1. Peter Schooff
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  4. Tuesday, 15 December 2015
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What do you think are the key challenges facing BPM in 2016?
Jim Sinur
Blog Writer
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

This is a difficult question as we live in uncertain times. I think the biggest issue will be linking BPM efforts to the shifting business goals depending on the economy.

If the economy keeps growing, even at a low level, the issue for BPM is to link to the surging digital efforts. I think this a 60% scenario

If the economy retracts, then it will be about cost and efficiency. I think this is a 10% scenario

If the economy is up and down, then BPM had better be good at both cost saving and supporting differentiating efforts. If think this is a 30% scenario

Any way it goes we have the challenge to show business that BPM is built for change and is not just for stable and predictable processes. This old mindset lingers and is propigated by the whole 6 Sigma possey and the impression standards give them (BPMN and others).

Just my two cents


  1. KM Mukku
  2. 4 years ago
  3. #1333
Like this, although it is a very tall order in consideration of the current state of BPM and BPMN (and other) standards. One has to put a lot of faith in the supposed (or sold) consequences of economic policies, and accordingly (plan to) adjust the BPM. Or perhaps we wait for the consequences of the economic policies and then act? Time is the expensive commodity that has to be factored into this link.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

[i][quote][b]The challange is convincing BPM vendors that anyone cares about their latest technology.[/b]

The buyers are now business leaders and managers who care only about outcomes; better CX, happier staff, lower costs, reduced compliance failures, fewer product returns, higher margins, and the ability to be more responsive to change.

All these outcomes lead to more happier, more productive employees which leads to better, more loyal customers, which leads to better profits, which leads to happier staff.........

Now, can I tell you about my device-independent, IoT connected, persona-based, adaptive case management with added inductive analytics? It will only take a minute.
  1. John Morris
  2. 4 years ago
  3. #1317
No wonder sales people make a good living . . .
Easy way out.

Don't mention any of the device-independent etc. bafflegab.

What the consultant/sales rep needs to tell them how they can show them how to improve outcomes, CX, staff happiness. etc
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 2
Scott Francis
Blog Writer
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

People will still chase the "cheapest" vendor, rather than the vendor that produces working solutions. It turns out the "cheapest" vendors are usually the most expensive, because you don't end up with working software.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

My customers want the following . . . .

Continue along the path of getting functional units to where they are able to build, own and manage their own workflows, with the help of IT to bridge across functional units and with the help of IT or a BI/BA unit to help them put together Rule Sets.

Evolve a common definition of "low code" so that customers licensing sofware know what they are getting into and can decide for themselves whether they are getting onto a slippery slope with a vendor.

Educate users on CASE so they understand that in respect of any industry where there are knowledge workers, it is essentilal to be able to host a mix of structured and unstructured (ad hoc) interventions at run-time within some semi-automated environment where they get:

a) guidance from background BPM [workflow]

b) governance from the environment. (i.e. Rule Sets that can ":rein-in", extreme, unwanted deviation away from "best practices") [workflow]

c) cross-CASE resource allocation, leveling and balancing [workload]

d) ways and means of setting up CASE level objectives so they know when to close CASES they set up

e) reasonable interoperability so that the BPMs does not become a "black box" - data needs to flow in from local and remote 3rd party systems and applications, it needs to flow out to knowledgebases (for consolidating CASE data), to data warehouses for analytics and to/from an increasing range of mobile and fixed systems that generate data, enfich data and subscribe to data.
  1. http://www.kwkeirstead.wordpress.com
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

I believe BPM still face the key challenge of the balance between so called "realism" based on classical paradigms (old thinking in new technology) and what BPM actually could do for your business...
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 5
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

I think the
[b]biggest challenge is moving right in the Moore’s Adoption Curve and hit the Mainstreet of smaller companies[/b]

I mean, big companies uses BPM, as government agencies do. And a few small or medium
[i]very innovative[/i]
companies too. But the majority of small and medium enterprises / businesses (SME) is still using human memory, spreadsheets and mails to manage their business processes.

