The Year of BPM (Part 2)

In the last edition of the Upside Update, we began our look at the BPM developments-to-watch-for in 2004. This week, we’ll round out that look with several additional important changes to watch for as BPM vendors release new versions and enterprise organizations deploy increasingly sophisticated BPM solutions.
So what else is in store? Upside Research believes we’ll see the following developments in the BPM market over the next year:
More simulation. While the number of organizations actually using BPM simulations capabilities is quite small, expect to see more and more BPM vendors offering simulation, or connections to simulation products. Many BPM vendors have started to add the ability to simulate processes into their products, if only as a way to respond to a checkbox requirement for potential BPM RFP’s. While this is certainly a good capability, it’s only useful when organizations take the time and have the energy to actually use it to help refine or debug process models-something that we believe very few organizations will actually do in the next few years. However, over time, simulation will become an important component of BPM solutions, and organizations should be considering a BPM product’s long-term (not necessarily short-term) simulation road map.
More reporting/business monitoring capabilities. A bit more direct and immediate than the need for more simulation capabilities is the need for increased business monitoring and reporting functionality. Upside Research expects many BPM products to make significant advances in this area in 2004, in tandem with their increased push toward creating more business-usable and business-relevant products. Without adequate (and easy-to-use) business process monitoring capabilities and reporting options, BPM turns into business process automation. And simply automating processes, without enabling dynamic, rapid change to business processes will not deliver the results that organizations are looking for from BPM.
Significant BPM successes/large deployments. Last, but not least, Upside Research expects to see more significant BPM deployments in 2004. There’s no doubt that we’ll continue to see a variety of departmental BPM implementations, but the more interesting barometer will be how many organizations use BPM solutions to fundamentally affect the running of business-critical core processes. While we don’t expect to see a huge number of organizations deploying sophisticated and dynamic BPM solutions, there will be a handful of successful, large-scale uses of BPM technology in 2004 that will continue to define the potential and move BPM toward the mainstream adoption phase.
The Upside Uptake
2004 will be a good year for BPM. As the car commercials all say, there’s never been a better time to buy a BPM solution-if you have the right need. With the glimmerings of at least a mild economic upturn in the air, BPM solutions may be more important than ever before. Over the past three years so many organizations have been asked to do more with less, that as the economy improves and business grows, many organizations may have a hard time keeping up without ways to automate and manage their business processes more effectively. With any luck, next year we’ll be looking back at 2004 as the year that BPM turned the corner.