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Gartner BPM 11 Closing Keynote


Daryl Plummer gave the closing keynote – “If I had a time machine”. He began by differentiating between science fiction and fantasy – science fiction being a vision of the future that is based on some extrapolation of currently understood science and facts. Fantasy is completely based on the whims of the visionary. What he wants to do, he says, is to talk about the future of BPM in terms of science fiction – some reasonable extrapolation.

We are asking he says for four things:

  • Sensing and adapting to changing conditions quickly
  • Awareness that is acute so we can respond and learn rapidly
  • Operational resilience so people, process and technology can adapt repeatedly
  • Agility with organizational competencies to ramp up or down, change to be more competitive

He also pointed out that there is so much information arriving so fast that it is possible to “thrash” – constantly changing without being focused on your goals. This means both resilience and agility are essential – you need resilience to be be stable in the face of change as well as agility to make the changes you need. There ARE technologies that enable agility but awareness, flexibility and productivity are critical agility enablers and human capital, business activities, dependencies and information are the building blocks a company must create. These things must be treated as the assets they are – and this must include processes (and decisions) as assets. The technologies of BPM and Decision Management (like Business Rules Management Systems) are important because they expose and manage these assets across business and IT.

He repeated the key elements of operational resilience

  • Tune operations to shifts in business patterns
    I would add that you can use predictive analytics embedded in decisions to have your processes tune themselves
  • Establish goals and desired outcomes by role
    This is why I link decisions to metrics and KPIs
  • Establish guidelines not just procedures
    One of the side effects of this is that it encourages experimentation but remember to capture the data about these experiments and exceptions
  • Push descision authority closer to where work happens
    This of course is one of the key benefits of Decision Management as embedding decision making in systems empowers people by replacing escalation with automation

Five calls to action from Daryl

  1. Use Dynamic BPM to involve stakeholders continuously
    Use dynamic BPM so you can make changes, respond to disruptive events, in a timely fashion without bringing down your system. A key element of this is making sure that the activities in your process are transparent and manageable – so use business rules to manage the decision activities in the process. Using dynamic BPM (and Decision Management) to involve stakeholders continuously allows collaborative requirements, change allowed at the right (decision) points in a process, processes changed by process owners and more. I would add that many processes can be stable in the face of change if the decisions within the process are easy to change
  2. Use Social BPM so that the collective can impact processes
    Adopt social BPM to allow collaborative design of processes and allows the people participating in process execution to collaborate to support iteration (design by doing). Social is becoming the new normal as the younger generation moves into the workforce and will allow shared skills across the collective (including partners and customers) to be applied.
  3. Use extreme collaboration as much as process improvement.
    Extreme collaboration means using human style communication in an open way to allow community exchange across multiple channels and capturing the results – crowdsourcing for instance. Process will become a shared responsibility (including bringing customers into the process) and new forms of process will become common
  4. Track cloud computing and its impact on your BPM initiatives
    Cloud computing shapes next generation BPM – both public clouds (captial expense reduction, handling spiky demand, rapid deployment and improved visibility) and private clouds (as a foundation for shared business services).  Cloud is going to become the default with processes as a service becoming common (and Decisions as a Service too) but hybrid approaches continue.
  5. Use intelligent business operations to adapt every day
    Improving business performance through better decisions, faster responses to events (require decision automation of course) and dynamic adaptation. Integrate results and focus on agile outcomes.

And its a wrap