BPM Immaturity Model Unveiled

Doug Henschen, my editor at Intelligent Enterprise, already has posted an interview with Gartner's BPM guru Jim Sinur, live from their shindig in Opryland. Jim makes some interesting points about the market, but the BPM bloggers on site (e.g. Kemsley, Taylor) seem to be most taken by Gartner's new BPM "maturity model." I'm sure it makes a great Powerpoint slide, but not sure I'm buyin' it.

It starts off on the safe side: Most companies, he says, are at stage 1(modeling and measuring) or 2(tweaking and optimizing, using business rules). OK, I believe that. So what comes next? Stage 3 is an enterprise-wide process architecture with processes extended to trading partners. Stage 4 is instrumenting a framework of performance management goals against the actual process implementation.

The order seems funny to me. If that's the way BPM is going to be adopted, it's not how BPMS vendors have oriented their tools. Later in the interview, Jim talks about the business-driven iterative improvement strategy that is really driving BPM. But his maturity model is not iterative, it's waterfall. A more logical progression would seem to be:

  1. Model and measure (as-is and simulated to-be), and establish performance targets.
  2. Implement one app, and measure performance achieved.
  3. Tweak and optimize, add business rules.
  4. Iterate that for a few more apps.
  5. Develop the enterprise process architecture.
The essence of modeling is performance prediction. When the modeling and simulation tool is part of a BPMS, there is an implicit assumption that the KPIs that were modeled will be monitored at runtime. That's why the BPMS vendor has taken the trouble to include BAM in the offering. Maybe Jim is saying that's what the vendors are selling but companies aren't ready for it yet? I don't know, but the thought of rolling out an enterprise process architecture before I had closed the loop on process performance doesn't really make sense.