BPM Think Tank Day 3: Colin Teubner

Colin Teubner of Forrester gave us a lunchtime presentation, hence my notes were on paper and it’s taken a bit of time to transcribe them. However, I’m on a roll to get all my Think Tank coverage wrapped up today so that I can take 4 days off for the holiday weekend.

Colin’s talk was on issues, challenges and trends in BPM, and the general opinion around my lunch table is that it was a bit lightweight, although a reasonable summary of the current state of affairs. I certainly don’t envy him the task of speaking over the clanking of cutlery and buzz of other conversations as people eat their lunch.

He sees that a maturing of tools and practitioners is pulling more tool types into BPM, particularly a convergence of BPM and BI, and a convergence of content management, collaboration and human-centric BPM. Seeing as how we’ve only just managed to pry content management and human-centric BPM apart, I’m not sure the latter is good news. As he pointed out, BPM is more than modelling and automation, although a lot of projects (and products) get stuck there and don’t do the monitor/manage/optimize parts very well.

He returned to the discussion on BI and BPM that came out of the previous day’s roundtable that he led:

  • BI on a process
  • BI triggering a process
  • BI affecting a process (e.g., event)
  • BI inside a process decision
  • BI inside a human task assignment (inform rather than automate decision)
  • BI to help humans with process work
  • BI to predict the future of process work

BI is positioned as making data actionable. Data-driven BI is bereft of process, and focussed on reports and presentation. Process-centric BI (mainly from BPM vendors) has awareness of BPM and the processes; there may be a tie-in with BPRI although there’s no standard linkage between process models and runtime data that could be consumed by a 3rd party BI product. No BI vendors are doing real BPM-aware BI yet.

He then discussed collaboration and information, showing that BPM is typically only used for the structured part of processes. Interestingly, he just redivided the BPM marketplace into ad hoc/collaborative, production and integration workflow, which is where we were 7 years ago before this all got lumped together as BPM. The future of BPM is a 360-degree view of business processes; the main barrier to that now is that there’s no collaboration in BPM products and no process management in collaboration products. Some BPM vendors are starting to pull in collaborative functions, such as discussion threads, process wikis, email notifications, embedded analytics, dynamic task support, and portal integration.

A few wrapup points on what all this means:

  • BPM vendors must partner to integrate with other functions, such as content management
  • Standards are essential to driving the integration partnerships
  • End users need to think about process, collaboration and ECM together, not as separate issues

2 thoughts on “BPM Think Tank Day 3: Colin Teubner”

  1. Hi, and compliments on your blog. I read it with much interest. The BPM~BI convergence is interesting but I believe misses an important aspect: strategy alignment of processes. BI provides your typical decision-support but is lacking any forward-looking metrics. Additionally it typically focuses on transactional data. We at QPR see a better match in Performance Management (CPM, SPM) as a partner for BPM, leading to full support for the BPM cycle: Starting with strategy management, then aligning processes with strategy (automated as well as manually implemented) with process management –> a direct link between Process and Performance Managment, then execution via communication or implementation of business processes as executable apps. A next step then is to measure process performance, whether these processes are autoimated or not, as it provides not only business control over processes but also makes them more explicit: management has a clear understanding of how well a process serves the organization. Here again you see a direct link between Performance Management and Process Management, next overall performance needs to be measured and analyzed in order to assess the strategic assumptions and this is where BI can provide a supporting role to Performance Management.

    I would be interested to hear your opinion about the BI 2 BPM relation compared to the PM 2 BPM relation.

    Kind regards,


  2. Personally, I consider performance management to be a part of the broader area of BI. Same with BAM. Same with predictive analytics. I think that the boundaries are becoming much to fuzzy to say that BI is just historical reporting: the BI vendors are expanding the capabilities to provide both forward-looking predictive modelling as well as historical reporting and realtime dashboards.

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