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Here we are, a third of the way through Q4. Seems like only yesterday that the year was shiny and new and I was making predictions about what would happen in the BPM universe in 2013. It's almost time for a new set of predictions, but before I go back out on the ledge, let's see how my prognostications panned out this year:

Prediction

Expect further integration of BPM into packaged applications.

Hard Truth

Part of my job is helping partners integrate Process Director into their vertical solutions. This year we've seen an acceleration of that trend, and I assume others in the industry have experienced the same. However, recognition of the importance of this integration among ISVs is moving more slowly than I would expect, given the tremendous value that BPM can add in a broad range of software solutions. The trend continues, however, and I anticipate we will at some point reach a critical mass in which integrated packages establish a clear competitive advantage over standalone products, driving increased activity in this space.

Prediction

Look for a new emphasis on business process as a service.

Hard Truth

The technology stack is being outsourced, layer by layer. In Gartner's model, for example, the layers include BPM platforms, cloud-enabled BPM platforms (CE-BPM), and then BPM Platform-as-a-Service (BPMPaaS). At the next layer, which I would call business process as a service (BPaaS), not only the platform, but the process itself, is outsourced to the vendor.

Today, the process layer is usually outsourced to BPOs (hence the name), who throw inexpensive manpower at the problem. Even the cheapest labor represents a much higher recurring cost than virtually any BPM installation, however.  And so, with their deep expertise in BPM solutions, and the reduction in manpower requirements driven by that technology, BPM vendors (in some cases, in partnership with BPOs) are poised to take over this role.

There are scattered instances of this phenomenon, but change, as always, comes slowly. Again, look for an inflection point, just a bit later than I'd expected.

Bottom Line

All in all, I think I got the trends right, even if things are ambling along at a pokier rate than I'd predicted (or would have preferred). Perhaps in the wake of the continued economic recovery we'll see the pace pick up, but in the meantime, BPM continues to expand in scope and adoption, to the benefit of all.

 

 

Compliance and continuous improvement are two different disciplines that are rarely brought into the same conversation -- yet, they can and should sync up in order to hone in on a common audience: the executive level. Solutions are no longer measured by their ability to enable compliance. Having an eye toward continuous improvement and linking your Six Sigma program with quality/compliance systems will ensure visibility of your initiatives.

As a process-improvement methodology, Six Sigma has been employed across a variety of industry verticals. Originally, it was implemented within the engineering and manufacturing sectors, but today, its reach has expanded to include heavily-regulated spheres such as pharmaceuticals, medical device and the food and beverage industry.

Leadership Sessions 

In the graphic below used in Part 2, I have added another element with pink ovals—the Leadership Sessions.  They are half day sessions for the Process Owners, Project Leads and Facilitators for each team all together.  The Executive Sponsors come for one hour of each session. The Leadership Sessions are the ovals at the top of the graphic; one leadership session comes before each workshop.  (Part 1 of this blog covered the advantages and disadvantages of four types of training.  Part 2 covered Getting Started and the Core Workshops.)

Let me show you how Action Learning works with the unique 3-PEAT process from i4Process.  I call this the 3-PEAT process because it has business process improvement learning happening for 3 different teams at once, all in one workshop.  If you don’t have the bandwidth to do 3 teams, do one or two—that’s fine–but there is synergy and efficiency with more than one team.  (For Part 1 of this blog, see the previous blog.  It discusses the advantages and disadvantages of different types of training methods.)

Which BPM training is best?  Well, the proof is in the pudding – in the results for the organization and in the results for the resources.  For the organization you want to see process improvements implemented and success metrics achieved.  For the resources –leaders, managers, and employees– you want understanding and advocacy of the principles, new skills and continued usage of the skills.  So the answer to this question—Which BPM Training is Best?—is in the approach to training, not the specific vendor, instructor, or content.

