Is Process a Dirty Word?

Jim   Sinur
Jim Sinur VP and Research Fellow, Aragon Research Read Author Bio || Read All Articles by Jim Sinur

I am hearing that people frown on the word process these days because of what it implies in the minds of folks.  The outdated view is that 'process' implied a rigid and inflexible approach to work actions that support a static business model.  Well, I am here to say that nothing could be further from the truth in today's leveraging of process.

Processes are Not Limited to Actions Anymore

First off, processes not only can act, they can sense and decide new courses of action, leveraging a combination of pattern recognition and decision features based on events, cases, process instances, and data (big data or not; cloud based or not).  Processes are good at action, don't get me wrong, but they can do more.  They also don't get the respect they deserve in other areas because they are cross discipline and each discipline claims to have its own domain.  Processes are great at cross-domain impact.

Processes are Not Limited to Structured Best Practices Anymore

Processes are no longer rigid flow models that are drawn, "agreed to," and carved in stone.  While process may start with process models, in the future the process model will more represent the audit trail of what the process did and the decisions it made.  There are many self-adapting processes that work within governing constraints, business plans, and goals.  This is a fast-growing trend that is being accelerated by many technologies and techniques, such as adaptive case management.  Dynamic processes are becoming the norm these days.

Processes Can Adapt to Changing Business Outcomes

Processes are becoming more goal seeking in their design and can change in near real time, if needed.  The power of change in processes is now considered as an "ante" in the process game.  As time rolls along, processes will more commonly seek conflicting goals by balancing them and linking to the internet of everything.  There are many examples of processes plugged into live agents (human or bots) that provide and demand information and actions.

Net; Net

Right or wrong, processes have gotten a bad rap because of the history of processes.  They go back to the idea of static production lines of yesteryear.  Just like the production lines of today, flexible and adaptable, processes can behave in a similar fashion.  All the technology is here; the methods are emerging, and there are many proof points in production today.  Over the next 5 years, processes will prove to be the coping and training mechanisms of business change.

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Standard citation for this article:

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Jim Sinur, "Is Process a Dirty Word?" Business Rules Journal, Vol. 16, No. 5, (May 2015)

About our Contributor:

Jim   Sinur
Jim Sinur VP and Research Fellow, Aragon Research

Jim Sinur is an independent consultant and thought leader in applying business process management (BPM) to innovative and intelligent business operations (IBO). His research and areas of personal experience focus on business process innovation, business modeling, business process management technology (BPMT), processes collaboration for knowledge workers, process intelligence/optimization, business policy/rule management (BRMS), and leveraging business applications in processes. Mr. Sinur was critical in creating the first Hype Cycle and Maturity Model, which have become a hallmark of Gartner analysis, along with the Magic Quadrant. He has been active in the rules, data and computing communities, helping shape direction based on practical experience. Mr. Sinur has vertical industry experience on the investment and operational sides of the insurance and financial services.

Read All Articles by Jim Sinur
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