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It's that time of year to take a look at the year ahead. What are your BPM predictions for 2019?
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RPAIChain
Sharing my adventures in Process World via Procesje.nl
Comment
  1. Caspar Jans
  2. 1 week ago
  3. #5825
Briliant wordplay again, Emiel. Love it!

+1 brevity
+1 hilarity
+1 non-native language bonus
Brian Reale
Blog Writer
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Next year will bring with it some major changes to the BPM industry. I will venture to say that 2019 will be the most transformative and disruptive year that the BPM Industry has seen in the past decade. I know that is a big statement, but there are a number of currents in the industry that have now taken us to a tipping point and should cause definitive industry shifts. First, let’s look at the major currents affecting the industry:

1. RPA – this is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. With companies like UIPath having raised more than $400 million and Automation Anywhere nabbing $300 million from Masa Son, the stakes are big. The BPMs vendors all seem to be trying to figure out how to dance effectively with RPA. And, it literally is a dance. Most BPM Vendors have published blogs showing how you can wrap BPM around the execution of bots thus positioning BPM as the higher level process orchestration engine. This, of course, makes a lot of sense. A standard service task in a BPM diagram initiates a bot with a standard connector and then waits for the bot to call back to the API of the BPMs to keep the process moving along. In this scenario, the BPMs serves the purpose of overall orchestration engine and integrator of human decision making. But does BPM offer enough value here? Maybe.
2. ML/AI – No doubt that the AI we are all watching on NetFlix is still a good few decades away. However, the ML required to eliminate lots of clunky OCR driven business processes and help forms morph into friendly chatbots is already here. This will cause a very large percentage of business processes to get reworked and reconfigured. The off-shoot of this is that customer experience will change and get much better. Some BPM vendors will focus on the customer experience messaging while others drive their message around ML/AI. Either way, there is a lot of value that is going to be delivered here. Unfortunately, there will also be lots of jobs eliminated as well.
3. Zero Code Delivery– Zero code delivery has gotten very good in the past year. Of course, nothing is zero code. What most clients don’t realize at first is that if a No Code BPM suite needs to deliver a new component, a developer is still coding that component. However, the component is then delivered to the business analyst who can use it with no code as a new feature or component inside the suite’s visual interface. To avoid creating so much confusion, No Code really should be called “Zero Code delivery”. Regardless, the point is that to survive moving forward, BPM and HpaPaaS vendors (to use the Gartner MQ term) will need to have elegant zero code delivery. About 70% of the current BPM vendors are suffering either because 1) they have older technology which uses proprietary scripting languages and have not been able to take advantage of new standards, 2) have clunky, poorly designed interfaces, or 3) are simply incapable of Zero Code because of a monolithic code base that is 10 years old. In other words, there is a rather large accumulated technical debt across the 70+ BPM vendors. Most will not have the stamina or the capital to invest in the next generation of products that the marketplace is now demanding. While those that survive will thrive.

Now that we have looked at what I consider to be the main under currents carrying us into 2019, here are a few predictions:

1. Consolidation – There will be greater than average consolidation among existing BPM vendors. Many vendors will be forced to exit because they did not make the investment in their suites during the past 2 years. Catching up at this point will seem futile, so they will look to merge or exit out of desperation.
2. RPA will eat more heavily into BPM revenues – RPA is very disruptive. Some BPMs vendors will find they can make more money by converting themselves into RPA resellers to survive.
3. BPM as a Feature on the Rise – We will once again see a big boost to BPM as a Feature[/url]OEM BPM engines. The fact is that seamlessly and elegantly integrating human decision making into the world of automated workflow is still in big demand. There will be many more types of technologies that want to add this capability. They will want to add it fast and via elegant, well-designed code.
4. Death of the Waves and Quadrants – 2019 will be the beginning of the end of the rather outdated concepts of MQs and Waves. Customers are looking for vendors to sell them solutions to problems. They no longer want to spend millions of dollars on licenses to old school monolithic software suites. The upper right hand corner of the quadrant is becoming synonymous with solutions that are “old-school, outdated, and monolithic.” Customers want to have vendors that assemble solutions based on best of breed microservice solutions. Customers want to pay based on a units of value that are more closely tied to outcomes than the standard software license. As a result the system integrator will become more powerful, and the SI will favor nimble, modern, and decoupled approaches rather than implementing outdated and monolithic solutions.
References
  1. https://www.processmaker.com/processmaker-iq
  2. https://money.cnn.com/interactive/technology/masayoshi-son-profile/index.html
Comment
  1. Kay Winkler
  2. 1 week ago
  3. #5827
I very much agree with your No Code argumentation. I am not sure though, about the death of waves and quadrants. They have proven resilient thus far, thanks to many customers still clinging to their yearly outputs for orientation.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Ah, interesting question. Here's my personal and humble view on BPM for 2019:

(1) IT/IS Consultants will continue to blatantly abuse the term BPM for BPMS (workflow systems) and this will continue to confuse the living dayligths out of the customers.