We wrote a post called “[url=http://www.flokzu.com/blog/en/smes/smes-and-business-processes/]What do SMEs need to massively automate their business processes?[/url]” in which we found 3 main reasons that keep SME’s away from BPM:

Software licenses costs: SME can't afford corporate BPM Suites.
Consulting services costs: SME can't afford a team of consultants for several months.
Lack of management time: SME can't spend hundredth of manager' hours telling the consultants how their processes run.

Identified those barriers, the solution to hit the biggest market of SME is
[b]BPM Suites specially aimed for SME,in which the SME not only is able to pay the costs, but also is able to define their processes by themselves. [/b]
This implies a BPMN simplification of course (not the full standard), but also an appropriate IaaS to run the BPM Suite, easy management tools, already configured Business Analytics to measure the processes, a flexible user-licenses model… In sum, a specific product for SME’s needs.We at [url=http://www.flokzu.com/]Flokzu[/url] are working right now with this objective, very focused on what SME really needs (no makeup ;)
  1. http://www.flokzu.com/
  2. http://www.flokzu.com/blog/en/smes/smes-and-business-processes/
CEO at Flokzu Cloud BPM Suite
  1. John Morris
  2. 4 years ago
  3. #1321
Juan you are addressing all the needs of the SME market. One question remaining though is the time required for SME managers and staff to budget for ANY app-dev, BPM or low-code or otherwise. Compare to accounting: SME managers do bookkeeping but not accounting - the accountant is engaged a few hours per week or month. Same with BPM or low-code. No matter how "easy" the BPM (and the if it's too easy, the semantics have been compromised) one still needs more IT/BPM expertise than it makes sense to maintain in-house. And thus, as with accounting, we have arrived at a channels strategy. Who knows, maybe small accounting firms could add BPM to their roster of services?
Ah ha.. the greatest way to simplify "BPMN" is to not have it.

How about circles that you interconnect with directional arrows?

Sure, the circles need attributes such as names, routing [parameters,data collection forms, Rule Sets, branching decision boxes, imposed delays, loopback controls and not much more.

The only item in my list that borders on "languages" is Rule Sets. For this, the end users typically need help from IT or from a BI/BA unit and if they have none of these resources, there are "consultants'.

I don't find many companies with 100s of core processes. Some only have 2-3 workflows with 20-30 steps each. You can map out in real time 20-30 steps in one hour, attach fake forms or images of forms and have the audience piano-playing THEIR workflow.

I found out a long time ago that the way to deal with anyone who texts, falls asleep or seems otherwise inattentive is to give them the mouse and have them complete the workflow.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 6
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

I think the biggest challenge facing BPM is relevance. Traditional BPM with its code-centric model is basically in competition with Apps. App development costs and times are coming down rapidly. Furthermore Apps tend to be more functional, better integrated etc.

The only way for traditional BPM to compete with apps is on flexibility. But the flexibility needs to be 5-10x that of a traditional app to sway I.T. towards building on BPM vs. Building Apps.

The flip side of this challenge is also an opportunity. A BPM approach unambiguously geared towards knowledge workers is where I believe the future of BPM lies. A corollary to being geared towards knowledge workers is zero-code or code-later. Another corollary, is that this new kind of BPM (what we call Lean BPM) may look very different from traditional BPM. It will have a closer resemblance to knowledge worker tools like email, project management etc.

  1. https://tmail21.com
  2. https://tmail21.com/blog/rethinking-bpm-based-on-lean-principles/
  3. https://tmail21.com/blog/zero-code-bpm-is-not-a-myth/
Founder and CEO, TMail21
Co-founder and CTO, One Network Enterprises
  1. John Morris
  2. 4 years ago
  3. #1319
Ranjit, please allow me to respectfully disagree with you. You are certainly correct about the increasing power of app-dev, and resulting lower costs.

