1. Peter Schooff
  2. Sherlock Holmes
  3. BPM Discussions
  4. Tuesday, 29 January 2019
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I think many of us agree that BPM is still as important as ever to a business, but all the attention right now is going to the bright and shiny new technologies. So what do you think BPM needs to do to get the buzz back?
Jim Sinur
Blog Writer
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I don't think BPM, as a name, will ever get it's buzz back like in the mid 2000s, however process by many names is flourishing. Look at workflow, case management, operational excellence and processes role in automation mated with other hot areas like RPA, low-code, edge computing and process mining. I think the important part is that process is contributing and will contribute heavily in the future especially when combined with customer experience efforts where change will be constant. Just my two cents.
  1. https://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2015/10/big-change-is-enabled-by-cared-for.html
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 1
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Yes, we've had that conversation about need for a rebranding many times haven't we? And I think Jim's right the buzz around BPM may never be regained. But the truth still stands that business driven process and automation is as hot as ever, "a rose by any other name..."

I know lots will say BPM is a methodology not a technology - and it absolutely is - but we're also positioned to bring sanity and control to all that shiny tech. Microservices without orchestration? Nonsense! AI without human oversight? Piffle! (at least for now).

Sure we need to fight the everything is code to some degree so that people can direct the business but at the same time every company is after all a software company now. To coin a phrase.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 2
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The way to reinvigorate BPM is get business engaged in a practical way to get them to recognise that the combination of understanding BPM and now the fact that the low code (LCNC) allows business to drive how operational processes can be delivered in their language and readily supports the inevitable change. Both are simple to understand in complete contrast to the evolution of enterprise software which still thrives on complexity at huge cost to business. Add to this the fact that IT infrastructure is now being outsourced so IT influence reduces in business. LCNC platforms need to address legacy with RPA thus minimising complexity but still driven by business. Once this understanding is in play the philosophy can be readily extended to business understanding not just how automation can be incorporated into processes but also how it has been built thus ensuring full business accountability

As I have raised before who is going to pick up this challenge...? In my opinion the Accounting profession is very well placed to help their business colleagues regain control over their business processes. The following is an extract of a paper I have presented to my professional body; I rest my case…..

"Focusing on people and their processes was a core skill with the accounting profession in the 1970s, when auditors were mapping out step-by-step processes, looking for control weaknesses and making recommendations for change. I was fortunate to be active in such exercises and in one case found a huge systemic fraud, just by talking about what was actually happening. This is exactly what BPM is about and now technology exists in the hands of business to deliver on all aspects required to build new systems, with full audit trails.
With such transparency comes not only real accountability, but also the opportunity for new, efficient business models that do not simply digitise existing processes. The capability to deliver “ground-up” systems, built using the reimagined visions of business leaders and the business knowledge of employees, will enable real empowerment of both leaders and workers. It will also encourage automation and artificial intelligence, but as part of any business process should be under scrutiny.
Accountants with this new business-driven technology inherently have the knowledge and skills to become leaders in the delivery of meaningful digital transformation. This new empowerment and flexibility will undoubtedly see new business models, improving productivity and the employee experience and strengthening customer relationships.”
  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 3
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Working right now in the digital transformation area, I watch various <something>tech activities in which there are some efforts to apply blockchain-related technologies to various industry sectors.

Often, I found that blockchain-enthusiasts are implementing a simple process (10 tasks for 3 role) by programming some smart-contracts. It seems that such mini-projects are easier to implement from scratch with blockchain than to implement them with some “proper” tools, i.e. BPM-suite products.

This exposes two current problems for BPM – 1) making simple things simple and 2) being able working “between” participants thus providing trustful (think about a digital lawyer) processes between unknown (i.e. trustless) participants.

