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Is ACM a new paradigm or a BPM feature?

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As Anatoly Belychook states in his blog, ACM: Paradigm or Feature? adaptive case management was one of the most discussed BPM topics in 2010.  It transformed from fuzzy marketing noise to more or less consistence concept over the part year.  So do you think ACM is a brand new paradigm or a BPM feature?

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  • Thank you Peter for catching this. We had very fruitful discussion with Keith Swenson and others yet I personally don't feel that we've found the final answers.

    My key arguments why ACM and BPM should be better implemented together in a form of "ACM-enabled BPM":

    1) There are semi-process/semi-case things like issue tracking: an issue itself is defintely a case but it's connected to well defined processes like e.g. building a release. The same story with patient's case vs. specific blood test assigned. Facing this mix of interconnected cases and processes it'd be very impractical to manage them in two different environments.

    2) Another common situation is a case transforming into a well-defined process when the company matures. It's quite natural for a small company or a startup to treat everything like cases whether it's predictable or not - just because it cannot afford process analysis nor process development. Yet when the business "recipe" is found and the company starts to grow it'd make sense to transfer the case templates developed through the startup phase into process diagrams. Once again, it's far better to do it within a unified environment.

    Keith Swenson pointed out http://social-biz.org/2011/01/22/acm-feature-or-paradigm/ that although ACM may be treated as BPM feature, this is a biased approach because it can be treated as well as a feature of some other things or better as an independent approach.

    I agree but let's be practical. Let's assume for example that 80% of possible ACM users need BPM functionality too and 20% don't. Would it make sence to provide ACM as a standalone solution in this case? How about 90 or 95%?

    Another sub-topic that stayed unnoticed was the idea to implement templates in ACM automatically by collecting and analyzing tasks performed by other users within similar cases. I believe it'd be more social and more responsive than the idea of users defining templates and sharing them via a common library. Or maybe it's alredy accepted/implemented and I'm inventing a bike here?

  • First of all we need to make sure that there is no uniform notion of ACM and one might ask reciprocally what kind of ACM are you referring to? Looking at the analyst-induced feature-side of IT you can bet that ACM is as much a feature of BPM as BPMS vendors will be able to muster. But with the same justification you could also ask is BPM just a feature of ACM? Or ECM a feature of ACM? CRM? And which and how many features do you really need? In the end the users, i.e. the real experts, will tell you what they really need and they are not talking of features but in terms of getting their jobs done. Maybe for some it is a troublesome scenario that technology works as enabler for users instead of being their watchdog, but then they should address the issue directly.

  • Think of Darwin.

    It's evolution of the species in BPM terms. Every now and then there will be a new branch of BPM spawned from the original concept and after a time either will happily co-exist or one will become extinct.

    Whether BPM or ACM wins out in the end is irrelevant, it's which is more adaptable to the volatile times we're in just now.

    Right now none deserve to rule supreme because one size will never fit all with the shape they're in. ACM is too specialist and BPM is still a dinosaur roaming the Triassic.

  • This question is like a Rorschach test telling you more about the answerer's internal mindset than it does about the technology. Every response will make assumptions about the problems that the approach will be put to. Like the old saying when you have a hammer, all problems start to look like nails.

    I know of several BPM systems that have ACM capabilities as well, so we know that it can be a feature of a BPMS. When you are solving problems that are sufficiently like BPM, the added measure of ACM provides flexibility, but also advantages of being integrated. Most arguments for integration cite these advantage. Some mistakenly take this argument too far, stating that all ACM capabilities will be present exclusively in BPM systems.

    What if you ask the question a different way: will ACM-capabilities ever be a feature of any kind of system other than BPMS? There are many people in the workplace who never use a BPMS and yet they still need to get work done. A good example is the executive suite: these people are making decisions and taking actions that were never modeled in a BPM system. Conference organizers have to deal with the myriad of unanticipated situations to resolve for putting an event on. There are many people who do not use a BPMS today, and still need these capabilities. Assuming they will go buy a BPMS to fill this need sounds more like wish-fulfillment for the BPM vendors.

