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Is mobile BPM now essential to the business?

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Is mobile BPM now essential to the business?

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  • Given the proliferation of mobile devices and tablet format a business has absolutely no excuse not to be able to monitor the performance of it's processes, capture information on the move and commit for processing. In today's age you should no longer be desk-bound when implementing, integrating and executing BPM.

    For a practitioner I'd expect at the very least to be able to model processes on the fly as well using a mobile device, commit for comment and consumption then make live. Even making changes on the fly according to Management Information and feedback delivered on the device via Cloud or centralised server stack. Process information should be available to whoever it pertains to or has an interest in as long as it's relevant and can be delivered timely and can be actioned on via the same device or mechanism.

    If you can keep up with Social networks by being mobile you can and should certainly be able to participate in the Social BPM stream also.

    .....and if you're a vendor and this is not a standard feature of your product suite then you shouldn't be in the game.

  • Yes. We're seeing more customers ask for functionality allowing them to access/complete work directly from their mobile devices. So the BPM-based solutions now need to be both formatted for use in the mobile device as well as accessible without having to log-in or click links. For example, the manager gets a procurement request notification. Rather than receiving an email with a link that takes her to the application that allows her to approve/reject, the manager should be able to click a button in that email that immediately approves/rejects the request. Or the manager will do work within an "app".

  • Process has gone from diagrams the size of conference room walls and managed solely by IT or process experts to something that everyone can take with them and view in the moment that it matters. I blogged about 'process at the point end' in the North Sea, on a drilling platform here:


    With the ubiquity of mobile devices and the maturation of BPM to be a consumer-facing and social platform for leading vendors, it MUST be mobile to be relevant. Not only must it be mobile, it has to be expressed in ways that are appropriate to the size of the screen and the audience, which means complexity is a relic of times past.

    I wasn't writing for this question when I published my latest article on Blackberry versus iPhone and the rise of the consumer, but the article is very relevant to this topic:


  • I'd probably parse the question differently.
    1. mobile is becoming essential to the enterprise (or, where not essential in and of itself, the tech that comes out of it is bringing costs down on capabilities that previously might have been cost prohibitive)
    2. BPM is recognized as essential to the enterprise
    3. why wouldn't you want your mobile apps to connect with your critical business processes?

    This won't happen as fast as the chief proponents, nor as slowly as the chief antagonists. But mobile adoption is happening faster than BPM adoption - so it is becoming a critical piece of BPM strategies.

  • I agree with Theo that as a vendor having mobile capability is a must have, although I'd draw the line at modelling on a phone.

    The take up at clients is patchy, but increasing.

  • We have to remember that usability is still a problem on a mobile device, sometimes to work well we simply need a bigger screen. With this in mind we need to limit what can be actually delivered well via mobile devices re BPM functionality...

    For sure process workers need the flexibility to be able to carry out tasks from their mobile devices. Likewise process admins, authors etc need to have that same flexibility. But to try and deliver everything that is possible with BPM down to a mobile is simply a waste of time. We must admit it, mobile is great, but sometimes a worker needs a big old scree with a keyboard in order to work efficiently...

  • Is mobility in general essential to business? As I contemplate this from a coffee shop chain that shall remain nameless I would argue that Yes! On the BPM front however, there's a continuum in terms of the importance of mobility.

    Being able to get work done on the go is crucial to me and to the extent that said work is driven by a BPMS then yes, I want to be able to be alerted of tasks that require my attention (i.e. those tasks should find me on whatever messaging system I might be available on at a particular point in time - mobile devices, social networks, IM, etc.) I would place the importance of mobility in this scenario as "insane".
    The next level of importance (for the sake of the argument let's say High or Very High) is as stated above the ability to monitor the performance of my business remotely. And again, to the extent that your business is wired properly such that the KPIs are influenced by events triggered by a BPMS, then mobile BPM is essential or very essential (especially when it comes to the ability to act on the information you have just received).
    The least important I would say from a mobile point of view is the ability to change processes on the go. You need to be able to review changes, but not necessarily perform those changes on the go. I anticipate that with the rise of social BPM more and more people are going to be engaged in changing processes more and more often and with that the importance of process modeling on your mobile device will sky rocket. We're not there yet.

  • Yes. Mobile is important for all enterprise applications, including BPM. The smart phone is the platform for future user interaction. Some IT departments resist, but users are purchasing and bringing their own smart devices to work because they personally feel they are more effective with them. Laptops will be replaced by tablets and devices that give your phone a bigger screen and keyboard. Phones today have more compute power than a desktop computer from 20 years ago.

    And they will use cloud services to knit these devices together:

  • I would again say it depends, sorry but it’s true. Many processes in an organization will “benefit” from having access to and ability to action tasks and or participate in the process from a mobile platform. However there are probably more processes where that won’t be necessary. Each business has to ask themselves the questions, who are our processes users; where are they and how do they do business. The process must support how the users and or customers do business and how they want to interact with each process. I see the trend moving the direction where some type of mobile integrations and abilities will be more and more necessary for more processes.

  • I don't think it is a question anymore if Mobile BPM is essential to business but rather what is it best suited to. Not all aspects of BPM are useful on all form factors of the various mobile options out there.

    Mobile can mean a “mobile worker” that is out in the field using a conventional notebook device (doesn’t that sound weird, that notebooks are now “old”) to connect to a cloud based BPM solution (private or public cloud) and access their conventional browser based user interface to do work. They may even do some process modeling (or agile BPM changes) if their solution allows remote access to the modeling environment. They are likely to access process performance dashboards to look at key metrics or process improvement opportunities.

