Monday, August 26, 2013

The Ying-Yang of Change

We all know that change is necessary for progress, but we all have problems with it. Organizations are challenged to generate more revenue per hour worked. There are a number of ways to get there. One is to cut costs and burden your partners or workers with unattainable goals. This is the favorite tactic of the CFO. The other is to raise revenue by having better products for new customers or sell more to your existing customers. This is the favorite tactic of the CMO. Another approach is to be more excellent in your approach to combining both tactics and pursue excellence in attaining both with process. This is the favorite approach of the COO.  No matter the approach or combination of approaches, people have to change and this is a very personal journey for these folks. There is a key dichotomy that these people feel. It is what I call the "Ying-Yang" of change. Focusing on change is really key for process efforts.

See for more of my fractals

People See the Need for Change: (Ying)

If you talk to folks honestly, they will tell you that they see a need to make things better. We all see ways of making things better including unnecessary activities, error cycles, opportunities for automation, opportunities for collaboration and ways to get to desirable business outcomes in better ways. We all secretly wish for better ways to complete work and create better relationships with customers. Is it a motivation or communication issue? I think there are deeper issues than just the traditional "carrot and stick" approach to solving this important challenge.

People are Deathly Afraid of Change: (Yang)

Everybody wants change, but nobody wants to change. Why is that? Everyone fears the process of change and fears the results might not be what is best for us. Also we, as experts of the current process, know how to work the process in force to get results for both the organization and ourselves. It takes a bold and secure person to embrace change and these kind of folks are pretty rare. Managers need to address these fear issues by communicating with more sensitivity and allowing people to try out the change without consequences.

Net; Net:

If you are working on process improvement, understanding and dealing with the "ying-yang" of change will be key for successful process efforts. Now that technology change is not in the critical path as much as in the past, because of the agility BPM technologies brings to the party, being excellent at people change becomes the desired skill set.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blog Activity for the Second Trimester of 2013

First off, let me thank my loyal readers for your time and attention that you bring to my blog. I thought it would be good to share what people are reading in the last trimester. I am encouraged by the maturity of the process movement as a goodly number of organizations I talk to are attempting more important processes to extend BPM benefits to organizations.  Of the 44 posts that are now out on my blog, here are the top ten topics that are garnering attention.

As you might expect my US readership is large, but there is  thankfully a worldwide interest in the blog. The big surprise, for me, is the level of interest in Russia and Latvia. Other than these two new sources of avid readers, the normal countries are represented.

Net; Net:

There is plenty of interest in process topics and I expect to continue to search out interesting ones for you :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Process Lifts Governance to a New Level

Good governance for businesses and processes mirrors the way we describe good governance for countries, but it is more prioritized and focused (see figure 1). Quite often governance springs out reaction to situations that keep occurring, so extension and adaptation are very necessary to be successful with governance that is on top of things, so to speak. Business process management (BPM) is very adept at agility needed to tweak processes and governance rules. In addition BPM helps turn governance from reactive to proactive.

Figure 1


Most Governance is Reactive:

If you look at most governance programs, they focus on catching things later when something goes off the rails. Even the more sophisticated governance programs search for known violations and really don’t prevent governance violations, but they report when governance is broken. This is a very reactive approach and the lead times for making changes in brittle applications prohibit organizations from stopping future governance events. Come up with new guidance, rules and constraints and you will likely wait in line for service.

Process Enables Better Governance:

Smart and adaptive process helps governance in several ways. First BPM takes governance rules and constraints and puts them in the process to keep governance violations from happening as process development has a solid anticipatory set of disciplines to create and visualize a process model. Where the structure is not there in the process, several excellent process engines allow for constraints to keep process participants compliant. Secondly, BPM and its supporting technologies are aimed at dynamic process, rule and constraint change in a rapid fashion. In more sophisticated processes and technologies, the goals of the processes can change with the need for better process outcomes.

