Tuesday, February 23, 2016

IBM InterConnect 2016: IBM Wants You to Transform to a Digital Business

There were between 20 and 25K participants at IBM InterConnect this year and IBM was being very pragmatic on how to start your digital transformation. IBM wants you to "OutThink" your competition leveraging their easy to use "Smart Hybrid Cloud" offerings. In fact IBM was basically daring clients and prospects to innovate by experimentation by getting their feet wet on IBMs rich hybrid cloud. The argument was compelling and backed up by customer stories and new announcements by Robert LeBlanc of IBM to bolster their hybrid cloud.

The highlights of the improvements include a partnership with VMware, the acquisition of video players and the movement of IBMs many moving parts to the cloud. IBM announced the offering of an Apple collaboration of a new language called SWIFT. Finally a step up from C, C# and Java to a more business productive language short of rules and BPM, of course. Between a better language, Blue Mix and IBM BPM customers have a choice of linking micro services, APIs, Cogs and services in the cloud.

What About Process?

I had the privilege of participating on an esteemed panel to talk about the future of process in the digital world where we talked about the role of process in incremental transformations that could be self funded by savings generated by process improvements on current processes. Process will take an "Outside In" approach in the new Digital era, but until that is complete BPM delivers value and becomes a funding source.

Cognitive IoT:

One of the more exciting sessions was on the application of cognitive operations in a world of super big data generated by the IoT. Cognitive brings out the light in dark data to make it usable for preferred outcomes that compete strongly. Honda was highlighted as one case study to show how they became competitive in formula one racing in a short time leveraging cognitive IoT.

Net; Net:

Interconnect 2016 was a challenge for organizations to start their transformation journeys and IBM stand ready to help with easy to use and initially lost cost approaches. The cost in the long term is not clear at this point in time.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Up Coming Events for Collaboration in 2016

There was strong momentum for organizations to start mapping their transformation to the new digital world in the first quarter driven by the threat of digital disruption. I suspect this will be a trend for the rest of 2016. I expect that there is a lot to talk about in a number of up coming events. 


Date           City                Sponsor                 Content

2/21      Las Vegas          IBM Interconnect   Digital & BPM  
3/13      Hanover GE       CeBIT with SAG    Digital Business Platform
4/18      Santa Barbara   bpmNext                 Digital Disruption
5/12      San Francisco   Aragon                    Digital Disruption 
5/16      Las Vegas          Tibco Now               Digital & BPM
6/5        Las Vegas          Pegasystems          Pegaworld & Digital
11/1      Las Vegas          BBC                         Building a Digital Transformation Plan

Net; Net:

These are exciting times of better customer interaction, improved business operations and new business models. Efforts are emerging and transforming to take advantage of the new digital world.     I am just thrilled to have a seat to watch what organizations do with their opportunity to create new services or products and extend existing business models. See you on the your journey of transformation to digital. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bag Big Benefits with BPM

The problem with process efforts leveraging BPM these days is that it doesn't get respect until organizations want big returns on investment (ROI). When the economy looks difficult, organizations run to head count adjustments and cutting travel first. The very next move almost always includes process improvement driven by BPM. As soon as the storm passes, organizations forget about BPM and move onto something more flashy. Smart organizations have figured out that BPM not only delivers consistent ROI results, but BPM/Case is the hidden driver inside of the digital movement. It is not likely that organizations will back away from the digital movement in a challenging economy. BPM delivers solid ROI at a minimum and amazing ROI along with digital progress. This should be the time to invest heavily in BPM because of it's scope of impact and give it the respect it deserves despite it's lack of flashiness.

BPM Delivers Consistent ROI:

In study after study over the last 15 years, BPM has shown to deliver great ROI performance and in most cases it delivers higher than the investment hurdle rate. A low rate of return for BPM is over 15%, but the high end can be spectacular. This is really hard to ignore, but it requires an up-front investment that delays immediate cash flow. This is somewhat compensated by the fact that BPM delivers faster than normal results, so the cash flow delay can be minimized. BPM leverages iterative fast development leveraging the latest project development methods, model driven and incremental composition code approaches. Now that BPM incorporates Case and Knowledge Management for emergent and undefined processes, the benefit pool has been expanded.

BPM Has the Potential for Spectacular ROI:

Every BPM vendor can give you case studies that have hard benefit ROI results that are over 100% While there is no guarantee of triple digit ROI results, there are many examples available. This does not factor in the intangible benefits of customer, employee and business partner satisfaction. It also does not factor the advantage of an organization that is built for change. BPM is highly adaptable and benefits can be kept from eroding over time by making key adjustments, even in flight.

BPM Delivers Digital Business:

BPM is business code that can handle a continuum of processes and cases, from the static process to the highly adapting process that revolves around case work. It can handle variable timing from nanosecond response when linked to the internet of things (IoT) to the overnight processes of legacy and purchased applications simultaneously. As pieces of process (snippets) are performed locally and managed globally, like in an IoT enabled process, BPM will play a bigger role.

