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Are we at a tipping point where CRM, SCM and other process applications need to be BPM-driven?

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From David Chassels: Is BPM at a tipping point to lead the movement that recognizes empowerment of people in the workplace and thereby becoming the real driver in next generation enterprise level process applications?  Would this reinforce that BPM is a discipline and mindset more than a technology?

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  • I think we're at a tipping point where several industry verticals need to merge and be driven as one rather than one trying to lead them all, it's not Lord of the Rings.

    And to answer David perhaps the recognition should be that both can coexist rather than one lead the other, and in coexisting recognize the strengths and weaknesses of both and evolve, something the discipline is very bad at doing.

  • Certainly - Two-sides of one coin. Process should draw from and update Master Data to improve enterprise information sharing, data quality, and process interoperability. It's a big idea, but we find people take to it naturally. No business user or CIO complains application middleware consolidation.

  • We're at the toppled point! Computer systems have always been designed to help people do their job but rarely designed to be an integral part of their job. We've designed systems as point-solutions to tasks in our daily lives rather than as part of the flow of what we do. So let's not draw the line at CRM, ERP, SCM systems: let's start a revolution where people and process are the starting point rather than feature and function.

  • We are, at least, at a point at which customers are recognizing that the "workflow" add-ons to their systems of record just don't cut the mustard. You can't reasonably expect to deploy diverse workflow solutions from Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft, and mash them up to do anything useful.

    BPM bridges that gap. ERP and CRM and other three-letter suites provide the data that drive processes implemented with BPM. Some systems of record (I'm looking at you, CRM) may even be vulnerable to being supplanted by BPM entirely.

    If we're not at the tipping point, we're awfully close.

  • Maybe I don't understand the question that well.

    So, are we talking about the value of a BPMS (technology) on top of all other application, data, etc to enable the executors to model, implement, execute and adjust their process(system)?

    Or are we talking about changing organizations so that they take process as the thing to manage (just good old BPM).

  • Absolutely. Right now, for example, Salesforce represents what it calls a "Sales Process" as a list of possible stages that an opportunity can go through. There is also implicit process that is enforced by coding triggers and validation rules, but validation rules are the wrong way to get people to follow a process. It is like trying to guide someone to walk to the right destination by walking behind them and slapping them in the back of the head every time they make a wrong turn.

    The right way is for people to be able to stay in their CRM (not log into a separate BPM), but have a real process-driven user experience that shows them what they should do when, and does some of it for them automatically. This is what Cloud Extend for Salesforce does, and it makes sense for the same approach to be used for any CRM.

  • Emiel raises good questions and ones that buyers are likely to ask. Point one is right the BPM driven application (currently called BPMS more on that later) should put people's needs first and orchestrate legacy data or use of existing programs as required helping people achieve the desired outcomes.

    As for the second it is getting back to business basics recognising people and their processes are valuable assets that make the business. But to remain an asset they must be supported by flexible software to allow constant change as business needs change. Is this good old BPM thinking? I think so given BPM is a discipline in thinking created to try and pull IT and business together. As enterprise supporting technology evolves so the BPM mindset can be extended to help deliver better solutions across the enterprise that reflect the way each business works.

    As for BPMS (S= Suite or Solutions?) I think it too restrictive and tell us nothing as to what it does. Has it become part of the silo mentality that IT but in a box? That’s how business sees it? I think the responses to the question suggest we need to focus on the “business” requirement call it what it does but at core puts people first where all information is created which becomes an enterprise opportunity? This should be the expected standard not a separate niche product.

    Kevin is right a revolution handing control of the business back to the business! IT is really about secure delivery of business logic as required via ever changing architectures such as cloud.

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