Monday, October 2, 2017

Customer Journey Mapping Vendors Rated

We all know that the Digital Transformation Age that we are currently in gives us a chance to treat customers in a much better way while becoming more operationally effective. There are a number of vendors that can use analytics to map out present journeys to look for operational opportunities. While these are necessary, they are not sufficient. The best Customer Journey Mapping Tools combine actual use data (clickstreams, logs, audit trails etc.) to mine customer journeys plus emotional data (surveys, discusions and focus groups) to create a holistic journey map. Aragon Research now has a rating of these complete vendors or those that are aimed in that direction. Using the Aragon trade marked Technical Spectrum (TS) methodology and visualization, this sector of complete journey mapping vendors are now rated here.

Free Research and Webinar on Customer Journey Mapping 

Additional Reading:

Customer Cultures 
Proud of Your CX
Future Proof CX
Journey Listening
Existing Process Problems
Customer Journeys and Organizational Silos
Journey Mapping for All
Journey Mapping Case Study

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Celebrating the High Fives

Everyone has “high five” moments that make you think about where you have been, where you are and where you are going. September 2017 s caused me to do just that as five “high five” moments have come together, all at once. Writing about them will help me deal with them as they are significant. 

Five Decades Leveraging IT to Help Organizations:
It started on September 27th, 1967 when I graduated from Electronic Computer Programming Institute (ECPI) at the age of 18 after spending a year learning how to wire EAMs, program IBM 1400 series computers and building COBOL skills. Green around the gills and draft eligible put me in a corner, so I took a part time job while attend school full time pursuing a Business Data Processing Degree from Milwaukee Area technical College (MATC).  The part time job became more than full time along with 15+ credits each semester. Thus started my long and storied IT career that funded two degrees.

Five Blue Ribbon Companies:

Wehr Steel: Supported conversions from IBM 1440 AUTOCODER to Honeywell 3000 COBOL

Northwestern Mutual Life:  Supported conversions from 7080 to PL/1 for Tax Deferred Annuity and Variable Annuity applications. Pioneered online systems for payment and Bond/Security Systems. Pioneered Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE), Data Administration and AI guided persona based workbenches.

American Express: Director that supported the world’s largest model driven and code generated system leveraging rule based approaches for international variations in a merchant management system. Directed Data Administration, Model Management and Case Tool Management.

Gartner: VP and Distinguished Analyst that supported Application Development, Meta Data Management, Legacy Leverage, Business Process Management and Business Rules Systems. Support 17000 career inquiries, two time winner of sales support awards and a thought leadership award.

Aragon Research: VP and Fellow supporting Business Process Management, Robotic Process Automation, Digital Business Platforms and Customer Journey Mapping.

Five New Markets Defined:

Business Process Analysis / Enterprise Architecture
Intelligent Business Process Management
Business Rule Management
Digital Business Platforms
Customer Journey Mapping

Five Hundred Thousand Hits on My Personal Blog:

Covering topics like digital, process management, business rules, digital business platforms, customer centric cultures, digital competencies / skills, artificial intelligence, legacy leverage and case studies.

Five Art Skills Generating Revenue:

Starting in late 2008, my art career has led to having my art in 30 private collections. Was fortunate enough to participate and flourish in 15+ exhibitions / contests. Highlights include one piece shown in Muse De Louvre, several pieces shown in Times Square, several pieces Art Basel Miami and one piece on Ashley Red’s music CD.

Oil Paintings
Water Color
Fractals / Digital
3D Fractals

Net; Net:

The biggest life accomplishment are my kids who have turned out to be diligent and loving humans. The biggest “high five”!!!  I did tell you about my eight grandchildren, the oldest turning 21 this month  I’m not sure if deserve all of this, but I am certainly eternally thankful J

Monday, September 25, 2017

Types of Customer Centric Cultures

Believe it or not when someone mentions "customer centric culture", there are probably multiple definitions of what a customer centric culture really is in todays world. New digital technology combinations gives us a shot at creating better customer focused solutions, but isn't the end game defining a customer centric culture? There are three major types of customer centric cultures I have seen, but there are shades of grey uncertainty that make it important for executives to define what they really want when they target customer centric cusltures. The three kinds of cultures are community based, chameleon based and commodity based that all affect how satisfied customers, employees and partners are in the long run.

Community Based Customer Culture:

The community based culture makes you feel special about beibg a part of the organization. This can be described as feeling that you are a part of a family at one end of the spectrum or feeling part of something really special at the other end of the spectrum. This is the kind of culture that is inclusive ans makes you feel appreciated and even wanted or respected. I find that these kind of customer cultures used to be prevalent, but are few and far between these days. In fact many companies abuse your time and patience to optimize their costs and profitability and create and "us versus them" mentality instead of a community.  If your customers belong by treating them special over the long term, they will stick with you.

