The greatest impact on business process over the last decade has not been specifically the change in technology, but rather it has been the dramatic shift in customer expectations. More than simply “cheaper,” “better,” “faster” but “HERE and NOW.” In just about every type of interaction, this change in expectations shifts the burden from consumer to product/service provider – i.e., rather than forcing the customer to come to you on your terms – your store, your branch, your website, your contact center – they increasingly expect it to be resolved in the moment, wherever that moment takes place.

This change of expectations represents a growing and irreversible and growing impatience, with every form of customer: not simply consumers but voters, partners, suppliers, employees. We want it now, and this impatience is being reinforced and rewarded via the omnipotent trend we’ve been collectively calling “digital disruption.” Whether it is sensor-enabled predictive maintenance or on-demand transportation from a smartphone, we’ll never accept going back to the ways things were.

2016 is turning point, and soon we will have a host of new devices for which we haven’t defined the category for, but are about to become ubiquitous in our homes and businesses. All of them new channels competing for your customers, as well as for you to reach them. If you think the “nurturing emails” of marketing automation are annoying, just wait until your toothbrush and refrigerator get in on the act.

But sure, this is old news. And in fact it was last year’s news when we announced “BPM Everywhere” or BPME. Yet, as Peter Fingar prophetically describes in his prediction below, this now unfolding in 2016 even faster than anticipated. We now truly beginning to see the second order effect of pushing intelligence in edge points. Rather than have one new digital interface, the reality of IoT means many, simultaneous channels of interaction, from smart devices to intelligent agents, from connected cars to social robots.

What does this mean for BPM (and BPME)? Process, Rules, and Data – how we leverage data-driven process intelligence and decision management will be key leverage points for realizing measureable optimization and differentiating competitive advantage. The critical connector there, is rules. Modeling and management of business rules has been an exotic pursuit for the last decade, but it is squarely on the map for 2016.

Again, over the course of 2016 we will be focused on how to fully exploit the emerging tools and methods discussed in this series – how pivot to digital transformation through BPM. We will be kicking off that conversation over the next few weeks with a series of articles, podcasts, webinars and white papers.

We have asked both leading BPM software vendors and the top BPM thought leaders to share their views on what to look for, and what their plans are for 2016. This vision provides a roadmap of not only what is store for BPM in 2016 but the road ahead for digital transformation.