BPM, ACM, ECM… At Its Core, Your Company Simply has Process Needs

by MK Strupe on Fri, Jul 16, 2010 @ 02:32 PM

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt worried for the customer who has process needs.  I participated in a TweetJam hosted by Forrester on the subject of Adaptive Case Management (ACM).  Topics discussed included:

  • What exactly is ACM?
  • What are the differences between ACM and BPM?
  • How does ECM and ACM overlap?  Or do they?
  • Examples of real-life uses of BPM and ACM

While all of these subjects in themselves are valid and worthy of diving deeper into, some comments in the TweetJam certainly left me alarmed for today’s process customer.  Participation in the TweetJam was from process industry experts, process vendors, and anyone else who has interest in the subject.  I can certainly understand how process vendors would present arguments that while true, promote and highlight their own products.  But after the TweetJam was over, and I was sitting back thinking on the whole of the event, I was certainly discouraged on how much disparity and disagreement there was on the process space including:

  • “BPM cannot even cover 1/3 of a company’s process needs”
  • “ACM is not an extension of BPM”
  • “CRM and ECM are both dying technologies”
  • “ACM is how work really gets done”Multiple Process Approaches

I worry about statements like these, as I wonder how plugged are we really with our customers?  I can walk into most any company today and see that they are deeply invested in CRM, ECM, and BPM / Workflow technologies.  How can all of these technologies be antiquated?  In my conversations with opportunities that are experiencing process pains, rarely do I hear “Only if I had a ACM or BPM solution, then my Capital Request problems would be OK”.  While people are aware of ACM and BPM solutions, their primary reason with bringing an IT solution in is to help them with their specific process (where the goal of the customer and the process vendor is to then help with other process problems). 

The only reason process companies are in business today is because companies require help with documenting, understanding, managing, and automating their processes.  Every company today has a wide range of processes with varying process profiles:

  • Simple straight-forward processes that involve just a few steps and few people but could possibly execute 100s or 1000s times a day
  • Back-office processes that integrate and communicate with numerous databases and applications
  • Dynamic, unstructured processes that can take many twists and turns depending on the data at hand and the decisions made by the people involved in the process

While I feel it is important that we, as process experts and process vendors, understand our space and our technologies, we must not forget that customers come first.  We, as a process expert and vendor, owe it to our customers to service them with quality PROCESS SOFTWARE, whichever specific process slant that software has (ACM, BPM, Workflow, etc.).  The more we try to segment the process space and develop “niche” process solutions, the more fragmented the process space comes….and ultimately, the “process concept” will become yesterday’s business strategy.


Relevant Links:

Common Misconceptions of BPM

Knowledge Workers need BPM

Architecture of an Adaptive BPM Platform


Chris Adams
VP Product and Technology


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This post was written by MK Strupe