Chameleon Based Customer Culture:

The Chameleon based culture changes it's expreience with you as it learns who you are and what your immediate, mid term and long term goals are going forward. This kind of culture appears to you as something you need and can change and renew paths and goals as new information or contexts are detected. It is a responsive culture that is aimed at dynamic need fullfillment. It offers a foregiving and encouraging experience that adapts to changing conditions in real time. If your customers belong to you, help the fullfill their needs in ways that fit them.

Commodity Based Customer Culture: 

Definable, standard and repeatable are the watch words of this culture. It's all about leverage standard and practiced responses for the best effeciency. This culture is usuallly tipped to help the organization; not the customer. The customer tends to feel like a commondity and has to deal with well worn paths to an outcome. This lind of cutlture aims to make money. If your customers belong to you, you should be effecient for all parties sake. However taken to an extreme will drive folks away.

Net; Net: 

Like it or not our executives have to define the kind of target customer centric culture they want their organization to represent. Most likely a great and balanced customer culture will have some of each basis built into them over time. The mistake would be to keep going towards a customer centric culture and not make it clear what you are targeting. You won't be rowing in the same direction at a sustainable pace. Digital transformations should help create and mainting a balanced and positive customer culture while targeting effeciency and gaining loyalty.

Additional Reading:

Proud of Your CX
Future Proof CX
Journey Listening
Existing Process Problems
Customer Journeys and Organizational Silos
Journey Mapping for All
Journey Mapping Case Study

Monday, September 18, 2017

Do You Need Technology to Assist Journey Mapping?

There are organizations that believe that the investment in customer journey mapping includes buying technology to assist in creating and maintaining the best customer journeys for a variety of customer needs and goals. There are also organizations that do not believe technology is necessary to deliver top notch journey maps. This writing will explore both approaches. Of course there are organizations that don't believe in journey maps and think that standard systems are good enough, but most of us wouldn't want to work for that kind of organization.

The Case for No Technology Assists:

Technology is not needed to deliver great journeys for customers. employees and partners. A good war room, post it notes and a sequestered group of experts with some survey data should be good enough to deliver a really great journey. While this is old school, it still works, so why complicate things with technology. In fact buying a jump start template and service provider with knowledge in particular knowledge world should be a good enough starting point.

The Case for Technology Assists: 

Technology is an absolute necessity for creating and maintaining the best journeys over a long period of time in a dynamic world.

Technology for Capturing Maps -  Journeys can be captured manually or generated from actual experiences for various logs. For organizations that are looking to plan out their journeys ahead of time with the intent of adjusting later, they will likely capture journeys in a manual fashion assisted by friendly software, through visualization tools or voice annotation capabilities.

Technology for Collaborating on Maps-  Journeys have to be shared across the whole organization for review, commenting, and creating consensus. Ideally, this secure software can be leveraged in the cloud for multiple geographical organizations.

Technology for Gathering and Integrating Various Data Sources - Journeys imply a goodly number of data sources that need to be brought together in order to evaluate and design better approaches to servicing customers, engaging employees, and enabling partners. The information sources include, but are not limited to, touchpoints, processes, systems, personas, surveys, scores, audit trails, and mining sources. 

Technology for Analyzing Data Sources -  Engaging journey visualization and analysis are the keys to designing and improving the user experience in an ongoing basis. Visualization gives perspectives that are typically horizontal and relational in respect to reach conclusions and point to alternative actions to improve the user experience. 

Technology for Visualizing Information Results - Examples of typical visualization approaches include actor step action maps, heat maps, statistical representations/scores, persona views, life cycle maps, and a day in the lifetime lines - all with drill down capabilities. Deeper analysis can promise potential changes in net promoter scores, a greater return on investment, and workload impacts. The better tools allow for the integration of additional outside analytical capabilities.

Net; Net: 

If you are considering a small scope journey or a highly standardized journey, maybe you can skip technology assists. It has been my experience that wider scoped journeys with a variety of views will definitely need technology assists. If real time adaptations are highly desired, technology assists are a necessity.

Additional Reading:

Proud of Your CX
Future Proof CX
Journey Listening
Existing Process Problems
Customer Journeys and Organizational Silos
Journey Mapping for All
Journey Mapping Case Study

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Are You Proud of Your Customer Experience?

Most top executives are not! According to a Harvard Business Review Analytic Services study with in-depth interviews, completed recently, with 680 top performing executives, there is a lot to be desired. Only 15 percent of the executives thought their customer experience was very effective. I'm sure the effective ones were basing their opinion on internal organization created surveys. This is disturbing in an era where the catch phrase is "A Customer for Life". The reality of the situation does not stack up to the desires. The study found there were three key success factors for the customer experience transformation necessary to keep customers. They were a customer centric culture, management/leadership buy in and getting real visibility into the actual customer experience.

