Tuesday, April 18, 2017

bpmNEXT 2017 (part 1)

Back at Santa Barbara this year to attend the bpmNEXT conference, where I will be speaking on Thursday.  But before that will happen, we have a full 3 days of presentations and (even more important) demos from a lot of different vendors and experts.

BPM 2017-2021: Outlook for the Next Five Years
Nathaniel Palmer

Nathaniel is starting with a view of the BPM market from his point of view. In 2016, he predicted that the 3 R's (Robots, Rules and Relationships) will be defining the BPM market.  It's clear that rules have a significant impact on BPM nowadays as a way to drive decisions (for example with DMN). According to Google Trends, Robot Process Automation (RPA) is gaining more attention as well.  The interest in business processes is pretty stable (where BPMN is kinda following the same trend but just at a smaller scale). Digital Transformation is a term that has grown and is similar although BPM is still the overarching term that combines all of this.
Automation is forcing us to step away from the traditional architecture associated with BPM.  The future of BPMS vendors isn't just about process management but also includes automation, machine learning and decision management, all driven by an event-driven foundation.
Rather than predicting where BPM is going, he suggested we would all work towards defining it ourselves.  Or as he said, let's all "make automation great again"!

The Top 10 Technologies that will impact BPM in the next 5 years
Jim Sinur - Aragon Research

Jim, with his 50 (!) years of experience in IT, and many years of experience as analyst for BPM (for Gartner and Aragon Research nowadays), highlighted a few technologies he believes are going to be more and more important, including for example:
  • Predictive apps get smarter (decision management is key)
  • Big data and learning (using machine learning, deep learning and cognitive computing)
  • Internet of things (standardization kicking off there now - resulting in a lot of smart devices at the edges and more goal-driven decentralized management)
  • Rise of chatbots (moving to full language and action)
  • Virtual Reality
  • Work hubs (workbenches focused on specific roles)
  • Drones
  • Blockchain
Jim believes the Digital Business Platform (DBP) is what is / will be combining all these technologies (kinda disagreeing with Nathaniel there) as a place where business and IT collaborate.  Things like digital identity (including your preferences) and change management (across technologies) will be key.

The New Wave of Automation
Neil Ward-Dutton - MWD Advisors

Neil explained how a major shift in our experience of automation is underway.  Traditionally, we have been trained to work around limitations of automation (we are for example all used to pushing keys on computers the entire day), however that is changing, where automation is now changing for us.  Neil introduced 3 layers of change, called the 3 I's: Interaction (sending and responding more like humans - like chatbots), Insight (interactive analytics - like recommendation engines) and Integration (resources being exposed with open interfaces - like smark infrastructure).  Main drivers from his point of view are the rapidly changing technology, business pressures and familiarity of automation.  Use cases range from automating high-volume routine tasks to low-volume expert assistance and in between (make everyone as good as the best).
He concluded with some guidance for the audience (if we want to help define the future): embrace the shift to self-service, the shift to networked (cloud-based) platforms and the shift to learning systems.

The Great Migration: How to survive the leap from BPM as we knew it to the era of the digital workforce
Clay Richardson - Digital FastForward

Clay believes 75% of the current BPM programs nowadays won't survive the shift to digital.  He is no longer a BPM analyst at Forrester as he wanted to focus more on actually helping customers make the digital step (not just making them excited only). The challenge is not necessarily the technology but how to get (and keep) the right skills and mindset for digital transformation.  You will have to use approaches like hiring new talent, reinventing the workforce or outsourcing innovation (or all of the above). And help teams to design, validate and learn (using new methodologies and tools).  And it's not just about what you learn but how you learn: it needs to be interactive and immersive (learning gamification).  And put these people in front of the customer (even if it means leaving their comfort zone) so they learn about what it is they need.
Want to take this gamification to the extreme? Apparently you learn better when combining learning with escape rooms - even including the zombies - looking forward to that experience ! :)

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