Thursday, March 30, 2017

Explosion of Interest in Process / Workflow

It seems that the BPM gurus are lamenting that the traditional BPM market is not growing at an explosive rate and are debating what to rename it while process is exploding. The number of vendors that are buying or building lighter weight workflow or process management is too numerous to list. It has even gotten Apple into the game with the acquisition of an automation and scripting app called workflow. While it might not be a low code approach like many other vendors offer, it gets Apple into the game. All of the important digital business platforms have process in them. It varies from light process flow to "big BPM". but work management, which almost all DBPs have, requires flow and collaboration of some sort.  Salesforce, SAP and Oracle have flow capabilities. New entrants to the process world like Box and Hellosign are adding fuel to the process fire. 

Big BPM Drivers: 

Case Management is crucial for managing complex and evolving situations (called cases). They tend to be long running, complex, emerging and involving deep knowledge / skills. This is a growing area yet and usually requires fixed milestones. 

Goal Directed flows are pretty new, but for situational flows where the goals or milestones change it provides a good solution. In situations and times of rapid change, goal directed process win the day. Carried to an extreme, these flows involve smart bots, cogs and APIs that bid on work. 

End to End Journeys (Customer, Employee, Product, Partner)  is about managing a journey from beginning to end giving it visibility, nudges and orchestration. End to end process management is coming back strong especially around customer journeys. This is causing processes to define themselves in terms of complex goal sets that put equal or high priority to the unique customers goals and needs.

Little Process Drivers (also in big BPM with less overhead here):

First Mile Content Management journeys are a popular use to capture, sign and manage documents as they hit all of the required stops to cement an ongoing relationship managed by the governed and guided by those documents. 

Cross Skill / Departmental Flows are the life blood of organizations. While often quite simple, they help manage organizations and the resources that are included / guided by these processes. This is one of the fastest growing areas for process today. These usually are driven by low or no code and light weight process capabilities. 

Event Response is where events, expected or not, trigger off appropriate actions to deal with the situation of pattern of events. While there may be a pause for decisions before any action because the event pattern may be new, but canned process responses can be inventoried and pulled out when needed. 

Net; Net:

Work, content and data tend to flow when action is taken in response to attaining a set of goals or responding to events. Process is hot again in terms of use in new emerging solutions. The benefits for operational improvements are proven, so process persists.  I'm sure folks will be fighting about a new name, but I say enjoy the ride. 

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