The Next Wave of Innovation in BPM (Part I)

I love meeting with customers.  Not only because you get to see firsthand how they are applying BPM technology, but I also thoroughly enjoy conversations on how BPM technology can be applied as a competitive weapon.  I am just coming back from a customer visit and they put an interesting topic on the agenda which I think is worthy to be shared.  The topic was what is the next wave of innovation in BPM, and key trends supporting the evolutionary leap

As you probably can already tell this is not a quick and simple topic to answer.  Therefore, in this blog series I will introduce the next frontier of BPM and two of the five supporting trends.  In part two, I will introduce the remaining three trends. 

So what exactly is the next BPM wave?  As we look back at the science of process management there has been many disciplines and technologies that have shaped BPM to how we know it today.  For instance,

  •   1920 – 1950 Scientific Management focused on how to efficiently manage workers
  •   1950 – 1975 was the rise of  computerized processes that enabled automation of tasks
  •   1975 – 2000 introduced packaged applications and the rise of workflow technology that helped digitized structured processes
  •   2000 to 2010  is the era known for SOA based technologies; empowering the enterprise to dynamically reuse their IP

The culminations of these disciplines are evolving into what is called the Adaptive Enterprise.  And it is BPM suites that are helping organizations realize the promise and reality of this next frontier in the BPM sector.  Furthermore, there are 5 key trends that I see that are shaping the reality of the Adaptive Enterprise.

Trend 1:

Trend number one is that business and IT silos are disappearing through the use of BPM suites.  Sophisticated BPM suites provide collaborative development platforms empowering the business to own the change and communicate evolving business requirements with IT.  Conversely, agile BPM development tools accelerate time-to-benefit automating the programming and thereby empowering IT to deliver on their commitments to the business.

In some cases the development environment and the execution environment of modern BPM suites are unified enabling instant testing and playback of functionality throughout the lifecycle of the business solution, reducing risk and assuring what was built is the “right solution” for the business.  Hence, collaborative BPM suites are eliminating the dichotomy between business and IT teams.

Trend 2:

The second trend is that BPM suites are becoming the core of the enterprise ecosystem.

Referring to the graphic below, the Adaptive Enterprise needs to be able to communicate across multiple channels with its customers and trading partners.  This communication must be fluid and continuous as service requests traverse from one channel to the other.  Therefore, if a customer starts a service request through a self-service portal and decides to finish the request by phone, the BPM system assures that the customer service process and conversation continues without requiring the customer to start their inquiry from the beginning…assuring an impeccable customer experience.

Along the top of the graphic, the Adaptive Enterprise needs to leverage event driven business data to aid in understanding and servicing the request. 

To the right, the Adaptive Enterprise needs to seamlessly leverage their existing IT infrastructure.  With a BPM suite, the business can wrap, renew and modernize their legacy systems to use the data stored in those systems in order to make the business processes more accurate, while at the same time eliminating the need for knowledge works to have to “swivel chair” between multiple systems.

At the bottom, strategic business solutions built with the BPM technology should be agnostic regarding what platforms it runs on.  Large enterprises have heterogeneous technology environments and to be adaptive you need be able to build competitive solutions without having to worry about the technical details of the underlying systems.

 BPM Driving the Enterprise Ecosystem

At the core is your BPM suite. To have an Adaptive Enterprise you need a strategic business platform that manages the interactions between the surrounding, four dimensions.

So, as you can begin to see the Adaptive Enterprise is flexible.  It is extremely collaborative.  It empowers the business to take charge.  And, it is a well oiled machine able to leverage communication channels, existing IT infrastructures, and systems as a competitive weapon.  I look forward to sharing the remaining three trends of the Adaptive Enterprise in Part 2.  Meanwhile, feel free to comment back and share your perspective on the reality of BPM and the Adaptive Enterprise.