Gartner BPM summit day 1: Sinur and Melenovsky

The conference opened with the two key faces of Gartner‘s BPM vision — Jim Sinur and Michael Melenovsky — giving a brief welcome talk that focussed on a BPM maturity model, or what they are calling BPM3. There was only one slide for their presentation (if you don’t count the cover slide) and it hasn’t been published for the conference attendees, so I’ll rely on my sketchy notes and somewhat imperfect memory to give an overview of the model:

  • Level 0: Acknowledge operational inefficiences, with potential for the use of some business intelligence technology to measure and monitor business activities. I maintain that there is something lower than this, or maybe a redefinition of level 0 is required, wherein the organization is in complete denial about their operational inefficiences. In CMM (the Capability Maturity Model for software development processes), for example, level 0 is equivalent to having no maturity around the processes; level 1 is the “initial” stage where an organization realizes that they’re really in a lot of trouble and need to do something about it.
  • Level 1: Process aware, using business process analysis techniques and tools to model and analyze business processes. Think Visio with some human intelligence behind it, or a more robust tool such as those from Proforma, iGrafx or IDS Scheer.
  • Level 2: Process control, the domain of BPMS, where process models and rules can now be executed, and some optimization can be done on the processes. They admitted that this is the level on which the conference focusses, since few organizations have moved very far beyond this point. Indeed, almost every customer that I have that uses BPM is somewhere in this range, although many of them are (foolishly) neglecting the optimization potential that this brings.
  • Level 3: Enterprise process management, where BPM moves beyond departmental systems and becomes part of the corporate infrastructure, which typically also opens up the potential for processes that include trading partners and customers. This is a concept that I’ve been discussing extensively with my customers lately, namely, the importance of having BPM (and BRE and BI) as infrastructure components, not just embedded within departmental applications, because it’s going to be nearly impossible to realize any sort of SOA vision without these basic building blocks available.
  • Level 4: Enterprise performance management, which starts to look at the bigger picture of corporate performance management (which is what Gartner used to call this — are they changing CPM to EPM??) and how processes tie into that. I think that this is a critical step that organizations have to be considering now: CPM is a great early warning indicator for performance issues, but also provides a huge leap forward in issues such as maintaining compliance. I just don’t understand why Cognos or other vendors in this space aren’t at this conference talking about this.
  • Level 5: Competitive differentiation, where the business is sufficiently agile due to control over the processes that new products and services can be easily created and deployed. Personally, I believe that competitive differentiation is a measure of how well that you’re doing right from level 1 on up, rather than a separate level itself: it’s an indicator, not a goal per se.

That’s it for now, I’m off to lunch. At this rate, I’ll catch up on all the sessions by sometime next week. 🙂

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