Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Process in the Emerging Digital Age

Processes will have to behave differently and include new features as organizations move to the digital age and the impact will be rather wide spread. The BPM community is already starting to see evidence of  leading organizations leveraging new behaviors, new technologies and new process patterns to deliver better products and services in ways that meet or exceed customer expectations. As businesses transform to a 21st century digital organization, processes will likely lead the way with new behaviors. Going digital is a big and important step for organizations, so wrapping an organizations collective mind around these new processes that leverage these new behavior patterns. The burning question is should this bear a name different than BPM?

New Process Behaviors:

While BPM has delivered large benefit pools leveraging model driven, agile and low code approaches. Many organizations have used processes to survive economic downturns through cost containment. In addition, many organization have learned to leverage visibility, usability, knowledge and agility to deliver differentiation to grow and thrive. Going digital will require organizations to become innovative in the creating a new balance between man and machine to create predictive and goal driven processes that can be guided by the customers changing needs and emerging scenarios without violating governance constraints. Today these new behaviors will allow organizations to capitalize on their processes to out maneuver others, but over time these behaviors will become primal.

Inclusion of Emerging Trends:

Recently, organizations have seen the power of the inclusion of the social, mobile & cloud based trends in our processes and the benefits are tasty. Organizations can't afford to stop there and they need to include the events enabled big data and real time poly-analytic features for better decisions and actions at the speed of business. This isn't the end of the journey as the two new major entrants of the internet of things (IoT) and cognitive computing have to be incorporated as well. There is no rest for all of us to stay ahead of the change.

New Hybrid Process Patterns:

Today processes have been focused on a limited set of styles that are narrow in their application. There are the predictable structured processes that can only flex by changing the flows, rules and services orchestrated. Also there are flexible cases driven approaches that do not lock the sequence of progress, but rely in interaction to lead to either fixed or adaptable milestones. The newest approach is driven by the edge of a processes where the process dynamically assemble based on the emerging needs of multiple and diverse resources. The way going forward will combine the various patterns in a hybrid fashion, just in time to deliver goals within acceptable governance constraints. The hybrid approach combines emerging patterns and behaviors with structured patterns, This is hard to picture, but the following blog post will help.

Net; Net:

The process pundits and vendors will line up to change the name of process discipline from BPM to something else. I think the savvy organizations will line up to plan an incremental approach to becoming a digital organization and learn how to manage change in a more effective way. They are likely to start small and deliver big change incrementally. Some organizations will risk their businesses and wait until the big brands deliver a more structured and formal approach to buy and bet on big change. I'm not sure the latter strategy is viable in a fast changing world, but we will see.

Early Examples of Digital Processes:

Additional Reading: