Cloud computing is all the rage now, and it will have enormous impact on how applications are delivered and IT is managed. On the other hand, it will have very little impact on BPM. Putting your BPMS in the cloud makes access and management a bit easier for the IT department – but so what? They will still need to create the models and interfaces needed to make the business process being implemented work.
There is no personal value provided by a BPMS until it is populated by models that the organization uses, and enough users on board to enable the process to run. That is as opposed to Salesforce.com (the poster child of cloud applications) – where people could derive personal value from the system before the organization adopted it – in many cases forcing a bottom up adoption paradigm, especially in SMB. Given the startup overhead for BPM – that just won’t happen.
Anywhere access to your data is the promise of mobile. You could imagine that being expanded to anywhere access to your processes. The promise combines two paradigm shifts – the first is access, the second is usability and ease of use in a mobile form factor.
Access is nice, but since so many BPM implementations fall down on the ease of use part, mobile access won’t make that big a difference – unless process designers start giving a lot of thought to usability and GUI design in general (which they don’t) and then specifically for a mobile form factor. Until that happens – the ability to use a web front end (which has been around for a while) is just as useful.
Big data is another trend everyone is talking about – all the reams of structured data (created by sensors and such), but especially all the unstructured data created by us humans (text, images, sounds, video). The existence of all that data doesn’t matter much to BPM – since how much of it is related to the world’s business processes? BPM data for any organization usually “small” data – just the stuff related to their structured processes.
Big data will have a larger impact on case management – since cases will tend to have much more unstructured data associated with them – but for any given organization it won’t grow into the realm that is being called “big data”
This is also related to data, but not necessarily big data. It addresses the central problem of how to analyze data to create information. This will be a big deal for BPM (or as I see it BPM+ACM) since the ability to do a true analysis of how the business executes is invaluable.
But you can only do that if enough of your processes are actually executed using business processes tools. If you want to handle most of world’s business processes – you’ll need a system that will replace GoeM (Good ole eMail) since most business processes are unstructured, unpredictable (but I digress) and done using email, documents, conversations and meetings. If you had real data on how people actually do their business processes – then being able to analyze it would be invaluable.
This is different then what most people do with data analytics today – since it requires that you take into account temporal constraints and path analysis. It is an interesting area, but still needs a lot of work.