BPM (Business Process Management) is not Workflow. It is Workflow and much much more. So whether you need workflow or BPM is based on your needs. Typically what enterprises need is BPM. By “enterprise” I dont simply mean a 1000+ user organisation, rather an organisation with the needs of an “enterprise” – not necessarily the typical spending dollars attached to them.
If you look at the evolution of “workflow”, what started as routing tasks and managing logical flows between groups of people and systems has now grown in to providing centralised process management, organisation wide reporting and operational features. Enter process intelligence.
These requirements are historically attached to an enterprise.
If you take the reporting requirements, just displaying data about the workflow alone is not sufficient. Users demand access to workflow data, meta data and data that is related to the data routed around the workflow. They want to use reference data from various back-end systems. They want to push and pull data with these back-end systems as the process flows.
Users want to have content related workflows and process centric workflows. They may get quality assured through a process and perhaps create content during this process. They want a single tool to manage these processes regardless of the content systems, storage mechanisms they may use.
Users want support for multiple UI technologies. They want to use presence information for intelligent task routing. They want social networking to be leveraged in task routing as well. They want to react to business events happening in the processes in real time. They need to be able to configure these (re)actions for those events independently of the processes. They want to be able to do this run time.
Most of all they want the flexibility of change. They want configuration and not coding.
These are enterprise level requirements. These days, this is what required by users, regardless of the size of their organisations.
The “Dynamic Business Applications” concept is core to the K2[blackpearl] platform. In a Dynamic business Application, Developers code/customise and the business configure the process application. This brings collaboration to BPM. It makes the collaborative process assembly real. It also gives choice of tools as business and developers require different tools.
BPM provides the power to the business. Not for just running workflows, but for running dynamic businesses – which is what organisations are all about.