1. Peter Schooff
  2. Sherlock Holmes
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  4. Thursday, 06 December 2018
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Looking toward the year ahead, what do you think are the biggest challenges facing BPM in 2018?
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Getting influential business people to understand that BPM is simple step by step thinking and fully supports the understanding of operational needs to specify Digital projects. Also they need to learn that new no code enterprise level software allows that business knowledge to quickly create the applications which is start of Digital Transformation where it matters with their employees.
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oxygen. so much oxygen is taken up by other topics, there isn't much left for BPM.
Also: age. BPM has been around a long time - many folks have "tried that before" (never mind that they tried it in a suboptimal way - much like folks who say that they tried "agile development" before )
  1. http://www.bp-3.com/blog
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Challenges for BPM in 2019 you say? (Let's define BPM as "BPM technology".)

As @Scott says above, "there's too much oxygen taken up by other technologies". But is BPM technology "just another technology"? In my BPM.com series Why BPM Is Unique And Important - The Technology Of Work I claim that "the work of business is business", and that "THE technology of the work of business is BPM automation software technology". By definition, in BPM software, and only in BPM software, work is a first-class citizen of that technology. Certainly there are complementary or orthogonal technologies to BPM, irreducible technologies, especially business rules, analytics, database and interface (API, RPA, UX). All of them hang on the backbone of the work of business, which can be orchestrated by BPM.

So, if BPM software technology is so important, why is it even necessary to ask about challenges in the coming year? Because certainly enthusiasm for such an ostensibly important technology is not top-of-mind or top-of-website. Compare to accounting -- another fundamental business technology. It's never really a question that "accounting is less popular this year". Accounting "just is". For sure, BPM does not have 400 years of history behind it, and deep professionalization. Maybe it's just a matter of a few hundred more years. Or maybe accounting will absorb business process management as an explicit tool set.

There are reasons why the promise of BPM has not yet been fully realized (the "oxygen argument" above is a good proxy). In part, BPM technology is challenging and experience using the technology has typically been less rewarding that hoped for. There are other reasons: the exaggeration of the rate of business change and the fetishization of agile tempts executives away from a focus on systematization of work processes. Nevertheless, BPM software technology keeps getting better ( see the "roundtrip problem" ).

CONCLUSION: The biggest challenge for BPM is the recognition of the central and unique importance of BPM software technology for the automation of work. Double down and realize the benefits of owning your processes and being able to rework and adapt them with greater flexibility than is possible otherwise. Address the business cultural issues that come with a focus on process and the technology of process.
@John.. Absolutely re "The biggest challenge for BPM is the recognition of the central and unique importance of BPM software technology for the automation of work"

For me, the only reason why there is a challenge is that vendors put too much focus on the methods as opposed to results.

If the pitch is workflow/workload -> efficiency and effectiveness, with little or no mention of BPM unless/until asked, BPM never gets to where its position and importance need to be center stage.

Remember CPM? The pitch there was "let us help you manage your project", not "here is why CPM is important for managing projects" - everyone who attended "Construction 101" knew that CPM was THE way to plan, monitor and control.

With b2b, it should be the same - "let us help you put your best practices in-line for increased efficiency and improved effectiveness"

  1. John Morris
  2. 4 days ago
  3. #5840
@Walter - fascinating re: CPM and construction projects. You are saying that BPM methods MUST be part of work culture, in order for BPM software usage to be successful. THEN in any given situation, we drive the project from the results -- and automatically everyone on the time uses BPM methodologies and technology, I think? In the same way, CPM was part of project / engineering culture.

Let's add accounting to our comparison. There is "accounting culture" (skills, profession, careers education etc.) and "accounting technology" (debits and credits, receivables, payables, work-in-process, cash management, finance and treasury etc.). And there's no debate that accounting technology is central and important (even if specific accounting and finance issues are hotly debated). Accounting is mature.

