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What trends will change BPM the most in the next few years?

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A question asked by Clay Richardson on Twitter, what trends will change BPM the most in the next few years?

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  • BPM software needs to be very easy to configure and change - no IT help required.

    • Never gonna happen - underneath the hood there are still databases, issues of scaling, high availability, web services, etc. Even process design, without understanding the implications of "If I do this to the process map, it does this to the work object, which will do this to the BLOB..."

      Best case is business analysts doing process maps with a good understanding of the business process and the BPM platform's functionality both.

  • What I find striking is that the amount of trends in and around BPM is somewhat overwhelming. And that if I look at the real world projects out there, most of them are still struggling to get quite basic BPMS solutions operational. Yes, simple workflow, integrated with document management, and sometimes hinting on flexibele case management features.

    The "Hype divide" is large - discussions on many sites on Social, Big Data, ACM, Process mining. Get real. We can all think up great innovations. But they need to stand on concrete examples. So my trend (hope) is: many REAL BPMS references and lessons learned. Real lessons, not concepts and theories. (Am i getting old, writing this? Hmm)

    Ok, I'll name one trend : Mobile.

  • Social software will completely change BPM. As Clay Shirky said in 2008 (so long ago...), the greatest challenge in our data rich world is filter failure. Social offers a way out. This blog tells the story:


    Custom workflows, work queuing based on connection and location, collaborative work that defies hierarchy...all are social strengths that will foundation ally change BPM.

  • I would say Skinny Jeans, or as a doomthinker; energy supply.

    But talking software indeed things like mobile, social (is that still a trend) have much impact on how (administrative) processes are executed and managed.

    But as Roeland stated. BPM has been around for 30 years now and some still see it as a trend.

  • After much resistance on my own part, have to agree with Roeland and Emiel both on mobile. Social... not so much.

  • it is a great and interesting question. Here are my quick comments;

    The continuous proliferation of mobile devices: Organizations can no longer look to take the desktop applications and shrink the presentation layer to the mobile form factors. In turn, mobile users are not necessarily transacting the same way as a desktop user. In fact, mobile users demand simplification for the specific task at hand. Businesses have to rethink their processes and consider how the mobile user 'processes'. This leads me to a second comment,

    Supply & Service Chains are decomposing further, requiring greater BPM to be effective for the 'whole'. Amazon, Travel industry, B2B exchanges are all areas where 'chain' is broken up, dispersed and many organizations are brought together to deliver end result. How processes are developed and enabled thru technology will be critical to success. Combine with the mobile factor, the business process will be pushed further to change. Instead of a major travel company issuing their app on the app store, there are others that create an app to aggregate and become an extension of the travel company. What is the little developer creating the app on mobile doing to the big travel company? Pushing the big company to change its processes and how it creates the 'supply/service' chain.

    Cloud will also affect BPM and I believe BPM will help cloud. Cloud is really helping to address infrastructure and enabling businesses to roll out faster (accelerate go to market) thru IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. It is also providing ability to dial up processing and capacity as needed which enables more automated business processes to reach end users while optimizing infrastructure investment.

    On the topic of social, I am not sold on it being a major factor right now. Social is such an unstructured and viral animal that it is really hard to determine ROI. I do like the discussions out there, the link Christopher posted above and believe further down the road this will come to roost. The struggle I have is the ROI and seeing companies invest in BPM and Social. They are investing in both separately but not in the collective and converged sense. I may change my perspective in the near future but all the large organizations I have been dealing with just aren't there nor expect to be soon.

    • Stuart,

      I don't think this question was about ROI (your answer at social), but trends that will influence how we manage our processes in the future.

      And social (not the software, but the way organizations, people can communicate) is already influencing a lot of organizations. So actually it's a negative ROI. What if I do not adapt? As I stated before social bpm doesn't exist. It's just BPM that has to cope with this social era (and many other trends ;-)

    • @Stuart, Social is here to stay, a part of collaboration, an elephant all by itself. Social brings an increased amount of data for the organization to assess for value, with the ability to link it to the process driver. With BPM already in play, the organization will have the structure to look at and implement Case Management, a BPM change/”trend” (see my post on “trends”) for the management of structured and unstructured processes and the data associated. How does one eat an elephant…in small pieces.

  • Social. Mobile. Cloud.

  • Emiel- I believe ultimately ROI dictates whether an organization will change in turn the 'process' changes. Right now there are reactionary steps but processes are not fundamentally changing because of social. Communication is changing but I don't think the process is changing yet based on my clients and work. Maybe I have more to learn ;-)

    • I think you are right that processes might not fundamentally change but the place of execution will (and already does) shift.

      - Sick? - Dr Internet tells me what's wrong
      - Mortgage? - Twitter bank tells me the best options
      - buying stuff? - ebay doesn't close at 6
      - Learning ? Mr. Forum is there for you
      - Complaining? That stupid company must check my facebook
      - Writing a book? Do it together with crowdwriting
      - A new table? Share some designs and print it on your 3d printer

      So yes, the result (the most important) of a process )or maybe a complete company) will stay the same, the steps might stay the same, but execution...

      The future will learn ;-)

  • The move to recognise supporting software for enterprise use must be business driven in build and for inevitable change. Business logic becomes commoditised with Object Model Driven Engineering/Development and belongs to the business. IT is about secure delivery architectures.