    F. W. Tayor teaches us that work can be analyzed at a very detailed level, in order to make it entirely repeatable. Repeatable processes are like mass production factories: good for somethings, but not for others. The reason we wrote the book Mastering the Unpredictable was mainly to spread the word that not all procesess are pretictable and repeatable. Sigurd Rinde calls them "Barely Repeatable Processes." People who deal primarily with BRPs will not purchase a BPM system in order to get ACM capabilities. Instead, they will buy an extension to email that does it. Or an extension to their Social Business System. Or an extension to their Project Management software. These other categories are shipped in far greater numbers than BPM systems, and it is reasonable to assume that more people will experience ACM capabilities from these systems, than from BPM systems.

    Within the BPM mindset, there is a dream that BPM systems will provide custom solutions for all lines of work. Thus we can have BPMS-based dental solutions, BPMS-based executive solutions, BPMS-based doggy daycare solutions, BPMS-based conference planning solutions, etc. Theoretically, these are all possible, but is this really practical? In practice few of these exist today: doctors, lawyers, CEOs, and daycare owners are not going to do the BPMS programming themselves, and they are not going to pay for a custom developed solution when the result is barely repeatable. Maybe someday every line of work will have their own specific BPMS solution, but in the mean time work has to proceed.

    Adaptive case management is an approach that can be used "out of the box" without a huge upfront investment. Action-Base is a good example; it is more of an extension to email than anything else. Enterprise Social Software is a category that is particularly hot right now, and promises to give workers with unpredictable processes a way to get things done without a huge up-front expense.

    Finally, a note of caution: this is a disruptive change. BPM vendors will claim they have been rearchitected into ACM capabilities while at the same time assuming that a consultant will develop a custom BPMS solution up front. The question for them will be: "Can I use the ACM capabilities without creating a single form, data structure, or process definition." The answer for Social Business Software will be "yes", but I think most BPM systems will have varying answers.

    http://social-biz.org/

  • Keith -
    I don't know anyone using BPMS for doggy day care (or wanting to). I thought that was rather more the dream of ACM proponents ("you can use it everywhere, with minimal up-front investment!"). This was the appeal of things like excel and word, etc. Of course, once upon a time the costs of Excel and Word seemed like massive up front investments to most of this community of doctors, doggy day cares, etc.

    To me the key question (asked on your blog) is whether there is a separate market for a standalone "ACM" product - or is it actually a feature of lots of other software markets (including a feature of BPM software). Of course it could be a "feature" of other products, just as "structured process" is already a "feature" of lots of other products (often, the structured process is defined by software engineers at the software vendor, rather than by the people who work at customers... in that sense, BPM has been quite liberating... and if ACM allows customers' "everyman/everywoman" to define their work, rather than a collaboration of IT/Business bottleneck - then hopefully that will be quite liberating as well).

    (funny, I was just writing about this last night, published today as a result of this article... http://www.bp-3.com/blogs/2011/01/another-take-on-acm-feature-or-paradigm/)

  • Scott, You ask a good question.

    In many way the "competition" for ACM is "Excel over Email", and not BPMS. I don't really mean competition but I can't find a better word. Do email systems belong to a separate market from BPMS? I think they do. Would email with ACM-like features be a separate market from BPMS? I tend to believe that also will be considered a separate market.

    A BPMS is sold mainly to developers / IT department, with the purpose of providing custom solutions to certain types of work. Email with ACM-like features, or Social Business Software with ACM-like features will be sold to people who have no interest in the BPMS features.

    So, yes, I do believe this latter is a completely separate market.

    • Keith, I think "competition" is a fair word to use in this context, but I also know exactly what you mean that it feels like not quite the right framing. More of a substitute, than a direct "i'll see you in the sales cycle" competitor.

