Guest Blog: Industry Analyst Neil Ward-Dutton Shares His Thoughts on BPM Trends
Tue, 25 Mar 2014 08:37:00 GMT-05:00
Blog Post by Neil
Ward-Dutton, Co-founder and Research Director at MWD Advisors
1) Generation Y aka the Millennials: The networked generation
place a great importance on communicating and sharing at each
stage of their decision-making processes in their personal lives,
what is this generation looking for when it comes to Business
The shift we’re going to see in the needs companies have in managing
their business processes is partly about the needs of a workforce with
new expectations around communication and collaboration, but it’s also
partly about the increased role of automation generally in business.
We’re seeing that automation is taking more and more routine tasks out
of the hands of people, and into the bits and bytes of software
systems – general administration, sales, marketing, operations
management and other jobs are all being squeezed. What this means is
that the jobs that are left, and the jobs that companies focus on
nurturing, are going to be more and more creative and collaborative
knowledge-based roles. So we’ll see leading companies look to support
more collaborative-based approaches to decision making and work
co-ordination where people are involved – and they’ll look to software
systems to provide that support. Part of this is about the
expectations of millenials, but not all of it.
2) What are the specific challenges with case management vs.
process automation. Is there an increase in Case Structures vs
process structures, and how does that affect the tools used for automation?
There are quite a few challenges that businesses need to think about
when pursuing case management implementations to support processes,
vs. pursuing ‘traditional’ structured process automation
implementations. Some I’m seeing relate to analysis and design
notations, methods and skills; in the structured process automation
world these things are all quite well understood and more or less
accessible (though experienced people are still really expensive). In
the case management world, we’re only just seeing the first notation
standard emerging; and there’s no cross-industry established body of
knowledge around how you design a case management application.
Other challenges kind of spring from that – I’m thinking specifically
here, for example, of the challenge of working a productive
implementation method. Getting subject-matter experts and users
involved in process improvement is always a critical success factor,
but getting productive engagement, ideas and feedback from a group
when designing a case management application can be harder – because
the behavior of a resulting application isn’t readily discernible from
any kind of map you can draw, in the way that it is with a structured
process automation project. By definition case work is collaborative,
dynamic, non-deterministic and requires expert discretion.
3) How important are integrations for process automation, and
can BPM be used with core apps to engage users and add flexibility
and agility to an organization?
Integrations are absolutely critical to most process automation
projects! You can get value from a BPM project without implementing
any integrations with existing systems, but if you do you could be
missing out on some massive efficiency and quality gains. Looking at
it the other way around: process applications can absolutely add value
to existing core systems of record, by creating a more user-centered
and process-based environment in which work can get done that’s much
more flexible than the core underlying systems.
4) How quickly are organizations deploying new applications to
introduce new processes? And, is the deployment speed meeting expectations?
Of course, the time it takes businesses to deploy new applications to
introduce new processes varies massively – some of it is to do with
the maturity of the business, some of it is to do with the complexity
of the processes in question, and some of it is to do with the tools
they have available. Best-in-class businesses can sometimes develop
and deploy simple process applications in just a few weeks,
particularly for relatively straightforward administrative processes.
At the other end of the scale, I’ve seen some businesses struggle for
years and fail to implement process applications because they didn’t
have the right tools or the right skills in place.