#bpmNEXT: Paul Harmon’s Overview by

Paul Harmon holding court

Paul Harmon of BPTrends gave a great keynote talk to get things started at bpmNEXT.  Sandy has the best coverage of that talk in her own blog. Key take-aways:

There’s been a lot of BPM evolution in the past 10 years: the problems have become more interesting, with the technology chasing (or driving) these problems, and new platforms being added all along. Most (western) businesses today are in the service industry, so the problems that process managers and practitioners face are no longer standardized processes: it’s a much more complex and dynamic environment, with a collaboration within and across companies, and social media impacting and driving processes.

This point about service industry was an interesting insight to me – because I (and BP3) have worked with manufacturers as well as service industry participants.  And when I think back on it, one of the big changes afoot at the manufacturers, for which process was a big element – was injecting service into the business to create more value for customers. In a sense, service-oriented businesses have “eaten” the manufacturing oriented businesses (a play on words to Andreeson’s theory that Software is “eating” the world).

Another takeaway- that the big challenge is crossing the chasm from “level 2″ process maturity to “level 3 and beyond”:

Paul sees the biggest issue for practitioners is the chasm between levels 2 and 3 in process maturity, since that jump from tactical to strategic requires an enterprise commitment to process, not just departmental process improvement efforts.

This is so true – and yet reminds me of something I often tell people we work with:  don’t wait for executives to buy into what you’re doing – create the success stories that they can’t ignore- and they’ll get behind the success much more than they will the theory.

Even better, Paul has published his own summary of the event.

First, there has been a change in the types of process problems that business people are trying to solve. For example, business has moved from trying to solve more or less stable, procedural processes, to trying to build solutions for more dynamic processes.

By which, I think he is referring partly to the shift from manufacturing processes to service-oriented processes.  Paul has a chart that lists the changing environment in which BPM lives, which in turn drives change and evolution in what BPM is:

  • Cloud
  • Social Media
  • Big Data
  • Smart Phones
  • iPads
  • BPMN2,
  • Decision Management,
  • ACM

Paul also included a pretty interesting Venn diagram of broad topic areas – only overlooking one significant topic – Mobile!

Paul wraps with something I agree with:

Obviously, both first and second generation BPMS products have their value and each will be widely used. For practitioners, however, the larger message is that the BPMS market has not even begun to settle down. There is a lot more to come and it is going to expand what we can do in all kinds of different directions. I’m already looking forward to the next bpmNEXT conference.