Maureen Fleming of leading market research analysts IDC, discusses data’s evolution in business processes. So why is treating your data right so important? And what can businesses do to leverage its value in a customer-centric world?

Vice-President-IDC-Maureen-Fleming SMALL

1. In your opinion, is data the new big thing of a modern BPM?

Moving data from a subordinate element of a BPM software product to a first-class citizen is definitely an important evolution of BPM software. Five years ago, customers struggled with the idea that they should minimize data design in favor of a strong focus on process design. Since then, of course, we’ve all been challenged with the complexity of development and change management using BPM software within a process-dominant structure. Data entities and corresponding models bring considerable clarity and flexibility to process development and support a broader array of automation patterns useful in day-to-day work.

2. In what ways does this help to deliver an outstanding multi-channel customer experience?

Separating the data, its structure and location from the process makes development much more reusable and data much more consumable across the relevant applications. Multi-channel means different things to different people, particularly by industry.

In a BPM context, it means there is a relationship across application front ends to the backend processes and supporting data. That frees developers to design the best application for the touch point: whether mobile, cloud, on-premise, whether the application is inbound call center, self-service portal, kiosk, etc., and whether the process automation design is classic task-centric workflow or case centric.

3. What is your advice to BPM vendors looking to get the data challenge right?

Make sure you separate out data design from process design in any process automation effort regardless of tooling. Design for the atomic unit for both process and data.

These atomic units should be simple sub-processes and data entities. This enables more complex composition while also providing the benefit of reusability. Assume change will be constant. Choose a product that supports change at its core – then design and develop as if change is a constant.

Want to learn more? Our whitepaper Untangling BPM Spaghettidescribes why a data-centric foundation is essential to competitive success – and how to leverage the benefits for your organization.