We all know that there are significant business benefits that come with BPM. Agility and significant business involvement have delivered both tangible and intangible benefits, but as scopes of processes and the intelligence of the processes increase there are limits. The maintenance of central control over all the resources, goals and behaviors becomes complex to manage. Now start adding the new opportunities and features of social, mobile, big data, poly-analytics and cloud, now the complexity starts increasing faster than ones ability to manage it centrally.
The Need for Agents in Process Activity:
Because agents can act on behalf or in place of a process, sub-process, a process snippet or a resource, the intelligence that has been trapped in the core centralized process can be set free with goals, desired outcomes, constraints and rules to act on behalf of a process or a process manager. This approach uses the divide and conquer approach to complexity. This same approach works in guiding software and human agents towards supporting ever expanding change and dynamic business opportunities and threats.
The Ability to Design a Process for Life is Waning:
The idea that one can design a process or a case that handles everything including future changes in goals and direction is dissipating quickly once process scopes and their goals expand. This is why dynamic processes and adaptive case management for knowledge workers are taking root quickly in today's world.
Folks want more process benefits, so processes will handle more complexity and process patterns as a result. This can only be done with more intelligent processes and intelligent agents supporting these processes. These agents can be technology or skilled human capital that can be interchanged dynamically. Welcome to the new world :)
For more on Intelligent Processes, See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/05/measuring-cumulative-intelligence-of.html
For more on Agent Based Processes, See http://mkpress.com/aoBPM/