Minimum Viable Definition of BPM Technology, Part 1: The Kitchen Sink

Part 2 Part 1BPM automation technology is attractive to organizational leaders and staff for all the reasons explored in Paper I.

BPM automation technology is also challenging – even overwhelming -- when all related technologies are added in. According to Gartner, BPM is comprised of a collection of 40 separate technologies, each of which has a spot on the 2015 BPM Hype Curve1.

On one hand, all these technologies add up to enormous power; at the same time the start-up and on-going costs to take advantage of more than a few of these technologies is beyond most organizations.

Of course the market solution to such complexity is to productize, package and partner the technologies. As a result, many of these technologies are available indirectly through channel partners, or embedded as part of overall solutions.

Here is a diagram showing dimensions of BPM technology, starting with the BPM core definition.

Dimensions Of BPM Technology:
Core, Extensions & Complements

Dimensions of BPM Technology

Notes On Dimensions Of BPM Technology
BPM Technology Core

1. Minimum Viable Definition of BPM Technology: The logical and functional foundation of BPM. Includes work and repetition or process as first-class citizens of the technology. BPM-in-use is based around the idea of the automation artefact manufacturing life-cycle, which goes from modeling thru deployment and use, and where process modeling is the focus of BPM value creation. Requires tooling and integration technology tooling for business use (No. 5 below).

The Minimum Viable Definition of BPM software technology is only concerned with the BPM Core.

The second black ring around the BPM Core highlights specialized BPM technology patterns including for example human-centric BPM versus integration centric BPM etc.

BPM Technology Extensions, Complements & Deployments

2. Non-Core BPM: All kinds of specialized and powerful BPM technology extensions and products, including BPaaS (“Business Process As A Service”), Process Mining, Event Stream Processing etc. etc. Gartner Group lists 40 different items on the Hype Cycle for BPM, 2015

3. Embedded BPM: All kinds of software applications, including ERP and applications such as mobile workforce or field service, include embedded BPM; sometimes a full BPM product is available to change or add business processes. And BPM software technology will also likely be an important component of new software “super-platforms”.

4. BPM Complementary: Some technologies are complementary to BPM and irreducibly unique in terms of technology. For example, a live business process may route a work request based on results from a business rules engine or an analytics package. Business rules technology is especially important as a complement to BPM in terms of managing process complexity.

5. BPM Tooling & Integration: BPM human (UX) and machine interfaces and integration, data integration, security and identity management, process management, software performance management etc. are all software attributes required for a software package to be business-ready.

6. Business Management Practices: Business management practices, for example specific to a given industry or company, or more generally focused on the idea of performance, are external to BPM technology deployments. BPM technology is an enabler of management but BPM technology and BPM programmes should not be confused with general management activities which are in place regardless.


1 Available by subscription from Gartner or via sponsoring third parties.

PointerNext up in the Series -- Paper II, Part 2, The Minimum Viable Definition We strip BPM software technology to the BPM Core, making it easier to perceive the business value of this unique and important technology.

Paper Road Map

There are four papers in the Series: Explore BPM Technology As Revolutionary Enabler:

  1. The first Paper, “Why BPM Is Unique & Important”, introduces the exciting topic of BPM software technology and why BPM so relevant to business today. Work, process and modeling are revealed as built-in to BPM software, enabling rapid construction of new business capabilities. Published in five parts.
  2. This second Paper, “Minimum Viable Definition Of BPM”, introduces the whole BPM ecosystem but then zeros in on the Minimum Viable Definition. Promotion and adoption of BPM software technology is facilitated when the unique value of core BPM is clearPublished in two parts.
  3. The third Paper, “Challenges Of Being A BPM Pioneer”, highlights technical keys to success for a BPM programme. BPM software technology is not mature, and “results may vary”. However, there are ways of narrowing the “cone of outcomes” for your BPM programme.
  4. The fourth Paper, “Adoption Process & BPM Institutionalization”, covers how BPM software technology adoption can accelerate beyond the current technology grid-lock, a process which is less about technology and more about community.

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John Morris