Customer Centric Culture:

While 90 percent of the executives thought that a customer centric culture was important, only 45 percent thought they were effective. If you talk with the employees, I think you mind find the 45 percent number inflated. The accountants and the lawyers are chipping away at cost and governance creating a stiff head wind to traverse to the destination of an effective customer experience. It starts with the organizational charter and gets magnified by the CEO and executive team. Words are often there, but they get diluted by the time it reaches the actual customer experience. Often the customer service representatives are the shock absorbers between poor customer journeys supported by tired process and systems and the actual customer. They are the heros here.

Management/Leadership Buy In:

A goodly number of executives, 88 percent, thought leadership buy in was key, but only 49 percent thought they were effective. It's because nobody really measures it and gets rewards based on real customer satisfaction. Net Promoter Scores (NPS) are not the real measures in a stand alone way. There are other measures to track and reward. Of, course all executives want customer satisfaction, but is becomes lip service under fire. If it was important, it would be a bonus/reward factor for everyone.

Visibility and Real Understanding:

This is where the survey hit the skids. While 87 percent said that visibility was important, only 35 percent they were effective at visibility. Three-quarters of the companies were not able to act on the majority of data they collect because of disjoint systems and artificial stove pipes. Only 13 percent had a single source of customer intelligence though 30 percent were pursuing it. Only 23 percent of the managers were free to act on the data they collected. I would also guess few performed customer journey analysis in this mix.

Net; Net:

Customer experience is a crucial step in the digital transformation that can't be skipped or band-aided for long. If executives were serious the customer journey mapping and mining technology vendors would be over loaded with new business. It is not the case yet.  It's time to leverage some profits to help us walk the talk with better customer experiences. In all the companies I do business with, not one is even close to a good experience, much less a great and engaging one. In the mean time we all make due as customers.

Additional Reading:

Future Proof CX
Journey Listening
Existing Process Problems
Customer Journeys and Organizational Silos
Journey Mapping for All
Journey Mapping Case Study

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Future Proof Your Customer Experience

Nearly all organizations want a "Customer for Life" unless a particular customer is just plain toxic and difficult to work with over time. If you want the best customers, you have to treat your customers the best in your industry sector minimum.. In order to maximize the lifetime value of a customer, you have to be proactive to attract repeat business. This means you need to explore the ways to improve and future proof your customer experiences. While better leverage of websites, mobile / social channels, CRM systems and self service tasks will always be additive, but these efforts will not future proof your customer experience like the efforts below.

Improving Customer Journeys with Mapping:

There is a big disconnect between what customers want and what organizations provide at key touch points in a customer's journey. Customers want to have organizations know them, what they want and adjust to their special needs. What customers get instead is the challenge of navigating organizational silos, dealing with standard transaction focused systems and the privilege of  repeating the history to a customer service representative that has no freedom to handle exceptions. Worst of all customers have to answer rigid surveys that really do not allow for intimate feedback. Journey mapping is a great way to explore alternative approaches that can be implemented in a phased way.

Anticipating and Personalizing with Analytics:

Leveraging analytics that look at past journeys / cases and learn from them is a great first step, however that is not predictive, but reactive. While it is better than doing nothing, steps should be taken to predict what customers will want and how they will behave. Also exceptions can be anticipated categorized and predicted in terms of arrival rates and potential responses. Better customer partitioning combined with predictive analytics will allow for more precise personalization. Being able to predict and personalize in real time combined with more flexible processes and applications, will win customers hearts.

Leveraging New Senses with Intelligence: 

Utilizing voice and vision will be key in the coming years. Chatbots are helpful, but intelligent / AI driven digital assistants that leverage location and smart devices will help customers be more effective in helping themselves. Voice recognition, natural language and AI will be used powerfully together to improve the lives of customers in the most customer centric organizations. Image recognition, immersive reality and AI will also be used proactively minded organizations.

Net; Net: 

While not all organizations will jump on the most advanced approaches mentioned above, all organizations will have to move from customer service as usual. Sitting still is no longer a viable long term option. A credible mobile presence is table stakes, but to get into the game customer journey mapping combined with new intelligent approaches will get organizations in the game of long lasting customer loyalty.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Journey Listening: The Newest Digital Era Skill

Today most organizations have a "let them eat cake" approach to customer service.  Organizations, today, set up the touchpoints and how the customer is supposed to interact with the systems and the people, if they are lucky enough to talk to a real human with the right skills. We all have our stories about really poor service and it's getting worse these days. This is just not acceptable, going forward, in the new Digital Era.

Listening within Existing and Constrained Journeys (reactive):

Often there are existing systems and procedures in place that were designed to save time and money for the organization. Good customer service folks will listen to the customers and try to find the best solution for the customers needs and goals. Often the best people know the ways to soothe the customer despite the difficult and unresponsive systems. This a reactive approach to listening and the customer service staff become the shock absorbers between the unfriendly / frustrating systems or procedures and customer needs.

