bpmNEXT v6: a short review

Last week was the sixth bpmNEXT conference, and my sixth time there and fourth time presenting.

Every year bpmNEXT is one of the most essential things in my calendar – principally because it provides a super-concentrated opportunity to make sure I’m up to speed with what many of the BPM, Decision Management and process automation vendors are doing and planning. It also doesn’t hurt that the venue in Santa Barbara, CA is lovely…

Sandy Kemsley and Kris Verlaenen both did a great job of live-blogging the event (something I could never do!) so I won’t attempt to review everything we saw – you can head to their excellent blogs for that. You can also find videos of all the presentations on YouTube (thanks to a heroic effort from the event’s production team).

For me personally, the most intriguing pitches were from:

  • Flowable – showing how case and process models can be used to drive chatbot conversations with digital assistants.
  • Bruce Silver – showing how DMN models can be used to make buy/sell stock trading recommendations based on analysis of historical stock performance.
  • Signavio – showing their new Customer Journey analysis capability.
  • Cognitive Technology – showcasing the myInvenio process mining tool, working in conjunction with RPA from Automation Anywhere.

However the standard overall was really high. I encourage you to check out the videos if you have time.

This year the conference also gave me a great opportunity to road-test the work I’ve been doing in our community over the past few months on ‘automation architecture’. The feedback was awesome, so I’m excited to now get to work on turning my presentation into one (or maybe more) reports. Watch this space. In the meantime, here’s the video of my talk.

bpmNEXT really is a great achievement for the organisers – the environment is perfectly set up for encouraging attendees to feel comfortable about sharing their ideas and plans. There’s a great community spirit as a result. I certainly hope I get the chance to attend and present again.

If I could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the event, it would be to broaden its focus (and the presenter gene pool) slightly. Almost all of the vendors presenting are active in a broader ‘business automation’ technology marketplace, but there’s not as much awareness in this community of what that broader marketplace really looks like, as there should be. In an ideal world I’d like to see presentations from RPA champions like Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, UiPath, Kofax etc; low-code application development specialists like Mendix and Outsystems; and integration specialists like Dell Boomi, which have flow automation capabilities – as well as from business process and decision automation mainstays.


One thought on “bpmNEXT v6: a short review

  1. Scott Menter

    I endorse your call for wider participation at bpmNEXT (though I, personally, am wide enough already). However, I’d condition attendance on a participant’s willingness to share. The conference is every bit as terrific as you paint it, but a quick way to kill it would be to invite lurkers. We’ve struggled with a few of those already (not naming names, but you recently published a commentary on one of the worst offenders); such behavior is completely antithetical to the “community spirit” that you correctly suggest makes the event so special.

    If the conference were to expand in the way you recommend, the organizers would probably have to offer new ways to share in addition to the 30-minute presentations. I think they’re up to the challenge. 🙂


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