I'm seeing more and more references to the digital business. So how would you define a digital organization and how big of a role do you see BPM playing in it?
Digital as an adjective means the usage of digital (including information and communication) technologies to better enterprise functioning (including adoption of disruptive business models).
Architecturally, digital is explained in ref1.
Considering that, digital businesses must successfully function in uber-complex environments (intangible assets, management at light speed, involvement of robotics and bionics actors, on-going predictive planning, etc.) the coordination of work in such conditions must be very explicit (even to be understandable even for Things).
At present, only BPM (as a trio of discipline, tools and practice) provides a rich and coherent set of explicit coordination techniques. Thus BPM is indispensable for any digital business.
Another scheme to sell research/consulting and justify a new Chief of Digital Business plus empire.
At least that is my take after listening to a short audio at http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/digital-business/
I am not accusing Gartner of inventing this- the audio gives the impression that "digital" started with leadership and one of the reports in the Gartner Special Report deals with 'how".
It seems there could be a disconnect going from the message to implementation resulting in failure to align cross functional initiatives under an overarching governance process.
No kidding.... We could have anticipated that.
Impact on BPM or posible contribution from BPM?
Definitely . . . strategy's main preoccupation is to make effective use of resources with a view to increasing competitive advantage. The leadership picks initiatives, ranks them then allocates resources.
At the operations level if there is a 1:1 between an initiative and a particular ROI, then at a Case, you can install the objectives for the ROI, use BPM to guide the work, allow ad hoc ACM interventions and record/assess progress toward objectives at a Figure of Merit matrix parked at the Case.
If an initiative has many facets, then you map your various Case objectives to Key Performance Indicators and similarly assess progress.
Governance (what Garner is looking for/ aiming at) is everywhere - at steps along BPM processes, at Cases (as oversight/gatekeeping for any mix of ad hoc and structured interventions) and at consolidation routines that map data to KPIs.
Once the world figures out that you can have BPM where
a) any customer inreach or outreach can be accommodated at any BPM step (too much of this and no work will get done),
b) all data picked up by the performance of work can be shared with any number of subscribers (each using ttheir own native data element naming conventions both for reading and writing),
my prediction is "digital business" will achieve liftoff.
Sounds theoretical that leaderhip is driving "digital" - that topic does not seem to come up a lot on golf courses.
I hope the outcome is not that thousands to top executives will spend most of their time staring at "balanced scorecards".
They should look up Donald Rumsfelds pronouncements on "knowns" and "unknowns" - the info you don't get in government or business typically is a lot more interesting than the information you do get..
Digital Business is a generic term for new business models that have become possible due to the progress in information technologies. More specifically, these technologies makes it possible to replace human workforce by software "robots" in many areas.
As for the BPM, it plays important yet supporting role. Digital model assumes transformation both of customer-facing part of the organization and its internals. The former is more critical yet BPM is still too focused on back- and middle office.
Just look at typical BPMS web portal - who is its target user? A company's employee. Mobile interface? Once again, it's a handy tool for company management - process owners, process managers, line managers. Cool "one-button" mobile interface to our business process for external users (customers and partners) is a challenge and an opportunity for the BPM industry (meaning the BPM software here).
Ah...yet another definition matter. Just digitizing of analogue artefacts doesn't make much sense to me. So that's not it. . I believe you still need to understand the what, when, why, who and how, and throw the magic into the mix (did I mention information?). Then you can answer whether and how much you can / need to digitize and/or automate (not the same IMO).
To make a long story short: BPM can do without automation (and digital), but automation (and digital) cannot do without BPM...
As I alluded to in my comment on John's post, seems to me that "digital business" isn't exactly a new thing. I was working on digital systems for securities trading in the 90s, and a friend and colleague of mine at that time was helping to invent the first credit card with an embedded chip.
In terms of the new wave of digitization (and, I swear, the next person who says digitalization is going to have to answer to me), BPM's role is catalyst, and it's a long established one. Digital business has been around for a long time, but the ability to generalize the digital approach to virtually every kind of business problem—and in particular, the opportunity to create new ways to interact with customers, suppliers, and partners—is born of BPM. And it's BPM that will be nursing (to stretch the metaphor a bit further) the development of digital business for quite some time to come.
I think you're all missing the point and showing your age. Get with the times, man!
