1. Peter Schooff
  2. Sherlock Holmes
  3. BPM Discussions
  4. Thursday, 16 August 2018
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As we're almost two thirds of the way through the year, what would you say has been the biggest surprise for you with BPM so far this year?
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To me the biggest surprise was that apparently 75%+ of the people online think BPM is a technology only.

This line of thinking is one of the root causes why so many BPM implementations fail in the long run, there is no BPM mindset in the organization yet that can nurture and grow the support for the underlying toolset.
BPM is all about mindset first and toolset later....much later
Agree despite many debates there is the general misrepresentation that BPM is a "technology" when as you articulate it is a mindset. However let's remember BPM emerged because enterprise software technology created a gap between the resultant silo inflexible applications. The toolset to create outcomes from BPM is important indeed with knowledge of "how" has in our experience brought business users on side even if IT do not quite get it!
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 1
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It's always a surprise to me when pioneering BPM vendors and thought leaders abandon the idea that BPM technology is important and unique and central to the work of business. Defocusing from BPM technology as such is a retreat from what has been achieved. It's as if major accounting firms decided to de-emphasize accounting in favour of "total business solutions". Sure, total business solutions are important and might enable big high-margin consulting contracts. But you still have to understand debits and credits and cash flow and receivables etc. etc. If you abandon a deep commitment to accounting, your total business solutions are likely to end up as a farago of generalities.

Maybe they are trying to avoid references to 'technology"?

I agree "work" is core and that it has two components a) workflow and b) workload.

You cannot get to operational efficiency or effectiveness without orchestration from background BPM "best practices". Building "best practices" requires mastering the BPM methodology.

We get pushback when we make direct references to BPM during high-level discussions. If they ask, only then do we cite the history.

Right now, I am talking to a major city police department about transitioning their 1,000 procedures from on-line to in-line.

They have great difficulty with document revision - pick a topic where a need for revision has been identified and you are likely to have to make changes to 5 or more procedures under policy, procedure, operating rules.

Most of these procedures have linked steps with different actors needing to perform at each step. Some of the flows have timelines that run for several years making it very easy for things to fall between the cracks. The procedures are complex (lots of . . . . if, then...) and the procedures must be strictly followed.

When a customer asks what is behind the flowgraphing, compilation of graphs, and rollout to a run-time platform to get auto-posting of tasks (-> significant reduction in errors and omissions, reduction in unwanted time delays between tasks) we say, "oh, it's called BPM and it's widely used across many industries".

In the area of strategy development the pitch is much the same - "Let's inventory your corporate assets/capabilities (we want to make best use of scarce resources to build competitive advantage)".

RBV never gets mentioned unless/until the customer asks what the underlying methodology is.
I see only one reference to BPM in a list of fifteen "must have" capabilities for "Case Management".

You raise a very important and topical issue regarding accounts. Yes they have important role but the accounting profession over the past decades as IT took over control of data lost sight of the processes undertaken by people to create new data. Just because the books square does not mean all is well....!
Now we have some big questions arising over significant companies failing and the profession under scrutiny. The accounting profession must get back go basics where new data is created and with a focus on what are the salient process hence the rise in "total business solutions". Auditors need to be independent of delivery of these initiatives and get back to scrutiny of the processes in detail something I was doing in the 70s to great effect discovering some huge "misrepresentation". I believe the discipline of BPM should have big role to play in creation of new solutions and the effective audit.
Let us consider the following statements:
- BPM is very important
- BPM has great potentials
- BPM has only a few standards
- BPM main standard BPMN was criticized in many occasions
- BPM has absorbed the case management after a long battle
- BPM is absorbing RPA during a long battle
- BPM is accommodating to microservices and blockchain
- BPM is not dead for the 289th time
- BPM has no official governance body
- BPM has a lot of unfortunate laws
- BPM is understood as a technology
- BPM as methodology is disintegrated

Are they correct?

If yes then do you really think that this can continue forever in the modern digital world?

If no then BPM has to have a strategy.
Some good points but do not agree with all. However yes BPM has even more important role in the modern digital world to ensure accountability with true empowerment of people.
@David, What are those points of disagreement ?
BPM has a lot unfortunate laws...No there are no barriers in analysing step by step with any rules recognised
BPM has absorbed the case management after a long battle....what battle easy to map out...may require 50+ maps
BPM is understood as a technology....it is not a technology it is a way to think as a discipline on how operational business really works but does need supporting enterprise software to deliver
BPM as methodology is disintegrated...do not think so very simple creating transparency for all in comprehensive way and with the maps becoming the apps completes integration

Did BPM absorb Case or did Case Management absorb BPM?

My notion of the hierarchy goes like this

Strategy -> Initiatives -> ROI ->
Workload - Case Management across multiple Cases at User Intrays [RALB]) ->
Workflow – Case Management at Individual Cases 1) goals/objectives, 2) FOMM to assess progress toward meeting Case goals/objectives, 3) user ad hoc interventions + machine interventions + orchestration from BPM template instances.

