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  1. Peter Schooff
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. Tuesday, September 12 2017, 09:55 AM
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A question Derek Miers posed at the last bpmNEXT: If BPM is the silver bullet so many say it is, then why do you think it hasn't taken over yet?
Hunters (i.e. consultants) are using a self-made not standard powder (see the 1st law of BPM).
Guns (i.e. all the IT environment) are not designed for such bullets (see the 16th law of BPM).
Targets (i.e. problems to be solved by BPM) are real not imagined werewolf, witch, or other monsters.

Thanks,
AS
References
  1. https://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2015/07/laws-of-bpm-business-process-management.html
Comment
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 1
Patrick Lujan Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
Ummm... because the "so many" who who said it was were wrong? That is, to be very clear, BPM isn't a silver bullet. It's one tool, discipline in the arsenal that, when applied correctly, can make a difference but is no more of a silver bullet than a host of other technologies and platforms proclaimed to be so over the years. Nothing is, ever will be. Why? People, politics and money.

And our industry is rife with hyperbole and kool-aid.
Comment
As far as I remember, all witch hunters had other weapons in addition to silver bullets. Thus there are always many tools in the arsenal. BPM is the one of them which can do the most complex job.
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 2
Ian Gotts Accepted Answer
BPM has taken over, except it is not sold as "BPM" anymore. Selling your product as "BPM" is fighting for a better yesterday

DellBoomi sales are growing 70-80% year on year, despite their confused marketing message.
Salesforce has several BPM products that people just use everyday - revenue $10bn and climbing.
Box.com is BPM for documents - growing massively.
Docusign is BPM for esignatures - on fire.
and the list goes on and on
Comment
LOL "fighting for a better yesterday" . . .
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 week ago
Before it is a market, it's "BPM", after it is a market it gets a name and it isn't BPM anymore :)
  1. Scott Francis
  2. 1 week ago
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 3
Peter Whibley Accepted Answer
- BPM tools are too complex
- Business transformation initiatives using BPM projects are expensive and employees are cheap (many haven't had a pay rise since the crash).
- Execs incentivised on short term share price and quarterly earnings are not interested in long term strategic initiatives.

Minor rapid short term workflow and RPA projects will continue to erode the market for large scale BPM suites.
Comment
Nice reference to economics . . .
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 week ago
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 4
David Chassels Accepted Answer
BPM supporting software was not up to the job in early days and only recently are the real challengers emerging with next generation no low code software closing the gap between "IT" and business allowing business to take control of adaptive processes. Be under no illusion this is very disruptive for established big suppliers. It is going to a tough nut to crack but with some innovative support and financing for firing the "silver bullet" just a question of time......
Comment
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 5
Kay Winkler Accepted Answer
I completely agree with Ian. BPM itself has been widely adopted on several levels and with different flavors, and has since become somewhat of a commodity. That is not necessarily a bad thing, since this requires vendors and system integrators to innovate in order to achieve value added differentiation.
So, looking forward, there will have to be a strong focus on vertical, very specific and pre-made BPM solutions as well as broader enhancements in terms of techncial BPM accompanying features like IoT, BRE, notations and many others.
NSI Soluciones - ABPMP PTY
Comment
Re: your reference @Kay to "vertical" and "pre-made", there are deep implications, I think, to "work", specifically the "tacit" and the idea that automation is not so easy, especially once we get beyond commodities.
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 week ago
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 6
Patrick makes a good point with "BPM isn't a silver bullet. It's one tool, discipline in the arsenal"

See "Can your BPMs improve operational effectiveness and efficiency?" for details on what BPM can and cannot do"

http://wp.me/pzzpB-Qg";
Comment
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 7
Kai Laamanen Accepted Answer
BPM and the tools is widely used in any it-related development. BPM is not very widely used as management approach. Here are my observations:

1. Most leaders have background different from engineering or computer science, which may favor BPM. We have many executives having background in finance, legal, human resource management, marketing, business administration, social/human sciences etc. Those educational streams have their own approaches how to run business. Every person has in his mind a framework or belief system, which helps him to make sense out of the world (incl. business) based on their education and past experience.

