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IT Directions

Keith Harrison-Broninski

Keith's adventures in BPMN - Introduction

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The last few posts to this blog have featured quotes illustrating the need for 21st century organizations to adopt new management practices. In a nutshell, senior management need to recognize the importance of collaborative, adaptive human work as the true driver of competitive success.

This idea has been promoted by luminaries such as Peter Drucker, Peter Senge and Charles Handy for many years now. However, for the most part organizations are still struggling to improve their knowledge work processes. In fact, it is generous even to call human interaction in most corporate environments "processes" :-)

Why is this? When knowledge work makes up somewhere between 59% and 80% of the US workforce, you would think that by now it would be managed properly. However, most organizations are only just getting to grips with their routine work - applying BPM techniques to processing orders, arranging deliveries, payment settlement, and returns handling. Taking a process view of product research, project management, market development, sales support, problem solving, organizational improvement, business growth and other non-routine work is the next step.

Nevertheless, some organizations are preparing now to take this step. This is wise, since the early bird catches the worm. "Asia, Automation and Abundance" have only just started to shake up the global market - the eventual survivors will be those who are more efficient and effective not only in their routine work, but also in their knowledge work.

However, many early adopters of a process viewpoint on knowledge work have had a hard time. This is because, despite the claims of analysts and software vendors for "human-centric BPM", current mainstream techniques and tools do not cut the mustard. I have emails from (literally) hundreds of organizations who have tried to improve knowledge work processes using solutions from a mainstream vendor, only to find that they are using the wrong tool for the job.


This post is the introduction to a new series, in which I will show why this is, using as an example the de facto standard BPM notation - BPMN. I will take simple scenarios drawn from everyday knowledge work and show how BPMN cannot express these situations. I will also show how easy they are to express in the Human Interaction Management notation (and thus to implement using a Human Interaction Management System, or HIMS).

Please join me in future posts for Keith's adventures in BPMN.

Keith Harrison-Broninski cuts through the hype in his hands-on guide to where enterprise IT is really going

Keith Harrison-Broninski

Keith Harrison-Broninski is a researcher, writer, keynote speaker, software architect and consultant working at the forefront of the IT and business worlds.


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