What is BPM? – When will they stop asking?


I see under the group “BPM Guru” at LinkedIn that another “What is BPM?” discussion has started up.

It would be interesting to know whether these postings are for the benefit of people who have just heard of BPM or for the benefit of  seasoned practitioners who have been wondering all along what it is they have been doing.

Here below is my standard pitch, pretty much unchanged over the past two years.

BPM is a methodology that has traditionally allowed organizations to develop, enhance, publish and encourage consistent use of “best practices”.

Practitioners generally agree that BPM provides orchestration (guidance) and governance (guardrails) for the management of work and that a run-time environment capable of accommodating interoperability is needed (no BPMs is an island) for success with BPM.

As with one of its antecedents called Critical Path Method, there is no theoretical reason why BPM process mapping cannot be probabilistic, however, at a practical level, there are usually too many permutations and combinations, plus a need for complex rule sets, so most mappings end up being deterministic.

When the mix of unstructured to structured work in an organization reaches a tipping point, the notion of “process’ goes to “process fragments”.

Templates continue to exist.  Users continue to launch instances of templates.

Except that the templates are now process fragments and instances are based on process fragments, not end-to-end processes.

A “Process” now becomes the run-time, after-the-fact result of people, machines and software threading together process fragments plus the insertion of ad hoc steps (processes of one step each, if you like).

The environment of choice for the management of work becomes ACM/BPM (Adaptive Case Management/Business Process Management). The generic name for this environment is “Case”.

Nothing is changed, everything is different.

About kwkeirstead@civerex.com

Management consultant and process control engineer (MSc EE) with a focus on bridging the gap between operations and strategy in the areas of critical infrastructure protection, connect-the-dots law enforcement investigations, healthcare services delivery, job shop manufacturing and b2b/b2c/b2d transactions. (C) 2010-2017 Karl Walter Keirstead, P. Eng. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not connected with Jay-Kell Technologies Inc, Civerex Systems Inc. (Canada), Civerex Systems Inc. (USA) or CvX Productions.
This entry was posted in Adaptive Case Management, Automated Resource Allocation, Business Process Improvement, Business Process Management, Case Management, Compliance Control, Customer Centricity, Data Interoperability, Operational Planning, Operations Management, Process auditing, Process Management, Process Mapping, Productivity Improvement, R.A.L.B.. Bookmark the permalink.

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