Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

I just wanted to wish all my readers, collaborators and others a "Happy New Year" from the edge of  "lake Sinur". I wish the lake in my back yard was this beautiful, but it has it's own charm. I expect those involved with process activities in 2014 to make a shift in the use of processes. If you continue reading my blog, you will see my take on how 2014 might change shape and scope of process activity.  :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Standard Processes; Do We Still Need Them?

Standard processes are the embodiment of best practices that cover the majority of situations that have presented themselves to date. Organizations have also leveraged standard processes for many a merger and acquisition. So why question standard processes?

The Cons:

The problem with standard processes is that they must apply to all process instances or cases, so they do not handle exceptions very well. One must stop and incorporate exceptions. When you have complicated and emergent work, this kind of approach tends to create more problems. Emerging better practices are much more appealing that having a super brain plan all the exceptions that might ever happen over time.

Customers do not want to be treated as a widget; they want to feel special and appreciated, so this runs into the teeth of standard processes. With the kind of customization that clients want, standard processes just do not hack it in today's world where attracting and keeping clients happy is the goal. The key to revenue generation, the big goal for 2014 and beyond, is around customers, so processes will have to change to at least become faster to outcome or change.

The Pros: 

Standard processes give an organization a consistency that reduces costs and errors. Standard processes allows for quicker training of resources supporting the "end to end" process. In addition standard processes give one a way to compare to other processes.

In a world that demands better performance, optimization becomes more important. Standard processes are fairly easy to measure and optimize while staying within governance goals and tolerances.

Net; Net:

We should not throw out the standard processes per see, but incorporate them in smaller pieces that can be leveraged and surrounded for optimal outcomes that gain the cost and consistency while bending to changing business conditions and new customer focuses. Like gears and sub-assemblies in transmissions that have learning logic around drivers habits, processes should utilize the best of standard processes while supporting emergent behavior.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Process 2013; The Top Three Attention Getters

I thought 2013 was a year of mixed result for BPM. While the delivery of business results is accelerating, there confusion about the changing definition of processes that is muddling these successes. The vendors that are committed to processes are doing well and growing, so they are cutting through the fog to engage organizations. However getting visible momentum behind process has been a challenge. While there lots of moments of fog, there were three big things that were constantly emerging in discussions and vendor case studies.

Confusion Around the Meaning of Process:

There is a mind set,  that is pervasive, that restricts process to the old definition of a rigid manufacturing line. While, traditionally, that is where process efforts start, processes are much more agile, dynamic in evolution and collaborative for high skilled workers than ever. While there are static snippets of structured processes in most successful processes, there are a growing portion of large scoped processes that have significant amount of collaboration, agile, and emerging definition or behavior. This creates an atmosphere where the true picture of the process end up being an audit trail of where a process instance or case has been rather than a rigid model mapped out ahead of time.

See where the processes are headed: http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/12/big-processes-are-happening-now.html

Transformation Through Process is Picking Up Momentum:

There a many emerging success stories where organizations are leveraging process and BPM technologies as buffering technology to wrap and orchestrate "end to end" processes that have competitive implications. This means that processes are being equipped with competitive differentiation or catch up function at one level and hiding the rigidity of supporting applications, software and skill sets. This allows organizations to use BPM in transformational focused efforts without disrupting supporting business structure, systems, data and technology architectures. This makes processes and supporting BPM methods, techniques and technologies indispensable for some very large organizations.

See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/07/incremental-transformation-is-here-today.html

Continued Emerging Success with Complimentary Technology:

We have seen the "shiny object" approach that appeals to technical folks from IT leaders to "gear heads" like me. Process focused vendors have been assertive in leveraging these shiny objects such as mobile, collaborative/social/case management, cloud, predictive analytics, complex events, big data and process mining, for better processes that support shifting business outcomes.

See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/11/a-mid-sized-bank-getting-to-revenue.html

Net; Net:

In 2013 process started to shift from a tactical and rigid cost cutting tool to a strategic and dynamic revenue generation and customer experience accelerator. This is a big deal for business and process, so I can't wait for the excitement that process generates in 2014.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Big Processes are Happening Now

Big data has made it's mark, Now it's time to consider Big Processes. Most of the low hanging fruit from simple processes were gleaned during the depths of the recent recession. This was a cost containment driven approach to BPM.  While the cost containment thing continues as a constant undercurrent, efforts are shifting fast to revenue generation and customer care. This implies processes that are larger in scope, more heterogeneous in nature and more complex. Like grouped stars pictured below, bigger processes will the gravity that holds multiple smaller processes together.

Larger Scopes:

The emphasis on the end to end experience for customers is dictating more pervasive processes that touch many people and systems. Instead of asking customers to select and deal with the complexity of business organizations, processes are emerging to deal with all the sub steps and organizational components necessary to get their desired outcomes. The days of simple and single function process are receding. Many organizations have been content with having their customers deal with silos of specialty process and employees. In the quest for capturing the hearts and loyalty, enlightened organizations are now consolidating into larger scoped processes that are aimed at customer outcomes. This is a revolution that is at it's begging. See the following examples of larger scoped processes aimed at revenue generation and increased customer satisfaction.