  • If we see most of the BPM products in the market, definitely its pretty loud and clear that the capabilities like Social Mobile, Cloud and Real Time Data Analytics or Predictive have already been exploited.

    The "data" is one such thing which will always prevail till the existence of any enterprise - so any new happening in the data front will directly effect the BPM Trends (as it goes with the current buzzword of BigData)

    "Cloud" and its offerings will also take part in the race - though cloud is around for some time, still people are a bit skeptical when it comes to Security, Data Privacy and Availability. It is a feel good factor to see the data center and a bunch of people monitoring and making a noise about it with the application deployed on-premise than on the cloud. So,its more about a cultural and emotional change that will drive it.

    Since the inception of BPM which mostly started with a "workflow model" has now engulfed and got clubbed with more than a couple of dozen enterprise innovations. So, any other New Innovation at an enterprise level will be a challenge and a feather in the cap for the BPM offering.

    "Lean BPM" which 'mostly see these days - provides a good ground for experimentation, innovation and setting a trend.

    'would also agree with Scott's comment of dissolving the barrier/dependency between the Development and Operations team - which is yet another buzz word in the air "DevOps" - This will also play a crucial role in reducing the cost and time spent by an enterprise.

  • I am not sure if it is already a trend or not ...

    What will influence all aspects of doing business and therefore IT (and thus BPM) to support it is the understanding of COMPLEXITY. Havard Business Review -> http://hbr.org/2011/09/embracing-complexity/ar/1

    What we see with happening with Social Networks enabled by technology should eventually teach the most die-hard MBA-trained bean counters and risk managers that the world isn't controllable.

    Too many still give in to the illusion that (Big) data or process mining will tell them about the future. That is so ridiculously simplistic thinking ...

    The science of the future is NETWORK THEORY that considers complexity and the one thing that has no place in it is flow-diagrams or rigid hierarchies.

    It will be technology that will give us transparency of the networks of entities that drive economy and our businesses, but it won't be about controlling them but simply to provide understanding for our intuitive minds.

    Some of my posts on the subject:

  • I agree with many suggestions, but I am going to throw one point that will ALWAYS have the biggest influence on BPM: Better understanding & application of BPM.

  • One trend we are seeing is more process work on the revenue side of the equation. Customer-Centric BPM appears to finally be coming online. And that is Customer (big C), not just some internal group of an organization. Companies seem to finally be learning that whenever a customer interacts with them, they are interacting with their business processes. If the process is good, usually the customer will have an equivalent experience. If the process is junk, well...hello Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, etc.

  • User experience.
    The day when the industry wakes up and realizes that Process Management needs to earn the B in the acronym. Unfortunately the industry seems to be moving even further away from the business, or rather the so called consumers of BPM are becoming more demanding, they want better and easier to use applications. A much better user experience, they want the software to get out of the way and let them get on with work.

  • One of the last frontiers of human being is the ability to predict. Not able to accept the existence of this constraint (able to predict), is a failure to understand our role in the universe and how systems work which BPM is a part of.

    Anyway I see in the future a convergence around viable systems.

  • user-pic

    One more... service design, the growing discipline for holistic cocreation of services, focused on value and optimal experience

  • Let’s keep in mind that BPM is methodology first; trends should not change real BPM. Those organizations that understand and benefiting from BPM will have the infrastructure to take full advantage of trends without the flip flop behavior that tends to be associated with trends. BPM will afford decision makers the ability to identify trend from valuable opportunities.

    To answer the question I am going to slightly reword the question, pardon me Peter. What changes will affect BPM the most in the next few years? In my professional opinion, not necessarily in the order they appear...

    -IT architectural changes to service mobile workers-the “always on” & out-of-the-office-by-design worker,
    -Increased handover of processes to CSPs, disturbing traditional IT service models,
    -Continued economic challenges,
    -The forced need for real governance,
    -Social, the data generated and associated with processes-CM
    -BPI becoming a core competency
    -Increased use of modeling
    -Organizations becoming more focused on providing customers the data they want when they want it and how they want to see it.

    I have blogged on a number of these points, www.iqullc.wordpress.com. Please comment.

  • As much as everyone talks about Cloud, Mobile and Social as a "trend" that will affect BPM, the only one that will make any difference is convergence. BPM talks a good game of removing silos when in fact it just erects the biggest ones around itself in an attempt to remain a vertical industry in its own right.

    When it wakes up and realises that BPM, MDM, CRM, Social, Mobile, Cloud are all really just complimentary pieces of a bigger whole and they all need to work together as one then that will change the industry and BPM.

    It's not just physics that seeks a "theory of everything" but there's certainly a string that ties them all together if you look deep enough; process

    And that's just the software part......

    • Theo, the 'theory of everything' in business clearly won't be found in a hugely fragmented software landscape. You are also missing the one essential piece that is actually the carrier of the process: CONTENT

      The one thing that doesn't tie anything together is process! What ties them together is a network of entities with well understood relationships. Process doesn't provide context and it doesn't provide relationships.

      It is virtually impossible (for financial reasons) to tie all these software pieces together in a project. What you need is a single piece (System of Engagement) that presents a transparent real-time view of what a business does why and how. A small part of it could be some work lists but in reality they are utterly irrelevant.

      The huge effort of governance required today is not there because it is the best way to do it, it is needed because the BPM approach is so lacking.

  • user-pic

    How about mash-up, customer engagement, ACM and self-services? Mobile, social and cloud seem to me are trends that will effect on BPMS's, not so much on BPM.

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