Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Top 5 Process Trends for 2020

It matters not if you call processes customer journeys, content workflows, BPM, cases or process flows, processes plus the resources or steps they guide/orchestrate permeate the future of organizations. Processes are everywhere in the organization and have almost always been there, so what is different in 2020? Here are my top 5 Trends

Processes are Changing Shape

Processes are becoming smaller and larger at the same time. There is a huge movement to more consumable processes in the shape of smaller focused workflows that can exist on the edge or embedded in bigger processes that may be leveraged and reused. While processes can exist in a small and effect form, they can also span a complete customer journey and be as simple or complex as you need them. In some cases, a process can represent a complete value or supply chain. They can be predetermined and modeled or they can be dynamic and goal-driven as they often are in case management situations.

Processes are Supporting Customers & Employees

Processes are often the focus of better customer experiences. There is plenty of improvement opportunities for customers in the process, but often lost in the shuffle is the employee. Customer and employee experience improvements are a great start but are not sufficient to stay competitive. To this end, organizations are looking at the complete journey even if it starts and ends outside the organization. Often organizations can compete better considering the full context of the customer/employee journey

Processes are the Hub of Automation Efforts

Since processes are often the glue that holds resources together, they are often the focal point for improvements and automation. Robotic Process Automation(RPA) focuses on task automation and have gone far with more to go. How content, process instances or work buckets flow from one step to another is a great opportunity for improvements. Work can get stuck at one point or another in a process due to a lack of resources focus or missing data or knowledge. Analyzing process instances and cases can point out automation or improvement efforts.

Processes are Getting Smarter 

Processes are great for finding key hot spots for adding intelligence. It may mean making decision points in a process more capable and precise, guiding key resources in real-time to take appropriate actions or notifying managers of unexpected events, signals or patterns. Moving processes from just programmed actions to adept sensing, keen decisions, and intelligent actions is a real opportunity in 2020. This means teaming processes with strong feedback loops, machine learning, algorithms, and deep learning or additional smarts.

Processes are Becoming Transparent 

Processes are often a key source of visibility for the progress of work in organizations. This means processes will be instrumented with better visualizations that can handle static and dynamic process instances and workstreams. Combined with process mining and data mining capabilities will be a key trend in 2020. Inspecting real work instance in the context of timelines, goals, and outcomes is invaluable to all kinds of improvements. Since you can only manage what you measure, process transparency is crucial.

Net; Net:

Process in 2020 will get renewed attention as new digital technologies will be collaborating with processes especially when they support customer and employee journeys. While the process is not the most recent shiny object, it will still feed large revenue and cost improvements.


  1. Nice way to look at process innovation in 2020 - for me, you hit the nail on the head with the focus of processes now being customer centric, but also supporting employees too. If we can streamline our business processes, not only will we as business owners get shorter training cycles, but also higher employee retention.

    No one wants to work with a process that:

    a) Doesn't deliver for the customer.
    b) Has clear issues in its execution.


  2. I like where you took this. Employee retention is hardly mentioned as a critical benefit of a great process.