How many organizations do you work with or otherwise integrate with that are stymied by traditional notions of how work gets done? Old farts think:
Saying "here comes digitization again" only exposes your blinders. Digitization is way bigger, and it's about removing middlemen in business in much the same way that Amazon disintegrated the retail supply chain and reinvented it from the ground up. It's the kind of break-through innovation that makes a retailer the world's most trusted hosting company.
Digitization is the disintegration of business as we know it. It's happening all around you and you likely don't see it because you're too busy trying to keep up with the productivity gains your organization achieved by not filling those vacant positions. It's only going to get worse. Or better? Depends on your perspective. I for one welcome our new millineal overlords.
There are PaaS and SaaS plays everywhere that are breaking apart business processes. Name one part of a traditional value stream that is not available as an API today. That's digital business.
Traditional silos are crumbling around us and we won't see it until its all done and the hot new job title is "organizational strategy orchestrator-slash-api plumber."
Digital business is not about the systems, it's about the fact that we can now disintegrate the information and operate on it as efficiently as possible.
I love the answers above - many perspectives and I agree with the commonalities.
Digital business is a direction to take advantage of electronic/digital/integrated transactions and operations because they are faster, cheaper & less error prone. I.e less costly and more volume. From the old EDI that we all knew could only touch the tip of the iceberg of business through EDIint, to today's API Economy and Mobile business. We see businesses strive to integrate & automate smartly.
Providing the right information to the point of interaction, providing the right content and options at the right time to optimize the outcomes. Capturing & processing it fast with insight and delivering with precision. Finally, seeing it real-time on dashboards with Alerts that accelerate the event-driven business. This covers all aspects of business from onboarding customers, employees and partners to transacting & interactions of all kinds to payments.
This is not the BPM of yesterday. This is not just rules & analytics bolted on. More than ever, the digital business needs Processes automated, Decisions carefully calculated with great insight and delivered via those APIs and Mobile devices. Process and Decisions are more critical -- I bet you can see how gathering requirements and designing these will be different when we do take into account the shift from manual to digital?
And, John, we've all used words to describe the current focus of our customers that we've previously used for something completely different. It's okay. Stay young, adapt! Acceptance removes the friction for understanding and leading others. That's why we are here, no?
As usual "digital" is a much over hyped term that is often used by people who really do not understand business...politicians use it to make good sound bites and just displays they know a lot about nothing! The reality is there are 2 aspects to digital. First the " public" who want that easy access to information and the interactions that help them get what they want sitting in their environment. Then the big challenge as the question asks the implications for business and governments to deliver a "digital service".
Digital organisations are about supporting people internal and external being interactive with information which in reality is about the "business operations"; it is not just the UI it is that vital direct back office support to deliver and receive data as required. This of course is precisely where BPM sits and help to quickly establish what is required. However that is too easy for IT where most business have a huge silo driven mess of legacy that business people are truly afraid to "change" thus a barrier to the required transformational change in the business putting people first...!
So what is the answer to how does an organisation tackle this problem that could accelerate the importance of BPM to drive next generation digital connectivity and cooperation to deliver what is required. There is no doubt a good architecture that can handle this need for real time data support is important. The harsh reality is that trying to change legacy is not the answer yes use it as required but should not be the driver.
You know business is actually quite simple when you focus on the required people support for digital, driven by BPM. Therein lies the real.challenge in an industry that just loves and benefits from complexity.....so do your research look for detail just how business operations can now be supported to deliver on that digital future.
For the purposes of my start-up, I have defined a digital enterprise as: data-driven, process-driven, scalable, agile and deeply engaged with its ecosystem (employees, suppliers, customers).
This sounds like hype talk, but there's a actually a clear digital concept behind each of these bullet points.
So BPM is paramount to a high-performing digital enteprise.
I don't believe in "digital enterprises" that are hacked on the back of the napkin. All the cool kids that are using:
- all sorts of bandaids for their SaaS operational needs
- the bleeding edge of NoSQL tech
if they live long enough to discover all these hacks don't scale really well, they go back to basic operations support (BPM anyone?), old-time enterprise architecture, Java stacks, RDBMS's, etc.
Or discover that, if they somehow scaled (through aggressive VC courting and techstar hiring), they can't make enough money because they don't control the primary technologies on which their app landscape sits.