Kohlborn, D., Mueller, D., Poeppelbuss, P. and Roeglinger, D. (2014), "New frontiers in business process management (BPM)", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 20 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/BPMJ-02-2014-0015Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
New frontiers in business process management (BPM)
Article Type: Guest editorial From: Business Process Management Journal, Volume 20, Issue 4.
The academic field of BPM as we know it today has emerged out of at least three major traditions: the management tradition, the quality control tradition, and the IT tradition (Hammer, 2010; Harmon, 2010). Each of these traditions used to take and often still takes a different angle on processes: approaches from the management tradition (e.g. Porter's value chain and business process reengineering) tend to focus on the overall performance of the firm, quality control approaches (e.g. Lean Management and Six Sigma) emphasize the importance of a continuous and incremental improvement of single processes, and most approaches from the IT tradition (e.g. Workflow Management and Service-Oriented Architectures) strive for increased process automation.
In the 1990s, modern BPM gradually emerged as an overarching field of research with the goal of integrating the different and so far rather independent traditions of managing processes. From today's perspective, we have to ask ourselves whether we, as the BPM community, have reached this goal. A good source to look at when trying to answer this question are recent reviews of BPM research. Sidorova and Isik (2010), for instance, published an exhaustive and cross-disciplinary review of BPM research in the Business Process Management Journal, analyzing the abstracts of all 2,701 academic articles that are available through the Business Source Complete literature database and that contain the keyword “business process.” The analysis of Sidorova and Isik indeed shows a rich and inclusive picture of BPM research. Business process design, process-supporting IT, organizational implementation issues as well as continuous management and control were identified as the four cornerstones of BPM research that are surrounded by associated research areas such as human resources, supply chain management, marketing and CRM, e-commerce, or knowledge management and innovation. Thus, BPM has evolved into an overarching and interdisciplinary field of research.
Although the BPM community has made great progress in linking diverse traditions and research streams, we are convinced that laying back is no sensible option. Rather, the BPM community should strive for further extending the reach and richness of the BPM field beyond its current frontiers. Considering the reach of BPM, for instance, the growing importance of business networks requires end-to-end processes to be managed across multiple organizations. The roles of workers and customers are also expected to change, evolving into more active initiators and participants of business activity in general as well as process improvement and innovation endeavors in particular. An increasing number of organizations of different sizes and domains, which so far refrained from adopting heavyweight approaches to manage their processes, are waiting for adaptable, situational, and agile BPM methods and technologies. Regarding the richness of BPM, new methods need to be developed and adopted to extend the BPM toolbox beyond traditional process design, process model analysis, and process execution, to also include tools for radical redesign and innovation. Here, state-of-the-art social, mobile, and web-based technologies can support the involvement of internal and external stakeholders and thereby elicit valuable ideas for process improvement and innovation. Likewise, we should leverage the potential of big data and advanced analytics to generate insights into business processes, improve organizational learning, and enable innovative business models. Both ideas – extending reach and extending richness of BPM – are reflected in the papers of this special issue.
Synopsis of the contributions
The special issue begins with a viewpoint paper by Jan vom Brocke, Theresa Schmiedel, Jan Recker, Peter Trkman, Willem Mertens, and Stijn Viaene who present ten principles of good and contemporary BPM. The set of principles stems from group discussions with BPM experts and is grounded in academic literature. The principles explicitly call for an inclusive perspective on process management as reflected by, e.g. the principles of holism, continuity, and technology appropriation. The principles also provide a research agenda containing several questions that can guide future BPM research in extending its reach and richness.
The paper authored by Janina Fengel elaborates on how semantic technologies can be leveraged for aligning heterogeneous process models, an increasingly important task in the context of large process model repositories and when consolidating historically grown process model collections. Against this backdrop, a method called semantic model alignment is presented that combines semantic analysis, ontology matching methods, and information linguistics in order to heuristically compute semantic correspondences among process models that are semantically heterogeneous regarding modeling and domain language. The suggested combination of technologies deals with semantic heterogeneity in a holistic manner, which extends the richness of BPM.
With MUVE, Paulo Rupino da Cunha, Ana Sofia Antunes, and João Barata provide a lightweight auditing tool for diagnosing frictions and deviations in business processes. They performed an action research study in which the MUVE tool was developed as a simple-to-use, but still powerful instrument for identifying pain points regarding the motivation, understanding, values, and efforts of process participants. It provides a novel approach to process analysis and extends the reach of traditional analytical methods involving those who execute the business processes directly. The customizable questionnaire is presented in full in the appendix of the paper and can thus be adopted by any organization.
In their conceptual paper, Stephan Bögel, Stefan Stieglitz, and Christian Meske propose an innovative approach for modelling collaborative business processes based on the conceptual idea of role models. They aim at mitigating two common problems in process modelling, which are the model-reality divide and lost innovation. The authors outline the foundations of their idea and present a draft architecture of a possible solution. Supporting collaborative process modelling, the approach helps extend the functionalities and the number of users of BPM tools within organizations.
