I thought 2013 was a year of mixed result for BPM. While the delivery of business results is accelerating, there confusion about the changing definition of processes that is muddling these successes. The vendors that are committed to processes are doing well and growing, so they are cutting through the fog to engage organizations. However getting visible momentum behind process has been a challenge. While there lots of moments of fog, there were three big things that were constantly emerging in discussions and vendor case studies.
Confusion Around the Meaning of Process:
There is a mind set, that is pervasive, that restricts process to the old definition of a rigid manufacturing line. While, traditionally, that is where process efforts start, processes are much more agile, dynamic in evolution and collaborative for high skilled workers than ever. While there are static snippets of structured processes in most successful processes, there are a growing portion of large scoped processes that have significant amount of collaboration, agile, and emerging definition or behavior. This creates an atmosphere where the true picture of the process end up being an audit trail of where a process instance or case has been rather than a rigid model mapped out ahead of time.
See where the processes are headed: http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/12/big-processes-are-happening-now.html
Transformation Through Process is Picking Up Momentum:
There a many emerging success stories where organizations are leveraging process and BPM technologies as buffering technology to wrap and orchestrate "end to end" processes that have competitive implications. This means that processes are being equipped with competitive differentiation or catch up function at one level and hiding the rigidity of supporting applications, software and skill sets. This allows organizations to use BPM in transformational focused efforts without disrupting supporting business structure, systems, data and technology architectures. This makes processes and supporting BPM methods, techniques and technologies indispensable for some very large organizations.
Continued Emerging Success with Complimentary Technology:
We have seen the "shiny object" approach that appeals to technical folks from IT leaders to "gear heads" like me. Process focused vendors have been assertive in leveraging these shiny objects such as mobile, collaborative/social/case management, cloud, predictive analytics, complex events, big data and process mining, for better processes that support shifting business outcomes.
In 2013 process started to shift from a tactical and rigid cost cutting tool to a strategic and dynamic revenue generation and customer experience accelerator. This is a big deal for business and process, so I can't wait for the excitement that process generates in 2014.