, March 03 2015, 01:53 PM - #Permalink
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    I use the following definition of business process – an explicitly-defined coordination for guiding the purposeful enactment of business activity flows.

    I think we see more processes around us, we try making them explicit and we try executing them directly. Fortunately, an enterprise is a system of processes – if you can see it, of course http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2015/02/iceberg-of-processes-within-enterprise.html

    Thanks,
    AS

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    Tuesday, March 03 2015, 01:56 PM - #Permalink
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    Let's hope so. An epidemic (see what I did there?) of process-thought might cure (did it again) the corporate world of its fevered (no stopping me now) approach to in-house custom development. BPM supplies organizations with the leverage to build customer engagement, enhance regulatory compliance, and improve overall efficiency without creating a decaying and impeneterable code base. That's an idea that deserves to be spread around.

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    Ian Gotts
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    Tuesday, March 03 2015, 05:09 PM - #Permalink
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    I'd like a pint of whatever Jim is drinking.

    Every vendor and consultant (and analyst) associated with BPM would love it to "go viral" which means massive, explosive growth. They we all get to be celebrities. What I am seeing is an increased level of awareness and importance. And that is good and healthy.

    Sorry to rain on the parade, but I am not seeing BPM vendors of any significant size ($50m+) growing at 100%, 200% or 500% per annum - unlike other areas of the market; CRM, analytics, security to mention a few. And before you all shout at me, if you have a revenue of $1m pa and grow to $5m pa that 500% growth does not show a viral market exists. It shows that you are startng to get your act togther, and that is fantastic.

    One thing that BPM does have in its favor is that it is going to be relevant long term. It is definitely not a fad. So we are all going to be busy for as long as we want to be. So, just because the market is not growing virally, it does not mean that BPM is not important. There is a good revenue to be made helping companies solve their problems. Just don't expect to be a rock star. That is reserved for the data scientists (at the moment).

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    • Emiel Kelly
      more than a month ago
      I know Jim likes Scandinavian metal bands, so maybe he really wants to be a rock star ;-)
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    Amy Barth
    Amy Barth
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    Tuesday, March 03 2015, 07:12 PM - #Permalink
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    I'm wondering if the "process" movement, as it is related to BPM products, has become more and more popular because of the cost of the products. Once you invest in something so significantly, sometimes the only way to make it pay for itself is to have every process using the same product. Maybe you'll invent processes to justify the cost. I'm not saying the tool isn't helpful, of course. To the contrary...it may be so successful at streamlining what once was a clunky spaghetti monster, that it seems to become the solution for anything that can have "a process" applied to it. We start thinking in terms of process before we even start new projects. I think it is inevitable that we'll move toward simplification, and as technology becomes more and more efficient at handling formerly manual actions, processes via BPM solutions (especially expensive ones) will become more and more common. Not sure this counts as "viral," but it's certainly popular.

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    Wednesday, March 04 2015, 08:08 AM - #Permalink
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    Process management is anything but viral:

    - it grows slowly,

    - where proven it tends to stick around for a long time and

    - if it kills its host it's almost impossible for it to populate another host in due time :)

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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, March 04 2015, 10:59 AM - #Permalink
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    In his original blog posting, Jim highlights a number of important technical and business phenomenon which can be the basis of faster adoption of business process (or "process"). Technical and business innovations in any field are important the bases of market movements, in the same way that breakthroughs in materials sciences enable all kinds of new physical business opportunities.

    However what about the original claim of virality for "process"? Let's do a little research and see what Google Trends has to say. While Google Trends is very high level, for a quick look at virality, it's useful, with reasonable search terms. Try these search terms and you'll get an interesting graph of five lines (the double quotes are important -- and "BPM" itself doesn't work standalone because of overlap with the music space):

    "business process"
    "business process management"
    "case management"
    BPM software
    Workflow
     
    If process is going viral, then you would reasonable expect to see Google search terms as an expanding population of business analysts, developers and executives seek to learn especially about BPM -- in other words upwards trending Google search volume would be great indirect evidence of a viral process adoption social process.  (I'm using "BPM" is a strong proxy for "process"; searching for "process" itself given the general nature of the word is a little more tricky.)
     
    But the results aren't there, at least for our proxies for process. If anyone has an alternative explanation, that would be welcome certainly.
     
    My own sense is that process and BPM together, as both discipline and technology, are always on the cusp -- but they haven't reached escape velocity yet. And as someone who has the responsibility for getting business people to buy into the BPM technology supporting business process, I have to understand why the "greatest thing since sliced bread" still needs to be pushed so hard. There are lots of reasons, but my top three are:
     
    (1) the cost of data management on which a process project depends, a.k.a. the MDM challenge, which is as much economic and technical,
     
    (2) the usual business governance issues, a.k.a. "silos", which are political, economic and socio-technical and very challenging, and
     
    (3) the relative immaturity of BPM process software technology compared to what it will likely be in "the future", a.k.a. "the round-tripping problem" or modeling problem, which results in high-cost process programme friction and developer hostage taking.
     
    I do see progress in all three areas, and then at some point we will reach a tipping point, perhaps with the help of so-called Internet of Things-related projects and also the wider adoption of process mining.
     
    Google Trends URL attached.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, March 05 2015, 10:39 AM - #Permalink
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    Having been in BPM for 10 years, BPM is now a generally recognized toolset for automating process. The trend I now see happening is that of BPM becoming a generally accepted application development toolkit. Organizations realize that process is part of every soluiton and BPM is a proven toolset for building user-friendly, adaptable, and cost effective web-based applications.

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