      Interestingly, in my former life at a BPM vendor we did most of our business selling to the business side of organizations. It used to really frustrate our competitors, who spent all their time selling to IT. Maybe that explains a little bit of why I look at it differently (and if I'm wrong, it could explain why I'm wrong ;)

  • I am not a good blogger, but since Anatoly kindly invited me to share my opinion I will. To me a case is a business view of data, both structured and unstructured. This case can be modified by activities, some part of a larger structured process, some -well- a single activity process (this is a granularity issue) . The precondition to start that activity might be the end of the former activity, but it can be something else such as an event. Unstructured processes are not that unstructured, they just not follow a simple pre-condition, but the conference manager Keith mentions, won't probably know what to do if a meteoroid lands on the site...she/he is not ready for that pre-condition; she/he is ready for a set of pre-conditions (the more experienced she is, the larger the set), that might trigger a process (sometimes a single activity one). So, if you deal with the concept of business objects (cases), have the appropriate ways to manage both structured and unstructured data (most BPMs don't, they just deal with variables, they are visual programming tools), handle pre-conditions and can manage different levels of granularity in the tasks/activities while dynamically binding those process snipplets, there is very little you cannot do, call it ACM or BPM.

  • Gustavo, I like that example: a conference organizer has to deal with a meteor hitting the proposed venue.

    When you think about "unpredictable" processes, it is more than just the pre/post condition relationships are not clear. When you talk about ad-hoc processes, some people think this means that there are a specified number of activities that are performed in an unspecified order. That is fine, there is a need for that.

    The unpredictable process concept is one where you might have to add a new activity that has never been done before. The comment is correct: the conference organizer is not expecting a meteor and will not have an activity designed to respond to this eventuality. BUT, with a case management system, they will be able to "think up" something to do right then and there.

    The distinction then between ACM system and BPMS comes then from whether the average user is able to "think up" something at any time. The addition of a new activity has to be something that requires no special skill at all. In turn, this usually implies that you can't be doing sophisticated things with data. The more features a system has to manipulate data, the less likely it will be used for ACM. The more features there are to make sophisticated pre-determined processes, the less likely it will be than an average unspecialized person will be able to deal with "thinking up" an activity on the fly.

    So, definitely, ask the question: what if a case manager is faced with something that has never happened before in history?

  • I have three points to make about this:
    1. Are we talking about BPM as a technology (aka BPMS) or as a methodology. As a methdology ACM is a component of BPM (or vice versa) since business processes are both structured and unstructured. As tchnologies - they are quite different - just like C++ isn't a feature of C (or vice versa).
    2. I'll continue Keith's hammer analogy. BPMS is a tool. You use it to create applications (or solutions) for end-users. It is a robust tool. You can create any application (from iTunes to SAP) using a BPMS - with enough effort. That is the key to the difference - BPMS and ACM as tools are targetting different types of end-user applications.

    Just like you could live without a hammer if you have a screwdriver (you could always screw things instead of banging, or in a pinch use the screwdriver to bang in nails) - but it would be suboptimal as a tool, and the result would be lacking because the tool made it hard to do certain things. One option is to create a "Screwmer" or "Hamdriver" and have a single tool for both functions - sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn't. This approach makes both the hammer and the screwdriver a feature of the "Screwmer".
    Another approach is to have a toolbox - choose the appropriate tool at the point of need - the hammer when it is appropriate, use the screwdriver when it is appropriate. These makes them complmentary standalone tools.
    I don't think the "Screwmer" appproach works for BPMS+ACM. I do think the toolbox approach does work.
    BPMS is for structured processes, where human to human communication+interactions are NOT the focus. ACM is for unstructured processes where human-to-human communication+interactions ARE the focus.
    Choose the right tool for your task and you'll have a better result, and an easier time getting there.

    Jacob Ukelson - CTO ActionBase

  • Jacob

    BPMS is for structured processes, ACM is for unstructured processes - OK, fine.

    But what is for tightly interconnected mix of structured and unstructured cases/processes (the example in the first comment above)? What is for unstructured processes that transform smoothly into structured form when a company gains maturity?

