I've always heard great buzz about Austin's South By Southwest Conference (often simply referred to as SXSW). The conference brings together indie film, music, and tech to discuss and collaborate on building the future. The tech side of the conference — SXSW Interactive — is often where up-and-coming tech ventures break major news. In short, SXSW Interactive often serves as a petri dish for testing out new ideas and innovations.
Last week I attended SXSW to zoom in on emerging trends in social and consumer tech that would likely spill over into the business process — and social BPM — world over the next several years. Of the 15-20 keynotes and sessions I attended, three or four really resonated with the overall direction we see for social BPM and social business:
As 2010 winds down, many business process professionals are finalizing plans to take their BPM initiatives to the next level in 2011. With so many different BPM trends and predictions floating around out there, I’m sure you’re scratching your head wondering which trends to adopt in 2011 and which trends to push off for another year.
My colleague Gene Leganza recently published an excellent report titled "The Top 15 Technology Trends EAs Should Watch". I was pleased to see several BPM-specific trends show up in the report’s “Top 15” list. For the second year in a row, the report highlighted social BPM as one of the top trends to watch. In addition, process data management — the combination of MDM and BPM — was highlighted as another top BPM-related trend.
I recommend reading the entire report, since Gene does an excellent job slicing the survey data to show how we selected and ranked the top 15 trends.
So, as you're finalizing your 2011 BPM plans, here are the hottest trends and capabilities I recommend adding to your road map:
On September 18, 2010, Software AG (SAG) — best known for its business process management, B2B, and SOA-based integration solutions — announced its acquisition of Data Foundations, a master data management (MDM) vendor based in Hackensack, New Jersey. Data Foundations is smaller and less well known than the more mature and comprehensive MDM solutions from Initiate Systems and Siperian, both of which were acquired earlier this year by IBM and Informatica, respectively. Once Initiate and Siperian were taken off the market, no tier one MDM vendors remained for potential suitors to consider — especially those that could support both analytical and operational use cases. Having missed out on the opportunity to snag one of those leaders, we believe Software AG made the right technology choice in selecting Data Foundations.
As some of you know, I am hopelessly addicted to golf. I can already hear you asking, “What does golf have to do with marathons, and what do marathons have to do with business processes?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Before becoming a golf addict, I was a runner – running 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons. My goal was to work my way up to a marathon. This is still my goal, but I learned a while ago that you can’t be a serious golfer and also be a serious runner – they both compete for long stretches of time on Saturday mornings (although I did have someone recommend that I combine the two into "marathon golf").
When I was a runner, I quickly learned that how you run a 5K or 10K is different from how you run a half-marathon. It seems obvious now, but when I trained for my first half marathon I didn’t realize how critical it was to hydrate all the way through and to also change your breathing technique. Ultimately, I found a training program that helped me get ready for my first race, and I ended up crossing the finish line in pretty good time and without killing myself.
Earlier this week, I sat in on a session at Oracle OpenWorld that highlighted the importance of scaling process governance as BPM initiatives expand throughout organizations. The session, titled “Rapid, Successful BPM Adoption,” laid out the key principles of process governance:
Establish standards for implementing process improvement projects.
Prioritize BPM projects so you work on the most achievable ones first.
Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved in the BPM project.
Put someone in charge with authority to enforce process governance rules.
Establish a BPM center of excellence to ensure steps 1-4 are followed.
Over the past few months I’ve been interviewing companies that have successfully applied social to their BPM initiatives. As part of this research, we’re identifying best practices for combining social with BPM and identifying specific patterns on how BPM and social are coming together. The patterns identified thus far include:
Collaborative Discovery – Extending process discovery and design to include interactive real-time involvement of business users, customers, and partners.
Shared Development – Extending process development methodology and tools to support development collaboration between business and IT roles.
Process Guidance – Provide real-time suggestions and guidance for completing a particular activity based on real-time analytics and/or social network analysis (e.g., crowdsourcing techniques).
Over the past decade, BPM suites promised to put the business in the driver’s seat for delivering process improvement to the enterprise. However, most of these promises fell flat, relegating the business to participate as backseat drivers directing IT on how best to steer process improvement.
In the latest update to our BPM suites Forrester Wave report, Forrester evaluated 11 leading vendors against 148 product feature, platform, and market presence criteria. The Forrester Wave provided a head-to-head comparison of which BPM suites best support the needs of comprehensive process improvement programs that demand tight collaboration and coordination across business and IT stakeholders. Here's a sneak peek at the findings from our new report, "The Forrester Wave: Business Process Management Suites, Q3 2010".
Time-to-value and fit-to-purpose are top priorities. Process professionals are searching for ways to trim the fat from bloated BPM initiatives and constantly ask about tools and best practices for making BPM leaner and meaner. Leading vendors — like Pega and Appian — are responding to the need for leaner and more fit-to-purpose BPM suites by providing targeted solution frameworks, embedding agile project management features, and delivering highly customizable end user work environments.
Today, with some fanfare, Oracle announced its Oracle BPM Suite 11g Release. Although the product has been GA since late April, Oracle is just now launching a major campaign to announce and promote the new release.
The Oracle BPM Suite 11g release comes as a long-awaited announcement for former BEA customers that built large-scale BPM practices and competency centers around BEA's AquaLogic BPM (ALBPM) Suite offering. Since Oracle announced its acquisition of BEA in January 2008, many of these customers have been scratching their heads trying to figure out whether Oracle was going to kill BEA's BPM Suite in favor of Oracle BPEL. And in some cases, Oracle helped fan the flames of confusion by putting out conflicting messages about which product would survive.
Prior to joining Forrester, I led a dedicated BPM practice for a global consulting firm based in Washington, DC. I stood up the practice with Fuego - a leading BPM suite vendor at the time - as our premier BPM suite partner. We transitioned to partnership with BEA when Fuego was acquired by BEA in 2006. And then finally transitioned to partnership with Oracle, when Oracle acquired BEA in 2008. Over the past 5 years I've had a front row seat - across sales, delivery, and support - to the evolution of the product that Oracle now calls Oracle BPM Suite 11g. I've seen its sparkles and its warts over numerous large-scale implementations for public sector and commercial customers.
Over the past three months, I've been heads down working on our upcoming "Forrester Wave™ For Human-Centric BPM Suites, Q3 2010" report. I've also been on the road over the past five weeks attending and presenting at different BPM vendor conferences - gotta love Vegas! I must admit I have barely had time to keep tabs on my different BPM tribes - blog sites, Twitter conversations, and LinkedIn discussions. I've been checking in here and there around different camp fires and adding a little spark occasionally when something interesting caught my eye.
But today, I ran across a simmering debate around social BPM on different blog sites, here and here. Seems like this is fast becoming the hottest topic in BPM. Guess I shouldn't be surprised since I helped drive the conversation around social BPM over the last year. It's very good to see the conversation evolve and also good to see different perspectives on how social can help improve all aspects of BPM initiatives.
Earlier this month I delivered a presentation on social BPM at IBM's Impact 2010 event. This presentation provided the most up to date perspective on how we see customers using and applying social techniques and methodologies to BPM initiatives. During the session, we framed social BPM in the following way:
Over the weekend I took my daughter to see "Alice in Wonderland" and couldn't resist comparing Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter character to Pega's recent move to acquire Chordiant. For those of you who haven't seen the movie, it's not as weird as the usual Tim Burton movie; but the Mad Hatter character is a little disturbing, with his rhymes and riddles that keep you guessing at his true meaning.
For many process professionals, Pega's recent move was just as confusing as having a conversation with the Mad Hatter. What exactly is he trying to say anyway?