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.
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.
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.
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 ?
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
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.
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).
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.
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):
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.