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German IT Summit in DarmstadtAt this year's German IT Summit in Darmstadt, I attended a forum that focused on how ICT research can be leveraged to achieve leadership in major growth industries. The aim of the forum was to highlight the future prospects for Germany as an ICT location. A series of motivational presentations demonstrated how the Internet of Things paves the way for intelligent business processes.

Professor Wolfgang Wahlster of the German Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) explained how the Internet of Things will spawn completely new business applications, from digital product memories to intelligent business processes that can identify and process real-world events.

Professor Rayound Freymann of BMW outlined his vision of the Internet of Things with an impressive example from the field of mobility/networked vehicles. He sees a future where every driver assistance system communicates via Internet standards and also uses wireless connections to communicate with entities outside of the vehicle.

How often do we get stuck in traffic or wait at stop lights without any cross traffic in front of us? Enabling assistance systems to talk to navigation and traffic control systems could provide a solution here and minimize unnecessary CO2 emissions.

But where do the intelligent business processes come in? They were introduced in a presentation by Professor Hermann Requardt of Siemens, who used the example of value-adding processes in the healthcare sector, i.e., treatment processes.

Some drugs, including ones used for treating cancer, are only effective in 30 percent of cases. These drugs would not be approved for use at all today because they are ineffective in 70 percent of cases and associated with serious side effects.

The quality of the treatment process can only be improved if health professionals know which patient group benefits from the drug and the drug is only used to treat patients in that group.

To ensure this, treatment processes must be systematically recorded and analyzed, with a special emphasis on including all patient-related information and the appropriate diagnostic steps and treatment procedures.

Implanting assistance systems into patients is obviously not an option - the basis here are objects in the Internet of Things, such as chip-equipped health cards and electronic patient records, which can store existing data about the patients and their treatment history.

This is all about boosting process quality and reducing costs by optimizing treatment processes right through to the treatment delivery level. Business Process Management becomes far more complex as a result, thereby presenting new challenges.

Solutions designed to overcome these challenges were discussed in a forum dedicated to cloud computing, the semantic web, and ontologies.

Germany’s Federal Minister for Education and Research, Dr. Annette Schavan, explained that the future direction needed to be jointly shaped by politicians, business, and science.

Research funding needs to be channeled into strategic application areas and strategic alliances, with a special fast-track program dedicated to SMEs.

The question now is: What concrete measures are being taken to move intelligent business processes forward? The automobile industry and medical technology are just two areas that will benefit from this vision.

The emphasis needs to be on researching the next generation of knowledge-based application systems and managing the intelligent business processes enabled by such systems.

After Professor A.-W. Scheer’s "The Path of Business Performance", we are now entering the decisive phase in the evolution of business process management applications, namely advanced BPM.

Tags: Business Process Management