Gartner Blog Network


BI’s Days are Numbered – Here Come’s BPM Again?

by Andrew White  |  May 29, 2014  |  14 Comments

I will go out on a limb with this: I think the current popularity of “business intelligence and analytics” is about to play out its course.  I also think, and this is why BI will take a hit, that Business Process Management (BPM) movement will again become number one priority for CIO’s in terms of strategic investments.

BI and analytics has been top priority for CIO’s, according to our CIO surveys, for the last couple of years.  This has kind of wound me up a little (smiley face goes here).  For me, BI is incomplete.  Too much of it, the majority, is focused on “decision making”.  But the actual action taken, as represented by the business process, and instantiated by the business application, is left aside as if it doesn’t count.  For too long IT money has “gone toward the data warehouse” and not enough money is left to focus on how the action is specifically taken, and how the outcome assured.  As I used to say, if you are on a rail road track and your analytic tells you that the train is early, no amount of data warehousing will save your life.   You have to take action and get out the way.  That is not BI, that is Business Application.

Kidding aside, I think my point is not far from the truth, even if I don’t quite know the right way to make it clear.  I read through our 2014 CEO Survey report (see “The 2014 Gartner CEO and Senrior Executive Survey: ‘Risk-on’ Attitudes Will Accelerate Digital Business”) and I was very interested to read what is the CEO’s top technology priorities are.

The “most important technology-enabled capability investment over the next five years” is not BI.  BI came in fourth.  The top priority was “digital marketing”.  To me, the insight gleaned from information about customers, markets, and trends and intentions is a good thing, but actually taking action and doing something about that insight, and impacting the actual outcome, is the real deal.  Thus BI is being seen for what it is – a means to an end, not the end itself.  CIO’s need to wise up, I think, and lessen their focus on BI in isolation, and talk more about how business processes need to become more intelligent.  And how information is used in many more ways than with analytics, to express behavior and define how organizations work with their digital business environment.

The “process outcome” and “process integrity” of the next five years will certainly have a much stronger BPM focus; and the decision making element will be improved through embedding analytic within the process for sure.  So information management itself will get another flip, even as BI lessens in priority, and BPM will likely become top of mind yet again.

Just a hunch.  What do you think?

Category: business-intelligence  business-process-management-bpm  cio  

Andrew White
Research VP
8 years at Gartner
22 years IT industry

Andrew White is a research vice president and agenda manager for MDM and Analytics at Gartner. His main research focus is master data management (MDM) and the drill-down topic of creating the "single view of the product" using MDM of product data. He was co-chair… Read Full Bio


Thoughts on BI’s Days are Numbered – Here Come’s BPM Again?


  1. […] Source: BI’s Days are Numbered – Here Come’s BPM Again? […]

  2. […] came across this blog post from Andrew White, a Research analyst at Gartner controversially titled BI’s days are […]

  3. Difficult to separate data from process. Information is required to complete the process feedback loop to ensure it is running within tolerance. The delay in feedback needs to reduce. BI needs to move away from the nighly batch to something closer to the business process. There are a number of technological options to achieve this, but first we must understand the processes and their data inputs and output. Mapping this as part of a BPM initiative is key.

  4. Shash says:

    I think its bigger than BI or BPM. Companies will connect the dots to build “knowledge automation” systems. This will involve data flowing from your BPM system into the Data Warehouse. Then augmenting the warehouse with predictive modeling and machine learning. Finally this combination of historical and predictive data is fed to a decision service which executes decisions and feeds the outputs back to the BPM systems. This results in intelligent processes which leverage historical data, forward looking data and also human expertise where needed.
    Bottom line: It’s not either or. It’s the combination.

    http://www.thedataczar.com

  5. Andrew, terrific insight into “decisioning” versus “process”. With good data (depending on MDM), then good analytics, and lastly good judgement, the organization presumably will enjoy good decisions.

    But as you are suggesting, the question is “decisions to what end”? In other words, “What is the purpose of the organization”? Decisioning is part of good management for the purpose of business. And the purpose of business is to perform work in some category.

    There’s one software category that is explicitly about the “work of business”, and that software category is business process software. Insofar as BPM technology is sufficiently capable, BPM becomes the backbone of business, around which all other technologies are supporting technologies.

    BPM requires a good foundation of data of course. So it’s very interesting and telling that Gartner’s MDM thought leader sees the use of data for business, i.e. for the purpose for which it is funded, as expressed in BPM.

    BPM technology is evolving towards the capabilities that are required to be the “backbone”.

  6. […] a week has passed since I lauded the importance of BPM with “BI’s Days are Numbered – Here Come’s BPM Again?”  And just yesterday I was so wound up from a specific end-user inquiry that highlighted the need […]

  7. […] a week has passed since I lauded the importance of BPM with “BI’s Days are Numbered – Here Come’s BPM Again?” And just yesterday I was so wound up from a specific end-user inquiry that highlighted the need for […]

  8. […] a week has passed since I lauded the importance of BPM with “BI’s Days are Numbered – Here Come’s BPM Again?” And just yesterday I was so wound up from a specific end-user inquiry that highlighted the need for […]

  9. […] a week has passed since I lauded the importance of BPM with “BI’s Days are Numbered – Here Come’s BPM Again?”  And just yesterday I was so wound up from a specific end-user inquiry that highlighted the need […]

  10. […] a week has passed since I lauded the importance of BPM with “BI’s Days are Numbered – Here Come’s BPM Again?”  And just yesterday I was so wound up from a specific end-user inquiry that highlighted the need […]

  11. […] original source is clearer. It’s not that BI and analytics has ‘jumped the shark’, it’s […]



Comments are closed

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.