Enterprise Communications

Business Process Management: How Digital Transformation is Prompting its Evolution

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  January 16, 2017

The desire to be more agile, the rise of big data, and the advance of communications and networking technologies are shaking up business to its very core – so much so that even the term business process management is evolving. Indeed, Gartner (News - Alert) now tracks a category called not BPM, but rather iBPMS.

While BPM is about process efficiency and performance measures related to work and improving business outcomes, intelligent business process management suites expand on that by also including digitalized processes. That, Gartner explains, involves not just people and processes but also things (as in the Internet of Things), and entails real-time analytics and decisioning.

“To support faster time to solution and subsequent rapid changes to business processes, an iBPMS uses a metadata-based and model-driven approach,” the firm says. “Graphical business process modeling and business rule modeling capabilities are used to describe the behavior of the solution.”

Analytics, context behavior and history, high-productivity app authoring, intelligent mobility, interaction management, interoperability, monitoring and business alignment, process discovery and optimization, and rules and decision management are the necessary capabilities of an iBPMS, according to Gartner. Business transformation, case management, citizen developer application composition, composition of intelligent process-centric apps, continuous process improvement, and digitalized process are among the use cases for iBPMS, Gartner says.

"As digital transformation involves significant changes to people and business processes as well as technology, most buyers will engage an outside services firm to help them along their transformation journey,” says Rebecca Segal of International Data Corp. “As the demand for these services grows, often in double digits, service firms who invest in the right skills and assets around IDC (News - Alert)'s Third Platform of cloud, big data, social, and mobility, as well as innovation accelerators such as next generation security and IoT, will see their growth prospects shift away from legacy IT services, which are on the decline and towards the digital opportunity that lies ahead."

IT services and business services revenues are expected to exceed $1 trillion for the first time in 2018, according to IDC. And cloud-related services spending were expected to reach more than $98 billion by the end of 2016 and to nearly double by 2020, the firm says.

Meanwhile, Gartner offers an assessment of the various players in the iBPMS marketplace. That includes such companies as AgilePoint, which offers a Microsoft (News - Alert)-centric platform that integrates AppBuilder, eForms Builder, and  Data Sources and Reports; Appian, which offers a model-driven application development platform on which businesses can construct process-centric and case-centric applications, improve processes, support intelligent business processes, and dynamically alter processes; and Bizagi, a long-time BPM vendor that provides legacy modernization and process automation solutions.

“We’ve found that when taking on the colossal challenge of digital transformation, what many are missing is a clear plan,” says Daniel Diaz of Bizagi in a November blog.

To help company’s overcome that significant challenge, Bizagi recently surveyed more than 1,000 large businesses around the world, and leveraged that information and Bizagi’s own expertise to publish a checklist for digital transformation success, which is available on the company’s website.

AIIM Market Intelligence also recently published a list of a dozen key process improvements and automation recommendations. That includes beginning with existing process maps if they exist or creating at least high-level maps to document steps in the process; identifying areas of opportunity for process improvement; improving the existing process before introducing automation or extending it; uncovering the business problem you’re trying to solve; accessing how paper can be eliminated in the process; and designing the process. It also suggests taking inventory of current BPM capabilities; documenting business requirements first; building functional requirements based on business requirements; developing technical requirements based on functional requirements and mapping those against your technology sets; considering how cloud and mobile app and device use can address your needs; and establishing a continuous improvement program through which to continue to refine changes.

“Process improvement and automation using BPM as the framework is an essential part of the digital transformation of businesses,” writes Bob Larrivee, vice president and chief analyst for AIIM Market Intelligence. 

Edited by Alicia Young