Forrester Day 2: Colin Teubner

The last session of the last day, and a significant portion of the audience (especially those headed east) have bailed out but there’s still a few of us hanging around to hear Colin Teubner talk about optimizing business with BPM. I think that he drew the short straw as the junior guy, presenting in the last two sessions back-to-back. 🙂  I think that the two-day format is just the right length; the 2-1/2 days of Gartner last week was just a bit long. Also, starting on Tuesday so that people can travel on Monday rather than having to burn up half their weekend is nice, too.

The central theme is that the ultimate goal of BPM initiatives should be transformation, not just efficiency. As he points out, many companies focus purely on efficiency, trying to trim costs for small wins rather than looking to make a transformative change that can drastically improve the organization’s competitive differentiation and revenue. BPMS is more than just modeling and automation; it includes the whole cycle of monitoring and optimization feeding back to the modeling stage. He showed a slightly different version of the BPM maturity/adoption chart that Connie Moore showed yesterday; I’m still unsure why this is a two-dimensional graph, since it is really a projection on the diagonal axis, but I suppose a one-dimensional representation just doesn’t look as nice.

He then mapped BPM onto the “design for people, build for change” theme of the conference: UI creation and process mindset belong to the design for people side of things, whereas agile processes, SOA connections, business-friendly tools and comprehensive monitoring map to building for change. Different from, but compatible with, the view of BPM in the D4PB4C theme that I covered on slide 26 of my presentation this morning. He talked about why simulation tools are not used as widely as the BPM vendors would have you believe: they’re too hypothetical and require a certain amount of guesswork (although using detailed execution data to populate your simulation can help with this). I also think that they’re a bit too complex and analytical for many of the business analysts who are targeted to use them.

Tuebner covered a number of use cases for BPM integrated with other technologies — forms technology to integrate data from other sources, content, BI and more — and the ways in which BPM enables an improved customer experience both through direct interaction or by informing the environment of an internal employee who is dealing with the customer.

He showed (for about 10 seconds) their Q3 Wave for BPM vendors; I think that this is the human-centric BPM wave, although it really went by so fast that I didn’t catch it, much less any of the vendors’ positions on it.

He had some interesting words about end-to-end organizational visibility and how it allows executives to understand processes and systems by making the link from strategy goals down through other layers; not surprisingly, he discussed this in the context of enterprise architecture.

His final recommendations:

  • Don’t just make processes run faster, make them better and pay special attention to users’ work environments.
  • Use BPM for business improvement, not process improvement, and focus on customer experience.
  • Take an end-to-end view of process and plan BPM as a management discipline (by which he means a business initiative).

That’s it for the Forrester Technology Leadership Forum. I’ve enjoyed it, found the content solid, and the culture a refreshing change from some other large analyst conferences.

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