    That “mobile worker” can be someone who accesses their BPM solution from a tablet/slate device like an iPad and even though they can access all of the features of the notebook, they will probably use it for quick response “always on” type customer relationship processes. They may even do the odd leave approval here and there. These devices are great for doctors on their rounds updating patient records or, as in the case of one of our customers, the funeral arranger that sits with a family to plan the logistics of a funeral. By the way, this is a pretty unstructured process. It is also great for social BPM where discussion threads in transactions, for example, need quick response. They may have some key process metrics as graphs on the process form but are not likely to do complex process analytics on their iPads for now. It will mostly be operational metrics.

    The chance of them using the touch, pinch and slide to model or change processes are highly unlikely at the moment. That doesn’t say it won’t change in the future.

    The “mobile worker” on his or her smartphone is likely to use it almost exclusively for approvals of customer facing or high priority processes. The user interface is optimized for the small form factor and only shows the relevant information to make a quick decision. It is designed for the “always on” employee to will quickly check their email on their phone at a Saturday morning kids soccer game or the manager who needs to approve customer credit notes while waiting to board a plane. Requisitions and purchase order approvals are often candidates for “smartphone” BPM. They are unlikely to have any process analytics capability, but the order approvals process may, for example, have some predictive intelligence in the form.

    They are also highly unlikely candidates for mobile modeling. The form factor makes it just too hard.

    Mobile BPM is here and used in many processes in many industries and verticals. Mobile BPM is, however, not just a case of taking and existing process and looking at it on your iPhone. The form factor should suit the requirement of the “mobile worker”.

  • The workforce is mobile and always connected; businesses are driving for knowledge worker empowerment and a higher degree of customer experience with access to information via the channels they want.

    The real benefit of Mobile BPM is that it extends process participation beyond the walls of the business. Mobile applications present real time information everywhere at once, or seeming to be, meaning the population of the business, its partners and customers are involved in the organizational processes. Another benefit of Mobile BPM is agility, which is needed to empower the mobile and field workers in making decisions while keeping in compliance with policy.

    To answer your question...Yes.

  • It is completely irrelvant what we think: Mobile and Social are now the forces behind IT evolution.

    You either can deliver process management to anyone on any device or it will disappear with time.

    As processes shouldn't be flowcharted anyway there won't be any design on mobile either, but knowledge workers must be able to create and adapt processes also on any device without any other restriction than their role.

  • In today’s business world, the advent of BPM has given managers a huge amount of visibility and control over their organizational processes. In addition, BPM has enabled organizations to save time and money, increase efficiency and productivity and simplifying the decision making process.With the introduction of Mobile BPM, this discipline has been taken to the next level.

    The world of mobile computing fascinates me. In my role of Marketing Director for Casewise, I recently conducted a survey on the BPM Marketplace and recorded some key findings on the mobile element of the discipline:

    76% of the survey responders believe employees should be allowed to review and approve decisions via a BPM workflow using a mobile device

    61% of responders would feel at ease reviewing and approving decisions via a BPM workflow on a mobile device

    72% of responders agreed with Gartner’s prediction that by 2013 mobile phones will overtake PC’s as the most common web access device worldwide.

    My own perspective is that mobile BPM is not just a trend; it is now an essential business requirement.

    For those interested, the data collected from the survey has been visualized in an easy to read infographic which can be viewed at http://www.casewise.com/news-and-events/news/mobile-bpm-insight---casewise-infographic

  • Max said it best, but since I have the podium, I'll wax philosophical.

    Keep in mind though that BPM evokes different images in the minds of this readership, so I'd clarify by offering these simple observations.

    Modern "tablets" have screen resolutions identical to low-end laptop computers, so the "mobile" form factor IMHO means mobile-phone form factor devices - devices with screen sizes of 7" or less. At that size, most people simply can't *see* the density of information that can be presented. So for the purposes of this discussion mobile should mean "7 inch or less display".

    So what kind of information can be presented on a mobile screen? Not much. Maybe a checklist with some contextual information. Perhaps a back-up document outlining the details of the checklist step. Maybe an image viewer or some background information about the checklist step to enable the decision making that can't be automated.

    Accessing more than that and you're getting into a lot of swiping, poking, pinching, and tapping. And that's frustrating. Authoring process content in this environment is going to be challenging.

    I think that limits the utility of mobile BPM to a subset of the world of BPM - and basically that's going to be workflow, participating in automation, etc.

    So, yes, mobile BPM as I've defined it is essential to business. But it's not anything new. It's already happening in lots of verticals - insurance adjusting and claims processing for one. Healthcare is another.

  • ‘On-the- go’ has become the buzzword of our society these days. With most of us depending on our tablets and smart phones for almost everything under the sun- from weather updates, mobile banking, checking e-mail, sharing pictures and videos, preparing presentations to socializing and listening to some good music, the ‘mobile’ magic is definitely catching on to every element of our lives.

    Over the last 15+ years, we have seen ‘business process’ in major enterprises being decoupled from a centralized location to around the world locations, to follow the sun processing as well as establish lower cost foundations. Mobile further decouples the business process from the infrastructure, i.e. the worker doesn't have to be pinned in the cubicle, and in fact, it positions processes for right place (any place),at the right time with the right information. Business processes go to where they are needed. Or where and when the consumer needs it.

    On the same token, delivering the ability to manage processes on –the- go, I believe, empowers knowledge workers to develop and optimize business processes at their finger tips from anywhere in the world! Mobile not just empowers employees but also empowers the BPM platform, giving it the flexibility and agility to adapt to real time information feeds. Mobile process modeling or mobile BPM will definitely be a key focus area for businesses in the near future.

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