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RPA, microservices, and digital transformation were big topics at bpmNEXT this year. With so many process choices, is the idea of one platform to run your business processes is no longer a viable choice?
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Unreasonable, in any large or not-so-large organization to expect all divisions, departments to align to one "workflow./workload management" platform.

Reasons include resistance to change, sunk data etc costs, need for re-engineering/re-training and the fact that IT in many organizations is not the sole source of approval to use this/that.

Bottom line, not viable, never was.

BUT, if your company's only business is "call center", then of course management would reasonably want one platform.

EXCEPT that many platforms are "islands" and have difficulty with any activity that needs to reach beyond their natural boundary conditions.
References
  1. http://www.kwkeirstead.wordpress.com
Comment
  1. David Chassels
  2. 7 months ago
  3. #5269
@Karl actually very viable for operational business processes where data created. However reality is very disruptive which will adversely affect the current supply chain!
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Max Young
Blog Writer
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I think the idea of a single platform is really attractive, from a *vendor's* point of view. I think it's less compelling to customers, so long as the various vendors can integrate seamlessly.
References
  1. http://www.capbpm.com
Comment
@Max... Reinforces my "islands" comment - the various vendors COULD integrate seamlessly via midware i.e.. a generic data exchanger BUT the pre-requisite is all players need to have or put in place the ability to export, to the data exchanger, data they are willing to share (strict need-to-know basis), and that they have or put in place the ability to import data they subscribe to, to their platform(s).

Some of the sillier inventions are e.g. healthcare EHRs, where you have a "standard" and, for any stakeholder, inspection of send/receive envelopes reveals that 99.9 percent of the "fields" are blank for the simple reason they are not needed or wanted.

A generic data exchanger only shows a particular subscriber what they have subscribed to.

Equally silly is the suggestion that all any subscriber needs to do is link to a local or remote app and effect read and/or write operations (bypassing all of the security in the app).

What IT department today would allow any direct read/write access to their apps?
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Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Ideally, an organisation should have one platform of type Corporate Unified Business Execution (CUBE) -- see ref [1]. Such a platform is the best tool to enable your digital transformation with the use of microservice-driven architecture and adoption of RPA as yet another way to coordinate activities between people, robots, and services within and beyond the organisation.

Thanks,
AS
References
  1. http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.com/2015/12/typology-of-platforms.html
Comment
  1. David Chassels
  2. 7 months ago
  3. #5270
Agree well said that platform which orchestrates all the differing ways which create data.
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Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
"is the idea of one platform to run your business processes is no longer a viable choice?"

From what I experienced, "one platform" was never a viable choice for running all of any company's business processes. The daily processes of a business are simply too diverse for any "one size fits all" solution.

A single platform for monitoring and analyzing your company's processes - yes. For running those processes - no.
Founder at John Reynolds' Venture LLC - Creator of ¿?Trules™ for drama free decisions
Comment
  1. David Chassels
  2. 7 months ago
  3. #5271
If you have the right architecture recognising business logic never changes then the platform can readily build any operational business process..without need for custom coding!
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Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I love how this forum is increasingly a statement with (link to vendor site or blog post) ;)

single platform is almost always the dream. I'm not sure it isn't possible or viable, but the question is whether you get ROI on the investment. It's hard math to do, it's hard math to make work. But we do see clients really looking at E2E digital platforms and picking one "process platform" to support that. That doesn't mean all processes in the enterprise mind you , but one process to support that digital platform.

scott
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  1. David Chassels
  2. 7 months ago
  3. #5272
Actually with right architecture in the platform build is very easy making estimates both reliable and achievable with no code approach. As a starter the number of UIs and reports equals the number of days to build the process. Where complexity such as complex algorithms or specific configurations required may take more but should be relatively easy to work out how long.....the challenge is knowing what you want to actually create!
  1. Ian Gotts
  2. 7 months ago
  3. #5282
https://elements.cloud . (no statement, just link)
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 7 months ago
  3. #5285
Since when is a tool to draw boxes and arrows a process platform?

(No statement or link, just a mean question) ;-)
  1. David Chassels
  2. 7 months ago
  3. #5286
@Emeil When at click it becomes the actual working application....!
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Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
One platform to run the whole company is everlasting dream and obsession of IT world. Many companies consider it a blessing to decrease a number of deployed IT solutions. Few, however, think that it is exactly this diversity and complexity that ensures stability and flexibility of corporate IT systems.

Blind reliance on a single, even perfect in every way, solution is among most deadly illusions capable of destroying a successful business. Objective versatility of IT landscape, which appears with time in every company, is a natural safety belt against dependency from a single vendor and powerful long term reservation strategy.

Growing complexity of corporate IT system is an objective reality expressing increasing complexity of the business in digital age. Any attempts of artificial simplification of this complexity lead to degradation of the whole business infrastructure.