Listening for New Approaches to Journeys (predictive):

Customers will let you know their needs over time and this information can be gathered and leveraged to design a better set of touchpoints and interactions. Systems and procedures can be improved to intercept a better net promoter score. The question is how radical of change will be necessary will be needed to move the needle in a positive direction. Leveraging customers along the way to final solution is often a technique that is leveraged in these situations.

Listening for Catch Points in Existing Journeys (proactive change):

It matters not if organizations are stuck with existing touch points bound by past decisions or organizations have newer customer experiences, there should be ongoing analysis of actual journeys that have been or are being captured in logs. These data points should be mapped into journeys over time-lines and coordinated with satisfaction scores. The most proactive organizations will leverage process intelligence and compare and contrast alternatives to suggest, implement and test changes with the goal of better customer, employe and partner journeys.


Journey listening is not only a skill for the future, journey listening will become an organizational capability that will make a difference in a hyper competitive world. Those organizations that believe that product / service design and low cost will carry the day in the new digital are sadly mistaken. When customers can buy from so many sources, the game is changing. The differentiator in extreme competition is the customer experience. Good journey listening to you all.

Additional Reading:

Existing Process Problems
Customer Journeys and Organizational Silos
Journey Mapping for All
Journey Mapping Case Study

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Customer Journeys Show the Trouble with Organizational SIlos

Every organization practices labor and skill specialization because of the limits of what people can do, organizations of people can do and the constraints of systems. The basic tenets of problem breakdown feed right into creating silos of activities and the skills that support them. We were all taught to break problems down into their smallest components. Isolation of tasks and functions are the basis of the Industrial Revolution and the Information Age. It becomes obvious when your study customer journeys that they do not fall into neat little containers of tasks or organizational and software boundaries. Will this be any different in the Digital Age? It should be and here is why.

The Abilities of Human Workers Will be Extended:

We now have the ability with AI to augment workers so that their knowledge and power can be extended. LIke robots on a modern production line, knowledge can be leveraged for workers to expand beyond their degrees of speciality and experience base. Over time people can become generalists to service customers across a number specific domains of tasks and work. This allows for better customer journeys as handoffs almost disappear except in the most difficult of situations. The side benefit of this approach is that workers can keep learning and not become speciality drones.

The Ability to Customize the Customer's Unique Journey is Here: 

Right now we force customers down standard paths that they have to self select with precision. Imagine the ability to handle multiple customer requests with one service stop with a generalized customer communications savvy support person. This support person, with the help of AI & Bots could handle the customers needs in a one stop fashion for a majority of the cases. The customer's history, likes and disposition at any specific point in time could be taken into account for a customized experience. This will create customers for life most likely.

The Constraints of Process /Tasks Will No Longer Hinder:

Right now, processes that guide the customer experience are rather rigid and slow. With the advent of case management and real time speed to knowledge, bot assisted or not, the software and the processes controlling that software no longer have to be rigid. They can be pliable and speedy, so the time to resolution can be reduced. "Flex, Fast and Ever Learning" should be our new motto for software assistance as well. Software can get a similar boost in intelligence and intelligence gathering in the context of flexible processes or cases.

Net; Net:

Don't let your customers or your employees for that matter, suffocate in your silos.
The Digital Age presents a great opportunity to change the way we treat customers while still being operationally effective and efficient. We would be foolish to fumble this opportunity. While the we will have to live with temporary bridges and transformations as we head to these targets, it is now possible to break down or dampen the effect of silos.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Are Bots the Second Coming of BPM?

Right now RPA (bots) are the talk of the digital world with the promise of the replacement of low level tasks initially and the assistance of human activity later. "Bots got the hots", right now and process (BPM) scares off folks with high levels of investment and commitment implied. This post will make the case for both sides of this argument and hopefully settle this question.

The Case for Bots:

Bots are gaining momentum as they show great promise in proof of concepts projects. As organizations ramp up larger bot projects, the benefits will multiply. This is a the same phenomena as workflow and BPM had shown early in their roll out to organizations. The difference here is bots can be leveraged and scattered quickly while independently scooping up benefits and rapidly displacing low level and redundant work. Making these bots smart empower them even more useful and can feed off the AI frenzy going on simultaneously starting with applying machine intelligence to point problems. The issues of bot management and updates don't show up for a long period of time, so bots put down roots way before the problems emerge. It's hard to turn down tactical benefits and keep the big picture in mind, so the impact of bots will last.

The Case for BPM:

Processes are essential to represent the flow and balance of work and of course they go across organizational and technology boundaries. The problem comes in instrumenting a flow to handle multiple technology and software stacks while trying to deliver on the complex goals of multiple job roles and organizational units. This takes more start up time and doesn't necessarily deliver short hit benefits right away. While these kind of efforts deliver later, they are necessary to support great customer journeys and other necessary cross organizational flows. The benefits here can be significantly higher, but they take longer. Combine this with the fact that BPM is no longer attractive as a term, it seems like BPM is the long shot. The impact of workflows and processes are here to stay and the benefits flow to the patient.

