More BPM Predictions from Top Influencers for 2016

Nathaniel Palmer

This change of expectations represents a growing and irreversible and growing impatience, with every form of customer: not simply consumers but voters, partners, suppliers, employees. We want it now, and this impatience is being reinforced and rewarded via the omnipotent trend we’ve been collectively calling “digital disruption.” Whether it is sensor-enabled predictive maintenance or on-demand transportation from a smartphone, we’ll never accept going back to the ways things were.

2016 is turning point, and soon we will have a host of new devices for which we haven’t defined the category for, but are about to become ubiquitous in our homes and businesses. All of them new channels competing for your customers, as well as for you to reach them. If you think the “nurturing emails” of marketing automation are annoying, just wait until your toothbrush and refrigerator get in on the act.

But sure, this is old news. And in fact it was last year’s news when we announced “BPM Everywhere” or BPME. Yet, as Peter Fingar prophetically describes in his prediction below, this now unfolding in 2016 even faster than anticipated. We now truly beginning to see the second order effect of pushing intelligence in edge points. Rather than have one new digital interface, the reality of IoT means many, simultaneous channels of interaction, from smart devices to intelligent agents, from connected cars to social robots.

What does this mean for BPM (and BPME)? Process, Rules, and Data – how we leverage data-driven process intelligence and decision management will be key leverage points for realizing measureable optimization and differentiating competitive advantage. The critical connector there, is rules. Modeling and management of business rules has been an exotic pursuit for the last decade, but it is squarely on the map for 2016.

Again, over the course of 2016 we will be focused on how to fully exploit the emerging tools and methods discussed in this series – how pivot to digital transformation through BPM. We will be kicking off that conversation over the next few weeks with a series of articles, podcasts, webinars and white papers.

We have asked both leading BPM software vendors and the top BPM thought leaders to share their views on what to look for, and what their plans are for 2016. This vision provides a roadmap of not only what is store for BPM in 2016 but the road ahead for digital transformation. Here is the next round of those contributions:

Peter FingarPeter Fingar

What’s old just could be new again. Let’s go way back to 2002 and the writings of Howard Smith in BPM: The Third Wave. The book described a BPMS - a Business Process Management System ...not a Business Process Management Suite made up of multiple, separate components. The true BPMS had “process” as an abstract data type, powered by Robin Milner’s mobile process model underpinned by the Pi Calculus and the language of BPML. Oops, that was too radical, too powerful and certain IT vendors wrested the standards away and gave us BPEL and such so as not to disturb their entrenched technologies being sold to customers. Then, over time, new marketing terms, CRM, ACM, ECM etc. emerged as though they were separate from BPM.

Thus the term BPM began to wane with the focus on these TLAs. But wait, those are all business processes that must be managed (duh, BPM by any other name). And now, add to the mix the Internet of Things (IoT). Oh my. Complexity and confusion abound as we strive to build digital businesses and customer experiences that delight (including using smart wearables and gadgets). Perhaps it won’t happen in 2016, but look for the return of the true BPMS as the great choreographer of the Internet of Everything (Things, Processes, People, and Data) with Things alone representing 32 billion new connections by 2020 (Cisco).

We will end up with BPM of Everything, and those old fashioned Business Rules Management Systems (BRMS) will give way to cognitive computing as IBM Fellow, Dr. Dharmendra Modha describes in his overview of the DARPA’s SyNAPSE initiative, The Cognitive BPM of Everything is inevitable, and the future, as witnessed by several pioneering customer experience companies, is already here. Indeed, as William Gibson said, “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” Oh my, we’re gonna need a true BPMS to power the Cognitive BPM of Everything.

CamundaJakob Freund - Camunda

We have received a tremendous response for supporting the new DMN standard in our open source BPM platform. We therefore believe that 2016 will be the year of DMN adoption, especially in the context of BPMN process automation, since BPMN and DMN are a very good fit.