The epoch when one hero warrior (or worker, or system) was able doing every mission have gone forever. We live in the time of deepening specialization. It concerns IT same or more than any other sphere of business. Be prepared to manage more IT solutions in your organization day to day.

Exactly this increasing diversity explains growing role, which BPM plays in modern enterprises. A tide of newly emerging IT solutions needs a composer to orchestrate and run this abundance to company's benefit and success. BPM steps ahead to lead this modern digital challenge.
Comment
Can you share with us your definition of platform, please?
@Dr Alexander Samarin, Thank you. Platform is quite wide category, probably worth a paper. I suppose that platform is a sort of generalizing IT category emerging as eco-system around every significant IT package. It is definitely not equal to OS or specific hardware / device.

Thanks Boris, It seems that your meaning of the concept "platform" is closed to "functional platform". Thus you are perfectly right.
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Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Very good question, which reflects the stark choice facing IT (and business) leaders. One formerly could buy an ERP, pay consulting (insert large sum here) for customization, and conduct business. Any change was a major investment, because you'd now created a de facto custom environment.

Now however, table stakes aren't enough. If you don't take responsibility for what's inside the black box of your work, you'll fail. Because someone else is making the bet.

So, in making your bet, it's good to consider what platform you bet on. There are so many choices, at various layers of the technology stack. Platform bets or choices are usually considered to imply "tools" or "product/service". But recall that, as has always been the case especially with ERP, platform is all of technology AND architecture AND business semantics. And it's really the scaleable semantics, including data, process, rules, UX, behaviour etc., that you want. As the question implies, platforms are being disaggregated. What an exciting moment for business and technical leaders who want to lead.
Comment
Monolith platforms like BPM-suite and ERP - yes, will disintegrate and each organisation will be building with its own pace its own platform dedicated for its unique needs from a mixture of standard (off-the-shelf) pieces of previous monoliths and innovative components, coordinated via explicit and machine-executable processes.

Monolith delenda est
  1. John Morris
  2. 7 months ago
  3. #5277
+10 @Alexander "Monolith delenda est"! (I suspect in your travels you've actually visited the location formerly known as Carthage.)
I used to live during 3 years in 10 min drive from it. And I visited it many times with my friends.
I am sure that Carthage had some enterprise architecture in place - http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.com/2013/04/first-entarch-works.html
  1. John Morris
  2. 7 months ago
  3. #5281
Only on BPM.com!
@Alexander/John . . . . I did the architecture for a CPM system for a $1 billon construction project - this was a long time ago but I suspect there were 30 programmers and 2 levels of management involved in building the app. (i.e. $$$$). The app had a good critical path algorithm and generated row/column reports.

In the 1990s we started working on our generic platform and probably invested $5 MM in the various linked modules (mapping, run-time work/workload, portal, data exchanger).

My question becomes how many not-so-large corporations have the talent (the money probably being not so much of a concern) to build "..its own platform dedicated for its unique needs"? Then there is the wait time.

Comparing this journey with being able to licence a generic platform where the sole proviso is that in order to export data to or import data from local and remote systems and apps, the parties each have to be able to export data to a data exchanger and be able to import data from that data exchanger, why are prospective platform customers not breaking down the door?


@Karl, Good question, as usual. Actually, practically all of us has a phone optimised for his/her unique needs. So, it is feasible with a good, right and successful architecture. Unfortunately, there is no an architecture group for CUBE platform yet.

So, only an option is the customer-driven standardization on formats, interfaces and functionality as we do for smart cities. We plan to define a reference architecture and a reference solution architecture. Also a reference implementation may be available. All of them will be a base for cooperation and coordination among cities, software vendors and integrators. See https://www.slideshare.net/samarin/smart-cities-from-the-systems-point-of-view

Sure that smart cities domain can’t be compared with all diversity of the whole economy, but this domain is comparable with some sectors of economy.
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Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Absolutely not. To a certain degree, process automation in general and BPM in particular have been commoditized, and if not for running several specific BPMS platforms in parallel already, then at least for having many other, none-BPM solutions with some sort of a workflow engine or another, most of the companies nowadays, will surely have a multitude of options in place, to run their processes from.
And that's a good thing, in my opinion. At one hand, this signifies a broader access for all company sizes to process automation technologies and on the other hand, that the keys to success shift more towards BPM know-how and methodology, as opposed to owning and specializing on a single platform. In that sense, it also becomes crucial to recognize the strengths and specialties of different ACM, BPM, iBPM, RPA (etc.) platforms and combine these in correlation of the users' needs, capacity and maturity, in order to provide a maximized benefit.
It’s important to bear in mind that the more "process tools" there are in place, the more important process governance (or CoE) will become, covering aspects of an adequate process architecture, uniform customer experience, interoperability, normalized and integral KPI's for end-end process portfolio management.
NSI Soluciones - ABPMP PTY
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  1. more than a month ago
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Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
A unified platform was never a viable idea. Even less so in today's world. The reason is simple: in a changing business world, no problem stays solved forever.

