Posted by: Adam Deane | 09/09/2012

BPM Quotes of the week – Sandy Kemsley

There were quite a lot of BPM blog posts written over the past week, so I decided to publish Sandy’s quotes separately.

Sandy Kemsley is probably the best known independent analyst specializing in business process management and enterprise architecture that we have currently in the industry.

Most of her blog posts are around conference and product reviews.
I’ve blogged about her before (Sandy Kemsley) and I still find her reviews to be straightforward, informative, and most importantly – interesting to read.
She’s been in the industry from the start and has a good perspective on what works, and what doesn’t.

She’s blogs, tweets and is a big believer in Social BPM (annoyingly even her cat has more followers than most of us)

Enough of the intro. These were some of her quotes that I found interesting this week:


The original drivers for BPMN were to be usable by the business community for process modeling, and be able to generate executable processes, but these turned out to be somewhat conflicting requirements since the full syntax required to support execution ended up making BPMN too complex for non-technical modelers if considered in its entirety.


The case management modeling notation (CMMN) is under development, and there are currently mechanisms for a CMMN model to invoke BPMN. Personally, I think that it might make sense to combine the two modeling standards, since I believe that a majority of business processes contain elements of each.

On ACM and PCM

The distinction between PCM and ACM has created a thin, rarified slice of what remains defined as ACM: doctors and lawyers are favorite examples, and it is self-evident that you’re not going to get either doctors or lawyers to draw event-driven BPMN models with the full set of 100+ elements for their processes, or to follow rigidly defined processes in order to accomplish their daily tasks. Instead, their “processes” should be represented as checklists, so that users can completely understand all of the tasks, and can easily modify the process as required


He states that drawing a diagram (such as BPMN) requires a level of abstract thinking that is common with developers but not with end users, hence BPMN is really a programming language. Taking all of that together, you can see where he’s coming from, even if you disagree: if a system uses BPMN to model processes, most people will not understand how BPMN models work [if they are drawn in full complexity by developers, I would add], therefore won’t modify them; if all users can’t modify the process, then it’s not ACM.


In other words, just like Jessica Rabbit, BPMN isn’t bad, it’s just drawn that way.


  1. Excellent !

  2. Fantastic post..

    The stage we are at is end-user empowerment of process mapping, imrovement and deployment within an ACM/BPM environment such that end users can engage processing of best practice instances and/or initiate ad hoc interventions at Cases.

    Where the rubber meets the road some assistance is typically needed in four areas:

    a) bridging of workflows across functional units, given that processes often span functional units.

    b) rule set construction to enable auto-execution of “system” tasks

    c) compliance checking/enforcement with internal and externally mandated rules and regulations

    d) data collection exchange by and between multiple internal and external systems that require some standardization in the area of data transport formats using formatting and parsing utilities..

    And always there is the “forest/trees” issue that all processes must be supportive of strategy and have a dual focus of ‘delighting customers’ and satisfying shareholders and staff.

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