BPM as part of BAM

A few more notes on today’s ebizQ webinar on BAM. Ms Gold-Bernstein talked about another topic close to my heart, namely that BPM is one of the contributing sources to BAM/performance management, rather than BAM being a part of BPM (as the BPM vendors would have you believe). The term “BAM” was originally coined by Gartner, so they’ve had first dibs at saying what is and is not BAM:

BAM defines the concept of providing real-time access to critical business performance indicators, along with the supporting information to improve the speed and effectiveness of business operations.BAM is accomplished by monitoring multiple systems, creating real-time dashboards, and using context and rules to detect the occurrence of a pre-defined set of circumstances.

They list BAM technologies as including BPM, integration middleware (arguably part of BPM under Gartner’s own definition), BI, dashboards with KPIs (which I would consider part of BI), and IT operational management (ditto). Since BAM is defined as a concept and is linked to all of these technologies, there are a lot of vendors from all different areas scrambling to get into BAM magic quadrant — not unlike what’s happening with BPM vendors ever since Gartner lumped together all process-related technologies as “BPM”.

To confuse things further, Gartner’s report on the convergence of BPM and BAM lists three main areas of overlap, and therefore potential conflict:

  • BPM acting as “BPM+BAM”
  • BPM serving as BAM’s response mechanism or recipient
  • BPM ? or business process analysis (BPA) ? serving as a passive analytic/visualization model for BAM

Prior to Gartner defining BAM, there was performance management, which is more focussed on the BI side of the equation, including technologies such as BI, dashboards and, lately, CEP (complex event processing). Although the goals of performance management are fundamentally the same as BAM (business alignment, real-time KPIs), the scope is narrower by excluding BPM and middleware technologies.

Somehow, the concept of performance management as pure business intelligence makes more sense to me than including (rather arbitrarily) some of the technologies that produce the data that feed into the performance management. If BPM is included as one of BAM’s technologies, why not databases, or CRM, or any other technology within an enterprise that produces data that may be of interest to management? In fact, if there’s a technology within an enterprise that doesn’t contribute data to performance management KPIs, why is it there?

Strategic process optimization

A webinar going on right now on BPM, BAM and SOA: Optimizing both Business and IT focussing on the ROI of process integration. Beth Gold-Bernstein contrasted the tactical versus strategic approaches to process integration:

  • Tactical approach requires defining underlying integration infrastructure
  • Strategic approach — enterprise integration architecture defines infrastructure, business defines the process

This goes back to one of the key ideas that I’ve been working with lately, namely the role of process and BPM in an enterprise architecture framework.

She also made a distinction between web services orchestration and business process management, where she sees WSO as providing a graphic way to design and control flow between web services, but without all the process governance (monitoring, analytics, management and simulation) that you would find in BPM. Given the role being assigned to BPEL, is this just another artificial distinction in the process marketplace?

BPM Think Tank

I couldn’t make it down to Philadelphia this week for the AIIM conference, but if you’re there, consider dropping in for the BPM Think Tank task group sessions organized by BPMI that form part of the WfMC meetings.

After an initial think tank meeting in Miami in March, three working groups were formed: Execution, Modeling, and Education, and the latter two of these will be meeting this week. If you want to see what happened at the meetings in March and keep up to date on these joint meetings, check out the Specifications section of the BPMI.org forum (no registration required unless you want to post a comment). You might also find out something about that rumour of BPMI and WfMC merging.

BPM and measuring performance

A week ago today, I was in a tutorial by Roger Burlton of the Process Renewal Group on Enterprise Business Architecture: Strategy, Process and Capabilty Alignment while at the BPMG conference in London. He made a great analogy regarding performance measures: knowing the final score doesn’t tell you if it was a good game. (Although after once watching the Blue Jays lose 22-2, I posit that you could have told that it was a crappy game by the score alone.) Roger was one of many people at the conference who spoke about BPM in the context of measuring business goals. To quote Terry Schurter, who I heard speak the following day at his session BPMS – Selection by Business Value, “goals that can’t be measured aren’t goals”.

