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What do you think is the biggest challenge that BPM will face in the next year or so?
Thursday, June 05 2014, 09:54 AM
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Responses (19)
  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, June 05 2014, 10:03 AM - #Permalink
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    Staying relevant. The dynamics of business continue to be fixing the symptom quickly and cheaply is easier to fund and do than fixing the problem and the root (often systemic) cause. If we are seeing an uplift in the economy, and it's real and sustained, this rising tide will mask the need for the kind of fundamental improvement BPM offers. So we have to keep reminding our organizations that tides ebb too and, as Warren Buffet said, "when the tide goes out we'll see who's swimming naked."
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, June 05 2014, 10:08 AM - #Permalink
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    1. Smooth integration of project, process, case and functional work within a single environment with unified task management and all-around resource planning. 2. "What You Architect Is What You Run". Existing BPMS has implemented "What You Model Is What You Run" principle and it was a big step forward. Yet the architecture modeling remains a separate archipelago which leads to a gap between architecture and execution. It's time to close this gap.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, June 05 2014, 10:11 AM - #Permalink
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    The fragmentation of the web (via apps) presents the biggest challenge - the business process gets chopped off into multiple apps that don't really talk consistently with each other. This is augmented by the BYOD trend and the struggle between the legacy BPMS landscape vs the cloud movers.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, June 05 2014, 10:15 AM - #Permalink
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    The challenge for BPM is to leverage the adoption of popular cloud services like IFTTT and Trello. BPM requires some learning curve and some abstract concepts. Only a fraction of all business professionals understand the value of BPM. Some new cloud services do aspects of BPM. In case of IFTTT it is integration for non-techies. For Trello it's case based collaboration in simple task lists. But they don't require a long learning curve. Because of that they are gaining momentum fast. That large pool of people that are liking those solutions maybe want to learn more about BPM and see the value of the other aspects. I believe that the challenge for BPM will be to explain that group they are actually doing BPM (or an aspect of it). So that challenge then actually becomes an opportunity to break BPM open to much bigger adoption then we already see today. The other way round, the challenge is for BPM products not to be surpassed by new services that offer similar aspects, better simpler and cheaper on the cloud, even if they only do a small portion of what BPM can do. The challenge here is to ensure that people understand that BPM is more features then these highly focussed, but popular solutions.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, June 05 2014, 10:35 AM - #Permalink
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    BPM is challenged by a number of issues at once, but my top three are as follows: 1. The ability for organizations and people to adapt to the change that agile BPM delivers 2. The expanding scopes of processes as BPM has proved it can deliver revenue, better customer experiences, better practices and cost savings 3. The ability to absorb and properly leverage emerging technologies such as cognitive computing, agents, adaptive case, intelligent internet, big data, poly-analytics, social, mobile and cloud. Who knows whats's next in the shiny object queue?
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, June 05 2014, 10:48 AM - #Permalink
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    Enabling change. Technology innovation needs the right skillsets, implementation and change management methodologies, and acceptance to realize results. Success depends on organizations investing in all of them. Also, I see enabling detached users to fully participate as fertile ground for BPM products.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, June 05 2014, 11:59 AM - #Permalink
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    These are all good responses. Even after years of educating people about BPM and BPM Systems, it is easy for them to be confused by product features offered by applications - both BPMS and other applications that have functional overlap. I am seeing this in the confusion with my prospects and current customers. I have been trying to stop the fragmenting of applications use for their processes which causes a much less efficient work day yet they just aren't seeing the problems until too late or get lucky by chance by talking to the right consultant.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, June 05 2014, 12:00 PM - #Permalink
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    In the short to medium term the challenge for BPM and BPM vendors is to get out of the traditional BPM market and into the process apps market. Long term challenge or opportunity is for BPM is to become a core component of the emerging smart device, IoT market.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, June 05 2014, 01:32 PM - #Permalink
