Sebastian Stein's picture

BPM 2008Today, the international business process management conference in Milan, Italy started. It is one of the most important events in the world focusing on new scientific work in this area. The conference was kicked off by the keynote of Paul Harmon, who is the founder of the BPM news site BPTrends.

Paul has followed BPM for a long time throughout his career. In his keynote, he is providing his view on how BPM started, how it evolved, where we are today, and what can be expected in the next years. He describes BPM as going back to the work by Taylor done at Ford. He shortly mentions several other important BPM methods like balanced scorecards, six sigma, value chain management, and business process modelling. In his view, those different BPM methods were independent of each other in the past, but today BPM is trying to integrate them.

Paul says we are working on this integration today. Eventually, we will reach a point where BPM provides an integration of quality management, management, and IT. In his view, the idea of actively managing processes is the key to solving that. In Paul’s view, a process is not just something automated, but the term really relates to all kinds of processes on all abstraction levels. It is really nice to see that this holistic view on BPM is emphasised at the beginning of the conference, because many of the work presented focused during the conference just focuses on the execution and formalisation of processes.

Paul also provides his view on the future of BPM. Besides going forward in integrating the different methods in BPM, he also mentions the trends and challenges:

  • greening of process
  • outsourcing and specialization
  • reduction of overcapacity
  • new customer demands
  • new technologies
  • new markets throughout the world

However, whatever trend will get traction in the next years, Paul emphasises that companies will need to go on innovating and investing in new and optimised processes. He illustrates his point with a great example pointing to the development of the music and entertainment industry. Selling vinyl based music releases was a big business. However, it totally collapsed within a few years after Sony introduced the walkman and MC based releases became popular. This business also didn’t lasted forever, but was again disrupted by the introduction of the CD. Today, we see another change in the music industry replacing the physical distribution of music by a digital one.

If you are interested in more blog posts about the conference, make sure to check out Sandy’s blog, because she is live blogging from the event. She also covered a workshop, which was held yesterday. And as soon as I can find a USB cable, I will update this post and add some impressions to this post as well…

Tags: BPM Business Process Management