Modeling at #bpmNEXT

Scott Francis
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As part of the Business of BPM, a panel discussion of the role of modeling was held.  Denis Gagne, Clay Richardson, and Kramer Reeves all took part, moderated by Bruce Silver.  Again, Sandy Kemsley has the gold-standard coverage

A key element was a discussion of the value of modeling itself:

  • Does a model only derive value if it is executed?
  • Is there value in building consensus around a model? 
  • Does a model have more or less value if “mined” from process data?

I think the key value for most models is when they turn to execution. Now, execution could be by way of putting everyone on the same page – a model that can be consulted, like a punch list or standard operating procedures.  But execution could also be by way of software implementation of the process, as is traditional with a BPMS.  The point is, the model driving the process is a value beyond just a common understanding of the process.

An interesting moment was when one of the panelists said that “we aren’t competing against each other, we’re competing against old methods or non-modeling” (Can’t recall the attribution but it might have been Bruce Silver who said that).

The most difficult job vendors have to do around modeling is to serve two masters: simplicity and power.  It is so hard to produce a modeling language and environment that is of minimum complexity, specificity, and expressive power.  Introducing execution enhances a model’s value dramatically -but also it’s complexity – which potentially reduces its value to the business as an educational and consensus building tool.

At the end of the day – who’s the audience for the model? And for the modeling environment?