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Is the BPM industry in need of disruption?

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As the Process Cafe recently discussed, and as Theo Priestley implied in his response last week, is the BPM industry in need of disruption?

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  • http://bpmredux.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/surfs-up-forresters-bpms-wave-for-2013-is-out/

    You only have to look at how the analyst community treats the industry to see that it is (the second graphic is indeed telling)

    There are more than just 10 players in this business but the industry seems to restrict choice by focusing on a very small percentage, and therefore the market is dictated and defined by what these vendors can accomplish with their solutions.
    If a smaller player has something which is truly disruptive we may never know about it because people don't want to write about them, or certainly none of the bigger analysts do without significant "investment".

    So, yes, the BPM industry is ripe for disruption and from a number of angles; analyst, community, vendor, solution, method.

    Take your pick of one and go incite a revolution. Please.

    • Testify, brother!

      But no worries. We disruptive underdogs will keep barking until somebody notices that we're regularly winning hearts (and accounts) at the expense of our better-known colleagues.

  • That's not strictly true Theo ... and you know it. You even acknowledge it in your blog where you talk about the fact that BizAgi have been included.

    • Derek, I understand your frustration. With respect, I think all that Theo is saying is that there are some companies with pretty cool technology that are routinely not included in these reviews (even if their names are very briefly mentioned).

      We all understand that when you create these things, you have to draw the line somewhere. Where we may have disagreement is in what criteria are used to determine where it is drawn.

      We're very grateful for the direction and support we've received as a result of our partnership with the analyst community, and Forrester in particular. In our discussions, Forrester has shown great appreciation for our disruptive technology, such as Process Timeline. We'd love to see some of that appreciation expressed in your published reports, and those of your competitors.

      I think of analysts in the same terms as music critics. A good critic can attend a Yo Yo Ma concert and note that, perhaps, Mr. Ma wasn't at his best today, that the allegro required more urgency or the high tones lacked the usual soft touch. But a truly great critic can spot a rising talent that others have overlooked, and in doing so, give the listening public a gift that would otherwise have remained under wraps.

  • Not necessarily disruption for the sake of it, but definitely true innovation and a new mindset what a process actually should represents. Simply because it is not working the way it was promised. Clearly, once that understanding sinks in it might disrupt the current orthodox BPM product and consultancy industry. Good!

  • Isn't it a little much honor to call BPM an industry?

    It's just a way of managing an organization, and yes, maybe you can use some tools for that. But unfortunately it got hijacked by tools (and their vendors) that together with their consultancy allies seem to force companies into a leansixsigma view on process management. Scanning some discussions on linkedin and it seems it all ends with 'how does this support lss? '

    No companies were ever set up to do BPM, LSS or process management, They were started to build cars, treat patients or produce food (that's why I don't like to call BPM an industry in itself)

    So the most disruptive (while it absolutely isn't) would be to me that companies don't see BPM as something special that can be selected out of the magic wave.

    Processes are just 'things' that help you to deliver what you promise and there are many ways to get grip on them; from strictly controled till more acm like.

    But how hard is it to get rid of this tool drivenness? How many companies seem not to be able to do sales without salesforce. 'If it isn't in salesforce, it doesn't exist' is really written on walls.

  • Theo said it all and well said at that. The truth is shameful reflection on the dominance by the few and that includes conflicted analysts who feed off both plates! Reminds us of the financial meltdown with conflicted rating agencies....? So definite yes for supporting technology AND that truly independent analysts carry out real research on what is out there so disruptive players are heard as technology emerges not when the big players decide to buy or eliminate!

  • As it happens, with all the marketing and selling power of BPM vendors and consultants, it does represent a market (customer expectation) shaping industry. The money they spend on analysts is just one small part of it.

    One can not only blame the LSS or BPM pundits, because it has been a sign of the times that executives look for cost cutting as one of their main tools to improve the bottom line, regardless of what it does to customer service. So vendors, consultants and media are selling what the market is asking for.

    Let's see if the current hype over customer experience will change anything. I doubt it because the companies are just too big to get a grip on these things. Rigid processes in many businesses are the only way of control. It is a management weakness, but who can walk into the door of an executive and tell him/her? Not a software vendor, no matter how right he might be ...

    I see Gartner Group trying it at some of their events and I see executives and IT managers walking out the door shaking their heads. They just can't see it.

    So to come back to a disruption: it would need a change in business/executive mindset and that would need a change in stock market expectations and that would need a change in MBA education and all of that would maybe change the way processes are looked at and that would maybe change the BPM vendor landscape.

    So don't hold your breath ...

  • If you want independent evaluation you know where to find me.

  • Hi Theo
    OK where... or drop me an e-mail at david.chassels@procession.com
    PS see how I think UK should have handled its Benefits System See http://central-government.governmentcomputing.com/news/hilary-reynolds-leaves-universal-credit-programme-director-role

  • It's interesting: we all talk so much about customer experience, that we often forget who is most key in creating it: the employees.

    What I hope in the development of BPM as a discipline is the key notion of the "Employee Experience". Most attention on process design and BPMS implementation is going to productivity, happy wheels online, cost cutting.
    What if we develop the notion of processes that are designed in such a way that it creates a stimulating, motivating environment, that gives meaning and purpose. BPM misses these instruments at this stage (and many of the Organizational Development theory would enrich BPM a lot).

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