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Is the future of BPM beyond process?

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We've had some in-depth process discussions lately, from Is process documentation a waste of time? to What are the most important metrics for business processes? But as Ryan Boyles from IBM recently asked, is the future of BPM beyond process? If so, what do you think that would look like?

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  • The future of BPM is well beyond process and will involve social interfaces (look no further than Benioff's comments on Chatter fronting Salesforce). Also, businesses have discreet events that occur before, during and as a result of process flows that alter the landscape of how work gets done. We've never had the amount of data before that we have now and that makes BPM a much broader topic.

  • Huh? Implicit within the TLA is 'process' and at core that is the past, present and future of BPM. Further, BPM - like any other application, discipline, domain - has never operated in a vacuum. It, like anything else, has always had to play with other applications. Simply because "social," "mobile" and "cloud" are the rigeur du jour doesn't mean the "future" has changed. It just means these are three more aspects in the environment that BPM - depending upon the app, the organization - may or may not have to play nice with and that, as always, will boil down to execution. [shrug]

    Buzzword bingo and the latest and greatest IT panacea mania still prevail. [sigh]

    Just my tuppence.

  • At the risk of being 'killed and eaten alive' by more experienced and esteemed BPM devotees, can I suggest that the future of BPM may indeed rest with event [not flow] based processing, social interaction which is genuinely integrated to process and in-light predictive analytics.

    I can see the vultures circling!

    • Nah, "Dynamic," "Adaptive," etc. case management, ad hoc, unstructured - they've been here all along in terms of business processes. And we've been doing them all along. The only thing that's changed is some vendors, some industry analysts and industry buzzwords talking like it's something new.

      No worries.

  • If the future is beyond process, will it still be BPM?

    As long as people are working and producing end results, processes will exist. However, the nature and context will change with technology. Maybe we may automate elements to another level but with increased collaboration we may produce on the fly results. Process exists but just differently.

    Fun times are ahead:)

  • A process is still a process. But how that is executed, performed and managed may change.
    BPM will be guided more by informational and social contexts than by case and linear progression. It may even incorporate quantified and augmented technologies to further free up the mobility of work. There's a transition to a more fluid state where the notion of an 'actor' or 'role/ skills based routing' may also disappear.

    For this to really happen though is in how the technology will allow organizations to strip out hierarchy and let information and social structures exist around the work and around not job titles and grades.

    The future may indeed incorporate all the sexy stuff in the news today, but it'll still be BPM.

  • As long as BPM remains the "discipline" that focuses on supporting people and their processes there is long term future. Technologies are now slowly catching up with the people driven adaptive needs. Attempts by the big vendors and "their" industry analysts to create new buzz words to create FUD must be resisted!

  • BPM will always be about process... but “process” may not always mean what it does today.

    In some sense, this transition has already occurred. As Theo has noted, we've already blown by the process improvement folks buried in their swim lanes and RACI charts. They would barely recognize what we do as process in the sense that they understand it.

    So, process as a concept will continue to evolve. Our job is to evolve right alongside (or, if possible, slightly ahead) of it.

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