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    BPM has been hanging around with some has-beens – and they are tainting it with their brand. Who wants to be seen hanging around with the Godfather, Frankenstein, Batman and the Beckhams? Let me describe them… 1. The Godfather IBM prides itself on making people an offer they cannot refuse, whatever their IT need. Oracle and SAP do the same - end to end, top to bottom, one suite fits all. The wheels are falling off their bandwagon. Evidence is mounting that they hold companies back, rather than enable them. Even they realise it. They are moving on – to become customer-centric, cloudy, app-style companies. Leaving BPM behind. BPM is tied to their apron strings. But they’ve lost interest. Where does that leave BPM? 2. Frankenstein For decades they’ve worked on rearranging the body parts of companies. Just sign your soul over to us, and you will have redemption from waste. Cut out all those pesky employees. We can make you Lean, they cry. BPM should have vanquished these guys years ago, but they hang around as undead. 3. Batman When you have a problem, just call Batman and he will swoop down and fix it in an instant. That quick fix project mentality ignores the greatest strength of BPM – the constant stream of data which gives real intelligence and predicts what you need to change next. 4. The Beckhams Reassuringly expensive may work for a lager, but CEOs don’t like writing blank cheques. The “If you need to know the price, you can’t afford it” doesn’t work with them and having armies of BPM consultants earning more than the in-house IT guys doesn’t go down well either. Hanging round with these guys is killing BPM. So much for the danger – where’s the opportunity? BPM needs to… 1. Get back in the limelight E-commerce has made customer journeys the sexy new imperative for companies. Luckily it is just what BPM does. And unlike a website, it can do it for web, contact centre and in store, creating a unified customer experience. “Good Processes make Business Social” is the future and the wave is there, now. 2. Be more than just cost cutting Process is about pleasing customers. Making life easy for staff. Delivering real-time intelligence. And unifying systems across countries and all types of operations. So why is it being sold on cost-reduction? 3. Move away from projects What separates BPM from old process improvement projects is that the software delivers data – oceans of it. So you don’t need a guru to get it right first time. BPM and Lean Startup are natural bedfellows – creating a minimum viable product then helping people to continually improve it. BPM can be the business’s future proofing, evolving processes to match changing demand. 4. Be transparent and fair on price I used to bring in nice simple problems which BPM could solve in an instant – a few days anyway. But IBM would take 3 days to give us a license quotation full of CPUs, servers and versions. You could never get a straight answer. Then my boss would add people days, our phone number and multiply it by his shoe size. Suddenly 50k became half a million and the client walked away forever, blaming BPM. Most processes are remarkably standard and BPM makes it easy to change stuff, link in data sources etc. We need to template and simplify until customers can do it themselves. Move from making big money from a few customers to making less money, regularly or continuously, from lots more people.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Ian Gotts
    Ian Gotts
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    Thursday, June 05 2014, 04:20 PM - #Permalink
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    Becoming important and urgent enough to get above the noise of the other corporate initiatives. Hint: that is not about calling yourself "process" or BPM
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, June 05 2014, 05:45 PM - #Permalink
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    4 votes
    Move ASAP from being vendor-centric to becoming customer-centric. How: From standards which follow big products to standards which enable innovative functionality From fighting for basics to cooperation for solving challenges from various sectors From barely reproducible practices to executable patterns From suites to best-to-fit-for-this-client-now From re-inventing architectures to re-using reference architectures From confusing everyone by terminology chaos to guiding clients and vendors by commonly-agreed reference model From separate process-centric applications to a coherent process-centric business execution platform From alchemy to applied science Expected benefits: Clients – got an industrial tool for improving enterprise performance Big vendors – from copy others to specialisation Start-ups – opportunity to bring innovations (thanks to open standards) Consultants – re-using the proven common knowledge for more added-value work Hope that organisers of the forthcoming BPM.COM conference will find an opportunity to talk about this. Thanks, AS
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, June 05 2014, 06:05 PM - #Permalink
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    I am going to look at from a strategic viewpoint recognising the validity of the tactical challenges many have already articulated "BPM" as evolving with supporting software capable of handling "enterprise level" applications seamlessly working together horizontally across the enterprise digitising the front end for one version of the truth. This will be a serious challenge to old "IT". This good article from Mckinsey sums "IT's” challenge up quite nicely http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/business_technology/reinventing_it_to_support_digitization It is important this is recognised by vendors. So what could happen that would set back the "BPM" movement? First calling old software products supporting 21st century requirements of adaptive "BPM" when they clearly will not. This of course creates a poor image that affects all. However as we have been there before and so persistence by challengers should avoid? Then there is the use of descriptive words like "smart and intelligent" even “no code” which when investigated does not really stack up with established players. The biggest disruptor could be a new TLA that in reality is "BPM" but with heavy marketing investment with powerful vested interest ecosystem could set back the good work undertaken by those dedicate to both software technology and management progress. The real challenges will come from the current dominant vendors in software where such "disruption" could quite quickly "crater" their business. It is called the innovators’ dilemma or just plain old human nature's instinct for survival On this here is chilling read slight off topic but it has relevance.(great picture on site!) http://philosophyofmetrics.com/2014/05/23/the-corrupt-primordial-class/ As the article sums it up “We invite more, for with each awareness comes the ability to free more. Tomorrow is depending on it.” I believe adaptive “BPMSolutions at operational level can help with that change.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, June 05 2014, 06:22 PM - #Permalink
