Posted by: Adam Deane | 25/05/2010

BPM Trends: Mobile BPM

Mobile BPMIn software, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards.”

Mobile BPM is not the “next big thing in BPM”, nor is it “a great collaboration feature”. It’s just a necessity.

The world is moving forward. Employees are now using mobile phones for business.

BPM solutions will be required to facilitate these new communication methods.
BPM vendors that won’t start planning now in a calm and orderly fashion, will be developing later on in a panic.

Remember those experts that said that web forms will never take off (and got stuck with the old clunky window forms)
Remember those experts that said that SharePoint and ECM are a different industry therefore BPM doesn’t need any integration with them.

These are the same experts that won’t foresee the next wave: Mobile

Gartner predicts that by 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide (source)

Gartner Says Enterprise Mobile Phones Will Replace Desktop Phones in North America by 2011 (source)

IDC predicts that the world’s mobile worker population will pass the one billion mark this year and grow to nearly 1.2 billion people – more than a third of the world’s workforce – by 2013 (source)

So are the web based BPM applications going away? Not likely.
But prevailing wisdom is that the BPM suites and the enterprise applications must evolve to embrace the new reality of mobile.

Mobile phone are no longer for personal use only. Work is no longer done just in the office. Employees receive company mobile phones to enable them to be online 24/7. (the modern slaves…)
Even one of UK’s biggest rubbish collection companies, has given 1,500 of its binmen BlackBerry-type devices so they can “get more done on the move” (source)

I don’t believe BPMS vendors need to start building mobile apps.
• In phase one, most organisations will need support sending a task to the mobile and enabling the user to approve/decline and add comments.
They will also want users to be able to review documents and approve them.
The BPMS will need to support all kinds of mobile phones, not just Blackberry.
• In phase two, users will want to see their task-lists from their mobiles.
• In phase three, a new species of social BPM network will start to emerge.

Investing in Mobile BPM is not a “nice to have” feature. It is just a necessity for any BPM suite.
It won’t increase the revenue. It won’t make processes more efficient and it probably won’t have any real ROI.
But pretending it won’t happen and burying your head in the sand won’t help you either.

Additional Reading:
Why Is BPM Lagging Behind Other Applications in Going Mobile? (Read the comments)
Where is Mobile BPM?


  1. If you want a taste of mobile in action, and not just simple process mapping….

    Push the envelope and don’t just think of it as BPM on your phone !

  2. I disagree with the premise that BPM is lagging behind other apps in going mobile. Yes, there are a zillion mobile apps, but there are very few business mobile apps. I do not see mainstream business applications such as ERP, CRM, EDMS going mobile as yet. So where is the BPM lag?

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