Mobile BPM: Expectations and growth potential

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Companies are increasingly focusing on mobile BPM due to the expanded scope of enterprise workflows to outside the office rather than just personal correspondence and email. However, the concept is still in its infancy and not many enterprises are aware of it in spite of the efforts from major players like IBM, Oracle and Appian. The growth potential of mobile BPM is huge since it is horizontal to many industries.

According to Janelle Hill, Vice president and analyst of BPM Research at Gartner, many RFP’s do not know the specifics of mobile BPM and those who do utilize it, makes use of mobile BPM for notifications and task approvals.

The potential of mobile BPM is huge since all business professionals are mobile workers now and so are on-call professionals.

Big processes on smaller screens

Analysts are of the opinion that enterprises and BPM vendors have to acquire a better understanding of mobile BPM potential and give room for expansion from its current uses. Teresa Jones who is principal research analyst of BPM at Gartner stated that the app-centric nature imparted by mobile BPM will reinforce a false perception that apps are required for BPM. However, she said visibility of the ongoing processes is needed as well, in the case of mobile BPM.

Assessing the impact of processes and then incorporating them in a mobile phone is the challenge to address in mobile BPM.

Now mobile BPMs are transitioning to native applications and BPM browser options. The limited screen challenge of mobile BPM favors tablets, in particular, Apple’s iPads. Google Nexus 10 might also soon figure prominently in the arena. Teresa Jones substantiated that BPM vendors demonstrate knowledge-centric processes with the help of tablets widely these days.

Mobile BPM, social media and security concerns

Mobile BPM will have great capability in leveraging social media to its advantage. On incorporating ad hoc and social tasks and interactions that are originating from mobile devices, the standard workflows can be changed. Hill from Gartner said that Overriding and empowering users with special user privileges can alter workflows to a large extent.

However, there are several security concerns that add to the mobile BPM adoption as well. This is an elevated worry especially in BYOD (bring your own device) phenomenon. There is all sort of data linked during business processes due to which security play a prominent role.

According to Sandy Kemsley, independent consultant in BPM analysis, certain services in BPM will require the devices to be connected to the cloud of the vendor before going to customer’s servers. This is not allowed in many industries. He said that a method has to be devised to separate the corporate use of the BYOD from other uses as this could cater to the needs of the business and that of the owner of the device.

Mobile BPM curve is definitely on its way up. The growth potential is huge and so are the concerns. However, the biggest road block in the efficient expansion of functions of mobile BPM is the lack of understanding of its growth potential.

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