  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 4
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Some of the emerging nomenclature does a better job of focusing on what's important about the technology, while at the same time distinguishing more traditional (dare I say, “legacy”), top-down, long deployment cycle solutions from platforms that support rapid, no-code development of digital applications. (On this point, I recommend people read the research published by Forrester analyst Rob Koplowitz on digital process automation (DPA), and how Forrester distinguishes the markets for “deep” and “wide” solutions.)

There are a lot of vendors engaged in what they call “BPM”—and yet, some of our products differ in rather substantial ways. The DPA research makes solid progress in explaining and segmenting the market: a critical first step towards restoring the tarnished luster of BPM technology.
Scott's opinions only. Logo provided for identification purposes only.
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  3. # 5
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Business Process Management may have lost the vendor-centric impact of once but gained in an even greater proportion importance as a commonly accepted concept in best business practices, universally embraced by a multitude of software producers and companies alike.
In that sense, the BPM color spectrum may have changed but I would even dare and state that its coverage has increased. From a domain expertise point of view, subject matter experts, like many of the contributors at BPM.COM, now arguably face the responsibility of connecting the dots of trending but free-floating technologies and drawing them closer to the core concept of BPM itself. Processes remain being the central, most important aspect of any dynamic and competitive business. As such the fields of data science, robotics, IoT and many more not only lend themselves but in fact are natural extensions for professionals to cover under the thematically umbrella of BPM.
NSI Soluciones - ABPMP PTY
  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 6
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What is BPM? Business Process Management or perhaps Business Problem Mitigation? My point being that the three letters BPM have been around for quite some time and still means many things to people outside of our domain. I was at an IT Palooza conference and when I mentioned BPM, the business people there - CIO, VP, etc. - had no idea what I was talking about and the techies looked at it a solely technology.

I think the key is that we need to focus on the BP element of BPM putting technology second to discussions of improving business operations through improvement, change, and automation. I still hear vendors talking about feeds, speeds, technology and giving an elevator pitch about how great their products are without ever asking their prospect about their business problems, operations or why they think BPM is something they need. "We can help your business grow and streamline your operations. We do it all the time". Most likely, the sales person is right, but I also recently met a person who was considering "tossing out" their fourth BPM solution because it did not actually help them accomplish their goals. When i asked what the goals were, the answer was a typical, "we want to turn be more efficient and effective in our day-to-day operations". When I asked for a specific example, the reply was all of it. When we finally narrowed it down to finance, I asked if they had an idea of processing times, error rates, etc. and the answer was no. I asked if there were readily identifiable issues in the process to slow of stop it and the answer was I do not know. I then asked how they know the previous products were not working or meeting their goals if they do not clearly understand the goals, current ways of working, and underlying issues, the answer was we can't.

What's in a name? BPM by any other name would still be challenged in this way until there is a clearer understanding of how, when, and where to apply it from a business perspective. We could call it Harry and find the challenges of adoption, and market growth are still the same.
Bob Larrivee
President and Founder
Bob Larrivee Consultancy
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 7
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Why do anything?

The thing with buzzwords is that they are hot for a while, next we know they start to pick up differentiators because of competition (e.g. rapid, dynamic, enhanced, integrated, low-maintenance) and, usually, this marks the start of their decline.

We saw this with "low-no code", with "agile". One that stuck, for some of the players, was/is "ACM/BPM".

The other thing is that popular buzzwords (whilst they are flavors of the month/year) consolidate declining buzzwords such as CRM, DCM. Acquired buzzwords tend to be narrower in focus.

The problem is that customers want solutions to problems, not "technology", and they don't like piecemeal solutions.

In the construction industry, we had CPM (Critical Path Method) which was, and still is, ideal for large, complex projects. At some stage CPM became "Project Management" (PM). PM appealed to the masses so 'everyone' started to do PM.

For some time, CPM remained core to PM but users tasked with the management of not-so-complex projects transitioned to GANTT charts (originally, a summary presentation approach for a CPM diagram).

Today, we still have PM software that allows deep dives to CPM but some PM vendors simply push GANTT charting.

