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