Gartner has revealed its key predictions for business process management (BPM). Analysts have identified five predictions on the advancement of BPM, a management discipline that treats processes as assets that directly contribute to organisational performance.
“As organisations continue to embrace BPM to improve business performance during challenging times, this quest is pushing BPM beyond its traditional focus on routine, predictable, sequential processes towards broader, cross-boundary processes that include more unstructured work. Knowledge work is especially complex and unstructured,” says Janelle Hill, research vice-president at Gartner. “New BPM technologies will enable the management of unstructured and dynamic processes to deliver greater knowledge worker productivity and competitive advantage.”
Five of the key predictions for BPM are:
* By 2012, 20% of customer-facing processes will be knowledge-adaptable and assembled just in time to meet the demands and preferences of each customer, assisted by BPM technologies.
Today's capability to proactively change processes is merely an interim step for process improvement. The next evolution will be processes that self-adjust based on the sensing of patterns in user preferences, consumer demand, predictive capabilities, trending, competitive analysis and social connections.
“The convergence of maturing technologies, such as automated process discovery tools, social software, interactive gaming, mobile applications and business process management suites (BPMSs), will enable processes to be not only be more agile, but also more relevant to the end user,” says Elise Olding, research director at Gartner.
Gartner recommends that end-user organisations look to new vendors to augment their enterprise-class BPM technologies, or pressure their existing vendors to move to this new frontier for BPM. Once the move is made, they should start on a small scale with proof-of-concept efforts, and leverage the insights gained to operationalise outcomes.
* By 2013, dynamic BPM will be an imperative for companies seeking process efficiencies in increasingly chaotic environments.
IT organisations are striving to become better aligned with the demands placed on the business. Pressure to reduce the latency of change in business processes is driving a need for more dynamic and systematised measures. Adopting a more dynamic form of BPM, which focuses on enabling process changes to occur when and as needed will enable organisations to better respond to unanticipated change requirements in business processes, and to handle process changes more effectively.
“Change must be accomplished by more than just technical people. Changes will be made to processes as well as the artifacts that support them, such as rules. Because these artifacts have become more accessible to businesspeople, change is happening everywhere,” says Daryl Plummer, managing vice-president and Gartner fellow. “In addition, change must be coordinated with caution, or chaos may ensue. Events also offer a mechanism for coordinating change in more ad hoc business processes. Without events, processes are limited to structured orchestrations that do not address unexpected process changes or nonsequential tasks.”
Gartner recommends that end-user organisations examine the role of events used in combination with ad-hoc or structured processes and begin to identify which business events are of high priority and those that help organisations exploit advantages.
* Through 2014, the act of composition will be a stronger opportunity to deliver value from software than the act of development.
Modelling and assembling software components into a composition is proving to be more efficient and effective than writing code. Inevitably, common capabilities will be associated with an integrated composition environment (ICE) to be sold to various roles engaged in the act of composition. The ICE will bring together design and runtime elements to support the entire life cycle. Composition, as a solution delivery approach, provides an alternative implementation choice beyond "build or buy." This approach will threaten the relevance of packaged application providers. Composition design will eclipse composition deployment as a critical success factor in process-based SOA compositions and innovation will ultimately be achieved through unique, organisation-specific compositions.
Gartner recommends end-user organisations recognise that the movement from applications to compositions will require a shift in how they think about projects, organisations, and collaboration across business and technical roles to achieve business goals. Traditional development approaches don't fit well with new service oriented architecture (SOA) and BPM compositions. They will also need to prepare to manage distributed teams with participants in new roles and relationships that are far more collaborative. Gartner said that fewer than 2% of IT personnel are trained in relationship management, and this must change.
* By 2014, business process networks (BPNs) will underpin 35 per cent of new multienterprise integration projects.
While traditional horizontal-integration solutions provide all the technology necessary to implement B2B integration projects, they historically haven't included the same degree of prebundling of all the essential artifacts necessary to fully integrate a multienterprise process.
Gartner anticipates that, while companies will continue to consume horizontal-integration services — particularly for unique or custom processes that are not available in packaged form — they increasingly will desire prebundled solutions, such as BPNs (prebuilt translation or preconfigured business activity monitoring (BAM) tools), to simplify and accelerate the implementation of complex B2B multienterprise integration projects.
* By 2014, 40 per cent of business managers and knowledge workers in Global 2000 enterprises will use comprehensive business process models to support their daily work, up from 6 per cent in 2009.
Comprehensive graphical (rather than textual) and explicit process models that capture and represent organisational knowledge will create a shared language for business and IT roles. Explicit process models enable superior process performance by providing a more complete operational context to better interpret information and apply analytics, and to enable agile execution to adapt to new business patterns. Use of such tools will greatly contribute to better process solutions and business performance.
Business managers and professionals who leverage explicit process models will have more direct control over their areas of operations, and, thus, outperform their competition. Gartner advises that organisations establish process modeling as an organisational competency and reflect this skill in job descriptions and hiring practices for business managers and knowledge workers. In addition, they should accelerate skill development by implementing a business process competency centre to provide a modeling methodology.