Looking back at a 2017 Prediction for Digital Process

Post by
Scott Francis

From nearly the first year I began writing this blog on behalf of BP3, pundits and commentators have predicted the demise of "BPM", to be replaced by the next thing.

My argument has long been that "BPM" isn't going away, but that the name is only a name, and a new name will come along to supplant the old names, but that processes aren't going away.? We've seen it before in other businesses:

  • Messaging Queues, APIs, and REST gave way to Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), which gave way to Integration Buses, and now API management and tools like Mulesoft and Kafka streams. Integration hasn't gone away - but the cutting edge keeps changing, and the specific names to signify various slices of integration market are ever-evolving.
  • We managed customer relationships long before there was a CRM market...
  • We managed manufacturing before there was MRP, which gave way to ERP... which... well we still have ERP don't we.

Before BPM, we had the Tayloristic view of process - six sigma and Lean.? And we had Michael Hammer style process transformation. Then workflow, then BPM and BPMS...

BPM persisted as the term of art for more than a decade, surviving challenges from case management, ACM, iBPM and other clever 3 letter acronyms.? But it was really only a battle for the name. We'll have a new name for BPM - and it will likely encapsulate a lot of what matters about processes in our businesses.

The need for processes hasn't gone away.? It isn't going away tomorrow.? Yet processes only have value in context of a business - and that context is evolving.? Rob Koplowitz of Forrester predicted in January of 2017 that the BPM name was giving way to Digital Process Automation - and all signs point to his prediction being correct.

In a report authored by Rob Koplowitz, Forrester says that traditional BPM is giving way to Digital Process Automation (DPA) - and the change is more than cosmetic.

The report notes that just two years ago, in 2014, BPM was all about a drive for cost reduction, led by the BPM team. Business was a mere bystander in the process which followed a relatively rigid or methodical process that was generally designed to improve the quality of the employee experience.

Fast forward two years to 2016 and Forrester maintains the focus was on customer experience involving cross channel interactions. Business now shared in the development of these experimental and innovate processes with the BPM team.

By 2018, Forrester is predicting that BPM will move beyond cost and customer experience to encompass digital transformation.

Rob hit the nail on the head this time.? And he's coming to Driven 2018 to talk about that shift to digital transformation context.? He'll likely remind us how central process is to the customer journey - and how central the customer journey is to successful digital transformation.

The buzzwords will change, and the technical details will change-? but connecting disparate systems, crossing organizational boundaries, and focusing on the customer's experience are all staples of the customer journey - and process.? Digital Transformation is the new umbrella for what we do with process - and decisions - and AI/ML - and user experiences.

(and if you're not familiar with our annual conference, Driven 2018 is the conference for innovation in digital operations - it is all about what's next after BPM.? It is also about what's next to make "digital" work for our businesses - not just the shiny surface but also all the details in operations.? You can register here - we still have a few spaces left as of the writing of this post. )

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