2. My view to the organization is that we have or should have three structures in place: a) hierarchical command to control, b) value creation for customer and c) friendship emerging from shared experiences and history. The hierarchical structure is easy to make visible. The two other structures are not so easy to grasp. Especially to understand the value creation takes a lot of time. If we manage somehow the present business, we are not eager to make the investment. When difficulties emerge, we just run faster instead of starting to build a bike.

3. Many executives live in very political environment where short term results and trying to spot guilty people for bad results, is more meaningful than long term survival. This might be also somewhat cultural phenomena in US looking for heroic act from individual instead e.g. Japan (Asian cultures) where the collaboration is more valued. Both cultures have of course their merits.

4. The BPM advocates have mostly their background in technical systems where the BPM has it's roots. Those people try to apply the technical BPM approaches and tools to the social systems leading in most cases to failure. This builds bad reputation for BPM. One of the most important mistakes is to describe the business processes in too detail... loosing the forest from trees. Details destroy understanding. The second very common mistake is not to build ownership. The business process is a social construct. If there is no ownership, the whole process disappears.

br. Kai
Comment
@Kai . . Interesting observations - Yes for #1, #2, #3 and #4

The solution to avoid "describing the business process in too detail" is to add to your mapping environment, overarching summaries, so that one audience sees "start-1-2-3-4-5-end" whereas another sees "start-end" For run time use it is essential to go down to the level where one and only one person "owns" a task that has become current along a process template. Of course, if a task runs more than say 8 hours and there are 3 shifts, you need a way to effect "task handoffs"

I have worked both in Japan/Asia and NA. You are right about the cultural differences.

In summary, I don't see a problem with BPM being used by IT and BPM not being used by management.

My work spans strategy and operations and it is my experience that each can happily own parts of the business and use tools they are familiar with and like.

"strategy ->cases-> workflow " can be seamless, as can "workflow -> cases -> strategy"
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 8
E Scott Menter Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
It's worth remembering that there there are plenty of oxen gored by BPM technology and what it represents. Jason Bloomberg expressed this observation succinctly:

Such [Low-Code/No-Code] innovations are too disruptive – so disruptive, in fact, that many different constituencies are resisting, each one sticking its thumb in the dike, hoping to hold back the ocean


The entire article is well worth reading.
References
  1. https://intellyx.com/2017/07/05/low-codeno-code-is-far-more-disruptive-than-you-think/
http://www.bplogix.com/images/icon-x-medium.png Scott
Comment
Scott . . . Interesting article indeed.

IMO, we are already at "Low-Code and No-Code will merge into a single market segment " - it's easy to spot this across departments within the same organization where process owners have built their own apps.

In one app, you see branching decision boxes of the auto-commit type or decision boxes that offer predictive analytics choices and then, in a 2nd app, built by a different department, you see branching decision boxes that need to be referred to a user at run time (because, the second dept had no resources capable of putting in place the rule sets needed for auto-branching).