Net; Net:

Intelligent and agile processes are really a great aide to evolving and static governance programs. It’s all about prevention and rapid adaptation.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

VIdeo Interview on Process Evolution with Jim Sinur

Mark McGregor interviews Jim Sinur to find out how to go beyond simple automation and what it really takes to be successful and deliver on intended process outcomes. Jim stresses the importance of business architecture and the need for process maturity. You can skip the last question is you want to avoid a commercial on Provision. Excuse the noisy birds in the background. Enjoy.

The Big Race for Big Data Utilization: Applications or Processes

We all know that big data is a great help for off-line deep thinking business problems. This will continue to be one of the major drivers for big data and poly-analytics. I think there are two other contributing streams that are trying to speed up the thinking process and leverage big data plus poly-analytics in-flight. They are applications and processes in tandem or separately.

Applications and Big Data Analytics:

Applications are great for best practice implementation and for standard processing, but they always have had problems with recognizing when a new practice or a better practice may be needed. Big Data analytics will help discover sooner when a standard transaction or sets of transactions are no longer "the best".  In addition, if the parameters, specialty data and rules, that drive the applications are held "in memory", the responsiveness of applications change from intolerable to business tuned.

Processes and Big Data Analytics:

Processes are great for real time status and dynamic agility to adjust to changing conditions. Processes can dynamically configure, manage or measure people and system resources.  Until recently have not had the kind of analytics to intelligently manage the agility they posses to adapt to changing business conditions and new desired outcomes. Big Data analytics can help discover where processes need to be tweaked in near real time and keep processes on point to changing goals.

Who Cares?

Businesses that want optimize or capitalize on trends should really care how they leverage Big Data and Poly-analytics. It can mean the difference in revenue per hour worked and the satisfaction of customers or partners. This is not only deep thinking, but faster thinking for business edge.

Net; Net:

I believe applications have the early lead in applying big data analytics to date, but process is closing the gap fast.  As processes and applications instrument for better analytic behavior and make themselves more consumable, by event driven agents for instance, businesses will be able to be proactive and reactive in balance. We all win :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Processes Are Missing Out on Real-Time Information

Traditionally, processes are designed for rigid “straight-through processing” without human intervention, unless there is a major exception of deviation from predictable workflows between known job roles and process participants. In a world where things can be predicted, modeled, and carved in stone, this might be appropriate. But the world is changing fast and this can no longer be the norm for the foreseeable future. Processes and business process management (BPM) will have to evolve to deal with a faster pace of change. We see this in agent-oriented business process management (aoBPM) and adaptive case management, where events play a bigger role in the processes. Today, volatility is introduced because of extreme competition, customer demands for satisfaction, geopolitical and economic, and the desire for better business outcomes.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Big Data is Bridging the Great Divide

There is a lot of buzz around big data these days and I am excited by the opportunity to leverage poly-analytics against large amounts of "in memory" data. I think one of the major benefits, that goes unheralded, is the ability to span the time and space gap between operational processes and analytic data.


In the 80s there was a sharp divide created between operational transactions and reporting environments. IBM started this trend and pushed this separation because of the potential impact on performance. This divide also separated inexperienced business professionals from the experienced technical wizards. This artificial wall has been here for a long time. While we broke down the large data caches into smaller and more manageable data marts, but  the convergence of operational and analytical data sources was not practical.


Big Data allows for a bridging of what was considered an impossible gap, until recently. This is the real story for organizations, despite the great application of big data for deep thinking problem sets. It is easy to glean tactical benefits with big data quickly when combined with poly-analytics. While this is great, the big win, in my mind, is the bridging of this gap which allows organizations to increase speed and velocity of processes.


This bridging of operational time demands and back-ground analytical reporting allows processes to become smarter and quicker. Add "near real time" and "predictive capabilities" and now organizations are no longer driving through the rear view mirrors and can opportunistically steer through emerging events and patterns.

Net; Net:

The "big deal" in big data is the ability for organizations to get ahead by leveraging new smarts and speed in and around their processes. Thank God this divide is finally disappearing for processes in particular :)