    Do you believe that a lookbox approach will work well for these cases? Or they are of minor importance?

  • In my view, ACM, Social BPM, HIMS (Human Interactions Mng ....) are various ways of describing the same problem of unstructured human processes. Social BPM employs Web2.o technologies for interaction and as such is more technology oriented. Nevrtheless, I would welcome a debate on it because there are various opinions.

    They all describe rather unstructured activities performed by humans over communications channels like voice, messaging, face to face, various collaboration tools... for work and decision making.

    BPMS increasingly automates the human activity by structuring the activities and extracting decision rules. But there will always remain a human component for inspection and decision making.

    To describe a real business operation, a blend of BPM and ACM (or other) would describe the human and machine interaction that delivers the end value. A single combined tool and discipline would be best in most cases.

  • This an excerpt from my full post on this subject:
    http://isismjpucher.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/process-evolution-between-order-bpm-and-chaos-social/

    Social and ACM are both technology enablement, which BPM is not. BPMS won't happen without governance, but Social and ACM need rather guidance and have to be employed by a business with the right management culture. Social simply provides the technology and hopes that emergence will do the rest. ... Both Social and ACM require that the business can deal with the related management styles. Company culture more than anything will decide whether BPM, ACM or Social will be a success or not. Ease of process creation and innovation FOR BUSINESS will certainly be a key element, but ... if you install an ACM platform and apply too much governance, you get BPM. If you don't govern at all, you get Social and it might not be adopted.

    Evolution and self-organization happens ONLY on the border between order (BPM) and chaos (Social) but it needs the adaptive capability to succeed (Holland, Johnson, et.al.)

    Therefore, most people still don't understand what ADAPTIVE really means. ... Dynamic enables the business user to create or change CURRENT process execution. ADAPTIVE means that the business user can also influence FUTURE execution by various means, because only that enables INNOVATION and evolution. To manage that, process must be driven by EMBEDDED goals and outcomes. ...

    To achieve the natural dynamics of evolution in business, technology MUST NOT be used to restrict people, but it must be used to empower them. And to me ACM is empowerment technology that also provides the necessary minimum of control and the necessary guidance. Both are missing in Social. ... ACM is another paradigm that also offers a combination of the best of both worlds of Social and BPM. It combines the architectural controls with the necessary business controls and creates transparency up and down the management line.

  • ACM is neither wholly new, nor is it a "feature" of a BPMS. I like Theo's comment about evolution, I see ACM as an evolution in technology supporting business processes.

    In some ways, ACM is like the proverbial pendulum swinging back from the overly structured, rigid confines of how many people have tried to implement BPMS technologies. Thinking in terms of the model and how to capture the entire business process with all possible permutations has lead many organizations to rigid, inflexible deployments that don't really support the knowledge workers doing keeping the business moving. Like many others, I see ACM as a way to give these folks (who represent a huge chunk of the workforce btw), the tools and capabilities to ensure that they don't compromise their judgment and skill because of an overly structured automation mechanism.

    I've spent the last several months out in the field working with customers who are applying ACM capabilities to solving their core business problems. What I've witnessed first hand is the need for flexibility AND visibility, which are core tenets of ACM. Customers ask time and again about how to handle work that simply isn't predictable, how to deal with last minute changes and requests that nobody knew would occur, and how to deal with the randomness of customer interaction in a business process. At the same time, they also realize significant benefits in automating the structured aspects of work, much as they would have with a traditional BPM solution. Removing non-value-add work like generation of correspondence or contracts and providing a more integrated work environment through process-driven integration is obviously also of great benefit. The key is that people need both structured and unstructured, all in the same solution, which goes back to the evolution of BPMS into ACM.

    These are the core aspects of ACM to me, especially when these capabilities are married with analytics to ensure visibility into the state of the work. Further, we're not talking about esoteric work that might or might not be supported by a tool other than email, we're talking about core problems like handling customer service requests or dealing with court-mandated legal documents.

