Paul Harmon on BPM state and trends

I’m in a webinar (sponsored by Proforma) with BPTrendsPaul Harmon discussing their recent survey of business process trends. I expect to meet Paul face-to-face next week at the ABPMP chapter meeting in San Francisco, where he’ll be speaking on “Business Process Today and Tomorrow”.

The first part of the webinar is pretty much just a review of the report itself, with a minor degree of added value, although it’s good for those who find it hard to plough through a 54-page report and find the high points without nodding off. He highlighted that most people are still doing their process modelling in Visio or PowerPoint (see page 29 of the report), although sees that as an indicator that an organization isn’t yet fully serious about their process modelling efforts because of the lack of an enterprise view that you can get with a repository-based tool such as Proforma’s. He sees many of the survey results as indicators that the BPM market that is still developing, not yet mature, and calls the market for tools “confusing” as he discusses the diagram on page 45. Considering that analysts tend to redefine “BPM” every couple of years, causing a vendor feature catch-up scramble, neither of these points is surprising and I agree with him. Furthermore, I think that the large percentage of Visio modelling is also an indicator of an immature market as much as it is of immature BPM initiatives within an organization.

He went through some results that I don’t recall seeing in the report that summarized what people would be doing less, the same, or more of in 2006 (the survey was taken in February), grouped into enterprise, process level and implementation activities as per their pyramid (page 41-42 in the report). He sees most of these trends as further proof that we’re still in a developing market for BPM, such as the large number of companies that are planning more of BPM systems, major process redesign and automation projects, and process analysis and design training in 2006 than they’ve done previously, as well as developing an enterprise architecture and enterprise performance management. I like the fact that he doesn’t show any bogus hockey stick projections for BPM growth; those of us in the BPM business have been seeing those for many years now and are understandably wary.

The webinar will be available for replay at some point; check the original registration link or the Proforma website to find it in a few days.

Slightly off topic, I appreciate the collaborative spirit of many recent webinars that I’ve attended of opening up the dial-in line so that any of the attendees can speak up with their questions (rather than using a chat window), but it doesn’t work so well in practice due to the large number of people who can’t find the mute button on their phone or just don’t consider the listening experience of others on the call. I can hear background conversations, papers rustling, computer noises of all sorts, and even a dog barking, all in spite of the speaker’s repeated request for people to mute their phones. Even on an online demo that I attended the other day with only two other attendees besides myself, one of those two put his phone on hold during half of the demo which treated the rest of us to the periodic “beep-beep” that most phone systems emit to the party on hold (and gave the speaker a pretty good indication of just how unimportant the material was to that attendee, since we could easily identify who had hit the hold button).

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