There seems to be two major streams of activity in business process management today. One is aimed at delivering the new digital organization and the other is aimed at rapid development. It seems that the BPM vendors are aimed at one or the other these days. I had a CEO of a leading BPM vendor say that he was just aiming at super charging the developer and all his organization was oriented in that direction. I had another CEO say that he was aiming at transforming organizations to the new digital world while delivering incremental benefit. There are benefits of both approaches that I'd like to discuss here.
Benefits Rapid Development BPM:
With the popularity of model driven approaches to creating processes and applications, BPM technologies have stepped forward to assist wagile approaches that are leveraging SCRUM cycles in a big way. Since most BPM technologies are built for change incremental they are idea for SCRUM cycles. Since the level of code in BPM platforms at a much higher level of coding metaphors, portions of processes and applications can be delivered for review cycles quickly. This allows both IT professionals and business professionals to work hand in hand in creating case management, processes snippets, code services, integration services, mobile APIs and cognitive services (COGs). This approach is usually operating in the cloud and development seats are rented at a low price point to get started without deep architectural study. This is a rich vein for BPM vendors to mine for revenue and there are a new batch of BPM players emerging with this approach.
Benefits of Digital Transformation BPM:
Organizations are looking to transform to a digital organization. They are likely to start at the user experience and most likely a "mobile first" effort. Mobile, social and cloud is a baby step in this longer journey in getting to digital which may lead to changes in the overall business model over time. Studying the customer journey for competitive implementations is probably the first big step for for the digital journey. Then all constituents of your organizations end to end value and supply chains will need to benefit from process particularly shared processes and business policies. This is an evolving set of efforts that will require new and creative thinking considering likely opportunity and threat scenarios.
Both of these approaches can justify and sustain a BPM effort, they sometimes end up looking like a "zero sum" decision. I would propose that they are literally better together and the most savvy organizations are seeing the opportunities to deliver speedy development and rich incremental benefits while driving to a digital organization. As the definition of digital will most likely evolve for most organizations, an agile BPM platform can be more than helpful. Maybe an essential?