Sunday, September 18, 2011

Consumarization of BPM

Business process management (BPM) is a high growth market that delivers significant return-on-investment to customers who deploy these solutions to improve their efficiency. Still, many people think that BPM is just a boring back-end technology. I know that hipness lies in the eye of the beholder but I’d argue that social media or gamification are getting more attention than back-end technologies such as data warehousing, archiving, or BPM.

There are several new trends in BPM that make it just as exciting as Jive Software except much more profitable. One of the trends is social BPM which employs social networking capabilities to allow for better decision-making in business processes. Long gone is the era of business processes that attempted to cover every single permutation of possible conditions to route the task in a predetermined path. Too many exceptions were typically the result and, in the end, the majority of decisions are best done by humans. It is the social software that can quickly help to identify and get together the right experts to help them make a decision.

Another important trend in BPM is mobility. As much as mobile devices are becoming the primary user experience, not everything we do in the office has the same appeal for a mobile user. Reviewing or editing documents works well on a tablet but it becomes pretty tedious on a smartphone. Interacting with a business process on a smartphone, however, makes a lot of sense and it is exactly here where a lot of customers realize the greatest benefits from mobility. So many process steps used to sit idle, waiting for the user to get back to the office since the email-based alert didn’t provide enough context to make a decision. By taking BPM mobile, the process apps are easily tailored to make users very effective to handle any process tasks.
Even submitting travel expenses can be pretty cool
Finally, BPM is also moving to the cloud. Besides the obvious appeal of shortening the deployment cycles by hosting the BPM software as a service, BPM can also benefit from making its functionality available to users easily. In any business process, it can happen that a particular expert needed for a specific task cannot participate since he or she doesn’t have access to the system. The cloud based approach makes BPM easily accessible. A good example of a cloud based activity is collaborative process design which frequently requires many stake holders to participate, even if some of them will not be involved in the actual process execution.

Clearly, the consumarization of the enterprise has reached BPM just like so many other disciplines of enterprise software. And who says that BPM is just a bunch of back-office technology? With the latest trends such as social BPM, mobility, and cloud, BPM is becoming rather hip. And it continues providing very compelling benefits such as higher efficiency, lower cost, or better quality.

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