The story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is actually a cautionary Business Process Management tale!  This became clear to me last week when I attended the Forrester Research #BPF10 conference at the D.C. National Harbor.  Here’s why.

In her adventures in wonderland, Alice: 

  • – Grows larger and smaller in a manner that seems to be not quite in her control and is frustrated by never being quite the right size.
  • – Encounters a series of puzzles that seem to have no clear solutions, even though they appear to be familiar or solvable. 
  • – Takes a series of risks that could seriously hurt her, but never considers the worst as a possible outcome. 

These are exactly the issues that business process management can help address, and as I have come to expect from Forrester, their conference sessions dealt head on with these tough challenges: 1) organization and control, 2) problem solving and case management expert guidance, and 3) process analysis and risk management.  Connie Moore and her team provided a wealth of practical yet thought-provoking ideas and shared useful real world examples, including many delivered firsthand by the companies themselves. The speakers clearly had a mastery of and were passionate about their subject. While there were no cries of “off with their heads,’ one company case study did explain how they no longer had a CIO in their organization.

 Throughout the conference, I was most taken with the discussions that focused on people, organizations, and the culture of change.  I’ve written about change management in a number of posts and articles, most recently in Backslide.  So the recurring conference theme — the challenge of achieving process-driven change – was of keen interest to me.   To achieve this transformation, Forrester recommends:

  •  Use Value Streams (like Order-to-Cash) as a change management vehicle to provide a unity of vision focused on the customer;
  • Leverage process as the Common Language. Forrester has identified that in order to achieve transformation, you need to lead change, not just manage it, by creating change agents inside your organization.  These change agents, along with business architects, process analysts, and development can use process as the common language for transformation.
  • Build an Agile Enterprise (one with the ability to change in the context of process) and an architecture that can scale while supporting change, and
  •  Apply Lean Governance to provide guardrails for delivery to ensure safety and predictability.

  To read more about the conference sessions, check out Sandy Kemsley’s coverage at her Column 2 blog – she did a great job of summarizing the conference and a number of the highlight sessions.

 One final observation, this conference collocated the Business Process & Application Delivery Forum with the Content & Collaboration Forum 2010.  That was great because I was able to also take in a number of the C&C sessions and talk to Forrester analysts from both practices.  I recommend for the future that these two forums not only continue to collocate, but also consider sharing a keynote and other sessions that will bring our understanding of process and content closer together in the quest to  drive transformation.