Now, that I got that frustration out of my system, on to the more serious stuff (don't get me wrong, I am seriously frustrated about point 1!)

2) RPA / ML / AI will not be as disruptive as expected. I see too many customer cases where business cases that predicted a saving of 5 FTE's due to RPA implementation end up in barely 0.5 FTE reduction (and we all now, less than 1 FTE reduction is no reduction at all). I believe the reason for this to be the fact that along most RPA / ML / AI implementation, most customers will eventually come to the conclusion that the task automated or the algorythm optimized are not connected to any business process, and even if they are connected to a business process, the performance data is not integrated in the over all business process performance management. I do believe that RPA has a significant potential, but I believe it takes another year or two before also the RPA vendors realize it needs to be integrated in the bigger BPM picture.

3) There will be a more clear distinction between the few big all-round BPM suppliers and the many smaller niche product suppliers. They can perfectly co-exist and I think we will see an expanding capability on the integration side at the big all-round BPM suppliers. They will orchestrate the main BPM effort in the larger customers and, if needed, use the smaller niche products to complement the capability pallette.

4) The transformation function, which is emerging in many companies (i.e. the grouping of certain capabilities in one department responsible for running transformative programs) will absorb BPM as a capability and use it's platforms as enterprise management systems. By doing so, these departments are able to align the entire information flow from strategoic vision all the way down to the single work instruction. It will enable companies to document, optimize and align all relevant enterprise resources, all the while being transparent in the performance of the most significant business processes.

That's it, let's revisit this at the end of next year to find out how terribly wrong I have been (or not)...
BPM is all about mindset first and toolset later....much later
Comment
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[DISCLAIMER: This review is updated from last year, with new material reflecting current trends!]

My prediction for the fate of BPM automation technology in 2019 is again that change will be a "game-of-inches", a game especially depending on master data management (and associated integration issues including APIs), process governance, and BPM engine limitations. A game of inches playe well can be a guarantee of steady progress ( see "compound interest" ). But compared to last year, I'm not quite as optimistic -- for the reasons that there is more competition this year for a limited supply of management attention.

Any technology adoption system, including BPM technology adoption, is probably a chaotic system. Adoption chaos starts with the complexity of BPM software technology itself, because according to Gartner, BPM consists of up to 40 related technologies, starting from BPM core technology, but adding from there tooling and integration, non-core BPM, BPM complementary and BPM patterns. And completing the other side of the BPM adoption chaos model, we find use cases and business cases. And governance. And investment climates.

I have claimed that BPM software technology is THE technology of work. Superficially it's easy to say therefore that if BPM is so important, that "this should be the year of BPM". But one can't draw the line so easily, and in fact the difficulty of tying the centrality of business process to an associated technology probably contributes in some way to the unpredictability of BPM adoption.

What about limited management attention? Several notable automation technologies have been delivered by software engineering to the market, and have won rapid market engagement ( where engagement means both "hype" and "adoption" ). Make your own list; you'll probably include AI, RPA, big data, mobile etc. etc. All these technology are "point focused", i.e. oriented around a given point bottleneck or decisions or interface.

BPM automation technology on the other hand is not point-focused. BPM automation is about long work value chains. Now we can see why management attention -- which is always limited -- might today be focused on "automation points" rather than "automation processes". In a world where there is at least the perception that business models are in flux, it's not unexpected that management won't be focused so much on automating a process which might be thrown out tomorrow. Business change means a shortening of executive time horizons. And that probably means lower demand for BPM automation technology on the one hand, while at the same time the executive is faced with an increase in supply of process automation substitutes.

Think of an "economics of management attention", where management attention is a limited resource. External forces conspire to turn management's attention from the longer-term to the shorter term, at least where technology investments are concerned. And thus a relative drop in BPM interest.

