One of the most important parts of my job is to listen: listen to customers, listen to partners, listen to analysts, listen to opportunities (and to make sure I am not drinking too much of the “Ultimus Kool-Aid”). The more I listen to others cognizant of BPM, the more I realize that the lifecycle of BPM is starting its second phase.
Over the last six to eight years, the number of BPM vendors has more than doubled. The complexity of BPM Suites has grown to inordinate levels (remember when BPM vendors would bash ERP systems for trying to be everything to everyone?). BPM Suite vendors have been working at frantic levels to redefine and rebuild BPM systems as a conglomeration of variant and fringe technologies such as BI, BRE, ACM, etc. From everything I hear and see, now is the time for “BPM Take Two”.
Others certainly think it too. The BPM vendor space must stop and take inventory of their BPM Suites. I challenge all BPM vendors to review their active customer implementations today and really ask themselves how far removed are these implementation from the old “workflow” concept. The “w” word today is also blasphemous in the analyst space because it is so much “yesterday’s news”. But I argue that workflow is the core functionality of everyone’s BPM implementation. And if we, as BPM vendors, are not providing robust, powerful workflow engines that are coupled with incredibly simple and straightforward client applications, then our BPM Suites are nothing more than lipstick on a pig.
In the midst of developing functionality in a BPM Suite like Round Trip Optimization, Process Notation support, and Form Object libraries, BPM vendors forgot that simple, streamlined client and form support has the biggest impact on successful process deployments. BPM innovation in 2011, to me, makes me think of words like: Accessible, Web, Easy, Integrated, and Human. If BPM vendors are not thinking about the process user first, then are we developing BPM Suite just for ourselves? That is a scary thought!
VP Product and Technology