The State of Business Process Management 2008

by Grant HEnson

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The Business Process Trends (BPTrends) 2008 report on the State of Business Process Management (BPM) provides a comprehensive snapshot of the BPM landscape in 2007, as perceived by 274 diverse respondents from various industries worldwide. This report drew insights by comparing the responses with those collected from a similar survey involving 348 respondents in February 2006.

The survey participants represented large, medium, and small companies, forming a robust cross-section of industries worldwide. The breadth of this group lent credibility to the assertion that the report offers the most comprehensive and representative overview of organizational understanding of BPM, current BPM activities, and future plans related to BPM.

The Evolution of BPM

Since 2003, BPM has been a focal point of business discussions, often seen as the logical continuation of the interest in business processes that began in the 1980s. This interest peaked in the mid-1990s with concepts such as Six Sigma, Business Process Reengineering, Workflow, and ERP. However, today's discussions around BPM encompass several new approaches, making it challenging to develop a concise understanding of BPM.

Given its extensive roots and varied interpretations, the term BPM holds different meanings for different people. These differing interpretations arise from the diverse communities involved in its usage – including executives, business process consultants, business analysts, Six Sigma practitioners, enterprise architects, CIOs, and software developers.

Decoding the Many Faces of BPM

In response to the complex and dynamic landscape of BPM, BPTrends has endeavored to establish a common BPM vocabulary. Despite these efforts, terms like 'process' and 'framework' still carry different meanings depending on the author's intent. To minimize confusion, the 2008 survey used multiple-choice questions and descriptive choices wherever ambiguity could arise.

The Future of BPM

While the term BPM might mean different things to different people, the importance of understanding and managing business processes is a universally acknowledged business principle. As organizations and technologies continue to evolve, so too will the understanding and application of BPM.

Through reports like the BPTrends State of BPM, the hope is to continually inform the ongoing conversation about what BPM is, how it's being utilized, and where it's heading. By doing so, practitioners and organizations can compare their BPM efforts with those of others, helping them to learn, grow, and make more informed decisions about their own BPM initiatives.

Key Findings from the 2008 BPTrends State of BPM Report

  • The understanding and application of BPM is still evolving.
  • There is a growing recognition of the importance of BPM.
  • Organizations are increasingly investing in BPM.
  • BPM is being used to achieve a variety of business goals.
  • There are a number of challenges to implementing BPM successfully.


The 2008 BPTrends State of BPM Report provides valuable insights into the current state of BPM and the future of the discipline. The report's findings suggest that BPM is a maturing discipline with the potential to deliver significant benefits to organizations. However, there are a number of challenges that organizations must overcome in order to successfully implement BPM. By understanding these challenges, organizations can increase their chances of success.

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