Discussions of BPM Opportunities for 2015

Scott Francis
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Over on BPM.com, there’s a discussion on the challenges for BPM in 2015.  Being an optimist, I just can’t help but view the challenges as opportunities.

As we near the new year, what do you think will be the biggest challenges for BPM in 2015?

My thoughts:

  • Leadership.  It is a challenge to lead, and successful BPM will require leadership to be effective, just as all other agents of change require leadership.  But this is the opportunity. If you’re a BPM practitioner and you are willing to lead, you can make an outsized impact on your organization and your business.
  • Skills in BPM (technical and otherwise), will continue to be in short supply.  This is a great opportunity for those inclined to invest in learning BPM and in improving their personal skills.
  • Moving to the cloud (BPM being the long tail of enterprise apps moving over).  BPM has been (relatively) slow to move to the cloud, but the trend of moving that way will continue in 2015.  Opportunities for those that do it well.
  • Moving to mobile.  Repeat of the previous point, except with the focus on Mobile.
  • Figuring out how to make money in the cloud (for the vendors themselves, for consultants, for partners, to build an ecosystem).  The lightweight BPM in the cloud solutions haven’t been terribly profitable for those engaged in the business of lightweight BPM (And there are companies who never called themselves BPM that are essentially cloud BPM tools that are also unprofitable – and most of which have failed).  My hypothesis is that (for the time being) you need a successful partner ecosystem strategy to make enterprise software work if it requires any integration with other enterprise systems. So far it hasn’t been disproven.

Interestingly, none of the bigger BPM vendors are really focused on improving BPM functionality.  This means lots of opportunity for new vendors and upstarts to make some noise, because the depth of BPM functionality hasn’t been fully plumbed, but the move to cloud, mobile, and HTML5 for the bigger vendors has been a distraction from their focus on core tech of BPM. Even the smaller vendors that focused on cloud and mobile successfully, have just failed to innovate in BPM for years.

It turns out, focus matters, no matter how big your company is (or how small).

Ian Gotts made a great point as well, regarding the challenge and opportunity for BPM (emphasis added):

But getting BPM heard above the noise is the biggest challenge.  Clients need to understand the critical importance of BPM to running their business, and prioritise it above everything else.  BPM is core. Done well it is unseen. It just gets on with the job in the background. It is boring. So it is easily overshadowed by the glizty noise of big data, social. mobile, security and CRM.

Without great process, social, analytics or mobile are just lipstick on a pig.

That’s just it.  Big Data, Social, Mobile, Security… the point of all of these is to enable you to conduct business where you want, with whom you want, securely, and leveraging all the data at your disposal… but it is still to conduct business… which is what BPM is all about.  Without great process, Big Data, Social, Mobile, and Security will just allow you to have conduct business badly on more platforms, more securely, and for more social interactions to cover your negative experiences due to lack of process.  And you’ll have the big data to prove it.

So what will BP3 focus on in 2015?  If you attend IBM Interconnect, or bpmNEXT, you’ll get early previews of our work for 2015.  We’ll be focusing on:

  • Improving the ways people interact with process, including on mobile devices.
  • Improving the understanding of our business process models.
  • Making improvements to how we operationalize BPM in the enterprise.
  • Standardizing user interfaces for BPM practitioners.
  • Applying BPM thinking to decision management, and vice versa.

Of course, we reserve the right to pursue something new as it pops up, or as it crystallizes…

Looking forward to an interesting 2015!