Posted by: Adam Deane | 12/06/2011

Final thoughts on the IRM BPM 2011 conference


I was fortunate enough to attend both the Gartner EA conference and the IRM BPM/EAC conference this year.
Gartner added a BPM track to their EA conference.
IRM combined the EA and BPM conferences into one joint conference.

There were some subtle differences between the conferences:
Gartner’s message to the EAs: “Wake up and start embracing the business”
IRM’s message to the EAs: “Too late. Enterprise Architecture has already been divided into IT architecture and Business architecture. Deal with it”

Gartner focused on the future of EA: Energetic, Gamification, Business oriented.
IRM focused on the past: Trips down memory lane, The glory days of EA that have long gone, The “has been”.

One of the most enjoyable sessions was the “Business Architecture” panel.
A panel of very serious, respectable EA professionals with an old school approach…
and this cheeky, cocky young Enterprise Architect (Dan Jeavons) that contradicted everything they said. You’ve got to smile…
If the new generation of EAs are anything like Dan, then there is a great future for Enterprise Architecture.

Paul Harmon gave a good presentation on the history of BPM.
He called it “BPM Outlook: BPM Trends and Directions”, but it was actually a history review. (I think even his graphs ended 5 years ago).
His emphasis was on the past. No mention of Mobile. No Enterprise Streams. No Case Management. No Cloud. No BI. No Open Source. No ACM. No CEP. No Social BPM….
An Enterprise Architect’s authority comes from their experience and knowledge, being up to date with technologies and trends. I feel it would have been more beneficial to provide them a complete and updated review of the BPM industry.

Ian Gotts gave a fantastic presentation on how to sell BPM to the CEO. Ian, a brilliant public speaker gave an interesting and enjoyable session on the subject (even though his presentation was filled with company promoting, it was still well worth it…)
I was hoping to meet Mike Gammage, Chris Taylor and Mark Cotgrove, but they didn’t come to the conference.

Derek Mier presented Forrester’s view of processes as capabilities and services, as opposed to Gartner’s definition of them as assets.
Unfortunately Derek’s session was too short, and he didn’t have enough time to explain the outcome of the new approach. I’ll need to follow up.

Peter Matthijssen had an amusing presentation on Six Sigma.(… but I still don’t buy into the Six Sigma magic…)

Roger Burlton was a great host. Calm, clear and his witty remarks went down well.
I think he did a great job hosting the BPM side of the conference. Personally, I found his session on Governance to be most beneficial, as it’s a subject I’m working on now.

In fact, the whole BPM side of the event was well organised and presented nicely.

Speaking of hosting.. Unlike the Gartner event where you needed to book time to speak to the hosts, in the IRM event the hosts kept to themselves, huddled around a coffee table, waiting for people to approach them.
If you’re hosting a party – don’t hide in the kitchen. Go and mingle with the guests.

I think the joint conference was very beneficial for the EAs (learning about BPM).
Maybe a little less for us BPMers… I went to the EA sessions to learn something new and came away a bit disappointed (most of them were discussions about terminology and 33,000 feet philosophies)
Don’t get me wrong, a pure BPM event would have been too technical and marketing. Joint events make good sense. For their next event, I would advise joining EA with ERP, and joining BPM with CRM/ECM/CIO

Bottom line. The IRM was a good event. The sales guys (we were sponsoring the event and had a booth there) told me that they got more qualified leads than in the Gartner event, so we will definitely be coming to the next IRM conference.
The food was good, Internet worked (unlike the Gartner event). And the best part of it all was that I met in person the people that I enjoy twittering with on the web:
Sandy Kemsley (@skemsley), Alec Sharp (@alecsharp), Derek Miers (@bpmfocus), Rob Rensman (@process2go), Marco Brambilla (@MarcoBrambi), Ian Gotts (@iangotts)


  1. […] would normally just ignore stuff like Adam Deane’s blog on last week’s IRM conferences, but couldn’t help tweeting a reaction, and then another. I don’t really want to start […]

  2. […] Deane has perhaps the best overall review of the event in a single post: I was fortunate enough to attend both the Gartner EA conference and the IRM BPM/EAC conference […]

  3. Thanks for the shout out. To make presentations entertaining requires stories, and I really only know those that involve Nimbus hence the references and the view that it is ‘self promotion’.

    Hopefully the audience can see past that to the more important message which is

    “BPM is hitting the Boardroom – make sure you don;t blow your only chance with the CEO”

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