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Dynamic BPM and agility

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Jim Sinur presented on how companies are preparing for change and using agility as an advantage. Not just as a technology option but as a requirement for transformation. In some sectors this ability to do dynamic BPM is becoming a competitive weapon. Key issues:

  • how will BPM become more dynamic
  • what impact will SOA, web, events, governance have on BPM
  • best practices that enable companies to take advantage of dynamic BPM

The pace of IT change is often slower than the pace of business dynamics and organizations need to manage the gap between the pace of IT change and the pace of business change. SOA helps, explicit process helps, explicit rules help. Dynamic BPM is the ability to support process change by any role, at any time with very low latency. Customers, business people, analytics or programmers can be change agents – even systems can. All the various process artifacts may need to change – process snippets, wrapped application components, services, rules.

BPM is being driven to become more dynamic because the business needs business agility and a faster time to market yet sees IT as a barrier to change. They need improved decision making and the potential to evaluate new scenarios. They need revenue opportunities and customer satisfaction through customizable offerings and pricing. They need to be compliant have more visibility and transparency.

There is a movement to near real-time incremental improvement creating a rapid model / execute / measure / adjust cycle and putting a feedback process – a detect / diagnose / explain / model cycle to improve decision making.

Jim used a slide very like one I use around exploding the application(see this post on the decomposition of the application). User interface, decision points, paths of execution and data definitions used to all be part of the program. Now the UI is in a portal, the data is in XML or a database, paths are in a BPMS and decision points, decision logic, should be in business rules management systems.

Dynamic capabilities are going to be core – dynamic requirements, dynamic recompilation, dynamic binding, dynamic loading, dynamic versioning. These will support continuous iteration of requirements, continuous change in processes, continuous introduction of new rules and new process instances and so on. Managing all this agility is going to be critical.

Dynamism is inherent in models and so executable models are key. Parameterized models can change the look and feel of a process, give you some agility. Configuration models can change the structure of a process. But an explicit process/decision model represents the executing process and decisions for maximum agility. Combined with SOA this can drive better support for change – SOA can automate what machines do and explicit models can empower people to do what they do best (collaboration, social interaction).

Dynamism is inherent also in complex events. Correlating and acting on events is part of a sense and respond system. Events from multiple sources – each of which sense change – can be correlated to drive responses that have been simulated already. This changes what systems can do while Web 2.0 and social media technologies change the dynamics of collaboration.

Jim sees rule management as critical to this – managing clusters of rules (rule sets) and governing those rules effectively enables dynamic BPM by enabling the management of the rules that go into the critical decisions within the process. Success will require engaging LoB managers in assessing rule volatility and defining rules, getting system architects to manage complex rules and test those rules and getting business process analysts to monitor the business and scenarios while authoring new rules.

Recommendations:

  • (Now) Examine role of events
  • Understand how dynamic process you have must become
  • (Soon) Establish a governance process for rules, processes, services and events
  • Stop hard wiring rules, processes, UI or data
  • Get end users involved in process design
  • (Longer Term) establish adaptive process management as a discipline
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