BPM has been around for a long time.
It has various ‘phases’ (process analysis, development, improvement and management).
It’s a discipline and there are BPM software products (BPMs) that you need/do not need depending on situations, circumstances and mindsets.
I have seen very large corporations build huge process maps with postits and green felt markers, erasing/re-grouping/re-doing their maps over and over and then spending days/weeks building Visio process maps that have no practical use for process management because they are too large.
My criteria regarding BPMs are simple and straightforward:
1) build the map on a piece of brown paper / whiteboard and then commit the map to Visio if day-to-day management of the finished process does not require constant reference to the map.
2) build your map using a formal notation if your objective is to have a BPMs built or if you need a run time capability to integrate functionality across multiple separate software systems and you do not have access to a generic data exchanger.
3) build your map in an environment where you can compile the end result and have software guide the processing when:
3 a) there are many steps
3 b) interconnected in complex ways
3 c) where different skill sets are needed to perform different steps
3 d) where proof of completion in the form of recorded observations, date/time stamps, user signatures are required
3 e) where there are multiple 3rd party need-to-know subscribers to such data
3 f) where the objectives are to increase staff efficiency, increase throughput, decrease errors and improve compliance with internal and external regulatory rules/regulations.
My point re (3) is you cannot manage complex processes by staring at paper maps.
Now, once you have your processes documented properly so that they can be ‘managed’, you face two big hurdles which are the accommodation of unstructured ad-hoc steps or interventions and accommodation of business social networking needs because people don’t just perform tasks, they need to talk about them “off the record”.
This brings us to the domain of ACM/BPM.