Scott Thanks Great article ...at last articulation of the challenge we have faced over 20 years! Our basis of our R&D on no code published here https://www.igi-global.com/chapter/object-model-development-engineering/78620 We were decades ahead of the game but now we see the game about to start with solid early adopters none of which involved IT in build! And that is the real challenge as the article suggests.
  1. David Chassels
  2. 1 week ago
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 9
Pritiman Panda Accepted Answer
- Be it a silver or golden bullet, it has to adhere to standard design principles and tip of the bullet has to be sharpened for a better impact.
- There is no secret or standard ingredients or ready-to-mix recipes for BPM to help taste-buds of business.
- The objective of using the bullet is also important. If you are just shooting in the air towards the sky. What's the RoI expected? On a lighter note, cannot expect the bullet to hit and pierce the clouds and get some shower :-) (good selling point but not realistic)
- Focus at times lost in "Chaos" around buzz words, market trends, expectation and information outburst. For, example a Gun with GPS, Sensor, cushion protection, leather strap, LED lights, music player, alarm etc etc. may all sound fancy and exciting but we must not forget it is built with the sole purpose of housing the bullets and firing it with a Pace to make the real impact.
- Rather that focussing and creating an impactful bullet, organizations are concentrating on building a multi-speciality artillery system (which is great but a trade-off between good to have and must have)
- Badly designed machinery (organization's process) can also degrade the results, even though the bullets are crafted with precision
- Validating CPQ factor - Cost, Pace, Quality for right adoption techniques
- Right Bullet for the Right Audience. We cannot expect to use high end machinery /bullets designed for military in a fair or exhibition (firing at balloons), nor the reverse in military borders.
- The bullets or processes designed are customized and tailored inline with the business objectives. There is no ease of portability of bullets to fit into every gun/machinery (organization)
- Basic principle is sometimes breached - Create something which can, not only be easily created but also Maintained and Ported with the same ease. That's the sweet spot for RoI
Comment
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 10
Jim Sinur Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
Technically wise BPM is now lower in the digital stack; just like integration and APIs. Even is process/case was dominating inside of other technologies, which I believe it is, it won't be recognized as BPM or even workflow.

Business wise, BPM is lower in the work stack. It's about managing work and collaborations, which BPM does help, but again it won't be recognized as BPM.

BPM is no longer the shiny object that attracts, but it's in and around a whole lot more than I would have imagined. Work needs to be managed, even if it is observed for learning; BPM manages work for the goal of productivity. Silver bullet; no A lethal productivity weapon; yes
Comment
Bravo @Jim!! You are the first person to comment here about "work". Business is about work and BPM software and methodology is the technology of the work of business. To discuss BPM technology without a reference to the "why" of BPM technology, which is work automation, is to miss the point. I once wrote a blog post on this topic and said we are "work shy". It's ironic actually that our topic today starts with the idea of a "silver bullet", which is of course a "magical or fetish object" (i.e. for "hunting witches") -- in other words not real. Certainly the silver bullet is only a metaphor (and a nice one at that). But magic bullets are also symptoms of a problem in business (nicely explained by multiple correspondents) when business leaders want silver bullets -- instead of wanting to role up their sleeves, the better to get to work.
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 week ago
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 11
Max J. Pucher Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
BPM is neither a silver bullet nor is it what businesses need. BPM as a management approach is one way to break down a value stream. BPM as a technology is just one way to code applications that mostly turn into a legacy problem when the project ends. Both tend to focus on creating oversimplified standardised work descriptions to reduce cost and manpower rather than what is really needed and both chase unsuccessfully what makes customers happy. The management approach is outdated and creates 1911-like optimisation overload and the technology is run over by the dynamics of digital customer interaction. Both the management and the implementation are unable to deal with the mobile and machine learning revolution just like businesses are still unable to deal with the mobile and machine learning revolution. The BPM definition is continuously expanded or redefined and product glossies/websites are continuously updated to reflect the current market hype. Analysts create frequently new subsegments and anything that kind of uses a flow paradigm is named a successful use of BPM. BPM has however missed the train that leads to a collaborative, dynamic customer interaction. BPM is thus not a silver bullet but the Frankenstein on the table who has been assembled from dead IT body parts and now it is frequently jolted with lightning bolts of analyst activity and as the body twitches BPM pundits yell: 'IT IS ALIVE!'
Comment
I didn't know that in 1911 the business world was in optimisation overload!
live and learn! :-))
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
  2. 1 week ago
LOL -- I think Max may possibly be referring to the fact that Frederick Taylor published his "Principals of Scientific Management" in 1911 . . .
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Principles_of_Scientific_Management
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 week ago
I perfectly understood the year reference, I didn't quite get the "optimisation overload" part :-)
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
  2. 1 week ago
Excesses in optimization lead to instability.