As part of their literature review, Julian Krumeich, Benjamin Weis, Dirk Werth, and Peter Loos analyzed more than 130 conference proceedings and journal articles to discover major gaps in literature regarding the current state of Event-Driven BPM. To that end, conceptualizations of Event-Driven Architectures and Complex Event Processing are provided before current research in these areas applied to BPM is synthesized into distinct clusters to provide insights into the state of the art. Subsequently, related challenges are identified to propose a research agenda that aims at providing directions for fellow researchers.
The special issue concludes with an interview with Professor Michael Rosemann, one of today's authorities in the BPM field, who shared with us his thoughts on ambidextrous BPM. According to Michael Rosemann, the BPM community has, since its conception, put much effort in mastering exploitative BPM that focusses on analyzing and automating single processes as well as on improving such processes step-by-step. However, explorative BPM, which emphasizes radical process change, process innovation, and the enabling of new business models, still is in its infancy. Professor Rosemann therefore calls for ambidextrous BPM integrating exploitative and explorative capabilities, more interdisciplinary research as well as a closer collaboration between academia and practice.
Dr Thomas Kohlborn, Dr Oliver Mueller, Professor Jens Poeppelbuss and Dr Maximilian Roeglinger
This special issue would not have been possible without the supportive participation and hard work of our authors and reviewers. The Editors received 21 manuscripts for this special issue, whereof five could be accepted for publication. This corresponds to an acceptance rate of about 24 percent. The Editors would also like to thank all authors whose manuscripts could not be published in this special issue and hope that they continue considering the Business Process Management Journal for submitting their work in the future. The Editors are very grateful to Michael Rosemann for sharing his thoughts on ambidextrous BPM. Finally, the Editors would like to thank Sophie Barr from the Editorial office of Emerald Publishing for her dedicated support as well as the Editor-in-Chief, Majed Al-Mashari, for supporting the idea of organizing this special issue. The Editors hope that the interesting papers compiled stimulate further research on extending the reach and richness of BPM.
Hammer, M. (2010), “What is business process management”, in vom Brocke, J. and Rosemann, M. (Eds), Handbook on Business Process Management 1, Springer, Berlin, pp. 3-16
Harmon, P. (2010), “The scope and evolution of business process management”, in vom Brocke, J. and Rosemann, M. (Eds), Handbook on Business Process Management 1, Springer, Berlin, pp. 37-82
Sidorova, A. and Isik, Ö. (2010), “Business process research: a cross-disciplinary review”, Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 566-597
About the Guest Editors
Dr Thomas Kohlborn is a Project Manager in Operations Development at the Woolworths Limited. Prior to commencing his career in the industry sector, he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Woolworths Chair of Retail Innovation as part of the Business Process Management Discipline at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia. His research interests are in business process management, innovation management, and IS adoption as well as in e-government. His PhD focussed on service and process management in the public domain; in particular, it focussed on the conceptualization of innovative methods/processes for the derivation of service bundles for governmental one-stop portals. His work has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals and presented at major international conferences.
Dr Oliver Mueller is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Information Systems at the University of Liechtenstein. Before joining the team, he worked as a Researcher at the European Research Center for Information Systems (ERCIS) at the University of Muenster, Germany. In 2011, Oliver finished his doctoral thesis about customer decision support systems. Prior to his academic career, he gained industry experience as a Consultant for supply chain management and as a Visiting Researcher at SAP Research. Oliver's research interests are business process management and decision support systems. His work has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals and presented at major international conferences. Dr Oliver Mueller is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Jens Poeppelbuss is a Professor for Industrial Services at the University of Bremen, Germany. In 2012, he received a PhD in Information Systems from the University of Muenster for his work on developing methods and tools for assessing and improving business process management capabilities in service networks. His main research interests are in the areas of service management and business process management. His work has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals (including Business Process Management Journal, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, and Business & Information Systems Engineering) and presented at major IS conferences. He has been serving as Associate Editor and Minitrack chair for BPM-related tracks for several years (e.g. at ECIS and AMCIS). Professor Jens Poeppelbuss is also the corresponding author and can be contacted at: mailto:email@example.com
Maximilian Roeglinger is a Professor for Business and Information Systems Engineering (BISE) at the University of Augsburg, Germany, where he Heads the Research Group on Value-based Customer Relationship and Business Process Management at the FIM Research Center Finance & Information Management. Maximilian publishes in academic journals like Business & Information Systems Engineering, Business Process Management Journal, Decision Support Systems, Journal of the Association for Information Systems, and Journal of Strategic Information Systems. Maximilian is engaged in many applied research projects with industry partners like Allianz, Deutsche Bank, Fiducia IT, Infineon Technologies, Radeberger Group, and Siemens. Many of these projects are conducted in close collaboration with the Fraunhofer Project Group BISE. Maximilian earned his PhD at the University of Augsburgand and holds a Diploma in BISE from the University of Bamberg.