BRF Day 2: Intelligent Process Automation: The Key to Business Process Optimization

The opening keynote today was Steve Hendrick of IDC, discussing their acronym du jour, IPA (intelligent process automation), which is a combination of BPM, BI and decisioning. He lists four key constructs of IPA:

  • Event processing, providing a sense and respond approach
  • Decisioning, covering both rules and actions that might be derived from those rules
  • BPM (I knew that he’d get to this eventually)
  • Advanced analytics, including profiling and segmentation, predictive analytics and modeling, and decision optimization

I’m not sure how this differs from Gartner’s definition of BPMS technology, which includes all these factors; do we really need another acronym for this? I suppose that the analyst firms need to make these distinctions to play in the marketplace, but I’m not sure that a new term specific to one analyst firm provides benefit to the end customers of these systems.

He just put a non-linear programming equation up on the screen. It’s 9:19am, we were all up late last night at various vendor dinners, and he’s talking about the specifics of how to solve this optimization model. I really think that he’s overestimating the number of fellow analytics geeks in the audience.

He moved on to discuss BPM, which he characterizes as a context for putting advanced analytics to work. 🙂 He lists IBM, TIBCO and Adobe (huh?) as the leaders, Global 360 as “right on their heels”, and BEA just behind that with Lombardi somewhere back from that. Hmm, not necessarily everyone’s view of the BPM market.

He then discussed complex event processing for ultra-low latency applications, pointing out characteristics such as how it’s queue based (much like BPM) to allow asynchronous processing of events, and how this allows for extremely fast response to events as they occur. The tie-in to the other technologies that he’s discussing is that events can trigger processes, and can also trigger decisions, the latter of which he feels is more important.

He talked about a number of case studies about how analytics — in addition to other technologies and processes — made a difference for companies.

He ended with some predictions of a bright future for IPA, which included a hockey stick-like projection of BPMS sales increases of about 6x between now and 2011.

4 thoughts on “BRF Day 2: Intelligent Process Automation: The Key to Business Process Optimization

  1. Also, Stephen mentioned that you need to be a billion dollars in size before you can attempt IPA. In the context of process, we have had clients of ours at Global360 successful that are below that threshold.
    Process intellegence, once made easy can apply to a larger group of companies. I think, Stephen is looking at the typical sized company with operations research skills, rtather than the new options.

  2. Jim, I missed his comment about the billion dollar size — that seems an unusually high barrier, and I’m not surprised that you’re seeing companies below that size with success in this area. It’s still not clear to me how this differs from and good integration of BPM and decisioning?

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