By Peter Franz, CEO BPM-D

These are interesting times for anyone working the BPM space and this week’s IRM UK BPM Conference looks like it will be hitting all the hot topics. I particularly like the theme being addressed by the keynote speaker, Professor Eddie Obeng – “How to live in a world which is changing faster than you can learn”. This will no doubt address many of the challenges faced in this ever evolving world and particularly those created by the pace of digitalisation.

Most of us are familiar with the need to operate in the digital as well as the traditional physical worlds; e-commerce, digital, online, social media – we’re on it, or at least working on it. Now we need to be ready for these two channels to merge. People, things and business will soon become so interconnected that it will be hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.

In this new blurred world it’s not just people who will be making demands – but things too. And they’ll be talking to each other without telling us; mobile phones will call emergency services, car computers will contact the garage and printers will order cartridges. Business not only needs to be ready for this change but part of it.

Personally, I like the idea that we need to keep learning but it is a challenge – especially for highly experienced people at the top of an organisation. In my view, good process management is essential to enabling business leaders to have a better understanding of their organisation’s processes. Once they differentiate the strategic from the routine processes and prioritise the higher impact processes, they will improve agility and it’s this agility which is likely to prove critical in what Professor Obeng, rather disconcertingly, calls the “World after Midnight”.

Aside from the keynote speakers, I am always curious to hear about specific case studies so I’m delighted to see a number of interesting organisations talking at the conference. “Development of a Business Process Management Capability at John Lewis” with Kendal Maher and Janine Snodgrass on Tuesday morning should be fascinating and I’m keen to catch up with what’s happening at Birkbeck University when James Smith talks about “Achieving Operational Excellence through BPM” on Wednesday.

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