    Could BPM solutions deal with these problems? At some level, yes, people have done so in the past with mixed success, in fact in most of these scenarios the customers started out thinking they wanted BPM. And will BPMS vendors add ACM-like features to deal with foldering, tasks and ad-hoc work? Absolutely, customers and analysts will demand that they do. Will most of them ever truly offer an ACM solution? No, because at the core they will still require a process model rather than treating cases, documents and processes all as first-class citizens, each able to stand on their own.

  • Hi all,

    I agree with Keith that it is feasible (in fact desirable) to treat ACM as an alternative way of realising a particular business outcome and that this is important for (at least :)) two reasons:

    1) We're increasingly moving to models of business architecture that stress 'what' needs to be done (i.e. business capabilities) rather than 'how' (i.e. implementation styles). This is desirable to firstly increase our adaptability and leverage (by allowing federation of implementation decisions) and secondly to prepare for the disruptive influence of the cloud (where we will be able to consume specialised, multi-tenant business capabilities directly from partners rather than execute them in house). In this latter case businesses will exist to coordinate complex and federated value webs of specialised participants rather than minimise transaction costs by performing all business capabilities in house.

    2) In such a federated world different business capabilities will have different underlying business models and such business models may call for strict codification of process (i.e. BPM) or for looser coordination of people and tasks towards defined outcomes (i.e. ACM or HIMS). There is no guarantee that any individual outcome will require the use of both given the distinct nature of the work involved. In this instance it makes more sense to have a greater number of more lightweight, specialised supporting infrastructures optimised for different kinds of work (and whose enabled functionality can be combined into broader value webs through interoperability standards) than to treat a BPM engine (or application server or portal etc etc) as the centre of the universe to which all business support must become attached. In many ways this is even dangerous as it leads people to think about business architecture in a simplistic, control-oriented way and encourage the concomitant use of a 'single' implementation platform (something I talked about in response to another question last year). Looking specifically at the evolution of IT systems in the next few years it is likely that we will end up with much lighter weight and specialised containers for different kinds of business support, integrated more loosely into overall cloud platforms.

    I wrote about this subject (and the need to think differently about different kinds of process support) a few years ago (although I had never heard the term ACM at the time :))

    http://itblagger.wordpress.com/2007/06/20/soa-web-20-and-the-end-of-drudgery/

    Ian

  • What irritates me a bit in the ACM discussion is that a lot of remarks about ACM remind me of something we used to call ad-hoc workflows all those years ago. Remember those tables that used to classify workflow systems into structured/unstructured or predictable/unpredictable processes support?

    I guess it all got lost through thinking that everything could be squeezed into standardized processes. Not that I agree with that approach, but that was (and still is) the predominant mindset.

    Of course, with all the 'social stuff' finding their way into businesses at the moment, ACM might find a higher level of acceptance...but I have my doubts.

    In any case, at the very least the ACM discussion demonstrates the re-emerging awareness that there are (and have always been) more than just pre-defined and well-structured (ridgid) processes floating around.

    It begs the question though, if we've been unable so far to 'manage' well-structured processes, how are we even going to attempt to manage ad-hoc/on-the-fly processes. Just as with BPM, the deciding factor won't the functionality, it'll be the (human) ability to handle the stuff.

    Thomas

  • Anatoly,
    I think the use cases that merge both structured and unstructured - are actually the most important ones, since that describes many real world proceses. The way I see it for these "semi-structured" processes BPM is the methodology, and a toolbox that contains ACM and BPM is the technology suite.

    I also used to think that being able to structure a process is related to process maturity. Sometimes that is the case, but in most cases unstructured processes won't become structured over time, they will remain semi-structured.

    Jacob Ukelson - CTO ActionBase

  • Case Management has always been adaptive. It is a special case of business process, seeing that it is a process (perhaps implicit and highly unstructured) and it is performed in businesses. Some processes are highly structured and fully automated, others require human participation, still others are case worked and others are highly collaborative. "What not how" has always been the goal of decentralized, interdependent knowledge based work. We have to stop trying to reinvent everything. Its really that simple.

