The business process management (BPM) sector is undergoing a seismic shift as more organisations transform around digital technologies. With a greater emphasis on digital, many companies are realising that the technology itself doesn't change how they work. Instead, emerging solutions are valuable only when they are used to foster better work processes and empower users to get the job done more effectively. As such, BPM platforms are getting renewed attention as a way to coordinate, optimise and automate the underlying processes that keep work flowing smoothly. In essence, BPM is the connecting fabric in the modern digital enterprise.
With BPM gaining such momentum, 2018 is a big year in terms of how businesses use the technology to change the way they meet customer demands. Three major BPM trends that we are witnessing now and into the future are:
1. Businesses are Transforming Customer and Employee Experiences
As discussions on customer experiences continue to dominate a variety of industries, many organisations are becoming acutely aware that they can't make life better for their customers without eliminating the roadblocks that limit how employees handle key tasks. If workers are jumping through hoops to collaborate with colleagues, escalate support requests and access important data, those workers aren't going to be able to support customer experience excellence.
BPM software streamlines the backend workings of an organisation to create better employee experiences, laying a foundation for smarter, more responsive customer interactions. All of this is made possible through a combination of process optimisation and automation, transforming the way workers and customers engage with one another.
2. Organisations are Embracing RPA
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) allows organisations to capture data within backend systems and take action on that information based on predetermined parameters. In its simplest form, this innovation can be used for a simple workflow, but modern RPA solutions can incorporate artificial intelligence and robust analytics functionality to handle incredibly complex workflows.
RPA can connect processes, workflows and applications out to the devices a user works on. As such, RPA can eliminate the manual processes that have long held companies back and make complex custom code within data workflows a thing of the past. All of this is happening as companies work to shift from having a variety of divergent apps and services into a system where they do most of their work from a central platform, something that brings us to our third major BPM trend.
3. App Platforms are Driving Digital Transformation
Application development platforms are emerging as fuel for digital transformation. These solutions provide a stable backend ecosystem in the cloud so companies can easily build out workflows, processes and applications that integrate with one another. Low-code platforms especially standout for their ability to simplify development through a visual interface that allows non-programmers to mix-and-match distinct elements into a cohesive app. When platforms are combined with BPM functionality, the ability to align business and technology needs ramps up considerably.
As BPM solutions continue to evolve, they are increasingly being built into app platforms where they provide an underlying engine for process optimisation and automation. If a user needs an app to serve as a central hub for a product development initiative, the individual can:
- Drag-and-drop interface elements to craft a GUI.
- Use pre-built data workflows and APIs to pull the right data into the app.
- Establish user roles and permissions in a simple directory system.
- Leverage BPM tools to map out processes that interact with the app and automatically pull in relevant data, send notifications to stakeholders or otherwise streamline operations.
With platforms that are founded on BPM functionality, organisations can keep up with the enterprise app revolution. Just a year or two ago, companies could use low-code to build simple apps, such as a parking or room booking that has value but doesn't transform the business. With BPM and backend security systems in place, contemporary app platforms are becoming central hubs for digital transformation, providing an avenue where data and processes flow freely within the controls that IT teams put in place.
Appian is leading this transition to extend BPM's reach into the platform segment. Our Platform-as-a-Service solution offers robust low-code functionality combined with our proven BPM software to drive innovation in the enterprise. Need a new process? You can roll it out in weeks instead of months. Need to automate a complex process? Use our RPA tools to identify and streamline repeatable tasks. Ultimately, today's businesses need to change how they function to take full advantage of digital technologies. BPM provides a base to build upon.
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Karen Astley, Vice President Asia-Pacific, Appian