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    3 votes
    Dr. Samarin gets it right (well, in the first line of his response, anyway). BPM is under significant pressure to make the transition from the back office, expanding out to the edges of the organization to sales and field personnel, and then finally all the way out to customers, suppliers, and partners. If it can't do that, it will eventually make way for a technology that can.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Friday, June 06 2014, 05:13 AM - #Permalink
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    1 votes
    BPM has already gained a lot of attention within organizations in the past years. However, there is still a long way to cover to anchor BPM in the organization as an essential part of 'the road to operational excellence' or even “the trail to value differentiator”, Business processes are becoming dramatically more agile, transparent, simplified, and efficient. The impact of the mobile user experience shift is even more important in respect to how it is changing our business process designs. Expected mobile user experiences (what customers expect/demand) leave no excuse for inefficient processes. Read more on his Blog post about a new breed of efficient business processes.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Friday, June 06 2014, 08:16 AM - #Permalink
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    3 votes
    The BIGGEST challenge is to overcome what is sadly in abundant display in the responses to Peter's question, though the posters - all people of good intent - are likely blissfully self-unaware of it: BPM needs to stop being seen as a technology platform!. (If you doubt the truth do my assertion, count up the number of responses that are grounded in the assumption that technology is the context of all.) Until that happy though elusive day, BPM is at the mercy of the provincial and self-serving interests of the technology vendors and their enablers (the analyst services) when it comes to being defined. This means that the consistency and competency in practice of the inter-disciplinary nature of BPM will continue to suffer from the vagaries of the wrong market forces and the worst impulses of technologists.
    • Bogdan Nafornita
      more than a month ago
      I agree with you, Lloyd. At the same time though, BPM is realistically deploy-able only through technology, hence the equality sign.
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  • Accepted Answer

    BPM Mentor
    BPM Mentor
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    Sunday, June 08 2014, 01:08 PM - #Permalink
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    Reading all the comments above, it seems that most of you think that the biggest challenge for BPM is in marketing the concept. Quite amazing! After so many years, we are still arguing on what is BPM. I can see only 2 reasons for this: first, BPM is so valuable that a lot can be gained from selling it under different covers. Second (and really sad), BPM players are still struggling to sell it to organizations that need real support. Should I doubt their professionalism, ergo they are playing an easy-money game? Companies losing faith in BPM is the first step in destroying a philosophy that has such a power to change businesses for the better. However, if I try to answer the thread question from a real BPM perspective, one big challenge will be IoT. This concept has the potential to drastically minimize the BPM value. If IoT becomes ubiquitous, when everything will be only 1 click away, what would be the value of a process? I would be interested to further debate on IoT vs. BPM.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Sunday, June 08 2014, 10:26 PM - #Permalink
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    Gartner's Hank Barnes who was with Ultimus in the early BPM days and one of the most "marketing-savvy" analysts I've come across, had this to say in one of his blog posts "But many times, we find that competitors in early markets gets fixated on each other. Once they get some early adoption, the goal is to beat that competitor. That may be okay, but it can also cause you, your competitor, and the market as a whole to get stuck in the cchasm. I personally believe that this may have happened to the business process management (BPM) market. The ROI on most successful BPM projects is eye-popping. This is simply because many processes are sub-optimal, before applying BPM techniques and technologies to improve them. One of the biggest threats to BPM is actually packaged applications, like ERP. ERP systems talk alot about automating processes. While workflow, EAI, and eventually BPM vendors fought with each other, the market for packaged applications exploded. Meanwhile, BPM technologies never seem to have hit their full potential. " You can find the blog post here http://blogs.gartner.com/hank-barnes/2014/02/25/products-markets-and-crossing-the-chasm/ BPM's biggest challenge is to move away from the "best definition for BPM" and demonstrate how customers get 10x ROI when focusing on Process Excellence
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    • BPM Mentor
      more than a month ago
      Right to the point! And now what?