So, it's not predicable where BPM software technology adoption might ramp up, whether by vertical or horizontal market, or by vendors, or with specific sub-technologies; there are too many degrees of freedom. That said however, "freedom" (O.K. freedom loosely defined) means that any given actor in the BPM ecosystem can succeed -- and in part due to intelligent effort to spread the good news of BPM. Adoption paths exist and can be discovered. Luck + informed effort = positive outcome. Sell the power!
Comment
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 4
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Prediction:

RPA and AI are not going to be mainstream for ordinary users in 2019.

Why not, for 2019, give users what they want/need as opposed to trying to impose new technology on them?

Look at GM (building cars no one wants) – there is a good lesson to be learned here.

Let me know what you agree with / do not agree with in the following :

1. Operations staff don’t want to have to learn notations/languages.

2. In knowledge industries, there are few end-to-end processes. Users want/need “process fragments” – basically this means being able to thread together short sequences of tasks at run time, with the ability, at any stage of the processing, to add an ad hoc step. They see real value receiving orchestration -> background BPM.

3. Users want/need to be able to micro-schedule their work. -> RALB.

4. Case/Initiative/Project Managers want/need to be able to know when to close cases -> FOMM.

Let’s give customers a mapping environment plus a run-time workflow/workload management platform.

a) Plan-side process mapping (graphic drag-and-drop) that needs no more than 1 hour of training to get a new user to where they can build a simple workflow.
b) One-stop-shop run-time workflow/workload management platform with, of course, interoperability with local and remote systems and apps. (i.e. ACM + BPM +RALB + FOMM).

All of this is detailed in 300+ Blog posts at http://www.kwkeirstead.wordpress.com – I don’t get that many comments but, for 2018, Wordpress tells me I have readers in 101 countries. Problem is I don’t know if the accesses are to treat insomnia or to pick up information.

My focus for 2019 is going to be on “connecting-the-dots” across Cases (e.g. one Case per law enforcement investigation, with consolidation up/down of key data from Cases to a 3D free-form-search Knowledgebase so that investigators can improve case clearance rates).
References
  1. http://www.kwkeirstead.wordpress.com
Comment
The basis for "RPA and AI are not going to be mainstream for ordinary users in 2019" is that there is so much we have not done with BPM, with ACM/BPM that could advance customers along the maturity curve such that RPA and AI become higher risk forages.

If you think about it, aside from the need in CPM to engage all sub-pathways in a flowgraph, BPM looks a lot like CPM (tasks, linked by directional arrows, supported by resource allocations, desire to manage timing and control costs)

See a recent article on two very powerful ways to enhance decision-making at Cases.
"Augmenting Decision Support at Adaptive Case Management (ACM) Platforms"
https://wp.me/pzzpB-11m
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 5
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Once business users get the no code capability to build digital support exactly as they articulate then a new door opens for BPM which becomes the way to think. Support of inevitable change is essential for that important business acceptance. The question is how is business going to acquire this knowledge.....well the traditional industry analysts have failed to do research and too close to the big vendor food chain!

The obvious profession with inherent skills to help their business colleagues is the accountant who not only have an interest in helping business to deliver real assurance on creation and use of data but they have in past mapped out processes as part of audit..then IT moved in and dominated but failed to recognise how business really works...it's people and their processes. This gap between people at work and the IT inside out silo inflexible systems where BPM sits now urgently needs to addressed by business.

No code Digital Business Platforms are now ready and proven and 2019 will be the year but it will be very disruptive for big vendors and their IS supply chain. Costs will be fraction of old coding ways and importantly with real empowerment of workers delivering a better worker experience should see increase in productivity. It's win win for all in business ...just needs that leadership to deliver the knowledge on "how". Hands on help by Accountants could help their business colleagues see BPM dominate the future of enterprise front line salient business processes.
Comment
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 6
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I agree with many of the trends, recognized here. Specifically, with predictions made towards no-and-low code in relation to what screen scraping options provide for end users in the realm of RPA, becoming an expected standard. I also believe that this democratizing factor is a good thing, everything considered.
But yes, RPA does eat into the market-share of BPM, considerably so for vendors that invested in a micro services architecture. At the same time, RPA and BPM will have to connect and to complement each other when it comes to orchestrating the different micro automations back to a coordinated, comprehensible set of business processes and process repositories. This however, would rather be the indication of a possible niche from which BPM can hold its ground from, than a forecast.
Additionally, I do hope that next year data mining and business rules automation grow closer together with BPM as a framework. DMN still holds a huge potential there. Also, Will van der Aalst and his team made great strides bringing Process Mining closer to the end users, combining papers, tutorials, free courses and open source tools that are easy to use and open to the public (through the process mining initiative of the Eindhoven University of Technology).
References
  1. http://www.processmining.org
NSI Soluciones - ABPMP PTY
Comment
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 week ago
  3. #5828
+1 @Kay "Process Mining"! And DMN and rules. Interestingly these two powerful technologies are almost at opposite ends of a timeline. One is before-the-fact (i.e. rules) and one is after-the-fact (i.e. process mining). Get 'em coming and going!
Karl Walter Keirstead
A nice outcome of data mining would be the equivalent of what Wordle does with document text.

