This was my first visit, and first presentation at bpmNEXT, and it was awesome! Hosted by Bruce Silver and Nathaniel Palmer at the Kimpton Canary Hotel in beautiful Santa Barbara, even the colder than normal temperatures didn’t damper the surrounding beauty of ocean and mountains, and the very pleasant atmosphere of the venue.

The topics ranged from BPM, BPMN, RPA, IoT, Blockchain, AI, ML, DMN, …, GDPR (what!?) and more. And an actual real robot was used in one of the demos (ITESOFT tied for best in show)! I really enjoyed the diversity of both the presenters, and the content. I think more than 1/3 of the attendees were from Europe.

Day 1 started with Jim Sinur, of Aragon Research, delivering a keynote of “The Future of Process in Digital Business”, followed by Neil Ward-Dutton, of MWD Advisors, on “A New Architecture for Automation”. Both keynotes resonated with me and how I think PMG relates to this space, and the larger market around automation.

A quote that resonates from Jim’s presentation is “Process will be at the center of Innovation.” I agree, and if you watch my presentation, you’ll see that I believe Process w/ Integration is the center of innovating going forward in a modular, cloud/microservices world. Jim also listed out the “Top Ten Fool Proof Digital Mini Journeys.” A handful of these really describe what we focus on at PMG. The top five that stood out were: Collaboration Focused, Process Focused, Customer Interaction Focused, Agile Integration Focused, and Low Code Focused.

Neil was a great sport in presenting a day early due to the schedule shift. I appreciate his willingness to deliver some of his ideas that he is still refining and looking for feedback from the group. Neil hinted at this keynote recently here:

The main item for PMG (and other vendors) to think about, is Neil’s notion that customers are going to buy more products that need to interact, integrate, and play nice with, instead of trying to transform their business with a big bang purchase of one suite. Again, my presentation aligns with the thinking here. In my demo, I focus on integration to other vendors and products (Microsoft, Amazon, Slack, Twilio, RPA Vendor X), instead of forcing innovation only within the PMG platform. We’re ready for “unpredictable demand for automation.”

Nathaniel Palmer usually kicks off day 1 with a keynote, but he was under the weather so he delivered his forward-thinking keynote on day 2, “BPM Trends 2018-2022”. Nathaniel is willing to make some predictions that differ than majority opinion (the smart phone will be dead by 2022), which is great! It’ll be interesting to see how his megatrend predictions play out the next few years.

One key takeaway for me now is around making “transparent AI.” Throughout the conference, a lot of talk centered around AI being a “black box”, and it is important for vendors and customers to have visibility into how AI and ML is working, making decisions, etc.

Another interesting point from Nathaniel’s talk and from a round of demo sessions the day before focus on Decision Management, DMN, and “Decision as a Service.” There’s a movement to get DMN to be treated as a “first class citizen” and I look forward to exploring that more.

There are so many more learnings and great takeaways from all the presentations and demos that followed the keynotes. For more info around those demos, Sandy Kemsley basically live-blogged most of the event at Please check it out – she nailed the coverage, and that along with the videos being posted to the bpmNEXT YouTube channel, is superb:

*Note – One of the few videos that have problems currently happens to be my session! The video part of the demo freezes around the 8-minute mark, and then entire recording ends about 5 minutes early. I’m sure they’ll have an updated version in the next few days.

I met a lot of great people, and look forward to seeing them again next year!