BPM – a year in review – 2013

When I look back to this year, I felt that despite there is not any real disruption, nothing real new (despite I started using glasses with prescription lenses), this is the year that some patterns are finally emerging, proving the confirmation that organizations should start thinking of transforming real fast.

Digital technologies are the most powerful force for change in our world today. The ability to coordinate the work and knowledge in a sophisticated manner, while maintaining flexibility will be a key to business survival over the next decade.

By virtue of technological disruption, organizations have become social systems, defined as the orchestration of people, information and systems, whose dynamics and evolution are defined and driven by human behavior, become complex systems that are increasingly difficult to understand and identify where to act and the next improvement projects should occur.

Today is becoming key:

  • How to detect emerging patterns of behavior and how they are important for the automatic identification of information systems requirements, opportunities for process improvement, and social collaboration design;
  • How it can be implemented methods and tools for the automatic detection, analysis, consolidation, validation and delivery of unstructured information, as well as identifying opportunities for improvement through recommendations to managers .
  • How the real time enterprise will allow companies to adapt more quickly to changes and anticipate future challenges and how the feedback loops becomes identify and sparks new improvement projects .

And still we do not see, but we will see, technology and knowledge workers that will be able to handle such dimensions, because change is becoming faster than the capacity to handle it. We’ve been supporting our way of working, based on the increased processing capacity of information systems that have created the illusion that the world was more stable, predictable and standardized. Some people said that this idea was wrong.  It was like a it’s a cautionary tale.

Like trying to cleanse the dirt, the errors in process design, execution, the more managers try to cleanse, the more cleansed and empty organizations become. As everything becomes faster and faster, speed and agility become the end of it all. Normalization, standardization, is a dream for most of the organizations that are in the beginning of their BPM journey, and that it can and will become deceptive, when they realize that it’s impossible to understand the flood of information.

Not many years ago, organizations based in ” focus groups ” techniques, in customer questionnaires in transactional data registered in databases the organization hold that provide insights about what were the customer preferences, needs, wishes and wants. This was the only source of information. Information resided within organizations, but today information is about the interactions we have with customers is everywhere, is external. This implies that to understand what customers want is increasingly difficult because valuable information is now based on systems “out ” of the organization. On the other hand , the question is not only in increasing the amount of information, lies in the difficulty to interpret it, to the point that today algorithms borrowed from the analyzes that are performed in the field of physics and biology are being used to be able to understand and infer where and how we must adapt and transform organizations . That’s why we talk today that some organizations are developing expertise in scientific data analysis , ie to recruit qualified ” Data Scientists ” .

System thinking is making the first steps. We get used to use an approach to understand the whole by the  the sum of the parts. Nothing could be more wrong. An organization without people or without technology does not work and that is why today to understand how operations are structured just looking to a process diagram is insufficient. You need to see the whole in an integrated manner. You need to become intelligent, not the system.

Changing gears, this was also the year of two major accomplishments, the first was the creation from a blank sheet of paper the Post Graduate on BPM together with Rumos. This course it’s not about the basics of BPM it’s about the future, it’s about social network analysis, it’s about real world process design, information system requirements, change management techniques, cybernetics and system thinking. It’s about qualifying people to real world problems. Together with BPM Conference Portugal that is used as an assessment tool to bring the most forward thinkers and evaluate if the contend of the course it’s updated or not, it was delivered, based on my experience on conferences around the world, that this can become a reference event for those that want to know HOW change must be done, where managers find new ways to cope with challenges, about the future. I’m proud of making it happen and I’m grateful for everyone that make this dream comes true.

Interested in last year list?  Click here.


3 thoughts on “BPM – a year in review – 2013

  1. Hi Alberto, Happy New Year! I believe these are important trends you are highlighting and clearly present opportunities for organisations to apply BPM differently, perhaps more vigorously given the technology changes that allow us to be more decisive and agile when introducing process changes. Would you agree with me that one of the final barriers to effective BPM (or, if you like: transformational change) is the shape of the organisation itself? The traditional ‘command and control’ culture with departmental hierarchies and lack of of self-managed individuals and teams are a roadblock to getting the best out of the emerging social infrastructure you refer to in your post. In my view this is part of a bigger agenda, outside the the traditional BPM scope of work, but perhaps need more attention when promoting the virtues of BPM going forward.

  2. Pingback: How Adaptive Case Management can be deceiving | End to End BPM

  3. Pingback: BPM a year in review 2014 | End to End BPM

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