Net; Net:

It's amazing that BPM is not on fire with the proven and potential benefits that it delivers. I guess you can say the BPM is the Rodney Dangerfield of methods, techniques and tools. It just doesn't make sense that organizations are not leveraging the big benefits that BPM delivers. When will the world wake up?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Global Health Organization Manages Projects with Process

A large global health organization leverages a hybrid process/project capability to give global and local visibility to project progress by leveraging a dashboard that represents project progress and interconnection. This represents a break through in managing projects for this organization,

The Problem: 

With hundreds of concurrent projects consisting of thousands of tasks involving many different organizations, run over multiple years, across the globe, getting a clear picture of project status was impossible using a traditional BPM or project management tool. 

The Solution:

Project enabled BPM was used to design and manage all of the global projects. Analysts are able to design complex processes using a simple point-and-click tool, and managers are able to use a Gantt chart to manage timelines as these processes are executed.The tool supported an advanced version of Critical Chain (CCPM) methodology that was used to provide a powerful "Early Warning" system. Each project was entered as a process, but managed as a group of associated projects. Some of the projects implemented process as well.

The Results: 

A single system for managing all projects provides unprecedented real-time visibility across the extended organization. This significantly reduces management effort, improves decision making, and facilitates global resource management as all the interconnections are factored in the project dashboard. 

Net; Net: 

While this organization has not made the hard benefits public yet, one can only image the amount of time wasted to gather the information to manage multiple global projects with local variations by location. The brilliance of capturing projects as processes allows for better management as sequence is captured and managed. This approach could also be leveraged to manage a portfolio of processes 

This is a highly summarized and anonymous case study provided by Silver Tree Systems leveraging Work Relay 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Digital in a Down Economy

It seems that the stock market is a leading indicator for future economic behavior. Even if it is not true this time, businesses are cutting back to bolster their profits to make sure they are prepared for anything that happens. So what should organizations do about the big digital trend facing them as well? There are three responses that organizations will likely consider in the coming months and years. Organizations can cut back on the digital bet, double down on digital or keep the bet constant. No matter what the direction changes will be made to tune the digital investment.

Digital Cut Backs:

There are a range of cut back approaches that can take place, but some things are changed forever. What shouldn't be changed is the "outside in" view of customer / constituent interactions because organizations will be punished in the long term for ignoring digital customer demands. Organizations that are leaning in this direction should pick digital options that bear short term financial benefits. This will work in the short term, but there are risks that your competition will stay the course and make smart adjustments to hurt your organizations future. A slash and burn strategy is a sign of desperation and it does not bode well except for a very short period of time.

Digital Double Down:

It might be time to accelerate certain digital efforts especially around dealing with expensive knowledge or service work. It might be time to apply cognitive computing to the more complex work that is characterized by ambiguity and dynamic information rich problems. This kind of work has been largely overlooked for cost reduction. Those organization that are aggressive with digital may now pay significant attention to this rich pay dirt. Digital can be aimed at this fluid type of work to displace cost. This is a bit riskier strategy, but these times warrant a bit more risk because there are few sure things right now.

Digital Adjustments:

This approach keeps the focus on "staying the course", but it prioritizes digital activities that deliver hard benefits first. This includes assertive customer prospecting, optimizing operations with more business intelligence combined with processes improvements and refining policies / business rules for better tangible results. Some organizations will cut staff to offset the incremental digital costs. Nobody wants people cuts because they are generally random, but focused cuts driven by digital results is a good proven strategy.

Net; Net:

The power is shifting back to the financial folks and they will be relentless in their attacks on any investment that doesn't deliver hard benefits in a timely fashion. Do not "cave in" and cut digital in a random fashion. Be smart in aiming your digital efforts in the best way for your organization.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Setting Digital Principles

In order to reach a level of digital business that fits your organization you need to come up with principles and goals that get you there. These principles and goals act as tie breakers in the heat of battle. What will affect your principles will be whether you believe that you are just a business that leverages digital or whether you are a true digital business. Your organizations strategy could be aimed at diagnosing and eliminating near term challenges leveraging digital technologies with a “bolt on” approach while progressing to becoming a digital business that reflects all of the business goals and principles. With that being said, I have identified a good starting list for business principles and technical principles to use as a jump start list to add to or delete from. These principles might not work for a highly regulated organization, but they can be leveraged and adapted. 

Business Principles:

* Attract and Spoil Customers (start and finish outside in eliminating internal silos)
* Build with Inclusion and Organize for Change (agility is better than perfection)
* Create Operation Excellence (technology eliminates complexity & reduces cost)
* Encourage & Reward Innovation (products, services, processes / apps tire)
* Outcomes Ahead of Processes (goal driven processes/apps & smart actions)
* Make Visibility to All a Priority (not just for governance but for results analysis)
* Speed Wins over Perfection (evolution works and tech is fast)

Technical Principles:

* Collaborate with the Business First (represents the customer & constituents)
* Experimentation is Essential for Innovation (time and legality are the guardrails)
* Composition First Instead of Creation (somebody has already done it)
* Agile Development is First Prize (methods & practices encourage iteration)
* Scalability and Security Deigned Early (explosive growth breaks and attracts)
* Design for Sustainability (pillage mentality is dying)
* Design with Autonomy in Mind (central control relaxes with goals & constraints)

Net; Net:

While these principles and fleshing out the goals that cascade from these principles may not fit your organization exactly, these may give you a jump start. It would be important for you to define digital for your organization, so you might refer to this definition post