BPM (as a trio: discipline, tool and practices/architecture) is the essential component of any Corporate Unified Business Execution (CUBE) platform. Only with BPM it is possible to achieve synergy between diversity of business and uniformity of tools/services. And BPM is digital by definition.
See ref1 about platforms and ref2 about the enterprise pattern which is Platform-Enabled Agile Solutions (PEAS).
Maybe, if one is thinking only of managing the steps from task to task... But, I see tomorrow's "business platform" differently. Figuratively, things are only going to run in the cloud and in your hand. Process management is merely one functional component of that total business solution. Other peer components are decision management and analytics of many kinds. Let's not forget all the services that one could leverage from a mobile process. I could go deeper in each area, but you get the point.
BPM itself, process management in businesses, departmental and enterprise-wide will be something we are working on for the next 10 years to catch up. Like internal ESB Integration is ongoing today. But, if we ignore combining in decision management, cognitive analytics, social bots & many other cloud services into our little process solutions, they will be disappointing compared to what users consider contemporary today. Likewise if they do not manifest themselves as role-based mobile apps...
George . . Re: ". . .combining in decision management, cognitive analytics, social bots & many other cloud services"
Agree 100 %
We have and are using "cognitive analytics" but not yet '"predictive analytics".
Examples of "cognitive" are
1) auto-branching decision boxes within BPM flowgraphs (they cause branching on the basis of data on hand, using rule sets).
2) gatekeeper nodes within a BPM flowgraph that block/facilitate advancement based on external data flowing into the environment from external remote systems or apps. (a contractor reporting a shipment made for parts ordered).
An example of "predictive" would be to have several BPM flowgraphs that you export to a Critical Path Method engine that calculates, based on scarce resources, when forward tasks along these flowgraphs can be performed and predicts arrival times at each end node..
I suppose an example of a "predictive analytics/social bot" would be a nurse doing home visits, consulting his/her GPS to predict an arrival time based on traffic and having a phone dialer automatically call the home to provide an expected arrival time.
Yes, the future of BPM is as a "business platform". And the reverse is true too . . . maybe.
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1. PLATFORM AS SEMANTIC SET -- A software platform is a software system defined by a functional set of semantic constructs for which the platform has been constructed.
2. BUSINESS NEEDS -- The work of business is work. And more successful businesses get more work done with the same inputs.
3. REASON FOR TECHNOLOGY -- The purpose of technology is as a force-multiplier for human effort (physical and mental) to increase productivity, i.e. to get more of that work done.
4. CHARACTERIZATION OF WORK -- Per economics (Ronald Coase et. al.), repetition is necessarily an attribute of how work is organized in business or government.
5. WORK IS PROCESS -- Work in business or government is thus mostly about process, about work characterized by repetition (on a continuum to project, but also including so-called unstructured processes as cases).
6. PROCESS WORK IS NATIVE TO BPM -- BPM is by definition THE technology in which abstractions of process work are first class citizens of that technology.
7. BPM IS A PLATFORM FOR WORK AUTOMATION -- BPM is a platform, i.e. a software technology system with necessary semantic support for process work automation.
8. BPM IS THE PLATFORM FOR WORK AUTOMATION -- Therefore, BPM is THE platform for managing the automation of work.
9. BPM WITH BRM ETC. -- Platforms with BPM support will also include other irreduceable classes of semantic function, such as rules, algorithms, analytics, business logic, UX, data models including documents, identity, SOA/ESB etc., and the same embodied in Systems of Record (ERP etc.) and Systems of Relationship (CRM etc.), but the spine of the system is BPM and work.
10. BPM PLATFORM DEFINITION ALMOST A TAUTOLOGY -- "BPM is the technology platform for work automation; conversely, work automation is achieved using technology in which the artefacts of the semantics of work are constructed using that technology -- which is ideally BPM." (The BPM Platform definition is not a tautology if specific BPM software conforming to the BPMN standard is considered, for example as an alternative to directly coding processes with a framework. The idea of "automation platform" is separate from BPM software, platform is a reification of BPM-in-practice, i.e. something emergent, interesting, new and useful. For the first time, BPM technology enables process artefacts to be constructed directly, as opposed to indirectly, via code.)