The Case for Convergence: 

We really need both of these technologies working together. The tasks that complete work have to be as automated as possible and work does flow from speciality to speciality in most organizations. There may come a day where one person or bot can handle all of the knowledge, data and work necessary to complete a business outcome, but right now we need both cooperating intimately. There may be a day that independent and intelligent bots cooperatively bid to complete outcomes, but swarming agents/ bots are not ready for prime time yet. The proof of cooperation is the near recent buying and partnering activity. Kofax bought Kapow, Pega bought OpenSpan, Blue Prism is partnering with Appian and IBM is partnering with Automation Anywhere.

Net; Net: 

BPM & Bots will work together skillfully over time and will eventually participate in or as a digital business platform (DBP) to create timely and complex outcomes with great visibility. This will become obvious over time as organizations deliver on their paths of digital transformation with positive business outcomes.

Additional Reading: 

Elastic Workforce
Bots R Us
Swarming Agents

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Stretching the Elastic Workforce

Today if you want an elastic workforce, you hire consultants in good times and let them go in down times. If your work mix changes you can either hire new folks, hire temps or consultants. These are still good coping mechanisms, but with robotic process automation (RPA) and the resulting bots, there is another option. Bots can eliminate very low level and repetitive tasks, they can assists humans in more challenging tasks and can quickly calculate and bid on work that is waiting for assistance. Organizations now have a new tool in managing work to further leverage an elastic workforce with bots.

Low Level Work:

Nobody enjoys low level work except in rare cases. Now there have been those days after a good party, but those are unusual in my case. Bots can assist with various inspections, decisions and actions. Nobody likes to re-key data or checking multiple systems while trying to service a customer. partner, employee or vendor. Why not let a bot look up all the data that is necessary to service your constituents? There is just no need to do mindless work. Manufacturers have figured this out a long time ago. It's time to let this kind of work go.

Assistance with Challenging Work: 

Sometimes getting an assist would be helpful. We can't live without the calculators on our phones or our contact lists. Imagine a bot calculating probabilities for your next action after listening to a customer and taking their best shot at a good set of alternatives leveraging your wisdom and experience. If you are missing the experience, research or wisdom. bots can help. We have all seen the ads for bots suggesting patient treatment plans under the guidance of a doctor or a group of doctors in concert with the patient.

Predicting Work Influxes:

Smarter bots that leverage deeper calculations and can look at multiple and fast changing data sources, can actually predict outcomes and anticipate waves of work arrival. There will be management bots that can suggest how to balance your workforce between bots and humans. In fact bots may bid on work on your behalf whether you own the bots or not. Things are going to get super flexible over time.

Net; Net: 

We should use bots for work that needs to be done without complaint or issues and save the human efforts for the final say or inspection of work. Creative work has been the bastion of human endeavor, but as an artist I use software in some of my work and search for methods a techniques on the web. The elastic workforce will get even more flexible and manageable over time.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Unleash the Bots !!

Organizations have a number of sources for productivity, but bots look to be one of the most promising source for productivity. Bots that offer a friendly face / voice that are aimed at customer service seem to be the first off the launch pad, but there are more coming. They will be be both software and hardware aimed at assisting all of us humans. I for one am looking forward to it, even though my "Alexa" enabled Echo frustrates me at times. I am looking for organizations to serve me instead of them outsourcing their labor and keying to me. In fact over time, I won't be able to sense when a bot is serving me. (Other names for Bots are Agents, Cogs & Smart Services)

Chat Bots:

These pleasant bots really help in simple tasks such as looking up and responding to simple requests. I like just asking for a particular music group, the daily weather and the latest news.  Since these are first generation complexity of the questions confuses them, but over time they will get better. Imagine if these bots would help me get service from an organization without me traversing their frustrating voice response systems of today. These kind of bots will make or break the bot movement. I do however, lose a wink of sleep or two to their ability to listen to all conversations and interject when they are not wanted (happens in rare situations). I think the risk is worth it.

RPA Bots:

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) bots are usually under the covers doing dirty work for organizations or customers. Typically the kind of work that RPA does today is traversing different systems and data sources to come up with a integrated set of views and data necessary to support customer and business outcomes. As RPA matures, it will broaden in scope and increase productivity. It will likely start with the integration of user interface, systems and structured data. Over time RPA will reach to unstructured data and add analytics, machine learning, deep learning and grow to become the knowledge workers best friend in particular specialties.

