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March 14, 2013


‘New’ BPM Finds Greater Impact Across Enterprise

By Marie Lingblom

Optimized business operations are imperative for enterprises competing in crowded markets to win and keep customers with ever-changing expectations. And, says Forrester Research, that’s why firms invest massive amounts of money and time into improving their business processes.

Forrester predicts business process management (BPM) is “charging” toward a market opportunity of $6.6 billion and will be the next generation of packaged applications. Drivers include the retreat from structured processes toward ad hoc and exception management, with a higher degree of process flexibility, and the need to support mobile solutions.

Senior analyst Clay Richardson penned a blog this week about the evolution of the BMP space. He says “culture wars” describe clash and fragmentation that challenged the BPM market. But that is changing. He attributes the clash on dynamic case management, human centric workflow and straight-through processing ideologies.

Fragmentation, meanwhile, is not always a bad thing, he says, since it can help decision-makers understand which solutions best fit their businesses and goals. Fragmentation in BPM, though, overlooks the primary purpose and value proposition of BPM: to create a sustainable business change program.

Richardson and his colleague Derek Miers spent six months evaluating the landscape for today’s BPM suites. Key to their research was a focus on how well BPM suites support sustainable business change programs, not just individual process projects from siloed perspectives.

Richardson and Miers found a new generation of BPM suites focus on helping change programs. Here are the resulting trends:

• Design and deliver the right customer experiences. No longer relegated to the back office, BPM plays a critical role in driving customer experience initiatives. Initiatives range from overhauling customer service processes to delivering more compelling experiences that incorporate Big Data analytics and real-time guidance. This shift to focus on experience design is driven by the need to reinvent legacy and inflexible business processes to work more fluidly in mobile and social environments.

• Use business architecture to connect strategy to implementation. Business architects play a broad role in driving business change initiatives. In many cases, they define the strategy for transforming end-to-end business processes. Historically, BPM tools offered little to help these business strategists scope and manage large-scale change projects. This disconnect between strategy and execution keeps BPM suites isolated to the CIO’s office, without a way to have a greater impact on enterprise strategy. The next generation of BPM suites provides a much tighter connection between strategy design and execution.

• Build end-to-end processes that span multiple process patterns. Historically, Forrester has tracked BPM software across three different market segments: document-centric BPM suites, human-centric-BPM suites and integration-centric BPM suites. Through market consolidation, these segments are merging into a single BPM suite covering three different work patterns: dynamic case management, human workflow and straight-through processing. BPM suites are moving toward the provision of a single design and development environment that supports multiple process patterns and use cases.

In a very real sense, says Richardson, these three trends are forcing BPM suites to move beyond individual ideological views of business process. Instead of taking pot shots at each other, he says, savvy vendors are focusing on change programs that can deal with internal and external disruption.

1 Comment
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