However, app-dev and BPM are not the same (and I know you didn't claim they were) - and they are different in a very interesting way.

I define the uniqueness of BPM as software technology where the symbolic artefacts of work are first class citizens of that technology (think the elements of workflow or many of the shapes in BPMN).

BPM allows managers to directly manage the work of their organization. And this can be revolutionary. The fact that BPM technology is still improving, and that realizing this vision has been difficult, should not hide the possibilities.

Code gets there -- eventually -- because you build the same thing, but more laboriously and indirectly.

And the "indirectly" part adds enormous expense to the whole thing. One ends up hostage to code. One could imagine powerful frameworks which duplicate the power of BPM -- but then you've have BPM, by definition!

Except you took the long way around, and your product still doesn't have the hard graph-solving math required to run your Petri net.

I enjoy BPM.com because I believe business process management technology is centrally important to the programme of business technology. Along with other irreduceable technologies (including business rules, algorithms, UX, architecture, security etc.) BPM is uniquely powerful. Done right, there is no reason to consider a BPM/code trade-off.

Your "lean BPM" I think is a description of the same vision concerning where BPM will end up. We should see more progress in 2016!
John, I completely agree with you that Traditional BPM and App Development are not the same thing. In particular the exposure of the process as a first-class entity is a big differentiating factor between the two.

If you look at it from the standpoint of customer goals however, things look a little different. The customer's goals are to rapidly implement 'processes' which are usable and functional.

So, the difference in architecture (eg. first class entities called processes) needs to translate into what customers care about, viz. flexibility, velocity, cost, maintainability, usability and functionality.

My point was that apps typically win hands down when it comes to usability and functionality. So, BPM needs to translate its internal architectural structuring (e.g. first class processes) into advantages in flexibility, velocity and cost. I threw out the 5x multiple (flexibility, velocity, cost, maintainability advantage) that BPM must have over apps to compensate. Obviously the number will vary by situation and the relative importance of these factors.

I am not stating that this is not possible. Just that this is how I view the "challenge" traditional BPM is faced with. Most customers are going to want to see traditional BPM's internal architecture translated into advantages they care about.
  1. John Morris
  2. 4 years ago
  3. #1327
Ranjit, it's now my turn to completely agree with you! : ) Esp. the "5X" or more part -- which I have experience with regarding proprietary RAD. (You can't sell it if there isn't an order of magnitude superiority over the alternative.)

As for business drivers such as "velocity" etc., truly these are the levers that are be used by business people to justify a project.

I will add two comments:

(1) BLACK BOX VERSUS RESPONSIBILITY -- I believe that there is a need for business people to "step up" in terms of taking responsibilities for processes - there's no room any more for "black box" processes and Captain Picard saying "just do it", which leads me to

(2) INSIDE THE BOX, BPM -- as part of opening up the black box, this means that business people will have to understand why technology 'x' enables business velocity 'y'. And then it becomes in part a sales issue. BPM can and should be sold in place of coding, because after iteration No. 1, the code-based solution will be significantly less evolvable than BPM. Ultimately code is a a recipe for business failure.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 7
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

Maintaining BPM integrity as a discipline and way of thinking that is now supported by the required "adaptive" software that can actually deliver exactly what business articulates. It is back to basics for business regaining control from old IT their operational people process where all information is created. All this will start the journey to deliver "assurance" on business activity for the external interested parties. So the real challenge "who" is going to drive this......will the accounting profession rise to the challenge?
Hi, David . . . Most of the old school accountants have yet to go from ROI to SROI, so good luck getting them consolidate Case data to KPIs.

