This is a difficult question as we live in uncertain times. I think the biggest issue will be linking BPM efforts to the shifting business goals depending on the economy.
If the economy keeps growing, even at a low level, the issue for BPM is to link to the surging digital efforts. I think this a 60% scenario
If the economy retracts, then it will be about cost and efficiency. I think this is a 10% scenario
If the economy is up and down, then BPM had better be good at both cost saving and supporting differentiating efforts. If think this is a 30% scenario
Any way it goes we have the challenge to show business that BPM is built for change and is not just for stable and predictable processes. This old mindset lingers and is propigated by the whole 6 Sigma possey and the impression standards give them (BPMN and others).
Just my two cents
The challange is convincing BPM vendors that anyone cares about their latest technology.
The buyers are now business leaders and managers who care only about outcomes; better CX, happier staff, lower costs, reduced compliance failures, fewer product returns, higher margins, and the ability to be more responsive to change.
All these outcomes lead to more happier, more productive employees which leads to better, more loyal customers, which leads to better profits, which leads to happier staff.........
Now, can I tell you about my device-independent, IoT connected, persona-based, adaptive case management with added inductive analytics? It will only take a minute.
People will still chase the "cheapest" vendor, rather than the vendor that produces working solutions. It turns out the "cheapest" vendors are usually the most expensive, because you don't end up with working software.
My customers want the following . . . .
Continue along the path of getting functional units to where they are able to build, own and manage their own workflows, with the help of IT to bridge across functional units and with the help of IT or a BI/BA unit to help them put together Rule Sets.
Evolve a common definition of "low code" so that customers licensing sofware know what they are getting into and can decide for themselves whether they are getting onto a slippery slope with a vendor.
Educate users on CASE so they understand that in respect of any industry where there are knowledge workers, it is essentilal to be able to host a mix of structured and unstructured (ad hoc) interventions at run-time within some semi-automated environment where they get:
a) guidance from background BPM [workflow]
b) governance from the environment. (i.e. Rule Sets that can ":rein-in", extreme, unwanted deviation away from "best practices") [workflow]
c) cross-CASE resource allocation, leveling and balancing [workload]
d) ways and means of setting up CASE level objectives so they know when to close CASES they set up
e) reasonable interoperability so that the BPMs does not become a "black box" - data needs to flow in from local and remote 3rd party systems and applications, it needs to flow out to knowledgebases (for consolidating CASE data), to data warehouses for analytics and to/from an increasing range of mobile and fixed systems that generate data, enfich data and subscribe to data.
I think the biggest challenge is moving right in the Moore’s Adoption Curve and hit the Mainstreet of smaller companies.
I mean, big companies uses BPM, as government agencies do. And a few small or medium very innovative companies too. But the majority of small and medium enterprises / businesses (SME) is still using human memory, spreadsheets and mails to manage their business processes.
We wrote a post called “What do SMEs need to massively automate their business processes?” in which we found 3 main reasons that keep SME’s away from BPM:
Identified those barriers, the solution to hit the biggest market of SME is buildingBPM Suites specially aimed for SME,in which the SME not only is able to pay the costs, but also is able to define their processes by themselves. This implies a BPMN simplification of course (not the full standard), but also an appropriate IaaS to run the BPM Suite, easy management tools, already configured Business Analytics to measure the processes, a flexible user-licenses model… In sum, a specific product for SME’s needs.We at Flokzu are working right now with this objective, very focused on what SME really needs (no makeup ;)
I think the biggest challenge facing BPM is relevance. Traditional BPM with its code-centric model is basically in competition with Apps. App development costs and times are coming down rapidly. Furthermore Apps tend to be more functional, better integrated etc.
The only way for traditional BPM to compete with apps is on flexibility. But the flexibility needs to be 5-10x that of a traditional app to sway I.T. towards building on BPM vs. Building Apps.
The flip side of this challenge is also an opportunity. A BPM approach unambiguously geared towards knowledge workers is where I believe the future of BPM lies. A corollary to being geared towards knowledge workers is zero-code or code-later. Another corollary, is that this new kind of BPM (what we call Lean BPM) may look very different from traditional BPM. It will have a closer resemblance to knowledge worker tools like email, project management etc.
Maintaining BPM integrity as a discipline and way of thinking that is now supported by the required "adaptive" software that can actually deliver exactly what business articulates. It is back to basics for business regaining control from old IT their operational people process where all information is created. All this will start the journey to deliver "assurance" on business activity for the external interested parties. So the real challenge "who" is going to drive this......will the accounting profession rise to the challenge?
I don't care about the challenges for BPM in general, because BPM in general is nothing. Ok, you might say it's a set of methodologies, standards, tools etc, but what I care most about is MY processes.
I know my processes are quite OK; not much waste, not too high costs, but my biggest challenge is not the process, but the process result.
Do customers still want my stuff in the future? Are there competitors that will offer better stuff? So, will my efficient and lean processes still deliver stuff somebody likes to give me some money for? Am I adaptive enough?
Hey, that looks like business. mmm. maybe that's why it is called BUSINESS process management.
I wish you all happy processes in 2016!
The challange ahead for BPM is not the vendors but the SI's who are still approaching BPM as a 'project' and not a programme of transformation change! They are the killers of the BPM market.
Why is Visio still the perceived standard for process work? It is very baffling that in 2015 organisations are still letting consulting firms get away with them using Visio and other such non-fit-for-purpose tools when it comes to process improvement. How on earth can BPM move on from being tactical and in essence fighting against other proposistions when you have people pulling the wool over peoples eyes and suggest that a Visio process is good enough to be deployed to every employee in the business that is engaging and interactive. Come on, enough is enough!
BPM will struggle way beyond 2016 unless this issued isn't dealt with. Fortunetly, for all our customers at Roc, they have seen the light and chosen a different path and are reaping the huge fiscal, commercial and cultural benefits.
Good BPM needs good enterprisemethodology and an approach for it to succeed. Vendors need to sit up and pay attention and stop falling for the big SI trap of bright lights and big money. It has failed for years.
I agree with Scott, Walter, John and Ranjit that the biggest challenge for BPM is to provide the BPM value stream (discipline, tools, practice/architecture, UX/CX, dev., etc.) which is unquestionably more attractive (primarily cheaper) for various clients (including SMEs) than any other option (classic dev., apps, zero-code, CRM platforms, etc.).
Ideally, the BPM community (maybe driven by BPM.COM) will consider soon its own value stream to come up with its optimisation.