The name BPM generally conjures up preplanned and well modeled processes, but things are changing fast. In July, 2011 I introduced the concept of designing processes by doing and that was near the beginning of more flexible process design at Gartner. The idea of flexible/unstructured processes started to become popular. Now the worm has turned and inflexible/structured processes appear to be on the way out. Rigid processes are becoming a bit like a dinosaur.
Processes have to be dynamic and ad-hoc to chase the changing business outcomes in today's world. Like gymnast on floor exercise, she pursues excellence within the constraints of the floor mat and varies her paths and adjusts the routine as the music, pressure and mounting scores dictate. Processes have to do the same. Proceses have to be dynamic with explicit rules and dynamic orchestration. Proceses have to be ad-hoc with events, case mangement and social collaboration. Processes have to be intelligent with constraints, adaptive case management and goal directed. Processes of the future will contain various aspects of process adaptability and intelligence.
Processes in the future will leverage rigid snippets (portions of fixed proceses) or processes will exhibt great adaptbility with the contraints of some rigid policies, but the days of pure rigid processes are numbered.