I agree with "adaptive" - not sure if its the software that needs to be adaptive or the approach to managing Cases that needs to be adaptive.
Interesting debate is emerging next year about "assurance" where Accountants should have lead responsibility but this really goes into how information created. Too many big corporate scandals /failures where both IT and the accounting profession have failed on this much needed assurance. Someone needs to take a lead but it is business not technology driven so puts BPM principles to the fore....?
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 8
Patrick Lujan
Blog Writer
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

Same challenge BPM faces every year - 'people.' That's read in italics as
[i]'politics and money.'[/i]

  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 9
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

I don't care about the challenges for BPM in general, because BPM in general is nothing. Ok, you might say it's a set of methodologies, standards, tools etc, but what I care most about is MY processes.

I know my processes are quite OK; not much waste, not too high costs, but my biggest challenge is not the process, but the process result.

Do customers still want my stuff in the future? Are there competitors that will offer better stuff? So, will my efficient and lean processes still deliver stuff somebody likes to give me some money for? Am I adaptive enough?

Hey, that looks like business. mmm. maybe that's why it is called BUSINESS process management.

I wish you all happy processes in 2016!
Sharing my adventures in Process World via Procesje.nl
  1. John Morris
  2. 4 years ago
  3. #1330
Hi Emiel, and all the best for happy processes in 2016!

As for "BPM-in-general", please allow me to propose the following thought experiment:

"I don't care about accounting-in-general, only about my cash flow and shortening my O2C in order to reduce my working capital, and that means I need a better A/R process . . . "

This would certainly be a reasonable position for CFO . . . but that CFO also has an accounting credential. And someone has to care about accounting-in-general.

In the same way, and especially given that BPM is much less mature, both as a discipline and as a technology, than accounting, a lot of people have to care about BPM-in-general.

Because BPM-in-general is the enabler of everything that's possible -- just like accounting-in-general is the enabler of specific accounting initiatives and programmes.

And BPM-in-general is still very much a "moving target" too: Every year the BPM business specialist is making choices on where they think that target is (which is partly where BPM.com comes in!)

I don't think you'd disagree with this position? : )
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 4 years ago
  3. #1334
Hi John,

Indeed, I don't disagree, because there are some general ideas on what 'managing by process' is about and that's good. But more and more I get the feeling that somehow BPM is pushed into a corner where it shouldn't be. It's not something special; it's daily business,

You know that my view is that 'every company is doing BPM but some companies just care more about it than others'

I just see 'managing your organization by processes' as a way to do what you promise as an organization. It's a means, not a goal.

But I know, that I'm a minority with this view and BPM is seen by the most as some kind of ($ 10 bn.) industry with methodologies, tools, standard etc. (most tools, actually). And, no I won't mention the many 'majority models' in this comment...

I wouldn't call it an industry. That assumes that you can buy or implement BPM. No, you DO BPM and that Industry? Is see it more as a 'Make BPM better shop' with stuff to make my processes better.

And yes, like any other shop, the stuff you can buy differs from year to year. Gadgets come and gadgets go. And all the suppliers in that shop might see that as a challenge.

But that's not the same challenge as me trying to manage my processes. Maybe I don't need the newest stuff from the 'Make BPM better shop' . If I can execute and manage my processes with success by using Excell and Visio, who has the right to say I am not doing BPM?

With all the comments I post I just want to express that I don't see BPM as something special and that in general you can say a lot on 'why, how and with what you can manage processes' , but it's the context that counts.

The basic ideas on 'managing by process' are ok, but unfortunately the 'Make BPM better shop' turns more and more into those TellSell commercials at night.

Buy this stuff and your processes run forever! Even at freezing cold. Amazing, Mike.
  1. Walter Bril
  2. 4 years ago
  3. #1336
Ah, this so triggers me: "Because BPM-in-general is the enabler of everything that's possible "; thank you John :-).

I agree with Emiel that BPM is a means to achieve better results. But it is also my achilles heel: BPM is seen (most of the time) as "one of those many discplines out there". E.g., we're embracing Lean in order to achieve better results... No, no, no... In order to achieve anything with whatever discipline or method, you NEED to understand how you do stuff. An be in control of it. Applying Lean or launching whatever performance improvement project... well there, I said it: PROJECT.

