Gartner Group expands BPM definition

It is most interesting that in the new diction of Gartner, BPM is now encompassing processes that were not so long ago the antithesis of BPM, not to say the antichrist – unstructured, non-routine, unpredictable, non-sequential, complex and even chaotic! Fantastic! Even though the concept of all-out BPM analysis with predefined and standardized processes has failed, long live BPM! It now represents ALL KINDS of business activities, including knowledge work.  So latest in 2011 you will see all the BPM methodology books being updated with the new trend, without anyone knowing how to actually do it.

Yes, process synthesis on the level of capability maps is most probably a very effective way to structure a business but process flowcharts are only usable for a small percentage. I give rigidly designed processes 20%, unstructured (cases) 20%, dynamic 20%, and the rest (40%) can only be executed as adaptive processes. I think that 20% of processes will be very collaborative in style and only be kept together by the data context. Consequently, all business activity can be executed by  an Adaptive Process infrastructure – from designed to emergent processes!

Gartner Groups key predictions for BPM are:

“By 2012, 20 per cent of customer-facing processes will be knowledge-adaptable and assembled just in time to meet the demands and preferences of each customer, assisted by BPM technologies.”

Gartner Group predicts that the next evolution of BPM will support processes that self-adjust based on the analysis of real-time data patterns. This is the core element of my User-Trained Agent patent application from 1997.

“By 2013, dynamic BPM will be an imperative for companies seeking process efficiencies in increasingly chaotic environments.”

I am sorry, but environments aren’t any more chaotic than they were before. Yes, the rate of change has increased but that does not make it more chaotic. Management withdrew a somewhat from the command and control illusion. When looked at it realistically, orthodox BPM as methodology and software was simply not able to support the dynamics of the complex adaptive social system. Processes were analyzed, implemented, simulated, tested and standardized to death. BPM has sofar reduced business agility! Finally it is being admitted that it is not enough, albeit by proclaiming ‘increasing chaos.”

Gartner fellow Daryl Plummer says, that the latency of change has to be reduced. Let me put it this way: “How about NO latency?” The BPMS must enable the authorized business user to create and execute processes as needed. Certainly there has to be a change management functionality for  business architecture entities such as data, business rules, sub-processes, but also content and GUI definitions. Also the need for the integration and management of artifacts such as rules and content is acknowledged, as well as the need to link these dynamic processes with events.

“Through 2014, the act of composition will be a stronger opportunity to deliver value from software than the act of development.”

This statement about assembling software components seems to relate to Business (Process) Mashups. That means that the processes have to link-up software components  as well as people. Defining processes before and seperately from implementation is no longer practical. It certainly matches with my definition of Adaptive Process, which says that the creation of processes is moved from the analysis phase to the execution phase and from the analyst to the business user. Certainly no coding allowed and it also requires a deployment mechanism. Well, a perfect description of the Papyrus Platform. I have recommended for years that the IT department has to move closer to the business and look at projects and collaboration differently. The long develop-test-deploy-tune loop has to be dramatically shortened.

“By 2014, business process networks (BPNs) will underpin 35 per cent of new multienterprise integration projects.”

Gartner anticipates that a similar trend will appear for B2B applications and processes.

“By 2014, 40 per cent of business managers and knowledge workers in Global 2000 enterprises will use comprehensive business process models to support their daily work, up from 6 per cent in 2009.”

That implies that business processes will after all be modeled. That may or may not be true dependent on what you call modeling. If displaying a process graph of any kind is modeling than this prediction will come true. If it means upfront process design, I seriously doubt that. I see the social networked design mechanisms as cute but even if various people collaborate on a process definition, it still has to be implemented and all the artifacts created, data-linked to the backend and business events discovered. But most certainly, there will have to be a business architecture functionality that improves communication between business departments and business and IT.

Given the complexity of the model to execution step, it is understandable that Gartner still recommends a Process Center of Excellence by suggesting that one will be needed to create a process modeling methodology. I however suggest to get rid of all the unnecessary bureaucracy and use the right technology to empower business users and customers directly.

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About Max J. Pucher

I am the founder and Chief Technology Officer of ISIS Papyrus Software, a medium size software company specializing in communications and process management. I wrote several books and hold a number of patents. My quest is to bring common sense to IT, mostly by focusing in human quality issues rather than cost saving, outsourcing and automation. I am also Chief Architect at VIPorbit software which provides mobile relationship management.
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One Response to Gartner Group expands BPM definition

  1. Pingback: Move over Process, It’s the Human that Matters « Preventing Project Failure

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