1. Peter Schooff
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. Tuesday, May 24 2016, 09:52 AM
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I'm seeing more and more references to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (as with this article in Wired Magazine). So do you think BPM will be one of the key drivers to this Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Walter Bril Accepted Answer

Not sure if BPM will be a key driver as such. But it is certainly a necessity or perhaps maybe even a pre-requisite. Too many times you see initiatives (and thus results) based on too few insight and overview of processes. A lot can be won when BPM becomes a more visible and important part of the mix. Only then it could become (one of) the key drivers IMO.

Note: Added URL that simply reveals yet another result of BPM not being present.
  1. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/five-5-symptoms-uncontrolled-organization-michael-r-neece
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Ian Gotts Accepted Answer

A key enabler, rather than a key driver.

BPM needs to be invited (or gatecrash) the "4th industrial revolution party", rather than be outside looking in through the window seeing all the other technologies (IoT, ERP, big data) all having fun together. The problem is BPM is never invited to any of the really great parties - CRM, big data, digital business - because no one remembers to invite it. That is the problem if you are not part of the "cool kids".
  1. http://the-other.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/The-OTHER-Home-of-Subcultures-and-Style-Documentary_Photography_Molly_Macindoe_Free-party-rave-19.jpg
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Emiel Kelly Accepted Answer

Agree with Walter and Ian. So, I definitely think that BPM as a "way of thinking" will always help, because we still will be talking about processes where: 
input is transformed into output
tasks/activities will be executed (by machines and people)
data is needed to execute a process for a case
data is needed to track the progress of cases
data is needed to check the performance of processes

Not sure if BPM suites as we know them can be of use in Industry 4.0 environments. Although most BPM suites are turned into Digital Business Platforms these days it still feels like thinking you can replace the electrical engine of a Tesla by the one of Lawn mower and expecting that everyone thinks that's an improvement. Lawn mower engines aren't one of the cool kids ;-)
Sharing my adventures in Process World via Procesje.nl
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Bogdan Nafornita Accepted Answer

To the desperation of ACM pundits, this revolution is about folding extreme efficiencies into proximity manufacturing facilities.

BPM suites are not suited (pun intended) for this new industrial revolution.

But BPM / workflow engines are - and should be royally abused for that purpose: events capturing, automated rules processing, real-time monitoring...
Managing Founder, profluo.com
  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 4
John Morris Accepted Answer


(If we accept Mr. Gott's change of word to "enable" . . . )

Because without BPM the complexity will drown us.

Consider that . . .

[b]IR#4=PROCESSES [/b]
-- "Industrial Revolution No. 4" {it looks like the German gov't sponsored term has now been accepted) is very much about layering of lots of new virtual and real services work, which necessarily are built around processes, at any scale, finely diced, and flexible, and that

-- therefore as the IR#4 phenomenon proceeds, the number of IR#4 work processes needing automation is escalating and will continue to do so, and that

-- BPM is THE technology of work automation where concepts of work automation are native or first class citizens of that technology, and also that

-- IR#4 N:N complexity is exponential and IR#4 will become to expensive to build for if required models of work processes are not managed via native automation technology (i.e. if attempted in code rather than BPM), and so

-- therefore, by definition, BPM is a necessary enabling technology by which the IR#4 is possible.

[There's a assumption in the above model concerning the nature of IR#4, specifically that world commerce evolves as a large number of autonomous actors and ecosystems, and that ecommerce does not evolve to the Borg, or a small number of super corporations, or the revival of Gosplan. In such depressing cases then one could imagine that N:N complexity would less of a problem. It would be like how EDI started and if you were selling to General Motors, it was their way or the highway. One interface and one process to rule them all]
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 year ago
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  3. # 5
this revolution is about coordination between devices, robots and people. BPM is very strong with it. The industrial nature of this revolition is about standardization. BPM is very weak with it. So this may become yet another lost opportunity for BPM.