This is why it's a bad idea to fund silos with hammers so that the silo-dwellers can go out and look for nails.
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 12
Bogdan Nafornita Accepted Answer
As said above, BPM isn't a silver bullet. It never has been.

Of course all industry insiders will say otherwise, just like any tech/consulting pundit says about his own technology/approach: ACM, AI, ECM, ERP, wearables, chatbots...

The human brain yearns for simple mental models - therefore making up silver bullets, singularities, all-knowing headquarters, global centers of expertise, enlightened tyrants etc. There are no such things, in reality.

The world is super-diverse and the tech bubble only lifts about 15-20% of it - it's only the bubble people that don't see the bubble.
Managing Founder, profluo.com
Comment
Ah the poetry of BPM technology criticism! On the topic of "all-knowing headquarters and enlightened tyranny etc." I offer the following reference to the iconic structure of such all-knowing tyranny, the headquarters, opened only in 1981 just as the owl of Minerva was set to take flight, of headquarters of the Bulgarian Communist Party:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buzludzha
Oblique references aside, lots of management writers have noted that the modern capitalist corporation is a command and control enterprise, not unlike any command and control enterprise, regardless of what the HR department would have employees believe.
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 week ago
RE "BPM isn't a silver bullet" - sorry for being disagree. Any clear use of all other methodologies and technologies, e.g. ACM, AI, ECM, ERP, wearables, chatbots... does not match the effect of right use of BPM. Thus BPM is a silver bullet.
@Alexander . . . .Sure, without BPM, none of the other methodologies have much use.
Can I agree with BOTH @Bogdan and @Alexander?
On one hand I advocate that "BPM is the technology of the work of business" -- you can't get any more silver bullet than that.
On the other hand, BPM technology challenges have left a trail of disappointment -- and not only that but the social, cultural and institutional support for BPM use (comparable to that around accounting technology use) has a long way to go -- so not a sliver bullet yet!
When there's this kind of gap in the market, we can say it's an objective opportunity. Of course, as the economist Keynes (and probably lots of other people too) said, "In the long run we are all dead". Personally I think that the process of bringing BPM software technology to market and have it more and more widely adopted is possible within reasonable investor windows.
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 week ago
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 13
Emiel Kelly Accepted Answer
BPM is a result of the fact that organizations sell products and services, so the only silver bullet (or is it the goose with the golden eggs?) is the product or service you deliver and why your customers choose you as your problem solver.

Without that, you don't need processes, you don't need to monitor cases in the process, you don't need to know process performance and you don't need tooly things to support all that.

So No, BPM is not a silver bullet. It's the result of being in business.
Sharing my adventures in Process World via Procesje.nl
Comment
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 14
John Morris Accepted Answer
Today's discussion is one of the most exciting on BPM.com. It addresses the question of the elephant in the room: "Why hasn't BPM taken over yet?" And the context is that BPM.com as a forum exists because there is a strong cadre of business and technology leaders who understand the power and potential of BPM.

The insights by correspondents above are quite amazing in their analysis of the challenge of realizing the potential of BPM. If you're in the business of transformation, the comments are absolutely worth reviewing.

I want to take issue however with the suggestion that BPM technology is -- or should be -- subsumed or buried in other technologies.

The implication is that BPM-is-just-another-technology, maybe like storage buffer management or image rendering. If BPM is not really about business, but only a technology enabler, then we can safely ignore BPM as such. And get on with our work.

That's the problem, "getting on with our work" highlights the real challenge and the real opportunity. Because BPM software technology is not just another technology, but it is the technology of the work of business. That's pretty important because business itself is about work.

And in BPM software technology, by definition, and only in BPM software technology, work is a first class citizen of the technology. The semantics of work is the subject of software automation technology. Work and the semantics of work are still present when we deliver full-on applications with "embedded BPM". My BPM.com article series explores this topic: (BPM As Revolutionary Enabler)

There are all sorts of criticisms of BPM software technology (see above). These criticisms however are irrelevant to the future of BPM software technology. The first automobiles didn't work very well. But they got better. Work itself is much more complex and tricky to automate than 90's workflow pioneers imagined. And technology challenges such as the "roundtrip problem" have resulted in poor BPM software experiences.