So, putting a focus on BPM, I am seeing the same trend.

We have BPM as best for end-to-end process mapping/run-time management, we have ACM or ACM/BPM that accommodates a mix of structured and unstructured work, and we have ACM where there is a presumption that all work is unstructured.

Meanwhile, industries (all of them) have found a need to focus on competitive advantage (i.e. a strategic task). Top management in many cases is blissfully ignorant of what is available to them aside from Executive Dashboards/Key Process Indicators.

At the operations level, users now want efficiency/effectiveness which translates to workflow/workload management, either in a constrained space (i.e. initiatives within Cases) or, in general (i.e. continuous process management). This sounds a lot like industrial engineering for business, or operations research).

BPM is unable, on its own, to address the needs of workflow management/workload management, so no wonder why the fail rate is high.

Solution: build/sell software that lets users manage workflow/workload by packaging BPM, RALB (essential for micro-scheduling of tasks at run-time within and across Cases) and FOMM (essential for non-subjective decision-making at Cases). Don't visit client sites without all three.

Not done . .

If you go into an organization with the intent of selling 'Case/Incident Management (BPM+RALB+FOMM)" and you see that strategic planning is being done on the back of an envelope, don't take on workflow/workload -> efficiency / effectiveness unless/until you have steered the customer to methods/tools that allow selection of initiatives that build/sustain and augment competitive advantage.

Make sure that the organization has ways/means of defining, prioritizing and funding strategic initiatives, setting up Cases that have clearly defined goals/objectives and then, only, put in place ways/means of achieving efficiency/effectiveness.

If you don't have the skill sets to address "first the problem, then the solution", acquire these, or partner with a strategic management consulting firm, or move on to customers who are "ready" for ACM/BPM.
  1. http://www.keirstead.wordpress.com
Karl I think you have summarized the existing complex and confusing way enterprise software currently delivers. Fact is by understanding the basic yet comprehensive nature of how business actually works with logic which never really changes it becomes easy to map out step by step what any application requires; this covers your "....the needs of workflow management/workload management,". Nothing is off the agenda simple or complex. Yes you may need a clever coder to build algorithm etc but all slots into the simple but powerful BPM approach which drives the thinking and mapping. Using LCNC click the button and first cut ready to run and get user feed back to incorporate required changes...all far too simple for old IT ways!
I get concerned when I see BPM and ACM tagged together. BPM is the adoption of the thinking where ACM is a ready to run Adaptive application which all new Digital solutions not just "Case Management" need to now deliver.
@David I like . . . ."simple but powerful BPM approach which drives the thinking and mapping".

I would add to that "... and provides run-time orchestration.
Re: "get concerned when I see BPM and ACM tagged together",

Here is why there is nothing to be concerned about.

This from a Forbes article

'ACM enables any knowledge worker to simultaneously create and act on the process - there is no separation of design and run time. There may be events and rules that guide the process, as in traditional BPM, but ACM places decision-making where it belongs - in the hands of business people, not the IT staff.

In fact, it is the overarching goal of ACM to enable dynamic decision-making by providing the needed information at the right time or enabling the knowledge worker to quickly find it. ACM does this by surrounding a fundamental business transaction, opportunity or challenge (the case) with a set of capabilities that support effective and efficient decision-making and action-taking, as depicted below.

My interpretation of ACM/BPM,is that BPM handles end-to-end workflows. Case environments allow easy access to a menu of BPM process fragments allowing users to escape from rigidity, and ACM accommodates ad hoc interventions at Cases.

The "eureka" is a realization that there are three types of processes a) end-to-end b) process fragments and c) processes of one step each.