Compare to BPM though. I think both sides of the BPM equation are still immature. The culture isn't there yet -- and the technology, compared to where it will be, is not really there yet either. No reason though that an organization cannot outperform, on the basis of BPM technology and culture. However, because BPM technology and culture are not yet mature, that success has to be driven by leadership, from the top. Big wins await.
@John.. BPM already is, always has been, at the core of work culture.

It's just that some of the folks mapping out tasks and sequencing tasks don't know that what they are doing is called "BPM"

Actually, "BPM" is not the right term to use for people who focus on work - it should be BPM+RALB+FOMM

I can do do a cake bake with anyone willing to listen that will leave them convinced that all three methods are needed to manage work.
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John you make interesting comments on accounting. Yes mature book keeping created 500 years ago. It does remain important but reality is it just records and processes data created by the business workforce. As we know that gap between people and these centralised systems is where BPM sits. Digital is the opportunity for now addressing this gap to allow assurance on operational activity. Sadly the accounting profession basically lost the when IT imposed its inside out inflexible systems such as ERP etc. Time for accountants to grasp the BPM thinking as they did in the 70s as they mapped out processes and now with Business driven supporting software accountants can help their business colleagues with tangible digital business transformation ...with IT in support to handle legacy and infrastructure.
David -- we've touched on accounting in this forum a little previously. Per your interesting comment above concerning accounting in the 1970's and BPM, it would be worth exploring an "alternate history of accounting" -- where would the profession have gone if IT had not exploded in the world of the business as it did? And what could we learn from such alternate history? Maybe the "past is prologue"?!

Then again, I'm not sure how big of an audience an "alternative history of accounting" would have! Perhaps one could come up with an approach that would be more enticing. How about "What would Kim Kardashian find if she looked at accounting in the 70's again?" Do you think this might fly?
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BPM is a mature discipline. Traditional On-Premise BPM Suites have been in the market for decades. New cloud-based BPM Suites now are mature too and used by thousands of customers. IFTT technologies (like Zapier) has helped to integrate business processes with favorite web apps. RPA has emerged as a competitor but now there is a broad understanding that it is complimentary and not a replacement for BPM Suites.

In sum, like any other mature technology, the challenge is growing. How to continue delivering value to businesses, both, whose already implemented improvement cycles through BPM, and those (primarily SMBs) that don't have yet adopted BPM.-
CEO at Flokzu Cloud BPM Suite
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I do not know if there is any kind of new challenges. It is always how create value? In the long term there is no other possibility than create customer value. No customer value no business. My role as BPM specialist is to help business people to understand the value of BPM to help to lead the business in digital era.

My personal challenge next year will be further develop understanding and concepts for agile BPM. The Business environment is getting more chaotic... the issue is how deal with VUCA world.

br. Kai
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There is only one (but survival) challenge - leave enterprises and become an enterprise-neutral helper for people and organisations who must work together. Some blockchain applications are already trying doing something similar. Clock is ticking.

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The main challenge ahead for BPM(S) will remain to be its continued "commoditization" as a result of the now many ways one can automate business processes.
Additional impacts to the field of BPM as a concept has been inflicted by the very popular RPA offerings that lure new followers by the thousands with easier, faster and ultimately cheaper micro deployments. New concepts that hold the potential to become BPM differentiators in the future, remain largely untapped. Specifically, native and embedded natural language rules engines, data/process mining, AI, ML and IoT extensions. All in all however, the development of BPM seems to follow in large a typical tech maturity cycle. It's core ideas have been picked up by multiple technologies, ranging from ERP to DMS and everything in between. New concepts and technologies are branching out from BPM as an evolutionary consequence, responding to the market requirements for faster, more intuitive and capable automation solutions. In that sense, the biggest hurdle for the year ahead will likely be the incorporation of these trending "topics" into the concept of BPM and with that, achieving a certain level of renewal.
NSI Soluciones - ABPMP PTY
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