The word "standard" is mentioned 5 times in the cited page. There are a lot of international industrial standards from ISO and IEC. We, the BPM community, must become serious about standards. Maybe this is a reason that BPM "is never invited to any of the really great parties" - BPM is not authentic. 'Each BPM vendor, each BPM consultant, each BPM “body-of-knowledge” and each BPM client (i.e. enterprise) understands BPM differently.' (ref1 to Laws of BPM http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2015/07/laws-of-bpm-business-process-management.html )
Alex, I absolutely agree with your assessment ref: BPM not authentic.

My fear this will not be fixed anytime soon. See the DMN trend - every vendor implements whatever they want in whatever way they deem necessary. It may be okay for their own business, but then the spirit of the standard becomes somewhat moot.
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
  2. 1 year ago
Thanks Bogdan. I think, developing standard APIs for BPM-suite tools should be the first step. CMIS is an example.

And see you in Lisbon.
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David Chassels Accepted Answer

Yes as the initial thinking but needs that next generation software that supports the outside in approach where adaptive capability supports business exactly as required. Like all industrial revolutions there will be big winners and also very big losers.....

Pricing will create big problems for old generation vendors and those that rely on associated service work. A long overdue move to commoditisation of enterprise software with new pricing and selling models.

So next move? Educate end users remove conflicts of interest in analyst community .....It will happen...someday....?
  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 7

Easy to invent 1,000 scenarios, none of which may happen.

We may see a big shift toward discrete manufacturing where we have inventory of somewhat standardized assemblies (not parts), ready to be combined for a particular customer/order.

The idea of machines on wheels seems like a good one.

The machines will look at a customer order, get parts/assemblies and bring them to a staging/shipping area where the assembly for the order takes place (i.e. why build anywhere other than close to shipping?).

If things go this way, “production lines” will fade (the machines go to the places where work is needed). Read less BPM.

Machines on wheels means a machine running low on battery can by itself go to the battery inventory and do a swap. (no need to take the machine off-line)

For maintenance of the machines, they go to a maintenance area or a maintenance machine visits the machine needing maintenance.

Filling inventory would involve ordering as usual for outsourcing, but for locally manufactured parts/assemblies the machines go to where the inventory is kept and top up the inventory. If one machine can go to several locations and do work (i.e. re-configure itself), then the organization of the inventory may no longer favor parts picking – we would want to minimize travel for the machines.

Seems to me the machines need to consult a work breakdown structure template instance per customer order (template for the non-custom build, instances for custom-build), picking assemblies instead of parts) and build the required quantity for that order.

Up to now the options for parts have been local mfg or outsourcing. I can see a 3D printer machine doing rounds, replenishing inventory.

We had a hospital customer back in the mid 2000's where patient orders would go to a central machine that prepared the meals (individualized for each patient), complete with all of the pills needed per meal, then a robot cart would go down the ward on a track, stopping at each area. An attendant would remove the trays, match a bar code on the tray with the bar code on the bed. This was in Osaka.
Anyone want to partner with Civerex on 4th Industrial Revolution software?

We can contribute a graphic environment that lets a manager view 10,000 orders, 100,000 inventory items, several thousand machines-on-wheels, all from one computer screen.

Click on any order, you get to see the status of the various WBS components for that order, icing on the cake would be to light up the machines assigned to the order, where they are, what they are working on, whether there are any problems. Completed WBS nodes in green, in-progress in yellow, red for problem areas.

We built a Kbase for all orbiting satellites (commercial and military), then a second for US Dept of State Country Profiles (all countries) and are now rolling a "center of excellence" kb on "autism spectrum disorders" (about 10,000 nodes comprising grants, researchers, published papers, clinics, advocacy groups, best practice protocols).
Of course, if you rotate a WBS 90 degrees clockwise, it looks somewhat like a flowgraph except that in "new manufacturing" you no longer have to engage all of the steps that appear on the left hand side.

If you have available an assembly that includes 50 parts merged to 5 sub-assemblies, you simply record "done" at the converging node.

If assemblies a, b and c are needed to make d, you cannot do "d" until you have a, b and c. Probably not worth it to do a partial assembly of a, b, then wait for c.
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  3. # 8

As Bill Gates said "The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency" so with efficiënt Operations (read efficiënt process) you can think of Industy 4.0, otherwise it will only be a burdon.
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