That was the question Peter Schoof asked at BPM.com forum. It provoked long answer that I’m copying here to get back next year.
Peter, is your question about technology? Management discipline? Capabilities and overall process maturity of today’s enterprises? All of these? Ambiguous questions provoke misunderstanding.
If accepting the widest scope (i.e. considering all three aspects) then where is the bottleneck, I wonder?
1) Is it the unfulfilled promises of BPM vendors?
From my perspective, the biggest challenge here is merging together enterprise architecture, modeling and execution tools (measurement also implied indeed). Current BPMS’s implement roundtripping in the smaller cycle model-execute-measure that only works on a single process level. We are still in the one-way mode at the enterprise level: enterprise models are developed in the EA tools, then thrown to BPMS engineers for implementation and so we we’ve got two sources of truth. With this gap it’s no surprise that enterprises are struggling to reach the higher levels of maturity that require an architected set of enterprise-wide processes.
Social enablement is another big challenge. The major issue is that social functionality can’t be successfully implemented within a BPMS alone. Nobody needs a social functionality here, there and over there too. One portal with social functionality for process, another for projects and yet another for cases (letting alone ERP and alike)? Doesn’t make much sense for me. Merging together projects, processes, cases is another challenge.
2) Or maybe it isn’t the technology we should care about first? Maybe we have too much technology already while the BPM methodology is lagging behind?
Do we have consistent body of knowledge? I’m afraid we aren’t there yet. There are great many books written about BPM but are they coherent? I’m not criticizing here - it’s a real issue our customer are facing. They ask: “This BPM thing sounds great but where can I read about it? Which university and/or business school provides true BPM pros? Can I replace one BPM specialist by another or are you all gurus each of your own kind?” ABPMP CBOK is the best attempt I’m aware of at the moment but it’s far from being perfect. How can we expect a majority of customers to adopt BPM when it’s clearly not fully mature as a discipline.
3) But probably the biggest challenge is that organization needs a solid set of internal capabilities and something in its values and culture to be successful in BPM.
How can we - developers and consultants - help this? I do see one opportunity. As for today, BPM is mostly do-it-your-self adventure. This is the essence of BPM: whatever can be standardized is already implemented in of-the-shelf software (ERP and alike), BPM is about “systems of differentiation”. But does it mean that every BPM solution should be developed from scratch? Every BPM customer would be grateful if they could leverage a packaged framework for a specific application domain. Ideally, there should be a marketplace for such frameworks developed both by the platform vendors and wide range of partners. People are accustomed to this model already with iThings and Android apps. In BPM case it’d be a framework rather than a ready-to use application but it’ll deliver lot of value anyway. I believe this is a challenge for all of us - vendors, consultants and customers.
Sorry for the long post and no definite answer to the question.