My 2 cts: You already need to be in control of your processes, before you launch any improvement project. I strongly believe in focussing on the process / system rather than the result, will lead to more flexibility, agility etc.

The goal should not be set to: I want to loose 20kg by March (result). But to: I will change my lifestyle by eating more healthy and start running NOW (process). And voila... :-)

Happy holidays!
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 4 years ago
  3. #1340
Walter; good additions, but this could easily turn into a discussion on the difference between purpose, process results and process goal and process.

'Wanna give everyone a healthy life, could be your purpose' (this should be driving the processes you have in your company)

'Let people lose 20 kg' could be one of the results to achieve to make a start. I would call that a process result.

'in 3 months' could be the goal attached to that result.

The process itself could be designed in many ways; jogging, cardio, diet etc.

But be aware also not to mix up result/goals of a process and the goal of process improvement.

The result and goal of my process could be 'Delivered pizza within 20 minutes that cost no more than $4 and is compliance with Pizza laws'

A process improvement result could be 'Redesign the process so that pizza's will be delivered in 15 minutes'

Very obvious and common sense things, but still forgotten to make clear, which can easily lead to non focused and useles process improvement efforts'
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 4 years ago
  3. #1341
And having said all the above,maybe that's the challenge for BPM; companies just implementing the next gadget selected out of some quadrant instead of taking an honest look at what they're doing.

We all know; where's the most fun in BPM? in it's fundamentals!
  1. John Morris
  2. 4 years ago
  3. #1342
Walter - sorry for not providing a "trigger warning"! : )

And happy holidays to you too -- and to BPM enthusiasts everywhere.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 10
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

[b]The challange ahead for BPM is not the vendors but the SI's who are still approaching BPM as a 'project' and not a programme of transformation change! They are the killers of the BPM market. [/b]

Why is Visio still the perceived standard for process work? It is very baffling that in 2015 organisations are still letting consulting firms get away with them using Visio and other such non-fit-for-purpose tools when it comes to process improvement. How on earth can BPM move on from being tactical and in essence fighting against other proposistions when you have people pulling the wool over peoples eyes and suggest that a Visio process is good enough to be deployed to every employee in the business that is engaging and interactive. Come on, enough is enough!

BPM will struggle way beyond 2016 unless this issued isn't dealt with. Fortunetly, for all our customers at Roc, they have seen the light and chosen a different path and are reaping the huge fiscal, commercial and cultural benefits.

Good BPM needs good enterprisemethodology and an approach for it to succeed. Vendors need to sit up and pay attention and stop falling for the big SI trap of bright lights and big money. It has failed for years.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 11
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

I agree with Scott, Walter, John and Ranjit that the biggest challenge for BPM is to provide the
[b]BPM value stream[/b]
(discipline, tools, practice/architecture, UX/CX, dev., etc.) which is
[b]unquestionably more attractive [/b]
(primarily cheaper) for various clients (including SMEs) than any other option (classic dev., apps, zero-code, CRM platforms, etc.).

Ideally, the BPM community (maybe driven by BPM.COM) will consider soon its own value stream to come up with its optimisation.


agreed, with a small input: I'd say the unquestionably more attractive proposition for BPM should be "primarily faster". Which ultimately means "cheaper", but embraces also unmeasurable benefits, like opportunity costs, enhanced collaboration, goals congruence, clarity of scope, decision making speed etc.
Agreed. Actually, different clients will require different characteristics - cheaper, better, faster, cleaner, greener, more agile, more synergetic (i.e. IoT), more comprehensive, more transparent, etc. - in different combinations.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 12
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

I think one of the biggest challenges for BPM in 2016 is for BPMS providers to offer solutions that give end users appropriate user interfaces for what they need.

BPMSs usually focus too much on tasks, when what the end user needs is an application. In the ideal solution the process is not visible to the end user, but is simply the back-end of the application.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 13
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