But just as it took a very long time (how about 100's of years) for accounting technology to be developed and universally adopted, it will take a long time for BPM software technology be further developed and adopted. I predict that instead of disappearing, that BPM software technology will ultimately become more visible. And that the role of BPM software-enabled professionals (e.g. business analysts) will increasingly use BPM software technology (along with other irreduceable technologies of work such as business rules) on an everyday basis. And the technology they use will be much more sophisticated, such that today's crude workarounds for the limitations of BPM software will be a thing of the past.

I have shared in a previous forum topic a note on the question of the institutionalization of BPM software technology, comparable to the social processes that have supported accounting technology. Between steady improvements in BPM software technology, and incremental adoption by day to day business practitioners, I predict that BPM software technology has a bright future. It is inconceivable to imagine anything else, for a simple reason. Business is about work, and BPM is the software of work.
Comment
No worries. - "BPM software technology will ultimately become more visible."

I say it has already become highly visible as evidenced by non-tech operational level staff mapping out their own processes, compiling them and running them. Except that they don't call what they are doing BPM.

Sure, they need help from IT or BA to build rules and, sure, they need help from IT building EDI formats for messaging local and remote 3rd party systems, machines, apps, but the feeling that all of my customers have is that THEY are in charge, not IT, not BA gurus.

What detracts are statements that a BPMs is "new", "you can now, for the first time, do this or that" - takes me back to my General Electric days of the "turboencabulator" fake product sheet that came out of the instrument dept in West Lynn, MA (I was there).

You may have discovered that most of the "magic" I use goes back to the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s (RBV, Critical Path, Rand Corps FOMM) - the folks who invented these probably had no idea how useful or pervasive their inventions would become (under other names).
John. Totally agree adding that Work activity is in reality quite simple but sadly IT has made complex in the way software builds silo systems failing to recognize that simplicity....As you know I think accounting systems have had strong influence on the inside out approach. Now the opportunity exists to take the BPM outside in one using/ orchestrating legacy as required...legacy must be the slave to this operational BPM Software and over time many legacy systems could be retired...
  1. David Chassels
  2. 1 week ago
@John.. I don't see why BPM has to have any great "limitations"

The plan side, if we ignore extras, is little more than dropping circles on an electronic canvas and connecting the circles with directional arrows.

As for the run- time side, anyone who has visited a museum that saved a copy of Filofax (oops, I see the company is still selling that product), could easily pick up on the fact that to do 'work' you need a space that has a calendar on one side (for fixed-time commitments) and a To-Do list on the other side for "floating -time" appointments.

The "workflow/workload" RT environment that my folks market use this User Interface. Works for us, works for our customers.

So my take is - get the UI right (look, feel, functionality) going and most user-level complaints go away.

See below . . . (does anyone ever read my blog posts?)

eCases III – the UI makes or breaks it
http://wp.me/pzzpB-tt

Just one look . . . .is all it takes
http://wp.me/pzzpB-uH

Hey @Walter, regarding having read your posts, I even tweeted your new "Can your BPMs improve operational effectiveness and efficiency?" article today! : )
#BPM #process tech only for "BPM professionals"? Find a real enterprise win "beyond #BPMS" - http://bit.ly/2wXd0ig - f/@KWKeirstead #Case
As for BPM software limitations, I'm referring to the fact that real work processes are often quite complicated and traditional BPM (i.e. workflow) has not been very good at supporting that -- the whole case technology direction is in part to reflect the richness of the real world of work. The challenge is both technology (specifically the mathematics of graphs with dependencies) and software design. Making a business process artefact has often been too expensive and/or too kludgey, compared to the benefits. We are now slowly seeing the appearance in the marketplace of improved BPM software technology that makes the construction of helpful work automation artefacts easier. I'm not sure that sales and marketing are on board yet with the potential!
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 week ago
RE "Business is about work, and BPM is the software of work." - BPM as management-by-processes did exist well before any software. BPM is about how to decompose a complex work into a set of coordinated smaller works and execute them. BPM-suite software is just automation of BPM.
Good point @Alexander about BPM existing before BPM software technology. Whatever it was called (e.g. industrial engineering or just common sense) or how it was implemented (paper business forms and adding machines were common, pneumatic tubes not so much) the efficiencies achieved up until the 1950's or even 1960's were quite amazing, and ingenious too. With the arrival of IT, there is some evidence of loss of skills and tacit knowledge, assets that been been assumed under pre-computer automation regimes. That loss of "office and administrative skills and knowledge" was prior to any of the more recent and lamented loss of middle management skills and knowledge.
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 week ago
@John ... thanks