  • It looks like the BPM+ACM made a small step from being the vendor-centric market to becoming the customer-centric market:
    - less talking about differences
    - less talking about tools
    - more talking about commonalities
    - seeking the context – business needs – from BA, EA, KM, etc.

    Thanks,
    AS

  • As most of you probably know, we at Forrester call it DCM (Dynamic Case Management) ... the DCM Wave is due to go live on Monday so that will probably kick off a new round of conversation.

    Actually, applying the Forrester Wave methodology to the Case Management Tools has been a pretty interesting experience. Some of you will know I was developing these systems in the early 90's and I have written and consulted on on the subject widely (with vendors and end-users). Several of the vendors who took part in the Wave had in my previous life hired me as a consultant to help them think about CM (although not in the last 3 or 4 years), and it was fascinating to see what they have come up with.

  • But coming back to the conversation - BPM or ACM, actually I think we are talking about just different technology styles tuned to the needs of different ends of the process spectrum. I have always talked about Process (as purpose) needs to be interpreted as a spectrum between Procedure at one end (think workflow/BPM) and Practice at the other (think ACM/DCM). And any business purpose is usually a mixture of Procedure and Practice.

    Procedure is about control (think "dont get creative with that Bank draft"), whereas Practice is about flexibility and adaptability (think "taking a new product to market"). At the Practice end, knowledge workers exercise their judgement, interpreting the case in hand and making decisions about what needs to be done. They might take a previously defined process pattern and adapt it for the current problem, or create a new one.

    It's not a question of either/or - organizations need both.

    Can ACM/DCM support the needs of knowledge workers and the Practices they - Yes. Can they also support procedures - well if they have mechanisms also to lock down the processes. Can BPM Suites support the control oriented Procedural requirements of the firm - Yes! But they tend to struggle when it comes to enabling suitably authorized, knowledgeable employees ... well maybe. It all depends on how they processes of the firm were designed in the first place (and the capabilities of the BPMS). Most BPM Suites these days support dynamic binding of processes at runtime in some way, so to some extent, it is possible. But the bigger problem is getting those involved in implementation to see the world differently.

    Coming back to DCM/ACM - these platforms tend to have been designed from the outset to support a more dynamic evolving set of processes. They have specific features that help with that - ways of balancing control and adaptability. Most have some sort of dynamic task mechanism, others better support binding of procedural fragments and process migration.

    Overall, what has surprised me the most - the amount of innovation that has happened in the name of Case Management; the sophistication for support of Business Practices; the different ways in which vendors have enabled end-users to take control.

  • If ACM is a BPM feature then ACM is a nonexistent BPM feature :) Probably you may define BPM features as all relating to business process automation but show me the real BPM system that can be qualified as "adaptive" or "collaborative"! The are no such systems ... So ACM rulez! :)

  • Last year it has been much discussion about the true meaning of BPM acronyms. Something that reminds me of the cons of information retrieval supervised methods when a certain concept eg like Star is associated with astronomy, marine animals or celebrities.

    The ACM is a paradigm not a system’s feature. Information technologies are just one resource, such as capital or people that have to be aligned with business strategy. I believe that system vendors do not like this approach because it somehow undermines their sales efforts.

    Managers are responsible for identifying the type of work people perform and provide the tools for achieving results. Imagine that you are responsible for investment decisions such as roads, railways and airports. The aim is to take a decision on the size, location and when it should be in operation to serve its intended purpose.

    This is an example of the most chaotic and unstructured process I know. There is a high responsibility (if the choice is poorly made, there may be no return on investment or not serve the purpose). This case is a typical one where it is not worth mapping the process. Until the decision is made it will be created thousands of studies, technical drawings, opinions, all mixed with no apparent logical sequence. In this situation managers have to realize they need to create conditions for the information gathering, sharing, ideas, making decisions etc.

