Intelligent Enterprise BPM cover

Today’s Intelligent Enterprise cover story “Business Process Management is Under Construction” is focussed specifically on modeling, analysis and reporting, business activity monitoring (BAM) and simulation features (since they cover integration and automation features in an earlier article).

Their assessment shows BPM as still at a relatively early adoption state:

BPM software is headed for mainstream adoption, but it’s still a relatively small, immature market… Plenty of organizations have yet to discover BPM… 36 percent said they were considering BPM and 29 percent said they had no plans to implement it, while only 24 percent said they were either piloting, rolling out, in production with or upgrading BPM.

That’s certainly what I’m seeing in many organizations, and why BPM evangelism is going to be required for some time still. Yes, there’s lots of successful BPM case studies to point at, but if you dig into the infrastructure at a large financial institution (for example), you’ll find a lot of EAI and not a lot of real BPM. Intelligent Enterprise states that even the basic automation and integration are still a challenge for many organizations, but I’m finding that the integration part has pushed forward because EAI is typically an IT initiative to integrate systems behind the scenes: the business benefits obliquely but their environment may not be impacted at all. On the other hand, automation requires true BPM (including human-facing workflow, modelling and simulation, and a whole raft of other features not typically found in EAI), plus full involvement of the business in order to achieve success, so gets hung up on the continuing disconnect between IT and the business that they serve.

Compliance is certainly going to push BPM forward, although that requires closed-loop process control throught the addition of analytics and simulation. There needs to be a bigger focus on making BPM performance monitoring and improvement a part of the larger corporate performance management framework, and showing how BPM fits into an organization’s enterprise architecture framework.

There are two more BPM articles in this issue of Intelligent Enterprise, “IT Detours on the Road to BPM” that discusses nine BPM suites’ closed-loop capabilities, and “Simple Process Management: Quick, Cheap and Easy” about Nsite, a hosted solution for a limited range of administrative-type workflows. I’d love to stay and blog all day about them, but it’s a holiday here and I’m going sailing.

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