Monday, March 2, 2015

Processes are Going Hybrid for the New Digital World

These days the idea of hybrid is popular in business and technology, but it has multiple implications for processes. While hybrid cars are gaining popularity and hybrid crops are a polarizing topic, hybrid for processes will be an important evolutionary step as the scope of process impact continues to grow to cross internal and external boundaries. Process creators will be combining different colors, textures and mixing mediums for the desired end to end process master pieces. The art metaphor doesn't quite hold together as processes can dynamically change to have an evolving master piece, but art gets close to the idea. Hybrid Cloud is a hot topic today, but the implications for process are more varied. I have identified five areas where processes will leverage hybrid approaches that can be put together in many combinations and permutations.

Hybrid Resources: 

Processes can leverage a myriad of skills, knowledge and system components. From a people perspective, processes can conduct, orchestrate and enhance collaborations across multiple disciplines, skill and experience levels. From a system perspective processes can do the same for process components of varies sizes on granularity as well.  Processes can manage and visualize the execution of services, APIs, snippets of processes and whole systems while delivering business outcomes. In addition, processes can enable the people machine interactions in new and evolving ways as cognitive computing emerges upon the scene. Resource management is the most common form of hybrid pattern for processes to leverage. 

Hybrid Process Styles:

There are various styles of process that have specific uses for specific problem domains, but more and more these styles are being combined as the use of process broadens in it's scope and impact. Certainly, straight through processes styles can be combined with case management to handle exceptions. When exceptions rule the day, which they may very well as we move to massively customized processes customized by each customer and their demand for a personalized experience, rule dynamic, intelligent and case management styles become more dominant. Depending on who you listen to, there are a myriad of process styles. I have seen forms driven, straight through, content collaboration, guided navigation, case management, intelligent, goal driven and agent styles employed in organizations singularly or in various combinations. 

Hybrid Speed to Smart Results:

Many of the unique process styles have implied speed expectations. straight through processes are expected to be completed in sub-seconds and cases can linger for months or longer. With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), speeds have increased to nano-second responses.  Processes can handle hybrid combinations of timing goals from nano-seconds to years and everything in between, but mating these together requires deep thought to marrying the styles.  

Hybrid Business Outcomes: 

As processes expand their scope across internal and external organizational boundaries, the balancing of business outcomes desired by each organizational unit needs to be taken into account. As processes extend to enhance the customer experience, each customer will have a say in their expected outcomes. Process will have to represent the hybrid goals of all the parties and will likely shift from flow driven to goal driven based on a "best hybrid result" for all parities involved without violating goal and governance constraints. 

Hybrid Digital Technologies: 

While processes are now absorbing some of the early digital technologies to help organizations deliver adopted digital business models, there are more digital technologies on the horizon to leverage as businesses transform. Today we are now employing social, mobile and cloud and these will still offer new and growing opportunities in better customer experiences. Next in the pipeline are event/pattern detection, big data analytic capabilities, Internet of things, robotics, smart media and cognitive computing. 

Net; Net:

As processes head towards managing the "end to end" experience in the most savvy manner, hybrid behavior will become the new normal. This is an essential building block to become a significant player in the new digital world. Get ready for the opportunities, challenges and threats. The first step id to unlearn the old definition of process and get with the new and evolving hybrid definitions. They will be goal driven and act in swarming "just in time" fashion to support customer journeys.

Further Reading:

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