    A system that supports ACM is a good idea, a wiki, a forum for exchanging ideas with the community, gather information through facebook or twitter equally (even negative feedback like the case with the runway construction at Heathrow Airport). The networked knowledge worker requires hardware that allows to access information outside the office and managers need to identify these needs. Surely there is a deadline for that decision is made. After construction, investment will be evaluated if the return was in line with initial estimates (city rail investments that took place in Spain are a good example, doomed by real estate bubble).

    Now reflect for a moment:

    In the above example work is nor performed? Is this is a process? The fact that the activities are not structured does not mean that they are uncoordinated. Maybe Process definition as we know it needs to be updated, because it has to include the possibility activities performed can be structured or unstructured.

    There is no management? Of course there is! Control mechanisms are seeking to know that we will complete work on time, which the interim results that were achieved?

    There is no control? There is. Estimated ROI was achieved?

    Results were reached? Stakeholders are pleased?

    Is there improvement taking place? What did we learned from the experience?

    Wait a moment… All of these aren’t the foundation of Business Process Management?

  • user-pic

    Is it correctly to compare the business-art with conveyer line functionality? So is to BPM and ACM. It is comparison of methodology and technology. And I don’t understand, why it necessary to repaint ACM technology to another (business) color? Is it because of complexity to sell it without value for business? Therefore the values like flexible templates and using of knowledge of workers are appearing. But is it really what makes competitive advantages for business?
    I think, that someone of colleagues are overstate the opportunities of so-called «knowledge workers» too much, believing they are able to make business more transparent, manageable and happy with ACM. But what is ACM for knowledge workers? This is the technology that makes their work more comfortable. They commit the same actions that they would have been made without ACM, but they use files and repositories instead of boxes and folders, and designation of tasks via the portal instead of email or «treadle». But what does it have to do for business? Can technology makes knowledge worker more «knowledger»? Or will it something changes for business if the documents will be stored in another location in another form, and if user will be request by signal instead of email? Perhaps yes, if you have a problem with data storage or communication. But I doubt that argument «we put things in order in our folders» or «we are appointing tasks for our employees not by email» can impress shareholders.
    Excellent analogy with Excel. It seemed that the opportunity for users to add, subtract, recount the columns of the tables – was a major step… to what? To individual users comfort. But is the fact that this Excel tables began to spawn themselves like cockroaches in every workspaces not make the fans of freedom think about? How great probability that user will select something appropriate for his case among 10 or 15 cases? What if there will be insignificant differences among them? It will be created new, sure. And what you will do with hundreds or thousands of templates? Want to guess? Nothing! Nothing because it impossible to do anything with them!
    I do not deny that, in combination with more or less consistent concept ACM may be helpful as a tool. But I doubt that it will replace BPM. I see the benefits of BPMS + ACM for cases when a structured process faced before an unpredicted situation. In this case, you can add the appropriate template node, but this should not do an employee who considers himself as a «knowledge worker», but the owner of a process, who is responsible not only for the performance of a single instance, but of the process or process group. Each of such cases should be pretext for process improvements.
    As for the «knowledge worker» - who counted them? Are they have a special mark?

  • I think we have to be a little careful here. We can all talk until the cows come home about this subject or even if workFlow is BPM, or ACM is workFlow or APG is ACM or APG is BPM or, well you get my point...

    The problem we have, and why we have these conversations which must frustrate business, is because we are tackling the same problem. All of these, ACM, BPM, APG, workFlow, Case Management etc all tackle the same problem, that of managing processes...So with this in mind, they are all the same.

    However, their implementations and application are very different, by this I mean the way in which they go about managing processes. Because of this ACM should be seen as something different to BPM. But also all of these should be seen as something different, ACM, APG, BPM, workFlow, Case Management etc. It also makes more sense to give these implementation types their own name as it makes it easier for business to understand just what they are buying into, and us in IT to understand how something is implemented....Arguing if something could technically be described the same as something else is IT luxury and almost pointless...If we want to do this, I propose we are all using and working with workflow, even FileNETs PC workflow from god knows when, after all, it was designed to help manage business processes......

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