Practical, logical, seamless, uncluttered. You get to sleep at night.
My understanding of the definition Adaptive is different relates to the deployed Application. First it requires the UI to be dynamically presented to the specified role user with the relevant data for that specific instance to allow easy interaction by users and entering new data only once. Secondly it requires the application to be readily changed as circumstances require. Where appropriate users should be able to implemented simple changes and certainly be actively involved for significant ones which may require a version control mechanism for orderly change implementation.
Seriously, once a buzzword acquires too many differentiators, it starts to collapse from the weight. It becomes pointless to try to debate the relative merits.

e.g. What can there be beyond "turboencabulation"?

And, is there any point trying to further motivate a child who, when asked what job they think they would like to get into, pushes back with "Supreme Inter-Galactic Potentate, In Charge"
@David.. I can see you have learned what buttons to press..

See . . .

What will we do when we run out of letters? (2014)
@David Re " . . . requires the application to be readily changed"

Works for me and should work for those have reached the conclusion that "... the map is the app" (your invention, as I recall).
  1. Caspar Jans
  2. 1 year ago
  3. #5908
I hope I'm not too late yet to contribute to this discussion. I believe BPM has reinvented itself a couple of times already in recent history and I firmly believe that one way of giving BPM its buzz back is by making it more usefull to the business side of the organization (and not just more interesting to the IT side). I see more and more companies now either thinking about or implementing Enterprise Management Systems (based on BPM suites) that not only cover the process hierarchy and process models, but also a lot of other enterprise assets such as the strategy, product portfolio, risk and control framework, the application landscape (with a link to EA and ITPM of course), regulatory requirements, you name it. If an organzation manages to describe that in an interlinked manner, and come up with the right set of KPI's for management to track, the application potential of BPM will know no boundaries for the coming decade.

I'm doing this kind of exercise as we speak with a number of large clients and they are fed up with having to maintain multiple sources of information that, as they understand now, is all linked and should therefore not be managed in silo's.

So, I like a bold statement from time to time (not to confuse this with my bald statement): free BPM from IT and bring it to the business!
I found this summary of "Adaptive" I think from 2013! This goes into the detail I would add should apply to all digital Applications not just "Case"?
Key attributes of Adaptive Case Management from RTF with our observations
Support Ad Hoc Collaboration Build into design as required
Enable Automated Workflows & Activities Fully supported and readily changed
Provide a Virtual Case Folder All data held as data and collated as required in any format
Allow Tracking of Status & Activities Full audit trail real time tracking
Facilitate Planning & User Guidance Yes
Support a Context-Aware Knowledgebase As required
Allow Role-based Routing of Virtual Case Folder Fully supported with roles allocated with re allocation as required
Incorporate Business Rules for Policy Enforcement Includes rules and enforcement as required
Leverage Existing Channel for Alerts & Notifications Can be catered for
Track Changes Policies & Other Configurations All changes tracked
Systematically Identify Non-Compliance Yes and escalate as required
Manage/Track Training Requirements & Progress Build into the process?
Enable Emergency Override of Defined Policies Designed and build as required with quick change and version control
Provide Business Activity Dashboard All data available for real time reports in any format using tool of choice
Identify “Next Best Action” to Shorten Process Time Yes use intelligence in process to help this capability
Apply Governance Rules to Knowledge Management Design as required
Generate Preformatted Forms & Response Letters Yes stored ready to be dynamically populated as required specific to the “case” and user authorisation

@David... looks good.

The problem all along with "Case" is that users have no problem with understanding "medical cases", "criminal investigations", "court cases",

If we venture beyond these select examples to, say, "insurance claim", people start asking why a 'Claim' is a "Case-To-Be-Managed".

The way out is to explain that the term "case" goes back to the 1600's and that in the digital world of today, "case" really means little more than a cursor position in a relational database management system (RDBMS). In other words, "case" is a "bucket" where you can store and later find, all data relating to, say, a patient, a particular investigation, a court case, a serially-numbered helicopter that undergoes maintenance every 150 hours, etc.

I don't think users of Case Management Systems, where they never have to/get to define RDBMS tables\fields, find any of the above helpful.

