BEAParticipate: The Future of BPM

Jesper Joergensen gave us BEA‘s view of how BPM is changing business and the future of BPM. Actually, he starts out with Gartner’s view of expected market growth (hockey, anyone?) and how BPM is becoming more and more a part of organizations’ productivity improvement initiatives as it moves from opportunistic to pervasive adoption.

There’s a number of obstacles to BPM adoption, however, many of them cultural:

  1. The ivory tower of process expertise, where a few process experts are doing the modelling. Easy-to-use modelling tools like ALBPM are helping to change that, but my opinion is that we need to have more pervasive technology to enable the shift, and that’s going to be web-based, like Appian‘s process designer or Lombardi‘s Blueprint process discovery tool.
  2. The ROI barrier: many current opportunistic BPM projects are low-hanging fruit in terms of ROI, but projects need to deliver faster and cheaper in order to implement processes with a lesser potential return.
  3. Getting beyond just system-to-system orchestration and adding human-facing steps to the process. Stop thinking of those processes as “human-interrupted” and accept people as necessary actors in BPM-automated processes.
  4. Managing complexity and scale.

Jesper went on to discuss a number of areas where practices and technologies need to evolve (note that this is not a statement of where ALBPM is going, just how he thinks that the BPM market needs to change):

  • Web-based process modelling (which I obviously agree with).
  • improved standards and interoperability, especially between a vendor’s own tools if they have multiple tools for discovery, modelling and design.
  • Automated process discovery based on monitoring (which I saw recently in a vendor demonstration but can’t at this moment recall which one), where historical trends in manual decision-making are used to suggest automation of certain decision points.
  • Better integration of BPM and BI, since many products currently have very separate BPM and analytics environments that don’t integrate well.
  • Standardization and service-enablement of process data; I think that BPRI may help with some of the standardization, but it likely needs to be taken further in terms of how process instance data and be extracted from a process engine via RSS feeds or other integration mechanisms.
  • Process decision support, e.g., making suggestions based on historical decisions, and potentially raising exceptions if the current decision doesn’t match the past trend.
  • More open process flows to allow for dynamic changes to the process flow at runtime, even if they weren’t anticipated at design time.
  • Social computing functionality, such as tagging.
  • Better integration with SOA and ESB.
  • Enterprise-scale process execution and management to allow for end-to-end cross-departmental processes rather than the more common departmental BPM implementations that we see today.

We’re in agreement on a lot of things on this list, and I’m looking forward to how some of these ideas might creep into the product in the future.

Leave a Reply