martedì 8 aprile 2008


Una delle classiche domande durante gli incontri con prospect è sulla differenza tra BPm e Workflow.Qui riporto la posizione di Jin Sinur, a suo tempo guru in Gartner e ora Chief Strategic Officier in Global 360.

BMP and Workflow

Many folks that I have talked to in the past think that there is no difference between workflow and BPM. I would like to examine the arguments around this statement. It’s not quite so simple to say they are the same because of the scope of BPM versus workflow, and it’s hard for folks with a workflow history to see the difference.

The Workflow View:

The workflow view says that work does flow in a process, so BPM is obviously workflow. It might be a bit fancier in the technologies that surround and enable process activity, but BPM is truly workflow. Workflow, as a technology, handled the work that was passed from one human to another.

Early instantiations of workflow were software implementations of passing multi-part carbon-paper-laced forms around, (designed before copiers, carbon paper was fused between multi-colored paper copies to duplicate through pencil/pen pressure on the top form), except these forms are now digitized. We have come far and are saving trees now, so content-based workflow is viewed to be the grand-daddy of BPM.

The Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC) is active in BPM, so BPM must be purely and simply “workflow on steroids”. I even used this analogy to avoid the arguments with workflow types.

The BPM View:

I think to say that workflow and BPM are one in the same is a bit outlandish, myself. Yes, work does flow inside of BPM technologies most of the time. It’s not true that work flows when sharing and collaborating within a case folder for knowledge workers because there is no flow. Each worker does their thing on a shared set of information that may or may not have activities completed on them. I think there are two other fundamental differences.

First, BPM is more than work flowing; it’s a practice and a discipline. BPM is a management practice that treats processes as a corporate asset in order to attain the goal of improving business agility and operational performance while staying compliant. Also, BPM is a discipline that employs methods, rules, metrics, practices and software tools to manage and continuously optimize an organization’s activities and processes in light of management strategies, decisions, policies, goals and tactics.

Secondly, BPM is agile, real time, can include deep system activities, and is visible. Workflow does not employ rules and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), which are essential for running agile activities. In the pursuit of constant optimization (saving as much time and money as possible under a set of changing conditions), BPM employs real time, complex events that can be initiated outside the scope of the process and allows for management to visibly see the effects of work completion and outside activities’ effect on the results.

Bottom Line:

Like it or not, there is an implicit link between workflow and BPM; but BPM is so much more than just “work flowing” AKA workflow. The discipline is going to a level of sophistication that business professionals demand and the technology is much more than workflow. These concepts are connected in the same family as process activity, but workflow is like the “horseless carriage”. BPM is the high performance vehicle for a number of needs.

Potete leggere il Blog di Jin Sinur con i commenti al suo post qui

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