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Editor's Note: This feature, the second in a three-part special package on dynamic BPM, provides examples of industries where the methodology is rapidly becoming a must-have. Part I defines dynamic BPM and addresses some myths about the methodology; Part III covers considerations for choosing a dynamic BPM platform.

We don't hear about train derailments as much as we used to, and Gartner analyst Jim Sinur uses that fact in opening a discussion about industries where dynamic BPM is making a difference.

Train derailments can be caused by a phenomenon known as a "hotbox," which refers to a railway car axel bearing that has melted over time because of friction. That can cause the car to go off the track, pulling other cars with it.

In the past, railroad workers looked for potential hotboxes by inspecting cars manually in switching yards. Today, heat-seeking radio-frequency identification (RFID) sensors posted at railroad mile markers can detect when a passing train may have a hotbox problem, says Sinur, a research vice president at Gartner. The sensors alert railroad officials, who can then arrange to examine or switch out the cars in question at an upcoming stop.

"That's dynamic, goal-driven, knowledge-driven immediacy," Sinur says. And it's in line with Gartner's formal definition for dynamic BPM as "the ability to support process change by any role, at any time, with very low latency."

But dynamic BPM's value isn't limited to the transportation world. Following are some highlights from other industries where BPM is in use:

MILITARY: The United Kingdom's military leaders use a sophisticated pattern-based dynamic algorithm to help determine where to deploy troops. "They allocate their resources very carefully," Sinur says. "They use advanced simulation to simulate the best alternatives, then deploy the troops dynamically based on their needs."

GOVERNMENT: Many U.S. government agencies use dynamic BPM for tracking correspondence documents from the White House, Congress, other agencies and citizens. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, among others, uses the approach to keep tabs on correspondence, documents and tasks requiring action or response.


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