Yes, there is really an exclamation point at the end of the presentation title in the published agenda: it looks like Microsoft is as surprised as the rest of us that they can achieve people-ready processes. This is the second of the vendor sessions of the day, and I’m listening to Burley Kawasaki talk about Microsoft’s BPM offerings and vision.
Kawasaki starts by talking about recent changes in enterprises, and how agility is the new competence for the enterprise. He believes that companies are sold on BPM as the right vision, but that cost, complexity and risk limit its adoption so far: placing them far down on the business process maturity curve. I’m not sure that most companies are even sold on BPM as the right vision, although I definitely agree that cost, complexity and risk are inhibiting technology implementations.
And to be People_Ready (as he puts it — obviously, I’m missing some joke in the syntax), he sees some key principles:
- Routes of adoption: each initiative is focused on a specific incremental goal, specifically awareness, repeatability, automation or optimization. This totally didn’t make sense until he started mapping each of these routes to a Microsoft product: Visio, SharePoint Designer, Visual Studio/BizTalk and SharePoint Performance.
- Collaborative design tools for allowing sharing of models between different roles, although in the Microsoft world this often doesn’t include literally sharing models, but rather import/export of models between environments.
- Relevant to the information worker, through integration with desktop environments such as Microsoft Office. Office integration, especially the integration of processes with Outlook, is definitely a hot topic for many of my customers.
- Ubiquitous process platform, wherein composite applications are created through the integration of a number of distinct pieces in the platform, whether the pieces themselves are well integrated or not.
It’s this last definition of a process platform that I most object to: Gartner and the large vendors are moving towards this “business process platform” idea rather than a BPM suite, wherein anything with a single vendor’s logo on it can be considered part of the platform, regardless of how it fits together with other components. I just don’t buy it.
Kawasaki finished up talking about the Business Process Alliance, and the growth that its seen with both customers and partners, with over 100 templates and solutions offered for 11 vertical industry.