This model of a firm puts BPM in ACM.
  1. John Morris
  2. 2 years ago
  3. #5644
@Alexander (et al.) - so wonderfully systematic! If all these statements are "true", then what about strategy? Certainly, BPM "doesn't have a strategy" - in the same way that accounting "doesn't have a strategy". However accounting still thrives and numerous bodies advocate for accounting and strategize for accounting and advocate on behalf of accounting. BPM is as of yet not so easy to professionalize - and likey won't ever be as dogmatic as accounting. (Perhaps in some science fiction future accounting absorbs BPM.) My answer to this question applies to any body of knowledge that is distinctive, important and ubiquitous: institutionalization. That fact that the idea might seem a fantasy to many is only a function of immature technology and the fact that institutionalization takes a long time. Not much comfort for the lonely champions of a BPM project today ...
  1. Caspar Jans
  2. 2 years ago
  3. #5645
If you consider BPM to be a methodology (a constellation of different principles, standards and tools) then, for me, BPM spans the entire vertical from strategy all the way metaphorically down to the workforce. It (can) deal with translating strategy into a so-called target operating model, it can take care of the hand overs between the different levels within an organization (even in 2018 this phenomenon still causes tremenduous amounts of miscommunication) and can provide the insight and accessibility to process documentation and SOP's.
Considering the above I would and could argue that ACM fits within BPM. :-) #my2cents

@Caspar... Hard for me, having mostly worked in the area of corporate strategy, to break away from a method like RBV for building, sustaining and augmenting corporate advantage.

It's all about risk assessment / highlighting uncertainty, i.e. making best use of available strategic resources such as land, plant, equipment, tools, markets, customers, supplier contracting, staffing. . . . which BPM cannot help with to any practical extent.

Success building competitive advantage involves such things as
a) what resources do we have ?
b) which ones are in use for how long ?
c) what initiatives can we take on with unallocated resources?
d) what mix do we take on? (high risk/high return; low risk/low return) ?

Then, lastly, as an external consultant, how do you onboard top management to reject ROI submissions that do not show how an initiative impacts competitive advantage and how do you onboard operations staff to not prepare ROI submissions that do not show contributions to competitive advantage?

Maybe your reference 'BPM spans the entire vertical from strategy all the way metaphorically down to the workforce." refers to a strategy for building a plan side inventory of mapped processes and integrated rollout of plan-side to run-time side.

No issues at all with your statement under this definition of "strategy'.
@John, RE "My answer to this question applies to any body of knowledge that is distinctive, important and ubiquitous: institutionalization." - unfortunately, you need industrialization before institutionalization.
@Karl "Did BPM absorb Case or did Case Management absorb BPM? " ACM was a set of some exotic coordination techniques. But, in reality, you need a mixture of various coordination techniques. Finally, BPM-suite monsters absorbed those exotic coordination techniques. The same story will be with RPA.
  1. more than a month ago
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That it didn't die for the 289th time.

But I think that's OK to save room in the graveyard for digital transformation.
Sharing my adventures in Process World via Procesje.nl
  1. John Morris
  2. 2 years ago
  3. #5632
Is it too FaceBooky of me to LOL?
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 2 years ago
  3. #5634
I prefer Instagrammy lols
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
The biggest surprise with BPM - it still has no strategy how to survive in the fast moving world.

Curious as to why it needs a strategy?
There are only three options for "work "
a) human memory
b) BPM
c) total automation.
We know (a) does not work, and we are not close in the business sector to get to (c), so my take is this makes BPM essential.
I agree with Karl as BPM is a simple logical way of thinking how people and machines interact with their processes and will never change. The world is indeed fast changing but that puts more emphasis on sticking to the basics of the real world of work....?
  1. Caspar Jans
  2. 2 years ago
  3. #5646
Halleluja... , in other words: I agree with Karl on this one as well
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
A surprise to me has been the quick rise in profile of low/ no code which focuses on the front end of business. There is even "The low-code daily" to promote this movement. Perhaps the biggest surprise was one of the players raised over $300m! Just highlights our pioneering starting over 25 years ago was well ahead of the game; a game which will change enterprise software for the better as very disruptive.....
I suppose one surprise is how any users today are willing to go through hoops to build workflow templates they want/need to use in a run-time environment.

Some of us have repeatedly ranted that users don't want to learn complex notations, nor do they want intermediaries to be central to process building.

What these folks want is to design, build, own and use their own processes.

We should concede that this is not 100% possible for two reasons a) building some rule sets (they can be quite complex because of the nature of business transactions) and b) linking to/from local and remote APIs.

But, these users can, without fanfare, put down nodes on a canvas, link these with directional arrows and include in their constructs, manual branching decision boxes featuring narrative "rules" that an IT person or consultant can convert to executable rules.

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