Digital Assistants:

Digital assistants will evolve like RPA and become smarter to the level of calling on other bots to resolve an inquiry, a specific goal or a complex set of outcomes. At first these assistants will bond to individuals or individual specialty work pools, but over time these assistants will be able to be general in their skill capabilities.  There will still be deep specialty assistants, but the emergence of general purpose genius bots will happen too.

Net; Net: 

Bots are here to assist us and will be prospering in the foreseeable future. Will they take our jobs? I think they will be aimed at assistance unless the job is very low level. The challenge will be to find the sweet spot for these bots and the logical combination of many of them. I believe bots will free us up from drudgery. The balance of human / bot / machine will change over time and be one of the biggest challenges for the next decade.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Let's Meet at the Duce !!

Looking for something to do in Phoenix on the night of September 14th between 5:00 PM and 10:00?  If so, I will be showing some of my art along with another 20+ artists at the ever eclectic "Duce". The Duce is a strange brew of unique food and drink, games. music & and shopping. Just check out the video near the top of the Duce website. (TV Icon)

There is a $20 entrance fee ($25 at the door) for the art show.  Just scroll down on the Conception Phoenix page to the buy tickets button and select my name. I am so looking for ward to seeing you and mingling with the other artists. The food and drink menu looks great. If that doesn't tempt you, you can see some of my latest pieces up close. If you can't make it, check out my website here

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Future of Business is Smarter Digital

For the last few years we have been pursuing digital through taking advantage of better emerging methods and technologies applied to customer interactions, operational productivity and even new digitally enabled usiness models. While these efforts will continue at full speed, they will not be good enough without AI. There are three major thrusts of AI from a business perspective that need to be considered by the CX levels. There is Entity AI, Process AI and Interaction AI, all of which will contribute indivdually or in concert to new ways of doing business while increasing productivity of most every thing and everyone that contributes to business.

Entity AI:

This is where intelligence is applied to each and every person place or thing. Each entity will have the advantage of intelligence apllied to it over and above it's base intelligence. This will be the dynamic and real time application of incremental intelligence as new intelligence emerges or entities are put into new and different contexts. This will be true for knowledge workers as well as each participant of the internet of things (IoT). With programmable GPUs, TPUs and CPUs, intelligence can either be determined at the source (edge) or in aggreagate and pushed to the source (edge). Entity AI alone will increase productiivty greatly.

Process AI:

Process AI is where intelligence will be appiled to pulling in the right resource at the right time and equipping that resource additional intelligence to complete tasks as effeciently and effectively as porssible. Often new diigtal processes witll be goal driven and smart enough to adapt themselves and pick / enhance the resources needed to atain a proper level of goal attainment even if the goals are complex and conflicting.

Interaction AI:

Interaction AI will be looking at what context entities and processes are operating in and apply intelligence that will help them adapt to changing conditions from simple to complex and will help balance between operational and strategic goals. Interaction AI will be looking for the patterns of emerging events to make key decisions, give advice on actions and even take independent action, if given a high freedom level.

Net: Net:

Eveything and everyone will be getting a smart boost from time to time in the new digital business eara. For the new and unititiated, it will be more often than for the more expreienced. However in today's changing world we all will have to play the learing resource role. Let's get digital smart as fast as we can.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Stepping Up to Real Digital

It's time that organizations step it up to digital in ways that help everybody win. What I see, out there, is a goodly number of organizations going mobile and declaring victory without looking at the real journey they put their customers, employees and partners through. What I see is the sharpening of internal organization efficiencies for the short term. While these things are all digital baby steps, I'm not seeing people racing to digital in a balanced way. Yes most organizations are increasing productivity and increasing revenues, but few are leveraging digital in a creative and balanced manner. Let's look at the three giant steps that organizations can take to step it up.

Most organizations are stuck in incremental mode leveraging low hanging digital capabilities, while increasing profitability to keep their CEOs and boards off their back. We know digital works, it's time to commit to digital as a business / IT team. Traditional processes and applications are aimed at inward productivity at the expense of customers and strategic advantage. Most organizations are looking at tactical "ME WIN; YOU LOSE" approaches. It is time for  for everybody to win something. If you doubt me, call up one of your favorite utility companies and ask for something other than making a payment online and to visit their web site to defer people costs. When you get to their web site, it's not optimized for real customer journeys. There is basic decision organizations have to make. "Do we shoot for a new business model or do we incrementally get to a more balanced approach?"

Competitive Advantage: (Committed Digital) 

This is a "shoot for the moon" approach that basically causes a significant shift in values, goals and competencies that considers change as a fact of life. There is a deep analysis on new business models and/or radical ways of supporting the existing business model. It is focused on value to the customer, employee and partners while value to the organization builds slowly over time. At the same time care is taken to plan for future change and scenarios that would cause changes in goals or behaviors of people, processes and machines. Most organizations don't start here, but end up here evenetually.