A consistent business architecture should rather be the goal - for roughly the same reason: if you want to keep abreast of changes, the key is your business architecture.
CEO, Co-founder, Profluo
Comment
A CUBE-type platform is about the best of two worlds - diversity and uniformity. Thus by standardising some parts the organisation gains resources to innovate in other parts. And this is a dynamic picture. Sure about the business architecture. Actually, the platform must be as fluid as your business architecture.

By "unified" I wanted to emplasize that the technical part of the organisation is built with the same logic - be as quick as the business part. This is a step toward a software-defined organisations.
yes, and what I mean by "business architecture" encompasses the IT part as well - there is no other way into the future, no matter the size or geography of the business.
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Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Back in 2001 that was my ultimate dream; 1 command and control center for all the processes in an organization.

Then reality kicked in. Not every process is 'a few steps in a predefined order'. There are many types of processes (or better; many ways to manage a process). Indeed conveyerbeltish but also goal driven or started by 'Help I have a problem'.

And as BPM is more than executing procesesses, such an all-in-one platform also needed other stuff like monitoring and analysing tools. And, at least in that time. it resulted in a 28 headed monster made of reinforced concrete. Very good if nothing changes. But change happens is what the gurus say.

That's the other part of reality; a changing world and being able to adapt to that. And that's hard for an oil tanker with the size of the moon.

Not sure if 205 small speed boats is always better, but at least it allows better adaptabilty.

Having said that, I am still am a big fan of an overall process view, so my new dream is 'An obeya for every process'.

Buildings might not have enough space for that, so I envision it with VR. In Virtual reality you can visit the obeya for every process. Where you can see everything needed to manage that process; desired result and goals, performance, improvement ideas, amount of cases in the process etc..

To be able to realize this, it heavily relies on data. And to me that's the core of making managing by processes possible; providing the right data for all aspects of process management (execution, managing cases, process performance)

I don't care if different processes are executed in different (workflow/BPM/RPA,...) systems, as long as they provide and share the same (and correct) data.

And,,,,,everything will be visualised in the Virtual Process Obeya.

You think I should claim the VPO acronym already?
Sharing my adventures in Process World via Procesje.nl
Comment
  1. David Chassels
  2. 7 months ago
  3. #5287
A platform must deliver those attributes such as monitoring real time but use any tool which business find useful. You hit the button it is all about data and as such need data centric architecture which we discovered does it all!
@Emiel... I suppose what we did in Japan in the 1980s, meeting in the same room each morning at 0800 hrs, standing in a circle, going around reviewing current "problems" (as well as opportunities) was called "obeya", but no one ever called it other than "decide meetings".

Given the team members were all focused on sales/service the focus was always on prospects/leads/customers (i.e. Cases), with processes as a subset - all discussion related to sorting problems/outlining forward steps that would take each Case to the next Case goal/objective.

Very different from meetings where the stakeholders focus on "an overall process view".

I suspect however, somewhere else within the organization, those whose job it was to implement new processes/improve processes, hosted "big room" sessions where their focus was precisely was on processes.

The only observation I have is with 'amount of cases in the process" and I recall we have had this discussion before.

It seems it is appropriate for some teams to have "cases" within processes (why not?) but, for end-users of processes the thinking needs to be reversed i.e. what is being managed here are "processes within Cases" where a Case is a customer, a patient, a homicide investigation, or an insurance claim. Technically, Cases are just cursor positions in an RDBMS.

On complication in many Cases is that you typically need sub-cases (customer orders 5 diesel generators each having a different wattage) and another complication is that you rarely end up hosting entire processes in any Case i.e. usually the Case Manager and Case team members are working with "process fragments", none of which on their own have goals/objectives. The goals/objectives are at the Case level.
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 7 months ago
  3. #5291
@karl. Yeah I'd better change it in Virtual Process Warroom. ;-)

And yes, about processes and case we think the other way round ;-)

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I was puzzled by this question as it has been the holy grail and dream for decades and only now those pioneers starting the new journey...yet the conference seems to have resorted to the old fragmented or as John puts it disaggregated approach? So who is trying to disrupt the disruption which will come with comprehensive Platforms? Time analysts did real and deep research; that means disregard big vendor marketing bs.....and work for end user customers....
Comment
Analyst firms will never serve end user customers - that's not their business model. And I'd venture to say they will never talk to small guys either - everyone in this industry finds it more comfortable to target the top 1% - you just need to maintain relations with a handful of vendor CEOs.

But - who knows, maybe someone will disrupt the analyst industry? :-)
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