bpmNEXT Review

Thanks as always to Sandy Kemsley for a detailed summary of all the talks. My review is more impressionistic. The goals of the program were these:

  • Talk about something I haven't seen before
  • Actually, SHOW me don't just tell me
  • Spur my imagination
And the program in the end met those goals. It was really really good.

There were several themes in the presentations: lowering the barriers to business users; leveraging social networks and mobile devices; handling unstructured work; expanding the boundaries of process analysis.

Lowering the barriers. Signavio showed a variety of ways to create process models without drawing them, including simple tabular input, voice input, and a Tai Chi like gesture recognition. itp commerce showed automatic scoring of BPMN models for quality across several dimensions. camunda showed true roundtripping between third-party business-oriented modeling tools and a BPMS, the first I've seen to do that well. Trisotech showed simple but a radically different style of tooling for capturing SME input for both BPM and ACM (is there really a difference?) Knowledge Partners International showed how business users can directly model and maintain thousands of business rules using The Decision Model.

Social and mobile. BonitaSoft and WebRatio both showed integration of BPM with popular social networks, and TidalWave showed BPM applications within the Facebook environment. OpenText previewed Touch, their next-generation social/mobile platform exposed as an embeddable widget throughout their BPM/ACM portfolio. BP3 gave a great presentation on what adding mobility to BPM really means and the best ways to do it, native vs hybrid vs responsive HTML5. In a similar vein, Kofax showed how a cloud multi-tenant BPM architecture should really work.

Unstructured work. IBM surprised me with a demonstration of how adding stateful data to the process modeling environment opens up the whole world of unstructured work to the BPM platform. Now tell me again why BPM and case management are different products? Bosch showed how events from sensor-enabled "edge devices" can be processed by rules to create self-maintaining machinery. Whitestein gave a mind-expanding demo of goal-directed BPM layered on top of regular BPMN process fragments - for me this was Best in Show. Computas showed their implementation of "malleable tasks" - an award-winning solution in production - where events trigger a set of case tasks each of which can be customized at runtime by the end user. EnterpriseWeb (fka Ideate) showed an environment in which all aspects of the process are networks that can be freely interconnected by end users to manage work. It was really "out there". And Keith Swenson gave a sneak peek at Cognoscenti, a Fujitsu skunkworks project that creates "antifragile" processes by empowering end users to freely add and interconnect projects are runtime.

Expanding the boundaries of analysis. Fluxicon showed a very polished demo of process mining, automated model discovery and analysis from event logs that ultimately won the Best in Show voting. PeopleServ showed a tool for managing the complex relationships between people in the organization, which could and should be leveraged by BPM. Lloyd Dugan and Mohamed Keshk showed how ontology tools make vast archives of process models searchable. Process Analytica showed a tool for automatically optimizing staffing allocation based on parameterized simulation. Oracle gave a terrific preview of the next-gen BAM Composer, business-oriented tooling that can generate interesting dashboards of operational data, such as trending KPI values. SAP gave an equally impressive demo of Operational Process Intelligence, able to monitor end-to-end performance spanning BPM and non-BPM systems.

I would say I learned something new from every presentation. Attendees voted for Best in Show using an app created by WebRatio. The winner was Fluxicon, followed by Whitestein, then Fujitsu. We'll be posting the videos of all the talks to the bpmnext.com website in a few weeks, and possibly open a second round of voting or liking to the public. So stay tuned for that.