All this shows that BPM is finally creeping out of departments and into the mainstream of the enterprise. I read a post about a CEO’s view of BPM as discussed at a recent CEO roundtable today on the Milestone Group’s Thoughts On The Tech Industry blog that really nailed it:

BPM, or Business Process Management is the fasting growing segment in the BI / Data Management market sector. Growing out of departmental process management initiatives, the key driver now is to integrate across the enterprise, and to provide scorecards, reports, and other “C Level” deliverables with more confidence, so that predictive modeling and optimization initiatives are really based on the most complete and highest quality set of data available in the enterprise.

The CEOs consider BPM as a feed for enterprise BI/performance management, which is completely accurate — after all, why else would you be doing BPM if not to improve performance, and why would you be doing anything to improve performance if you weren’t also including it in your enterprise performance measures?

Observing the conference (from a distance)

Just catching up on the week’s email that I had no time to answer, and noticed that the Earth Observatory‘s pictures of the week included one of London. If you know where to look, you can see Portman Square where the conference was held this week — a little square of greenery just to the northeast of Hyde Park.

You can subscribe to a weekly email that contains links to some very cool satellite images from the home page of the Earth Observatory site. I used to write software for analyzing satellite images so find this a particularly good distraction, but some of my non-remote-sensing friends also enjoy it.

A nod to BPM and EA

When I started this blog a couple of months ago, I didn’t give a lot of thought to naming it, and decided just to be descriptive: hence “Sandy’s Biz Blog”. Can you tell that I’m an engineer and not a marketer?

My inner marketing voice spoke up this week — part of the overactive synapse response to the stimulating conference environment — and I had an overwhelming urge to rebrand. Since I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how BPM intertwines with EA, I’m giving a nod to Zachman with the new name, Column 2. (For those of you who aren’t EA aficionados, column 2 in the Zachman framework is where the process models live; although BPM is bigger than just column 2, I thought that it was a cool name.)

If you subscribe to this site, you can change to the new FeedBurner feed location here, although I’ll keep the old one active too.

The standards debate

Another funny thing from yesterday at BPM 2005: at a BPM standards panel session that included representatives from BPMI, WfMC, OMG and OASIS, Dave Petraitis from OASIS took great exception to an audience member’s suggestion that a standard could be biased in favour of a particular vendor. C’mon Dave, why do you think that vendors sit on a standards committe? It’s not purely altruistic, and they’re not just there to learn about the standard so that they can incorporate it into future products; they’re there, in part, to attempt to influence the standard to their way of doing things, both to make it easier for them to conform and to provide them with some competitive advantage.

    Also heard Martyn Ould speak yesterday afternoon, and went online to buy his book from Amazon with hopes that it will be waiting for me when I get home.

    Skype at BPM 2005

    Between the conference, friends, travelling and keeping up with the news from home, no time to blog until now. BPM 2005 is working out to be a very rewarding conference: some great presentations and networking with old friends, new acquaintances and BPM thought leaders who I have only ever met electronically before this week.

    One thing from yesterday that I would not have missed: Peter Fingar was to present one of the keynote speeches, but at the last minute was unable to fly over. However, he used Skype to call into the presentation PC (which was connected to the room’s AV system) and give his talk, someone else flipped his slides for him, and with the lights turned low, it was easy to forget that he wasn’t in the room. Kudos to Peter and to Roger Burlton (who played “Vanna White” for him with the slides) for coming up with a creative solution to what could have been a disappointment for all.

    More later tonight or tomorrow when I’ve had a chance to digest the three days, but I have to say that this has been a great catalyst for my creative spark, and I’m brimming with ideas. I’ve been thinking about BPM and EA together for quite a while, and have heard several things this week that shows me that others are thinking the same thing.