A sequence a-b-c-d-e where a deviation occurs at step "c" would yield a branching overlay to the plan-side process template like this.

a-b-c1(40%) c2(15%) c3(45%)-d-e

with interpretation that 15 percent of the instances of a template engaged sub-path c2.

Seasonal patterns could easily be obtained by limiting the timespan to t1-t2 .

Seems to me this would help users with branching.
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 7
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In short:

  • RPA + BPM, complimentary.
  • AI as part of the process to improve decisions.
  • + Cloud and no-Code BPM adoption.


Detailed answer:

I mostly agree with the complementation between RPA and BPM (and not competition).

I would add that in 2018, we didn't see as much AI integration into business processes as I have expected. I think this is will be a relevant trend in 2019, and we will see intelligent artifact recommending decisions as part of the business process, taking advantage of previous process instance and business knowledge.

In the same way, we can expect a better collaboration between human-experts and AI algorithms. For example, when a process instance requires some specific knowledge, maybe only available in humans, or maybe only available in the knowledge base. Of course, each decision on a process instances is stored. When de process instance ends, and it is evaluated, the decision will be validated (successful) or discarded (unsuccessful). The knowledge base becomes more accurate.

Finally, one prediction for 2018 was the rising of no-code and low-code BPM Suites. I think it happened, but these tools will continue growing, probably stronger and faster in 2019. Not only with companies adopting BPM for their first time, but also with companies renewing their tools and going cloud.

Best!
CEO at Flokzu Cloud BPM Suite
Comment
  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 8
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oh this is just a little early in the December month to be thinking about 2019 :) give me another week or two!

BPM - process - is critical to everything we do in our businesses. That will continue to be the case. But for those of us who make a living selling software to run business processes, or those of us who sell services to build business processes, what's new?


  1. I think people will find an interest in BPM by starting somewhere else - in particular we're seeing this with RPA. Starting with automating tasks and then discovering an interest and a need to address the surrounding processes
  2. There are whole swaths of consulting and software industries that still think process is a bad word - and yet they are doing things that are, essentially, process-work. You might hear words like "pipeline" instead... maybe it makes us feel better when it doesn't say process!
  3. At BP3, we're going to keep doing process - we consider it our secret sauce when we compete with non-process-oriented vendors, and have some data to back that up.


As for the market:

  • RPA is taking the oxygen out of the room, when you have two vendors raising 9 figures each in multiple rounds in a year. But, the overall RPA market is still quite small. It will either grow incredibly quickly to justify these fundraising rounds, or the RPA vendors will acquire other software/services firms to beef up their revenue stories.
  • It turns out that not only do operations folks not want to write their own processes and applications - they don't like to write their own RPA/task automations either. And someone has to keep all this stuff running happily. Services firms and consultants will continue to find work if they do it well.
  • Any oxygen that RPA hasn't gathered will go to AI :)
  • AI will primarily effect decisioning in the context of process more than the process itself
  • BPM will find a home in microservices and microservice workflows. The first process engine I used (years ago) didn't have a notion of orchestrating between tasks - except via a message bus. It was very hard to keep track of all the publishers and listeners to that message bus as processes got more complicated. But BPMN came along and provided that orchestrating view. I think the same sort of dance will play out with highly atomized microservices being coordinated so that they can be maintained. I didn't come up with that thesis, but I believe it (kudos to Camunda on that one).
  • BPM-style processing may finally find a home as lambda functions on AWS. We'll see...
  • Almost any application that can be built can be built better with processes, decisions, and potentially RPA style automations if needed. We intend to build lots of these in 2019 for our clients.


I think the above authors have it right - RPA and BPM may compete for attention or dollars, but not really for *the same work*. But in the end, competition for limited budget is real competition. The good news for BPM practitioners is that when the RPA work is done, there's still real transformative process work to do.
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  1. one week ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 9
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