The numbers tell it all. You can’t pretend it isn’t so. People don’t care about BPM, process management, operational excellence, or whatever you care to label it.
I was keynote speaker at an event billed as ‘one of the USA’s most important BPM events’ – 500 attendees. Gartner gets fewer 1,000 at their US BPM Summit.
In contrast Dreamforce (image right), which is Salesforce’s PAID annual user event gets 25,000 delegates.
So what is it? Perhaps BPM has been around too long and everyone knows about it, so they don’t need to attend conferences and measuring conference attendance is misleading. But the world has moved on with technology enabling fantastic advances in operational excellence, so surely there is a need for continued education. And similarly, CRM has been around 20 years or more yet Salesforce conference attendance is still climbing.
Is it too broad and badly defined a term? BPM is Business Process Management, Business Process Modeling, the speaking clock in China or a high-energy drink sold in Ireland. A Google search for BPM gets 90 millions results. Maybe Salesforce’s success is because the started with the (relatively) narrow focus of CRM with a very clear competitor, Siebel.
Or maybe it is that there is too much in-fighting between the different tribes; Six Sigma, Lean, Operational Excellence, BPM, Process Analysis, Adaptive Case Management or Outside-In. These groups are fighting their own battles to realize that they have lost the war.
Or finally, it could be the fault of the software vendors who have taken BPM to be a type of software rather than the broader definition which organisations like Gartner promote -
“Business process management provides governance of a business’s process environment to improve agility and operational performance. Gartner research focuses on a structured BPM approach employing methods, policies, metrics, and software tools to continuously optimize an organization’s activities and processes.”
The challenge that process professionals need to address is “How do I make myself valued and relevant”