11. PROMISE OF BPM-AS-PLATFORM -- Whether the promise of BPM-as-a-platform is realized is a separate question outside the system of software and semantics. Because a platform isn't a platform of interest if no one uses it! The governance, management and sociology of BPM adoption are all challenges. BPM might be "the greatest"; this is not yet apparent to most management cadres. But then, it took a few hundred years to get accounting right . . .
I think BPM is a good candidate for the business platform of the future. Neil Ward-Dutton has put together a good presentation around how to tie all the digital threads together to create a great customer experience - and BPM as being one potential answer to the question of how to do it. It isn't the only answer, there are other candidates to the throne.
And as you can read between the lines in above responses, there are many layers of business platform and technology that are already rolled out in organizations. Is BPM going to rip out the existing systems and replace them? probably not. Is it going to overlay them? more probable. Will the solution actually be something that walks like BPM and sounds like BPM but labels itself something else - more probable, in my mind.
BPM is the discipline that focuses on people, machines and their processes which covers all business operational needs. To deliver requires a complete Business Platform and thus yes this is where the future for BPM lies. The issue is just how is this going to happen?
Our 20 years R&D on this very subject established that in reality there are only some 13 generic task types that support that such a platform can use to open a new door for enterprise software to deliver on any operational requirements where people work. As such coding can effectively be eliminated. Sure may still need v clever programmers for complex algorithms etc but all logic should be covered in the Business Platform Software. The following function requirements must be included.
The consequences of delivering such relative simplicity to handle all requirements are very profound. Cost is dramatically reduced with v quick build, puts business back into control of their processes, a future proof investment as change readily supported and much more. Such software becomes an asset with long life that could be purchased as with any other asset lease arrangement which will make SaaS “unattractive” financially. IT has job to ensure secure delivery including accessing legacy which could be outsourced?
Quite what this new Business Platform capability will be called time will tell. Certainly should have the Adaptive tag but not sure will have the “BPM” one even if it is that discipline that will determine the requirement It is going to be interesting………!
At the moment - communication and instant messaging tools are the "business platform" because they are incredibly simple, they work on phones and can be used in 10 seconds flat. You can't argue with 2 billion+ people using such tools to get work done today.
For any process platform to actually become a business platform - the criteria is therefore the same. Given the criteria above, legacy BPM achieves none of them - so it will be impossible for anyone non-IT to use - and will therefore never be "naturally" adopted by any modern company.
Remember that adoption of the easiest tools comes from the ground up - from real people who actually WANT to use these tools and approaches. IT cannot institute "adoption" by ignoring UX and talking in a private room about low-code and process models. Business users are going directly to the app store or the web - to get apps that actually work - circumventing IT with their company and even personal credit cards.
I read a study recently (lost the reference) which suggested that 50% of all IT spending will not go through IT or the CIO within a couple of years. If that really is the case - then the answer to the question of a "business platform" is what non-IT people adopt - from the ground up.
Sorry, Amit, we're running out of comment real estate so I moved the discussion one level up :-)
If I understand well (and were to translate what your app does in "legacy BPM" talk), you are creating a proprietary business rules engine.
Nothing that can't be achieved with DMN business rules called out of a simple BPMN workflow.
Also, I can get any non-expert codify a simple flowchart in BPMN in 5 minutes too. Or a simple decision table in DMN in probably less.
Sure, the interface must be simple and suggestive enough to warrant meaningful participation - and we agree here that most BPMS's simply suck at UX.
For me, the BPM is a key component of the future business platform. However It won’t be self-sufficient. I think the future business platform will be a platform where business and IT can collaborate to build engaging BPM based applications that can be integrated seamlessly in any complex enterprise IT.
The business and IT will rely on BPM notation, but maybe also DMN and CMN, to design their business applications.