Thoughts on MWD’s Predictions for BPM in 2014

Scott Francis
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uparroworangeI missed this post first time around, but just ran across Neil Ward-Dutton and MWD’s take on BPM in 2014.  It is a good quick read, along with a report that you can download with a subscription.  If I may say so myself, the subscription is worth it.  In my opinion the personal subscription is the best value for the money in the analyst world right now.  (Disclosure: I am not in any way compensated by MWD for saying so, and our only business relationship is my happy state of being a personal research subscriber).

So what are the predictions?  A sampling:

Nope: BPM’s still not dead
It’s true that industry visionaries have worked through BPM implementations and so the hype has moved elsewhere [… ] There’s no doubt that as we move towards 2014, ‘core BPMS’ technology suites – bundles of tools for designing and building business process applications together with tools for conducting those processes in an operational environment and tools for monitoring operational processes – are now a mainstream proposition that’s being actively explored, if not used, across private and public industry sectors.

There are some people who take this fact and use it to proclaim that ‘BPM is dead’. The truth, though, is that these people mainly work for BPM technology vendors, and they have a vested interest in saying so. Saying ‘BPM has been solved’ is not the same as saying ‘BPM has been sold’. Yes, many of the largest enterprises in developed economies are now years into their BPM journeys, which means that BPM technology sales mega-deals are not as easy for vendors to uncover as they once were – but to equate that with a death-knell is lazy.

The fact that BPM vendors continue to put up healthy results points out that BPM is continuing to sell, as well.  It is far from dead.  At BP3, we’re seeing more enterprise-wide deployments in our customer base now, compared to 3 years ago, and compared to 10 years ago. The rate of BPM adoption is, if anything, accelerating from a roll-out point of view. And there are so many late-adopters to BPM, that haven’t yet pushed the boundaries.

Other predictions: New business cases fueled by mobile possibilities.  We see this as well, and the evolution of Brazos was to help our clients defend against the future need for mobile-enabled UIs for their processes. Brazos bridges the gap between process and mobile.  And we’ve seen first hand how it has opened up significant opportunities for our customers, partners, and BP3.  In fact, I would wager that Brazos may be the most widely adopted responsive UI framework for BPM right now.  (But, I admit, I don’t have the statistics to prove it for other tools).

Neil also predicts more co-ordination of exploratory work with Case Management.  We see a fair amount of this requested as BPM, to be honest.  And we see plenty of processes requested as part of a so-called case-management solution.  A lot of the difference is purely terminology based on the heritage of the organization and the type of work they do.  In industries where they deal with “claims” they tend to refer to things as cases or claims.  In industries concerned with fraud, again the word “case” comes to the fore.  In industries with less history of operating from a manila envelope and paper, you tend to see more discussion in the form of a “process”, regardless of whether the definition of work is more like a structured process, or more like an unstructured case.  My advice:  ignore the label the customer uses and focus on the use cases and needs.  Make sure you understand what they mean, not just what your own definitions are.

Neil also sees demand for recommendation systems.  We see less of that in our work, or at least, the terminology we’re seeing is more decision management than recommendation system.

Neil also makes an astute observation that we’ve seen as well – that BPM technologies are “bedding in” – becoming one of several approaches under consideration by IT for application development.  However, there is a value trap there – if these projects lose sight of business value and drivers, they’re likely to fail at the same rate traditional IT projects fail.

 

 

  • Mac McConnell

    Scott, thanks for highlighting Neil’s predictions. I read through them last week and appreciated his insight, and now your insight on his insight. At Bonitasoft, we are seeing a lot more inquiries about using a BPM system for app development. I expect this to continue in 2014 as developers need to focus more on UI to gain adoption.

    • UI being a critical piece, part of the reason we are so focused on Brazos UI as well!

      (interestingly, lots of UI/UX folks hate the idea of UI being baked into how the process works. different paradigm in having “reusable process with UI” from having UI and process totally separately coded, and hopefully integrating them… and then if you change one or the other… look out)

  • Scott, thanks once again for the coverage! I also really appreciate the embedded testimonial there – we’re delighted that you find our research valuable.
    I’m currently thinking about how the evolution of BPM technology might unfold as it becomes more of a mainstream consideration for app dev folks – your comments about UI/UX are timely. I’m going to see what else I can find!