I also disagree with a lot of what Jean-Jacques Dubray wrote. Some of his premises are flawed and so are the arguments built upon it. Anyway, it’s a provoking post to anyone somehow involved with process automation.
I’ll focus on one central issue, the premise (behind some of the fallacies) that people are divided into two orthogonal categories: business people with no technology skills and IT people with no business skills. I believe in the existence of a category of process people (or process analysts, or business process experts, call it what you like), which are capable of a deep understanding of the business and a very good technology knowledge. If you admit the existence of such process people, the justification of some of the fallacies would not apply.
Of course you have to find and train the right people, a never so easy task, but feasible. I know several business people that have developed sophisticated Excel-based applications with UI widgets, VBA macros and advanced calculations. Also, I know a bunch of IT people that have a so deep knowledge of the business that business people call them when they have to explain how a process works. These are all candidates to become process people.
That said, I agree that BPMS vendors make a very bad work on promoting their products as one-push-button silver bullets. We hear all the time things like “just import your Visio process model into our tool and run it”. That hurts. Worse, some people believe them.
Also, I agree with most of what Dominique Vaquier wrote on the Six Fallacies of Business Process Improvement article. I don’t know much about the Praxeme method, most of the material is still in French, but I have been developing business entity lifecycle based systems for years and it’s a great pragmatic technique for process orienting your applications. Your proposed implementation makes a lot of sense, although I’m used to apply a Finite State Machine basic service with specific services for each business entity. Just a matter of implementation strategy.
thanks for these explanations, I think we are in violent agreement.
>> I know several business people that have developed sophisticated Excel-based applications with UI widgets, VBA macros and advanced calculations.
I know one of them, my wife, she has to show IT how to do things and all she know is how to get data from data sources and construct very sophisticated reports in XL. She is using InfoPath more too. I even taught her how to use ASP.Net to write some basic data entry forms.
That being said, what I am used to is to work with Lean Six Sigma groups and I found it hard to identify people that can do both. I agree with you that in time this role will develop, but we have to admit, that today, we need to find a solution who will work in general, there are enough barriers to grow BPM.
I am really glad to hear that you had a similar approach to the one Praxeme recommended and that it worked well for you. The translation is going very well. I have read their latest book (in French) and I am really impressed by what they have developed.
>> I have been developing business entity lifecycle based systems for years and it’s a great pragmatic technique for process orienting your applications.
This is the kind of stories that needs to come out. To the best of my knowledge this kind of pattern is not well know. If you would like to write an article for InfoQ or BPTrends, you are more than welcome.
Thank you for the incentive, I’ll try to write things down a little bit.
I’m curious to see the whole material about the Praxeme method in english, hope they can get it translated soon.
Anyway, I think that you have always to apply the best tool for the automation scenario you’re facing. Sometimes it’ll be a transactional BPMS, when the nature of the process matches the DNA of the product, sometimes a process-oriented collaboration tool and sometimes a custom solution based on a proven framework like the one we developed or Praxeme proposes. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, like some vendors try to define their offerings.
Regarding methods, I like Martyn Ould’s Riva method that – like Praxeme – is very refreshing and innovative in it’s core concepts and implementation.