As we near the new year, what do you think will be the biggest challenges for BPM in 2015?
I see challenges with solution fragmentation - Embedded workflows in almost all applications are competing for use cases. With that fragmentation comes frustration with managing processes in multiple systems, where automation is planned and maintained, and competing internal resource allocation. End users then have to use different systems to do different things with different task lists, notifications, mobile apps, etc. Enterprise BPM is getting much more challenging for consistency and manageability and so the 'M' in BPM is getting harder.
Same as they ever were.
- skills in BPM (technical and otherwise)
- moving to the cloud (BPM being the long tail of enterprise apps moving over)
- figuring out how to make money in the cloud (for themselves, for consultants, for partners, to build an ecosystem)
Interestingly, none of the bigger BPM vendors are really focused on improving BPM functionality. This means lots of opportunity for new vendors and upstarts to make some noise, because the depth of BPM functionality hasn't been fully plumbed, but the move to cloud/mobile/html5 for the bigger vendors has been a distraction from their focus on core tech of BPM.
Scott nailed it with his first 4 points. That is the challenge when BPM is on the agenda.
But getting BPM heard above the noise is the biggest challenge. Clients need to understand the critical importance of BPM to running their business, and prioritise it above everything else. BPM is core. Done well it is unseen. It just gets on with the job in the background. It is boring. So it is easily overshadowed by the glizty noise of big data, social. mobile, security and CRM.
Without great process, social, analytics or mobile are just lipstick on a pig.
The biggest challenges:
- integrating fragmented smart process apps with limited use cases in one unifying (and gratifying) enterprise user experience - not gonna happen until 2020 though (maybe)
- modelling business process fringe cases (CMMN, DMN)
- finding the proper pragmatist adopter market, somewhere between the highly focused, revenue-bringing, vertical BPM cases (now better addressed through heavy coding) and the run-of-the-mill, cost-saving, horizontal BPM cases (now profitably addressed only by large enterprises)
I absolutely agree with Scott. I was even going to use the same term: Noise. Smaller, more "piecemeal" BPM-esque products will attempt to compete with more robust BPM products, because they can sell themselves as offering similar capabilities without as much cost (which can be extraneous and intimidating--especially for fixed budgets like government)--cost is often a deal-breaker from the big names, from what I've seen.
However, there is something to be said about being robust. Obviously, it's an asset for larger organizations that can really benefit from using BPM products as they were intended--not just to act as Band-aids and "wrappers" for legacy systems. When these expensive products are not "fully plumbed," inefficiency over time becomes a risk, as well as cost-effectiveness.
Peter, is your question about technology? Management discipline? Capabilities and overall process maturity of today's enterprises? All of these? Ambiguous questions provoke misunderstanding.
If accepting the widest scope (i.e. considering all three aspects) then where is the bottleneck, I wonder?
1) Is it the unfulfilled promises of BPM vendors?
From my perspective, the biggest challenge here is merging together enterprise architecture, modeling and execution tools (measurement also implied indeed). Current BPMS's implement roundtripping in the smaller cycle model-execute-measure that only works on a single process level. We are still in the one-way mode at the enterprise level: enterprise models are developed in the EA tools, then thrown to BPMS engineers for implementation and so we we've got two sources of truth. With this gap it's no surprise that enterprises are struggling to reach the higher levels of maturity that require an architected set of enterprise-wide processes.
Social enablement is another big challenge. The major issue is that social functionality can't be successfully implemented within a BPMS alone. Nobody needs a social functionality here, there and over there too. One portal with social functionality for process, another for projects and yet another for cases (letting alone ERP and alike)? Doesn't make much sense for me. Merging together projects, processes, cases is another challenge.
2) Or maybe it isn't the technology we should care about first? Maybe we have too much technology already while the BPM methodology is lagging behind?
Do we have consistent body of knowledge? I'm afraid we aren't there yet. There are great many books written about BPM but are they coherent? I'm not criticizing here - it's a real issue our customer are facing. They ask: "This BPM thing sounds great but where can I read about it? Which university and/or business school provides true BPM pros? Can I replace one BPM specialist by another or are you all gurus each of your own kind?" ABPMP CBOK is the best attempt I'm aware of at the moment but it's far from being perfect. How can we expect a majority of customers to adopt BPM when it's clearly not fully mature as a discipline.
3) But probably the biggest challenge is that organization needs a solid set of internal capabilities and something in its values and culture to be successful in BPM.
How can we - developers and consultants - help this? I do see one opportunity. As for today, BPM is mostly do-it-your-self adventure. This is the essence of BPM: whatever can be standardized is already implemented in of-the-shelf software (ERP and alike), BPM is about "systems of differentiation". But does it mean that every BPM solution should be developed from scratch? Every BPM customer would be grateful if they could leverage a packaged framework for a specific application domain. Ideally, there should be a marketplace for such frameworks developed both by the platform vendors and wide range of partners. People are accustomed to this model already with iThings and Android apps. In BPM case it'd be a framework rather than a ready-to use application but it'll deliver lot of value anyway. I believe this is a challenge for all of us - vendors, consultants and customers.
Sorry for the long post and no definite answer to the question.
What are the biggest challenges BPM will face in 2015
Let’s look at the trends…
So Here’s Four Big Challenges…
I like Peter J's summary and other contributions that see the challenge will be recognition of "how" the BPM supporting software actually works. This is highlighted in Scott’s final comment "Interestingly, none of the bigger BPM vendors are really focused on improving BPM functionality. This means lots of opportunity for new vendors and upstarts to make some noise, because the depth of BPM functionality hasn't been fully plumbed" herein lie the real challenges in 2015.
For a start will the big "BPM vendors" who have invested Billions $ be ready to write off this investment -NO! They will fight their corner as the new challengers will bring both simplicity with comprehensive capability that next generation software needs to support the "outside-in" people first digitisation that is only really now starting. This of course is being highlighted as mobile and IOE go mainstream for business operations but still needs that vital orchestration of data.
I have said on a number of occasions that BPM thinking should have no limitations but to see this in practice in working "adaptive" applications will require a new underlying approach to the software and that means minimal coding yet handling business operational requirements customised as required. That is a huge challenge to an industry that has uniquely matured on the back of a stack of immature enterprise software.
2015 will be an interesting year for the BPM movement although ironically I do not see the software having a “BPM” tag – descriptions will describe what the software actually does. In some ways this has started with ACM ……
What would be the response to Peter Schooff's boiler-plate end-of-year question on "challenges for BPM in 2015".
Absolutely fantastic! As per the comments above, the intersection of technology and business via BPM is centrally important and has great promise -- but with the serious challenges listed. And there is reason to believe that 2015 could be (as Clay Richardson would have it) "a tipping point".
I would add by referring to Richardson's 2015 Forrester forecast for BPM, to wit his highlighting of two key phenomenon: (1) the shift to BPM-as-app-dev-platform and (2) the shift to BPM-as-customer-experience-platform. I concur that these two processes, one technology-related and the other business-related, will be key drivers for the world of BPM in 2015. (I'm taking Peter's question as "what is the state of the union for BPM" -- but one could see both of Richardson's processes ", pace Alex Trebek, "in the form of a challenge" too.)
And I add one more 2015 challenge: "Responding to the possibilities posed by new "process mining technology".
Coincidentally I'm taking Prof. van der Aalst's current Coursera Process Mining course, and it's amazing. Process mining is clearly revolutionary in its potential impact on the world of business process management. The impact is on technology, methodology and business. And gets to the very heart of many of the issues discussed here, including the central question of model versus reality.