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What key developments do you see for BPM in 2011?

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As we rapidly close in on the new year, what key developments do you see for BPM in 2011?

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  • The market will have to come to grips with being torn between the rigidity of orthodox BPM and the chaos of Social.

    A lot of confusing messages are being sent by various interests. It could be that BPM looses its luster as the most important thing since electricity. Actually, that would be a good thing.

    As always, it is most likely that the pragmatic solution lies in the middle, namely one that finally empowers business users to create processes and reusable templates in a social manner without governance bureucracy. Just adding social chit-chat to BPM flows won't do a thing. That's just lipstick on a pig. Open up the rigid flows, enable people to interact around resources, while being actively guided towards business goals.

    It is not the technology that has to be developed, it is the market understanding and acceptance.

  • Last year at this time everyone was talking about Google Wave. Numerous BPM companies saw this as the "next Wave" in BPM and a more efficient delivery vehicle for BPM tasking. But now Google Wave is dead and the fact is that enterprise software still needs a better delivery mechanism. Iphone and Ipad apps are nice, but could there be something more radical in the future? Customers are always awed by "actionable email content" because they know that users simply don't like to login to the web anymore. But email is broken so why keep beating a dead horse.

    So here's a crazy idea - what about a BPM delivered 100% though Facebook or even twitter? Most would say that is crazy because Facebook is social and what business would want to encourage its employees to mix business and pleasure? Wait a minute isn't most email also social? Or even worse - isn't most email SPAM? So why not use Facebook as the delivery method. After all, Zuckerberg will soon own the web anyway, right? :)

    You can read more about future delivery mechanisms for BPM in my blog post about the subject here:

    -Brian Reale

  • I think in 2011 we will see BPM growing within the enterprise, simply because more organisations now understand potentially what BPM can deliver and have started to invest in it this year. This will grow slowly I feel next year.

    I also think we will see a movement away from concepts such as Lean as more organisations look to more processes that could be mapped with BPM, and they understand the need and benefits of more systems integration. Event driven BPM I feel will grow more and more, along with the adoption of SOA allowing BPM to become more of an integrator (again leading to BPM moving away from Lean).

    BPM however does need to change, the need for change is really highlighted when you look at "Social" BPM, or even CRM and ECM. BPM will need to become far more flexible and far more adaptive, not to just how people interact with organisations now, but how as businesses our employees and teams wish to work / need to work. This will be really challenging for BPM as it is seen today. I know we have concepts such as dynamic BPM, but these really arent adaptive solutions, where the heart of a process can be modified by users, or new processes detected and created by the same users.

    I feel Brians comments are a little out there to say the least, and in practice would not work. These social sites simply dont have the capabilities to deliver any form of process mechanisms, and if they could, at best this would line up with a tiny handful of business processes and needs. I think this is a very narrow view of what BPM is or what it can deliver.

  • I believe that in 2011 there will be a schism in BPM, between general-purpose process analysis and design that's done by experts, and special-purpose process creation that is open to the ordinary business analysts and even end users.

    The notion that a full featured, fully general, fully SOA compliant BPMS will be usable by business people will be seen to be an unrealistic goal. These systems will be used by experts that have made a significant investment in developing their knowledge of BPMN, services, error handling, process design best practices, etc.

    Meanwhile there will be special purpose process design environments that will be much more constrained but useful in specific areas. These will be simple enough to be used by a typical business analyst with little or no training, but will still result in executable business processes.

  • A few things come to mind:
    - Self Service - Users want greater access to data for reporting and analytics. BPM naturally creates tons of data regarding the process itself (i.e., who participates and efficient/effective they are, bottlenecks) and the data collected within the process. If this data 1) can be easily accessed by common users, and 2) merged with other enterprise data to create a more singular view of operations, imagine what business the power business users would have to efficiently optimize their business.
    -Mobile - BPM can already push work to Mobile phones. But now we need to better craft the user experience to the mobile device.
    -Methodology - Lots of people think they know how to use BPM when then don't. BPM is an enterprise tool. It can do a whole lot of things. So knowing the tool is very important. But also the methodology for collecting requirements and rolling out development can make or break a project. We need to do a better job at training people on the project side of BPM. Rigorous project Management is a must.

  • I don't know what the key development in BPM in 2011 will be from either a methodology or a technology point of view... but I think that we're going to see a world with more BPM in 2011.

    Looking back on the year, from a technical point of view 2010 was more the year that wasn't - it wasn't google wave taking over... it wasn't even products on top of google wave gaining relevance. It turns out, solutions to business process problems are still more likely to come from companies that put those problems front and center in their business plans. For that reason, I don't see facebook and the like becoming the new BPM platform. It would be far too easy to have your BPM app completely disabled by a small change in facebook policy or technology (just ask slide or other various "widget" companies... )

    I think Garth's points about self-service, mobile access, and methodology are good ones - it isn't that methodology hasn't been thought through - but it hasn't been passed on to the people who need it yet.

  • I understand that BPM starts from human readable designs, then to generate machine executable objects, modelings are conversions between human-readable and machine-executable. Monitoring and optimizations simply depend upon designs, models and executions.
    Any process designs/modelings have common ingredients, such as parties, money, materials, time and conditions.

    So my hope in 2011, rather than what I predict are:
    1. Reduce redundant jobs: I don't think people want to reinvent wheels over and over again by designing/modeling very similar objects such as orders, invoices, RMA, suppliers, customers, employees, bank account, financial institutions, wiring money, settlements, hazardous substances etc.
    2. Increase holistic views: It's not just about process flows. A process such as a service claim may contain customer facing activities, contracts, scheduling people, planning and optimizing materials, synchronizing material deliveries and people scheduling, billing, cost accounting, collection, etc. Human and machines, both need to have holistic views to make holistic decisions and compromises.

    Reaching compromises among LOBs, accounting, IT folks, executives and external parties may remain as the most difficult part.

  • I see three key developments for BPM in 2011:

    1.) Adaptive Case Management for knowledge-intensive processes
    2.) Business Process Intelligence for real-time process guidance and optimization
    3.) BPMN2.0 support for enhanced event-driven BPM support

  • I think we will see a lot of chaff around BPM getting shed. Going forward, as the space matures and the list of companies investing in BPM increases, the focus will increase(as it rightly should)on what exactly BPM is eventually delivering, and how to ensure success rates. So in 2011, I expect to see a lot more emphasis on people and governance aspects of BPM. As Garth points out, lot of people think they know BPM but actually dont. Right-skill development and alignment, training, project management principles in the context of BPM, etc will be active areas.

    Some more thoughts here in my recent post.


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