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A world without BPM?

(In reply to Keith Swenson)

In a recent discussion I asked the question of how much worse off we’d be if BPM and BPM systems didn’t exist. The question was triggered by a couple of remarks about the value of BPM standards, some attempts at defining BPM as a method to improve processes and some other stuff, most of which followed the art for arts sake school of thought.

My personal thinking is that the ‘alternative universe, free of BPM’ would be no better or worse than our current one. In fact, drawing on some of the insights from the Process TestLab, there wouldn’t be any significant difference. We’d still be mapping out how we’d like to work, send our charts and the accompanying documents (with contradictory content) over to the IT department to await one of two possible replies (can’t be done/we’ll do it slightly differently ‘cos our systems don’t work that way) and then sit and wait until something happens – which will invariably be anything but what we originally wanted. That was true 15 years ago and few signs indicate that anything has changed since.

  • Are processes managed better today with the availability of BPM (to clarify: BPM=Business Process Management) and BPM systems?
  • Have our enterprises really become more agile, more flexible?
  • Have our processes really become more application independent and quicker and easier to adopt to customer requirements?
  • Have standards like BPEL and BPMN really facilitated the transfer of business requirements into IT?

Sometimes I feel that the state of BPM resembles the level of X-Factor candidates – all show and no substance. But then again, those are the days when I close my eyes and dream myself into that alternative universe where I start to speculate about a world with BPM.

If you think that BPM has made a major difference to yourself or your company and would hate to do without it, leave a comment … I might change my mind and return to the present world.

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  1. [...] the state of BPM – Thomas J. Olbrich Sometimes I feel that the state of BPM resembles the level of X-Factor [...]

  2. I have to say, only 2 years ago I would have put forward a strong case for BPM. And there are many out there. However, you have to look at what processes and areas of business are better off with BPM. I would argue that only simplish, medium-high volumne, repetative processes are much better off with BPM. For business thats a great thing…However, what of the other, 80% of working processes employees carry out each and every day…Ahhhh

    I would argue if we try to apply BPMS to these, then the answer would be a massive NO to each bullet point you mention…

    Business, like life, is too fluid to fit into a pretty flowchart, too chaotic to think we understand every permitation of a processes and too complex to believe a rigid processes structure is right for every peice of work that needs to be completed…Because of this, BPM needs to evolve and move on. I don’t believe that current BPM or BPMS thinking can deliver on any of those bullet points once you look at more complex processes. BPM therefore has to be evolved, or replaced by something a lot more holistic and adaptive in its approach to how organisations carry out work…

  3. [...] den Inhalt entschuldigte. Gleiches gilt für die Beiträge “How agile is agile?” und “A world without BPM“. Es hat uns besonders gefreut, dass unsere Beiträge nicht als reine Provokation [...]

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