Perspectives of the Development of BPM

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Process management is at present one of the most often implemented methods of management within organizations (Armistead, Pritchard & Machin, 1999), though it is not a new concept in and of itself. Its foundations have been set as far back as 60 years (Deming) or even perhaps 100 years ago in Taylor's work (F.W. Taylor) (Deming, 1986). Traditional process management assumes that processes cannot be altered by process performers in the course of their performance (Gartner IT Glossary, 2016). Within the traditional model, the performance of processes is tied to the decisions of the management of a given organization, which are reflected in standard process models (often in the form of rules and regulations or procedures). But as numerous research demonstrates (Kemsley, 2009a; Pucher, 2010; Ukelson, 2010; HandySoft, 2012), traditional BPM is useful in 20% or perhaps 30% of processes of the organization. In the remaining 70%-80% cases it is impossible to simply repeat in detail a once-defined “ideal” process, as there simply are no ideal processes in the knowledge economy to begin with (vom Brocke, Zelt & Schmiedel, 2015). In this case, it seems obvious that in reality most of the processes of an organization are beyond the scope of traditional business process management.

In order to overcome this limitation, recent years saw the emergence of numerous methodologies and supporting IT systems aimed at facilitating the management of processes which are dynamic, individual, ad-hoc, unstructured, and unpredictable in nature, as well as dependent on such a large number of different factors that in practice it is impossible to account for all of them at once. The most widely known of them are (in an alphabetical order):

  • Adaptive Case Management
  • Adaptive Processes
  • Advance Case Management
  • Agent BPM
  • Agile BPM
  • Business Process Reengineering
  • Business Process Renewal
  • Dynamic BPM
  • Dynamic Case Management
  • Human BPM
  • Intelligent BPM
  • Social BPM

Of course, the list is far from complete. To a large degree, especially in terms of practical implementation, such methodologies offer similar options and solutions. Proponents of case management in particular have long pointed to the detached, abstract character of the fundamental principles of traditional BPM; and attempted to create both software solutions and methodologies which would be more in touch with the knowledge economy (Pucher, 2010). Proponents of BPM are also becoming increasingly more aware of the need to provide for the dynamic character of processes performed in the course of business operations (Spanyi, 2006; Trkman, 2009). It is high time to seriously considered that business process management is dynamic in nature because such are the requirements of business. We just have to get used to changes in the meaning of the term: “business process management (BPM)” is now “dynamic business process management (dynamicBPM).” Its specific, but nonetheless still existent case is staticBPM (or traditionalBPM), which has previously been associated with the term “BPM” itself. Just as we had to get used to the fact that the term “movie” now designates movies with sound and in colour, and movies which are black-and-white or silent, which were previously referred to as “films” without other qualifiers, should now be specifically referred to as such as not to confuse the recipients of our speech.

The concept of dynamic business process management (dynamic BPM), which has been formulated over a decade ago, does not only de facto envision the need and sets the groundwork to unify BPM and CM/ACM (Szelągowski, 2004), but also predicts that the process management framework which will be created after the unification of the aforementioned methodologies and tools will not be fully functional unless it will also account for the possibility of managing and the quick and broad use of knowledge verified and accumulated in the course of dynamic business process management (Kim, Hwang & Suh, 2003; Davenport, 2005; Marjanovic & Freeze, 2012; Szelągowski, 2014).

The preparation of a coherent concept with an understandable conceptual framework which would integrate process management with knowledge management would allow for the preparation of methodologies and tools which would be effective in implementation in both large and small organizations. Constant pressure on the part of organizations resulted in changes to IT systems supporting process management, which outpaced all existing theoretical grounds.  Therefore, it is crucial within process management itself to decisively reject or update old knowledge and open ourselves to new contexts, aims, and tools. The use of theoretical concepts presented in this article might bring about measurable benefits to the practice of management, which include:

  1. The simplification of models and the acceleration of process automation, which lead to cost reduction and a faster pace of the benefits of implementing process management e.g. due to more efficient communication with the organization.
  2. The ability to adapt the specific form of presentation of processes to the expectations or requirements of process performers.
  3. Focusing process modeling not only on reflecting existing knowledge on business operations, but also implementing the ongoing verification of accumulated knowledge and the acquisition of new knowledge within the organization, which will allow the organization to adapt to changing business conditions at a quicker pace.
  4. The practical optimization of not only static processes, but also dynamic processes, which will considerably broaden the scope of utilizing methodologies and BPM tools, bringing tangible benefits to the organization.
  5. Implementing knowledge management with a focus on acquiring knowledge in the course of process performance, which will considerably affect competitive advantage and the pace of development of the organization in the knowledge economy (Jung, Choi & Song, 2006).

Despite the fact that theoretical discussions on the scope of use of dynamic BPM are still ongoing, in practice there no longer exist BPMS systems which would function in accordance with traditional process management (Liu, Li & Zhao, 2009; Kemsley; 2009b; Gong & Janssen, 2011). The majority of such process systems features functions which go beyond the scope of traditional process management, which some combine the features of BPMS with CMS (Gartner; 2015). In a similar fashion, most CMS systems allow for the modeling and use of process models in case management (ISIS Papyrus, 2016). The number of proposed practical methodologies and the development of IT systems aimed at facilitating the management of processes which are dynamic in nature (adaptive, agile, human, intelligence, etc) point to the enormous business need to manage processes on a serious basis. IThe generalization of traditional process management to dynamic business process management (including redefining the meaning of the term “BPM”) and the organization and integration within a single management concept of different practical methodologies and IT tools will lead to radical changes in the market of suppliers of BPMS systems and similar systems, which now encompass an entire spectrum of partial solutions (e.g. traditional BPM, adaptive case management, process mining, etc.). The creation of a cohesive concept encompassing process management and integrating knowledge management will develop using different patch and arise from different perspectives and points of departure.

The respondents of the concept integrating process management with knowledge management will consist of both researchers in the field of management and, first and foremost, practitioners dealing with the preparation and implementation of methodologies and tools in the scope of process management and knowledge management in organizations, including:

  1. Suppliers of BPMS and CPMS, Document Management (DMS), workflow, ERP, process mining and BI/BigData modelers and systems.
  2. Consulting and implementation companies operating in the field of process management and the broadly-understood use of IT systems in management,
  3. Public administration and business in the course of current and planned implementation projects in the fields of process management, the digital economy, crisis management, etc.
  4. The public sector, including healthcare management in the scope of projects pertaining to the creation and implementation of clinical pathways (dynamic clinical pathways).

The exchange of information on the needs, perspectives, or adapted solutions might, in effect, significantly influence the paths of development chosen by different suppliers, as well as influence the choices of specific clients.


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Szelągowski, M. (2004). Szczegółowość identyfikacji procesów i działań w zarządzaniu dynamicznymi procesami biznesowymi. Zeszyty Naukowe „Studia i Prace” KZiF SGH w Warszawie, 49, 114-128.

Szelągowski, M. (2014). Becoming a Learning Organization through dynamic BPM. Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation (JEMI), 10(1), 147-166.

Trkman, P. (2009). The critical success factors of business process management. International Journal of Information Management, 30(2), 125-134.

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