    • Bogdan Nafornita
      more than a month ago
      I see a lot of efforts put into justifying RoI per BPM project. You work your ass off, together with the customer, into defining the as-is, the to-be, computing the cost differential between the two (as the return), computing the implementation cost of your solution (as the investment).

      I wonder, quite rhetorically: if you have to ask your customer to work that hard to compute its own benefit for what you sell to them, maybe that benefit isn't that straightforward.

      The age of huge sales of packaged apps, with their high-touch, high-cost approach is slowly dying.

      So how about stopping selling BPM as a packaged app (as a first step) and remove the RoI objection completely (as a second step).
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  • Accepted Answer

    Monday, June 09 2014, 04:20 PM - #Permalink
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    1 votes
    Hello to all! I see many respectable comments above, but almost all with focu on BPM technologies. In my view, the BPM as a management discipline will always have as a main challenge in the near or more distant future, to prove that management by process is more efficient than traditional management, regardless of the technology adopted. So first, clarify the business strategy, then design the architecture of processes that can best execute the strategy, and as third plane select the technology to support the processes that delivers the best performance, whose selection criterion should be the best business cost/benefit scenario. Real successful Business Cases with the introduction of BPM as a differentiating factor are needed, now and always.
    • BPM Mentor
      more than a month ago
      Top-down approach... but consultancy is much more difficult to sell than packaged apps, isn't it? :-)
    • Jose Camacho
      more than a month ago
      I agree, consultancy is much difficult to sell than package apps, but the main difference is that with this kind of approach you can measure the business benefits, what is really matter in my opinion, and you increase a lot the probabilities to get the client trust for a long time. Selling just the tecnhology, can you do it?
    • BPM Mentor
      more than a month ago
      Of course not, but technology is easier to sell. Nowadays short-term thinking and "quick and dirty" approaches are KINGs. What would you expect?
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, July 29 2014, 09:33 AM - #Permalink
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    2 votes
    Surely the biggest challenge, and biggest opportunity, for BPM is going to be Business Process as a Service (BPaaS)? Given suitable software production tools, good process designers should be able to turn out BPaaS products and bring them to a mass business market in exactly the same way as the Apple App Store and Google's Android marketplace does for games, songs and thousands of innovative and exciting apps. Imagine the Chief Claims Officer of World Insurance Inc browsing virtual BPaaS store shelves looking a new claims handling process which can run in any language and any currency. She finds one that also comes complete with multi-language user-training videos, is multi-country compliant and already has pre-built links with Amazon Web Services for cloud processing and data storage. With no upfront license and hardware purchase plus easy customisation, she buys the new Claim Handling BPaaS on a pay-per-use basis for pennies per transaction, and then immediately makes it available to thousands of World Insurance Inc employees via any of the desktop or mobile devices they happen to use. Integrated with other Cloud utilities such as Storage (SaaS) and Infrastructure (IaaS), the BPaaS software products of the future will be used tens of millions of times but may never be physically bought, installed or maintained on any organisation's server hardware. And who will provide these BPaaS software products? Well the answer is a mix of existing ERP and BPM companies together with smaller companies, even individuals like you and me, with some process knowledge and experience, and the motivation to find a business process need and address it. As someone once said, "Give us the (BPaaS production) tools, and we will finish the job"
    • David Chassels
      more than a month ago
      I think Ross touches on the future of software which will be driven by the digital front end where users sit internal or external. As for the "financing" again as I have mentioned before need to separate salient from non salient processes. The latter readily outsourced but the former needs a new model to allow the customer to “control”.

      I believe businesses will want the best of both worlds with pay as you go and security they "own" their salient processes? This could represent a big financial challenge to established players as costs to build will need to tumble, change needs to be readily supported and there needs to be ability to allow customer to "own" their salient processes. This is the tipping point where such software becomes "mature" and just like any other asset needs to meet all customers’ requirements in terms of payment methods and ownership.
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