SapiensMichael Grohs - Sapiens

In 2016 the interplay between Business Process Management, Case Management and Business Decision Management will mature further. We will see a growing number of new companies entering the market with disruptive technology solutions using a combination of the above mentioned tools in an agile fashion to challenge the status–quo, especially in Fintech.

Business Process Management solutions are evolving to become development platforms leveraging Case Management to manage exceptions requiring human interaction, and Business Decision Management to automate thousands and even millions of complex repeatable decisions per day.

Business Decision Management will play an important role in helping businesses in general, and banks in particular, to cope with the avalanche of regulatory requirements they have to deal with by providing Black & White Clarity through modeling, strong governance, and version control. It also will help to bridge the gap between the Business and IT by allowing to capture business logic and author it unambiguously to IT so that it can be consumed by the various execution engines that are in place already.

We will see more vendors offering Business Decision Management solutions with different focus and maturity levels spanning from simple decision modeling tools to sophisticated development platforms. Basically more tools and more capabilities - it's good to be a software buyer in 2016!

Software AGThomas Stoesser - Software AG

Digitization is gaining ground in 2016 for most companies and as a result, platforms that enable them to plan and execute Digital Transformation will see significant adoption. As part of these platforms, there will be three main challenges (or opportunities… depending how you look at it) that organizations need to consider:

  • The emergence of bi-modal IT that recognizes that there are today different personas building applications: IT developers and citizen developers. Here the question is how to make sure that strategic IT development and agile, low-code development does not happen in silos.
  • The relevance of API Management to better enable an organization’s developer eco-system in creating new digital business applications.
  • The unbroken push towards Cloud in order to become more agile and to be able to better control investments.

At the end of the day, all of the above points to how organizations can build better business applications as those are going to be the manifestation of how they become digital enterprises. Older topics like continuous process improvement are not going away and we’ll still see such programs, but it seems clear that the trends are changing in favor of digitization and development of digital business applications.

BizagiGustavo Gomez - CEO, Bizagi

We believe that 2016 will bring the second wave of BPM value – BPM 2.0 if you like - and will be driven by the digital transformation agenda. Business process management in the digital age will unlock a whole new capability for organisations to respond to changing business environments. BPM will help enable agile, connected ecosystems of partners and users across the value chain where people, data and behaviour will trigger processes and where both personalisation and contextualisation will be key to differentiation.

As part of this shift, the perceived boundaries of BPM will be re-defined. Business processes will begin to orchestrate people, applications and devices across industries and geographies. As companies grapple with how best to defend existing or adopt new business models we will see rapidly evolving value chains enabled by BPM, raising the strategic position of the sector

At Bizagi, our focus through the year will be on working with such companies around the world, delivering the BPM innovation we’re renowned for and helping our customers to seamlessly transition to, and win in, the digital age.

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Nathaniel Palmer

Rated as the #1 Most Influential Thought Leader in Business Process Management (BPM) by independent research, Nathaniel Palmer is recognized as one of the early originators of BPM, and has led the design for some of the industry’s largest-scale and most complex projects involving investments of $200 Million or more. Today he is the Editor-in-Chief of, as well as the Executive Director of the Workflow Management Coalition, as well as VP and CTO of BPM, Inc. Previously he had been the BPM Practice Director of SRA International, and prior to that Director, Business Consulting for Perot Systems Corp, as well as spent over a decade with Delphi Group serving as VP and CTO. He frequently tops the lists of the most recognized names in his field, and was the first individual named as Laureate in Workflow. Nathaniel has authored or co-authored a dozen books on process innovation and business transformation, including “Intelligent BPM” (2013), “How Knowledge Workers Get Things Done” (2012), “Social BPM” (2011), “Mastering the Unpredictable” (2008) which reached #2 on the Best Seller’s List, “Excellence in Practice” (2007), “Encyclopedia of Database Systems” (2007) and “The X-Economy” (2001). He has been featured in numerous media ranging from Fortune to The New York Times to National Public Radio. Nathaniel holds a DISCO Secret Clearance as well as a Position of Trust with in the U.S. federal government.