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Live from the Gartner BPM Summit in Orlando – The EDM Opportunity Zone

(By guest Blogger, Gib Bassett)

This week I am in Orlando, FL, attending the Gartner BPM Summit.  This morning’s keynote speaker was Janelle Hill, Research VP for Gartner.  The title of her presentation was “Business Processes: The Foundation Linking Business and IT.”  One slide of her presentation, as well as the overall implied though not explicit theme, spurred me to run back to my hotel room between sessions to post this blog.  My apologies to Ms. Hill; I extracted the slide in question, and overlaid what I term the “EDM Opportunity Zone.”  It is the stripped area below the Productivity Curve and above the Innovation Curve in the attached slide capture.

EdmoppzoneRecalling my college econ courses where intersecting regions of supply and demand curves always seemed to mean something important, here too I saw something worth noting.  This is only my interpretation, but her presentation seemed veiled in the notion that BPM, as a category or market, needed to evolve quickly, lest it become what the general ledger is to an ERP package today.  The evolution was about abstracting BPM to a higher level, where innovation and agility defined the space, not simply the management of business processes.  The drivers of this change would be global, increasingly competitive markets, real time systems and near perfect information.  She mentioned terms like agility and adaptability.

Relating back to the slide, Ms. Hill described how today, most adopters of BPM software derived value from gains in productivity, not innovation.  Only after experiencing this benefit over the course of time and via multiple projects, does an organization begin to ponder what added benefits might be derived from managing their business processes more intelligently.  This is when innovation becomes the primary benefit of BPM (or whatever the category is termed in the year 2012).

When I saw this slide, my immediate thought was: “why should an organization wait five years before exploring this idea?”  EDM is, after all, largely about adding intelligence to business processes, proven in multiple industries, and approaches such as Decision Yield can identify ways to get started with minimal risk.  The moral of the story is that any adopter of BPM interested in attaining higher revenues, more profit, increased customer satisfaction, greater shareholder value or other metrics important to their business, should consider this chart.  There is no reason to wait, and being among the first to take advantage of this “EDM Opportunity Zone” can have significant long term benefits.

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Mark Eastwood

While I agree completely that EDM and BPM go together, I'm not sure the opportunity zone is limited to the shaded area.

I might argue that it belongs under the innovation curve too. Additionally, I think it's possible to affect a rise in the productivity curve through the use of EDM. I consider it an innovation to leverage EDM to automate decisions and/or to automate partial decisions. Let me explain, if an insurance company uses EDM to automate underwriting decisions, they are more productive, agile and precise.

For those decisions not fully automatable, the mundane 'parts' of that decision may still be automated resulting in an 'issues list' for the manual reviewer to efficiently evaluate instead of having to handle everything. It's both a productivity gain and a work-process innovation.

Gib Bassett

Thanks for the comments Mark. I like your example and agree with you. I didn't fully explain how that chart was presented, which may illustrate my observation. Almost literally, this is what Ms. Hill said:

1. Most enterprises using some form of BPM technology will do so because the primary benefit derived is one of increased productivity, even beyond 2012.

2. Around 2012 success in the above will accrue to a point where these enterprises begin to realize the business value of managing their business processes.

3. Sometime between 2012 and 2017, she predicts enterprises will instead begin viewing the primary value as one of innovation, via management of business processes more intelligently. Productivity remains a benefit, but it no longer drives the effort.

My observation was that it seems way too far into the future for any enterprise to begin driving innovation into their organizations via EDM-driven business processes. The shaded area that I added represents lost opportunity and time for organizations that otherwise could be spent in this pursuit.


I suspect that no discussions are happening on how BPM should converge with enterprise security considerations...

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