Try Balance First: (Balanced Digital)

This is more incremental, but not easy approach that interjects outward value and digital capability into processes. This delivers happier customers, employees and partners that considers each parties journey and optimizes on the intersections and touchpoints of all participants. There is no advantage to one party over the other. It causes the internal organizational model to change to serve the customers goals along with the organizations goals in a balanced fashion. This is a huge shift in mentality that can in turn add digital to enhnace the experience for real instead of paving over existing cowpaths. This approach sets the table for natural set of steps to competitive advantage and strategic advantage leveraging business and digital change. This is not a bandaide approach to digital; it is a planned approach.

Keep Optimizing: (Bandaid Digital)

Organizations that are run by "bean counters", old school CIOs and lawyers will try to stay put and outflank their customers and competition through savvy internal optimization. This is a bet that says incremental improvement of existing products and services leads to survival over the long term expecting to evolve to something better.  Digitial is used as a bandaide in this approach. This is a very inward facing approach that leads to exposure to competitors with new business models. The optimized and abused will revolt when given a chance.

Net; Net:

No organization can sit still. It's a matter of picking a proper target and making smart adjustments. Stepping up to digital is a reason to become more outwards focused and strategically agile. Digital Business Platforms (DBP) are ideal for supporting incremental digital apporaches that focus on agile adaptation to balanced internal and external goals.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Art for 2Q 2017

This quarter was mostly about experimentation, so I tried a bunch of new things. If you like any of it, let me know. I completed two paintings that leveraged some past lessons of combining water based paints in a semi-liquid form (named a dirty pour). I completed three new 3D fractals as well 

Web Presence:

Sea Swirl

Purple Mist

Color Blizzard

Elton's Shades

Asteroid Field

Previous Quarters Pieces:

1Q 2017 click here
4Q 2016 click here
3Q 2016 click here
2Q 2016 click here

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

PEGAWORLD 2017: Proving They Walk the Talk

The theme this year is "Be Future Empowered" which goes beyond the "built for change" theme because Pega is suggesting that it support any new and emerging cloud option as well as empower business users to make quick changes to deal with sifting business. The side benefit to Pega empowering change is the ability to incrementally transform to your organizations version of digital while delivering incremental benefits. This approach allows for making in-flight adjustments to your transformation journey as well. This theme was repeated in one case study after another.

While Alan Trefler, proudly stood in front of a list of companies that are clients of Pega, he pronounced that Pegaworld was no "Awesome Tech Event" with no luminaries, no mass delusions and no BS. He went on to claim real intelligence by having metaphors generating code instead of raw code, real automaton by having outcome driven in process context results and real choice for alternative cloud, database and channel options. The sub-theme was "GET REAL" and the main tent and breakout session case studies backed this theme up. Pega promises a great customer experience, better operational efficiency and better business agility and most case studies had all three.

While Pega offers a strong Digital Business Platform for business operations, it also offers some great pre-canned and customizable solutions for Marketing, Sales and Customer Service. Several examples were given from stage about simple and intelligent always listening bots to help organizations lift their old legacy (brown fields) to a higher level and visually demonstrated below the applicability of both AI and BI intelligence at work in a sales situation

I was impressed by two case studies on the first of the two days I attended. The first was GM who had mapped out their customer touch points and where new digital experiences could help. In fact, GM was planning to interject more touch point options for customer using real time data to allow customer to deal with emerging service issues. This is a great use of digital to enhance the customer experience and lead through great customer touch points in the overall relationship. See below.

Hanover Insurance lead us through their digital transformation plans that had already delivered benefits on their way to better operational efficiency and channel management. They stressed the importance of the business led approach that used incremental improvement through Pegas' agile Digital Business Platform (DBP). The fact that business and IT could collaborate on the DBP was a key facilitator to success. The DBP was used within a very carefully phased architecture that guided the incremental efforts. The benefits, thus far have been encouraging enough to pursue many more steps. While Hanover is not done, it is proving their digital journey beneficial and satisfying.  See below: 

Bottom Line:

Pegas' clients are walking the talk. It was great to see many digital journeys started, partially completed and future steps mapped. I can't argue with success. It might be not as exciting other conferences, but the results speak for themselves. It takes a Digital Business Platform like Pega and others for digital results To learn more about the DBP, click here to sign up for a free webinar

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Digital Business Platform is a Top Ten Technology

Just search on the top ten technologies and see what you find. I did and found that the digital business platform was on nearly every list. When I coined the term in October 2015, little did I imagine the momentum the Digital Business Platform (DBP) would get. Click here for the first blog on the DBP. Shortly after a number of vendors jumped at the idea.