The closest most of them get to understanding the underlying 'structure' in the Case Management system / platform they are using is to define Forms that have 'data collection fields', each of which has a unique name across the entire suite of Forms.

Does this add to the confusion or does it reduce the confusion?
@Karl you raise interesting and important point as to use of "Case". If you think of all business operational processes what is not a Case? Even expenses as a simple business process is a the case with the focus is the claimant. In government delivering a service the citizen and looking at healthcare needs to cover all needs and link to all departments which again is a "Case". This of course challenges the old silo systems where confusion often reigns with related high cost and inefficiency. I think the detailed understanding or both Adaptive and the end to end focus on the beneficiary of the case outcomes could be a simple but powerful message?
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 8
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Building on E. Scott Menter's take...

BPM is eminently a "wide" automation solution. So, in order to get some "buzz", it should:

1. shed the academia talk about abstract concepts - I know how interesting it is to debate about process vs case and the various definitions, but the audience for that goes asymptotically to zero, the deeper we go into details.

2. stop clinging on to all the "deep tech" buzzes (RPA, AI, ML) - it creates confusion and just adds one more acronym to the soup

3. go with common sense concepts - best wide practices converted into BPM use cases, with examples and implementation advice. Stick to basics, yet keep it detailed enough to be relevant. E.g.: go above workflow patterns, but below advanced logic of process engines.

4. lose the marketing fluff. Serious would-be customers are increasingly tired of all the generic business optimization jibber-jabber that you find in all those case studies. It's just lame. I have never read a good marketing piece from any player in the DPA quadrants. Also, focus your message. You can't be a great public sector solution this week, an AI leader next week, and an expert in fintech the week after - and generate meaningful buzz out of all this.

5. show it working. Invest in technical capability to quickly demonstrate on how you solve a clear pain point.

Case in point: our largest customer to date (Fortune 150 customer!) got bored of all the political dances and the sterile consulting talk and chose us over all those major players, saying: "this has been a frustrating dialogue for several months, while you guys managed to provide a working proof of concept in 1 week" (also we're 10x cheaper, I guess this counts too :D )
CEO, Co-founder, Profluo
@Bogdan Agree interestingly none of our early adopters would recognise BPM! They just wanted problem addressee and solved quickly as you articulate. However to move "our" approach to mainstream and adopted by senior business management we do need a simple but powerful deliverable concept and the BPM thinking has an important role as does Adaptive..?
Customers don't need to recognize BPM!

Only we - as solution providers - care about BPM, because it it the PROCESS mindset that helps us solve BUSINESS problems for our customers - in an effective, efficient and repeatable way.
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 year ago
  3. #5916
@Bogdan for President. ?
*crickets chirping*

Crickets are great :)
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 9
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Put the Business into BPM. BPM today is little different to IT flow charting from way back. It's been designed by programmers for use by programmers. It does not reflect the real world that business people inhabit. Forget the swim lanes, where's my office, my desk? How do I as a person working in business relate to others around me. What activities do I engage in, who affects me and who do I affect? As a business manager I need to be able to view my business physically, not conceptually, drill in and see the end-to-end processes that comprise my value chain. BPMN may be good for techies but stick it on the boardroom wall and people haven't a clue how it relates to their business.
We seem to have two implementations of BPM today - legacy "programmers for programmers" implementations and "business operations" implementations..

The latter has no constraints on real world representations; there are no swim lanes; each process step accommodates a 'performing role' attribute plus one or more context-situational appropriate data display / data collection forms; there is a history/look ahead facility that lets everyone know how each actor relates to others; posting of activities/tasks to actors who have the skill sets and availability is automated.

I agree that it is important to be able to switch from the big picture to drill down. This problem was resolved 50 years ago in CPM where managers/workers could simultaneously view a project summary flowgraph and detailed sub-project flowgraphs.

Nothing prevents BPM practitioners today from rolling out a read - only summary process flowgraph that gets updated automatically by Key Process Point activity completion in low level flowgraphs..
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