That year John Crupi had co-founded JackBe, and I invited him to address our Transformation & Innovation 2006 conference with his vision of real-time data sharing.  He did not disappoint.  He painted of compelling picture of a future that seemed at least a generation away at the time, but has since become a reality.   Today we are starting to see an equally compelling picture take shape, which I suspect will be soon become a reality as well.  Three acquisitions by Software AG have the combined potential to be a technology game-changer.  First Terracotta, then APAMA, and now JackBe.I don't particularly care whether you call it iBPMS, IBO, or what. Either way, this is going to get interesting!See full press release here:RESTON, Va., Aug. 22, 2013 – Software AG (TecDAX: SOW AG) today announced the launch of its new webMethods Intelligent Business Operations Platform (IBO) and the acquisition of JackBe Corporation. JackBe is a privately-held company with headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland and a provider of real-time visual analytics and intelligence software. Real-time visualization and analytics are increasingly important in managing the technology megatrend of large data volumes. Providing rapid deployment and a mash up of different data sources, JackBe will serve as the foundation for Software AG’s new webMethods Intelligent Business Operations Platform. The platform will provide customers with an integrated, real-time awareness of dynamic operations and processes via easy-to-use visualizations. The resulting improved response times and increased quality of business decisions will support decision-makers in achieving better business outcomes.Increasing digitization enables enterprises to modernize their business models by implementing innovative cloud, mobile, social collaboration and big data technologies. This is achieved by extending the enterprises’ existing IT solutions. In this context, the visualization and analytics of large data volumes are becoming key elements in delivering competitive advantages.“The amount of produced data is growing exponentially,” said Software AG’s Chief Technology Officer Dr. Wolfram Jost. “Consequently, the analysis and visualization of huge data volumes in real time will become more and more the basis for fast and intelligent business decisions. With the capabilities of JackBe, we will develop further innovative solutions for our customers in order to support their evolution towards the digital enterprise.”Software AG has acquired JackBe’s corporate office in Chevy Chase, Maryland, its research and development facility based in Silicon Valley as well as its Latin American office in Mexico City. JackBe has a broad customer base in federal government, financial services and the manufacturing sector including customers such as General Electric, Procter & Gamble, Qualcomm, Wells Fargo and Intel. The company was founded in 2003 and has 70 employees. Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.“We are extremely excited to join the Software AG group. With the innovation, engineering and integration prowess of a global player such as Software AG, we believe our customers will benefit greatly from accelerating enhancements to our solutions, but also gain access to a broader product and service offering,” said John Crupi, Chief Technology Officer of JackBe.Software AG’s new webMethods Intelligence Business Operations Platform (IBO)With the acquisition, Software AG also announced the rollout of its new webMethods Intelligent Business Operations Platform (IBO) that will use JackBe’s mashup, analytic and visualization capabilities. The new platform will allow a comprehensive 360-degree view of operational processes by combining live, historical and transactional data with machine-to-machine (Industrial Internet) communications into real-time visualizations.Moreover, the platform will provide the real-time intelligence that executives and operational managers need to make immediate, informed decisions and identify changes that impact the business. It includes tools to rapidly implement those changes, including dynamic and automated business processes leading to improved agility and better process outcomes.JackBe’s leading portfolio, Presto, will also be available immediately as a standalone version. It will be integrated with existing Software AG products and solutions, becoming the new visualization and analytics layer across the entire product suite. Highlights of this announcement include:1)    Software AG’s new webMethods Intelligent Business Operations Platform – available for early access customers as of Q4 20132)    Software AG Presto (formerly called JackBe Presto) as standalone – available immediately3)    Software AG Presto Real-Time Analytics Add-On With Terracotta BigMemory  - available immediatelyMore details on the Software AG’s new webMethods Intelligent Business Operations Platform will be presented at the company’s global customer event, Innovation World, which will be held in San Francisco, California, from October 8-10, 2013. For more details on Innovation World 2013, please visit: http://www.cvent.com/events/innovation-world-2013