Since then, the definition has grown deeper and wider than I expected. Aragon Research has invested in the DBP, so there is a for pay approach to find out more about the DBP.  If you want to see a prediction of where the DBP is going, click here.  If you want a vendor rating for the DBP, click here


FOR A FREE PRESENTATION ON THE DBP CLICK HERE  and sign up for a webinar the explains the DBP and shows how to leverage it to support better customer experiences while generating revenue and cutting costs. I hope to interact with you on this webinar. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Celebrating a Life

It's sad when you lose a family member and a hero. My dad passed away a week ago now and I miss his big character and great sense of humor. He was a wise man who put his family first because he did not have a father and mother to raise him. He and his two brothers Ed and Rob were raised by my old Dutch great grandfather, who had more stories for three life times. My grandfather hung around the family bar, in Walkers Point Milwaukee and left his three boys to fend for themselves. Family was everything to my dad.

He was a Great Dad:

He hammered home the importance of family and gaining the wisdom of God to make it through life. We were told over and over to love others like God loves us and leverage the skills God gave us. He loved his kids, grand kids and great grand kids. We were always safe and secure plus had shelter, food and love. His sense of humor permeated the rooms where he was at all times. My mom, Carol, and younger brother Mike were always laughing with him or at him.

Dad was a Great Employee:

Dad worked his tail off to keep us going and he put in lots of hours pursuing safe transport of passengers and freight. He would work many hours to keep us going and my mom held it all together with her upbeat attitude.

Dads Dreams:

He wanted to be a pilot and worked his way up to a multi-engine & instruments flight instructor from bringing home a surplus air trainer (BT13) like the one pictured below that his brothers timeshared together. For a while he had his own Beechcraft Musketeer, like the one pictured below, that he finally sold when he hit 74. After that he gave lessons and dragged gliders for a while.

Dad was a Sportsman:

He loved to shoot trap gun and fish for muskies. He was my fishing buddy from when I was age 5 to recently when his COPD caught up with him. He and my mom bought a cabin on a lake with seven acres and 500 ft of lake access. He pursued muskies with abandon and earned every one including a 30 pound trophy still hanging in the winterized cabin that my mom and dad kept going. Mom loved all the animals that came to the multiple feeders they kept fresh. My dad heated his house with wood until he hit the early 80s. We had to talk him into natural gas.

Bottom Line:

He was a good man who taught us all what it meant to strike the balance of family, fun and worshipping the God who made us and gave us plenty. So long Pops!! Say "hi" to Andy and the others that have gone on before us. Rest in peace now that you are free from a broken body.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New Talent Emerging

You really can't blame a grandpa for being proud. I'd like you to meet my Granddaughter Karson who has sung the National Anthem for the Arizona Diamondbacks at several games now. Last night She dedicated a song to her late father (Andy Sinur) and Michael Jackson, her other hero. Just take a second and listen just to make a grandpa smile. She rocked this at a elementary school talent show that she closed to a warm response.

 BTW: She is a budding artist to boot.

More about her late dad, Andy Sinur

Monday, May 8, 2017

Cognitive World's First E-Feature on AI

Cognitive World, an Aragon Research and Fortune partner, has issued their first eFeature on Crossing the Cognitive Chasm (click here). Peter Fingar explains why we are headed to a cognitive destruction of the way organizations and individuals manage work and interactions in the blurred man / machine relationships. You will find a list of great articles by some of my heros on this subject to augment and support Peter's assertions.  See Lisa Woods Introductory Email Below:

Aragon Research is committed to Cognitive AI and you will find our research, webinars and free blogs that relates to the use of AI, the maturity and types of AI technology and the competencies or skills needed to be successful in the evolving AI future.  Click here for our site.

Gain knowledge exploring CogWorld eFeatures by Peter Fingar, Editor-in-Chief, with original and recently published articles by Vint Cerf and 21 other CogWorld Luminaries & Thought Leaders:
Chuck Brooks, Calum Chace, Dan Conway, Sanjit Singh Dang, Tom Davenport, Ahmed El Adl, Kiran Garimella, Melvin Greer, Paul Harmon, Setrag Khoshafian, Doug Lenat, N.D. Ludlow, Mike Olson, Paul Roma, Jim Sinur, Jim Spohrer, Jim Stikeleather, Vivek Wadhwa, Richard Welke and Irving Wladawsky-Berger.

We've just released our 1st eFeature: Crossing the Cognitive Chasm, Circa 2017, and you're among the first to explore it! 

In embarking on this fascinating and timely journey (in our lifetime!) let's harness the present and make valuable contributions in many ways.  

Thanks in advance for participating with us at Cognitive World.

Lisa Wood, (email me)

Co-Founder | CEO
Cognitive World

Cognitive World aims to be the go-to resource for enterprise decision-makers involved in artificial intelligence.

As a vendor-neutral AI knowledge hub, we exist to optimize the flow of content, engagement and commerce. 
Our growing community of member companies (AI solution providers and global enterprises) use the hub for content marketing through their Node (profile). Example Node: Deloitte

Learn More About Nodes (profiles) Subscribe (articles, research, etc.)