Things got pretty busy around here in the last quarter of 2010, so before I get too deeply entangled in the demands of the new year, I thought it might be a good moment to put down some ideas about where business process management (BPM) might be going in 2011. I may be wrong, but if by some chance I’m not, be sure to remember: you heard it here first.

  1. BPM software adoption will continue to trend upwards. I’m not a fan of the school of thought that suggests that business process management (BPM) has become a mature, widely adopted technology.  Yes, many companies have procured a BPM solution, but BPM isn’t like CRM, ERP, or other big, centralized software suites. The most effective BPM deployments have been, and will continue to be, tactical, meaning that there is room for many such installations within an enterprise.
  2. BPM initiatives will increasingly originate on the business side, not on the IT side. I see this phenomenon every day. BPM has been around long enough for non-technical managers to become familiar with, and eager to obtain, its benefits. Moreover, IT is often not well positioned to identify inefficiencies or risks in many business processes. So business units will increasingly reach out to directly vendors, independently or in partnership with their IT organizations, to address those needs.
  3. SharePoint 2010 roll-outs will accelerate, but at a careful pace. Businesses are still unsure what to expect from SharePoint, which is surprising considering the investment many are making in that platform. It will be immediately obvious to most users that SharePoint’s workflow automation tools fall well short of even the most basic solutions offered by pure-play BPM vendors; nonetheless, customers will demand zero-programming integration with SharePoint’s lists and libraries, and BPM providers will have to get on board.
  4. Predictive BPM (what we here at BP Logix refer to as business process automation software) will gain mindshare throughout the year. It’s one thing to automate and measure business processes, but it’s quite another to get an early view as to where a process is headed while it is still in progress. The power of predictable processes is the leverage it offers the business, enabling it to adapt to changing conditions at the earliest possible opportunity.

We can’t always see the future, but we can certainly hope for the best. All of us at BP Logix wish you a very healthy, happy, and prosperous 2011.