This week at AppianWorld

When a technology sector becomes truly transformative, inevitably there are those who, unable to credibly claim their role in its leadership, instead seek fame by declaring its dead – "The Internet's dead, we're all about the post-Internet now!" Yep, Internet's closed. Go home. Never mind that the greatest transformation in human history, changing every aspect of our lives – industry, education, healthcare, agriculture, entertainment, government and globalization – everything changing, still right now, because of. . . the Internet.

Once it is so vividly and brilliantly alive, in come the contrarians to declare it dead. Of course there is difference between being truly dead (i.e., done, passé, pwned, jumped the shark) versus having reached a level of maturity and critical mass, where there is fading notoriety in simply knowing about it, and instead what counts is what you do with it.

We used to say "The Internet changes everything." Because it did. Still does. Even after the point at which it transforms from disruption over to actual innovation. The Internet today can hardly be called disruptive, the disruption happened some time ago. Now we are seeing wave after wave of innovation, transforming everything. Albeit not everything at the same time.

BPM and Case Management are at once both transformative and disruptive. What is dead is that idea that BPM is exotic, outlier technology that has niche uses, inevitably to be replaced with something bigger and better. That's dead. Dance on its grave.

What is brilliantly alive is the BPM on which many (not yet all) of the most innovative, successful, and largest firms in the world run their businesses on. Not run in their business, not simply pushing paperwork around or otherwise playing a bit part in the enterprise, but serving as the fundamental foundation responsible 24/7/365 for generating revenue, managing the customer the experience, and enabling innovation.

This sums up my take-aways from this week at AppianWorld. It is also why now is the most exciting period in my 20-year career with BPM and Case Management.

photo courtesy of @processpundit offers a sense of the crowd size

AppianWorld has indeed emerged as a bellwether for the BPM industry. Our bpmNEXT event is bellwether of another kind – of what's next in the full spectrum of BPM and Case Management technology. Our BPM and Case Management Global Summit is yet another approach – understanding what's possible with BPM and Case Management plus the tools and techniques needed to get you there.

But AppianWorld, both traditionally (certainly the last few years) and most definitively this week, validates just how exciting and transformative the BPM industry is right now, as well as the fact this is not a unique, temporal or short-lived phenomenon. The momentum behind BPM and Case Management is undeniable, and likely unstoppable. It is not a trend, it is a force.
We are seeing the proof-points in growing numbers, and this week was full of them.

One of the first sessions was by CME Group, the world's largest derivatives market place who manages more than "$1 Quadrillion" in annual transaction volume (that is one thousand million million or one thousand trillion). CME spoke on "BPM for Revenue vs Efficiency" – which still stands out, although it is becoming the norm. BPM isn't (just) about saving money, it's about making money.

CME runs its business on BPM (in this case Appian's BPM). To make this happen, the team sold this idea to the senior leadership not as a cost-saving plan, but as growth strategy. This week two represents from the BPM team told a compelling story about creating a "Process Excellence Culture" and establishing a feedback loop for scaling the business with new capabilities, operational visibility and actionability of ideas – finding new targets and making them happen.

CME launched nearly 200 new products on the BPM platform, demonstrated faster time to revenue, and formalized their focus on Customer Experience, for which they credit BPM for being uniquely able to deliver.

They offered some valuable lessons for achieving measurable success: stick to quick releases, scale the team with the growth of the program's success (i.e., make the internal team part of a growing BPM-enable portfolio of new applications and capabilities); develop a "metric culture" to ensure the results are measurable, and leverage customer engagement as the vehicle for gaining/maintaining management buy-in.

The CME story was echoed by many in attendance – not just presenters but others with stories of how BPM is fundamentally transforming their business, towards growth and innovation. For the contrarians we all know (albeit most live their sad lives within a shrinking echo chamber) their claim is that "BPM didn't do that..." when we look at innovation pushing the boundaries of BPM into the cloud, mobile, wearables and beyond (what's beyond wearable? You'll see).

appianworldBut the contrarians miss the point. Appian's lead product strategist Malcom Ross delivered a great talk which showcased the latest capabilities offered with Appian 7.5, but also one the best frames of frames of reference I have seen for understanding why BPM and Case Management, as it is today not yesterday, is so critical to how we work, and live.

Stepping from the ENIAC to the Mainframe, PC revolution, home office computing, to tablets and smartphones – computing has evolved (in relatively short period of time) from something distant and discrete, to omnipresent force for which there is no longer any identifiable demarcation.

Today every workforce is mobile. Every customer lives in a digital world. Whether or not you have a strategy in place to empower you workforce or ensure optimal customer experience does not change their expectations, only your success.

The app is not the platform for success any more than the Internet itself if a business strategy. The platform for driving innovation – for making mobility work, for ensuring optimal customer experience, for delivering new products and services – is BPM and Case Management.

We saw other examples such as how BPM is transforming not the billing of medical services (albeit that too – in a big way) but that actual delivery of clinical services, quality of care and patient outcomes (see it here on YouTube).

We saw an example (from one of our BPM and Case Management Globe Summit speakers, read more on this story here) on how combining BPM with GoogleGlass extends the reach of Case Management into the field through a wearable interface.

This week offered more insight and industry updates than can be captured in one sitting. Next up will be:

  • The new capabilities unveiled by Appian for the Appian 7.5 release
  • What this week (and surrounding rumors and events) means for the future of the BPM industry
Nathaniel Palmer
Author: Nathaniel PalmerWebsite: http://bpm.com
VP and CTO
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 BPM.com, 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 Amazon.com 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.