The Gantt Chart Strikes Back

Post by
Scott Francis

Dave Brakoniecki has a great post over on his blog about BP Logix and their idea of treating Time as a "new" dimension in BPM:

The article explains the time dimension in the following terms:

"BPM solutions have focused on getting the quality and governance of business processes. But time is a critical element of the planning, management and improvement of business processes. Time allows business users to gain additional control over their processes and creates the opportunity to predict how later stages in the process will be affected by changes introduced in the earlier stages."

And then Dave chimes in:

I don?t know any BPM customers or clients that aren?t worried about the elapsed time, cycle time and throughput of their processes.

In fact, most customers usually conflate time and quality in a dangerous manner ? mistaking the concept of efficiency with effectiveness. I also think that managing time is something that all BPMS vendors tackle ? with various approaches and various degrees of success.

But then Dave shows how similar their "Time Dimension" view looks to IBM BPM 8.5's Gantt-chart view introduced earlier this year.? David focuses on the idea that this shows the market is converging (it sort of does), but what I couldn't help but focus on was this bit from BP Logix:

To support this new predictive concept, BP Logix has introduced a patented technology that fuses project management methodologies with BPM, called Process Timelines.

It sounds like IBM and BP Logix need to have a conversation about who has what patented. I'm guessing the Gantt chart is already covered by prior art.

In a very real sense, products like IBM BPM and BP Logix have so many features baked in that analysts like Bloor may not even know about them - and may not have the domain expertise to challenge what a vendor is telling them (or to report what is being told accurately).

Still, I think that the underlying trend from these two vendors is toward more views against the process definition.? The different views need to be consistent, based on an underlying model, but they allow the users to focus on the right aspects of the model for the context of what they're trying to do or decide or affect. A Gantt chart view of the process is another useful concept in BPM tooling.

Check out Dave's blog for the pictures side-by-side.



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