Why does it have to be man vs. machine in BPM ?

Reading through a copy of the Gartner Hype Cycle report for 2011 it’s clear there’s a really heavy slant towards technology in Gartner circles (probably driven from the fact that’s where they get most of their revenue so it’s self-fulfilling) and there are a number of anomalies in their assessment of the BPM practice.

In addition, there are few professional education programs that really teach new approaches to the management disciplines highlighted above. Furthermore, the BPM market lacks an academic thought leader or best-selling management books on BPM. These are the primary reasons why BPM as a discipline has moved further into the Trough of Disillusionment, and why we think that it will still take 10 years for these management skills to become pervasive.

Hang on. So what have we all been doing for the last 20-odd years since the term was coined ? And another 10 years before it gains mainstream adoption ? Come on, if less time was spent pushing the technology and more time spent sorting out the method and discipline we’d have clear recognition and a benefits case on the back of it.

They do however make a point in highlighting that Certification and Education are a must in increasing adoption and recognition, but this really should go hand in hand (and again should have been established years ago too)

Furthermore, splitting out things like Business Process Competency Centres (so does that mean the Centre of Excellence is dead ?) and BPM Toolkits from BPM as a Discipline only serves to complicate what it actually means for a business to adopt BPM. What is it supposed to aim for ? A BPM toolkit ? Certification ? BPCC only ? Doesn’t the discipline cover all these aspects ?

What the hype cycle lacks sometimes is something a little more tangible in terms of how all these concepts tie together, so when viewing the actual diagram itself where are the linkages from one to another ?

For example;

  • BPM as a Discipline leads to
  • BPA for the masses leads to
  • BPM certification leads to
  • BPCC leads to
  • BPM toolkit leads to
  • BPMS leads to
  • PRR (process repository….which is not new as Gartner suggests….) leads to
  • and so on

The hype cycle priority matrix seems to suggest that most of the business discipline is an afterthought after the systemic has been implemented. Perhaps this accounts for more BPM programme failures than the analysts would care to admit simply because they push for the technology first.

Remember the basics ?

People, Process, Technology.

It’s not People vs. Process vs. Technology.

Footnote: Automated Business Process Discovery is just Process Mining, why the need to confuse an emerging market with more jargon is beyond me…..


2 responses to “Why does it have to be man vs. machine in BPM ?

  1. Reading this brought to mind a statement made by one of the professors in my BPM certificate program (University of San Francisco):

    “Good people and good tools cannot fix bad process.”

    When I decided to get some BPM education, I looked at the various programs offered by all the different sources. I picked the program I’m in for several reasons, including a solid recommendation from a working business analyst, the absence of a commercial interest on the part of the provider (U of SF is not selling tools!), and an obvious emphasis in the syllabus on methodology, not technology.

    I think it is this emphasis on a well-defined methodology as the prime driver for building credibility for BPM that you are promoting, and I couldn’t agree more.

  2. Enjoy the blog and Gartner’s Hyper Cycle BPM report linked, I would say, in order for BPM to make bigger impact at enterprise level, BPM need be perceived as one of the strategic disciplines to improve both business top line growth (such as delight customer) and bottom line efficiency (optimized business process), BPM is no long just the process automation project, it’s more about end to end process optimization–not just inside out, but also outside in, and process innovation, with opportunities to unleash enterprise’s full potentials-delight customer, engage employees., etc. thanks.

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