In the morning’s technology keynote, Yvonne Genovese talked about the trends in business applications over the next two years:
- Applications shift from pre-canned logic to dynamic assemblies, something that we’re already seeing with large packaged applications (such as SAP) opening up their internal functionality as services, allowing those functions to be consumed — along with any number of other web services — as part of a composite application or business process.
- Convergence of business processes, people and information: applications that provide business value will consider all of these.
- Focus on performance management evolution from reporting and monitoring to predictive planning and closed-loop optimization.
- Business perimeters are becoming porous, with much of the innovation occurring at the edge of organizations: not only will there be interactions with external parties such as customers and suppliers, decisions will be made by those external parties that form part of an organizations business processes.
- Users and vendors have opposing strategies since many enterprise vendors are reaching end of life on their applications, so users are going to hold off on significant purchasing in favour of project-based investments.
- The role of the ERP suite will change, since they typically provide a low degree of innovation; they will tend to be services consumed by other more agile applications.
- There will be growth in alternative software consumption models, such as SaaS, which greatly impacts integration with existing applications and business processes and can impact process integrity.
- Process integrity challenges loom on the horizon, which is the fall-out from both dynamic/composite applications that pull services and data from multiple systems, and the move to SaaS applications: consider the challenge of reversing a logical transaction that may have occurred over multiple systems, some on-premise and some SaaS.
- Seismic shift in the way that users view software governance: since IT has become a critical competence within many organizations, application development and deployment has to become more predictable and visible to the business that it serves.
The use of templates/patterns that embody best practices for developing new business applications will help create standardization, and therefore predictability. In the BPM world, this includes having a BPM discipline within an organization that links your end-to-end processes to enterprise value disciplines. In general, this is all about keeping a closer eye on what your vendor is doing, and not giving them a carte blanche in building your systems or during major upgrades: their focus isn’t your process integrity, so you need to ensure that what they’re doing won’t adversely impact it.
Also check out my coverage of her presentation at last September’s BPM summit, which covers much of the same ground.