I like "improved BPM software technology that makes the construction of helpful work automation artefacts easier"
@John "the efficiencies achieved up until the 1950's or even 1960's" I think, the important BPM breakthroughs were the Ford's conveyor belt (cost reduction measures, especially, the black paint - guess why) and quality improvements during WWII. Thus, we can remove the effect of software.
@Alexander - nice implied impact of product design, i.e. "any color as long as it's black". And for sure conveyor systems and statistical quality control. This kind of history focuses attention on what BPM is "for" today. Why automate a bad process or a bad product design? For example, we are finally getting a little more attention on field service and maintenance -- the success of which is very dependent on good design. (Field service, being repetitive by nature, is a prime example of a target market for BPM technology.) So, software is great. But the underlying product and service engineering, and business model, clearly come first.
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 week ago
@John 'impact of product design, i.e. "any color as long as it's black". ' - actually, the black colour was not related to product design, because it was chosen for some other reasons.
@Alexander, you've motivated me to look up what Henry Ford said about colors. Apparently (eventually) Model T's were produced in colors other than black! Although originally the comment was more rhetorical than specific per Mr. Ford's mania for keeping costs down, the better to have mass market appeal, this naturally implied limited selection on options. If we consider that product design includes balancing everything from manufacturability to consumer preference and functionality then maybe we can agree here? (Personal side note here: my Dad grew up in a rural area in Canada and when he was very young they had a horse, with buggy for summer and sleigh for winter. Then they got a Model T and never looked back.)
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 week ago
@John, about colours. At that time, only the paint which was drying quickly enough for Ford' conveyor belt was Japanese black lacquer. Thus Mr Ford had no choice about colour because he was limited by the quality, quantity and cost of those cars.
Thanks Alexander -- fascinating history.
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 week ago
@Alexander, John, Walter. Great discussion. BPM was a tag which emerged as IT moved from "processing" to delivery of functional applications. It recognised the gap between people and these hard inflexible coded systems. Prior to this Business Process Re-engineering BPR was the focus for improvements on processes which have been at core of business as a fundamental. Unfortunately despite many benefits that came with IT the big negative has been the disconnect with people at work with accountability. This is where BPM has major role supported by good software to deliver on business needs for people at work.


  1. David Chassels
  2. 6 days ago
@David, As far I know, BPR did not consider that IT is important for executing brand new business processes elicited by BPR activities. As the result, those new processes were executed with old IT applications and BPR became very unpopular in the corporate world. For last many years, people tried to push IT-driven BPM and it is still failing (for obvious reasons). Thus, I have a question - shall we combine the best features of BPR and BPM?
@Alexander Good point as with Adaptive capability in software "Re-engineering" should be encouraged indeed almost inevitable to be competitive and efficient. BPR should therefore be part of the selling the whole concept of adoption of BPM thinking?
  1. David Chassels
  2. 6 days ago
@David - absolutely #BPR is essential support for #BPM adoption - I've just been calling it "business analysis" though (I realize that BPR is bigger than BA) - FYI this approach is very much the subject of my planned fourth BPM.com paper in the "BPM as Revolutionary Enabler" series.
  1. John Morris
  2. 6 days ago
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  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 15
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