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BPM and Google Wave

Here at ActionBase we were really excited when Google Wave emerged, since we saw lots of possibilities of how Google Wave could shape the handling unstructured processes in the enterprise, in a way much different (and in our opinion more natural) then the current set of BPMS tools.

What surprised me most, was that not many other people seemed to as be excited about the impact of Google Wave on unstructured business processes and BPM suites. Then I saw SAP’s Gravity experiment – and I got really confused, not that it is a bad proof of concept – just that it focused on using Google Wave for the process modellers, not the end users of the processes created using SAP’s BPM suite. To me that seemed to be missing the point.

And then it struck me – for most BPMS vendors – that is what matters. They focus on process of enabling analysts, modellers and developers to model and implement applications that embody business processes- they don’t really think about the end-users of those applications ( or processes). A BPMS is a specialty application built for enabling analysts, modellers and developers to collaborate on creating applications that embody structured business processes. So choosing collaborative process modelling as a proof-of-concept application of Google Wave makes perfect sense from that perspective. Process modelling is good example of an unstructured, human centric collaborative activity – exactly the kind of thing that is hard to implement in a BPMS, but easy to implement in Google Wave.

I think that is why we are not hearing much about Google Wave for unstructured process (as well as the fact that it isn’t yet enterprise ready) – most people in the BPM space focus on the business process modeling and  implementation process using  BPM – not the actual end user experience of using those business process application. With that small shift in perspective – I think most will agree that the Google Wave model (not the current Google Wave implementation) has the potential for a sea change for a the way unstructured processes are handled in the enterprise (at least that is what we believe at ActionBase).

For the BPM folks I’ll pose the bootstrapping question – would you use your BPMS to implement the nest generation of your BPMS?