Increased Heterogeneity:

Larger processes will require multiple styles of processes to work together collaboratively, This means that larger processes are likely to have portions (snippets) of processes that employ various styles of process action. It would seem logical to have portions of straight through behavior tied to workflow and knowledge intense case work. This implies that there will be multiple process engines cooperating with each other as they aim towards blended goals and desired outcomes. This means that the stove pipe governance methods, process techniques and technologies will have to work together for the good of the larger process and it's goals. See some supporting articles:


Increased Complexity:

While the outcomes of big processes are desirable, some of the side effects pose problems. The biggest side effect is complexity. There are not only multiple styles,  but there are multiple outcomes and multiple interfaces that have to be blended together. This will put a new emphasis on human / process interfacing, process snippet cooperation, increased auto management leveraging big data and poly-analytic combinations thus demanding increased result visibility and  audit capabilities. Machine learning and agent behavior are coping mechanisms for increased complexity.  See some supporting articles:


Net; Net:

Big Processes will be emerging quickly in the coming years. It will start with the leading organizations and spread downstream to fast followers and the large pack of reactors. Those who fail to react will pay the price this time.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy Holidays

I want to wish my readers a peaceful holiday season this year. As you can see Maggie Mae is a big Bronco backer and had to show her colors (Sherry hales from Denver). We wish you the best of health for 2014 as well. I look forward to the direction intelligent business operations heads next year. We should have good fun discovering and debating the progress.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Blog Activity for the Last Four Months of 2013

Even though the year is not over, I thought you might want to see the most popular topics of all time and the ranking in the last month. I would be remiss if I did not thank my loyal readers and wish you a good rest of the year. 2014 looks to be another exciting opportunity for organizations to compete with their processes. There are now 76 postings out on the blog and here are the top ten all time leaders. 

In the last month there were some new posts that caught peoples attention and they are as follows:

As you might expect my US readership is large, but there is  thankfully a worldwide interest in the blog. 


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The New BPM: Business Outcomes with Governance

Process management, in the past, almost assured good governance because all the possible paths were thought out and planned ahead of time. With advent of agile BPM and adaptive case management, not all combinations of outcomes can be planned. This calls for processes to be equipped with boundaries to make sure governance can be assured. This puts a new premium on business rules used as constraints to keep processes from going "out of bounds"

Staying in Bounds:

The challenge with goal driven processes leveraging, process instances or cases, is that they can stray off into dangerous territory, from a governance perspective. This is where constraints or boundaries are necessary to find a perfect balance. Business rules play a different role in process management in this case. In traditional process management, rules provide strict control over the directions that a process can go. In "the New BPM" rules now provide for bumper guards for processes to stay in bounds while pursuing the dynamic goals and the dynamic paths that can be created.

Dealing With Real Time Change Over Time:

With the acceleration of the speed of change afforded by "The New BPM", the importance of constraint based rules accelerate, so "trip indicators" are employed to highlight reasons to leverage reactive changes. Wise organizations plan scenarios that might require the changing of the out of bounds conditions to meet emerging conditions. Quite often wide ranging analysis leveraging big data and simulation is used for this kind of planning. Rules and triggers for changing scenarios can be inventoried and structured for future actions. Kind of a "war games" for process outcomes.

Net; Net:

Dynamic, adaptable and agile processes are beneficial for chasing the best balance of business outcomes, but there are new dangers to avoid with these new and powerful processes. "The New BPM" will require new methods and techniques as well as technologies. Look to leading organizations and thought leaders to help you in your journey with these powerful processes.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Telstra is Aiming at the “Wow Factor” by Leveraging Customer Pleasing Processes

Imagine transforming a large and dominant Telco player to compete with the agile and small competitors. This is a risky proposition that is happening now because of a customer-focused culture change enabled by an intelligent business process management technology. Top management wants to move to a culture that is committed to customer delight to prove that Telstra is worthy of trust. This means that the CEO and leadership team have been absolutely focused on customer strategy and that strategy started with the roll out of NPS – Net Promoter Score – and advocacy.  In order to get real about it, there is a huge program rolling out underpinned by an assertive process program.  See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/07/incremental-transformation-is-here-today.html for an explanation of incremental transformation.

The Challenge:

Really understand what customers want and then being able to translate that into specific designable requirements and then improve Teltra’s processes, deliver on what they really – not just their needs, but their wants. This means also then their “wows.”  And that's the way Telstra is going to lead in the marketplace. This “wowing” the customer is really one of the indicators that your process has been successful. This will require measuring customer advocacy.  Peter MacDonald, who is the general manager of Process Excellence at Telstra, says “When you’re scoring a 9 or 10 in advocacy, it’s a tough score. Basically it’s about advocates and detractors and when they say “wow” they are not going to leave. Better yet they are going to tell their friends. That is what’s important. With a fair price and great service, customers are going to say “we paid x and it was really good value””. 

The Solution:  New Goals and an iBPMS:

It is all about what business does and processes are the focus of what gets done. Businesses take inputs and add value through its processes that delivers outcomes and outputs that represent the value of the business. Telstra is concentrating on three major efforts. One is to give visibility to the paths that customers are sent down traversing the complex systems applications to get to desirable outcomes. Another is to build a rollout plan that starts with revenue producing processes such as “order to activation” to drive positive “wows” in the initial steps of the customer relationship cycle and have a plan for taking the relationship through to the whole CRM cycle over the coming years. The third is to deliver processes that surround the existing systems to deliver easy to use, less complex and easy to change processes. This is an ambitious effort and the initial results have been positive to date. 

The Results:

In addition to provide for end to end visibility, workflow automation, case management and solution agility, the following key business outcomes were delivered to help fund the subsequent steps while driving for the “wow” experience:
·        Legacy processes transformed to reduce cycle time by over 70%
·        Time consuming tasks simplified or eliminated
·        Teams consolidated to reduce hand-offs
·        Roles and responsibilities across the service chain clarified and key KPI’s defined
·        Delivering a Real Time Pipeline 

Net; Net:

Customer feedback has been excellent. New streamlined process is helping to win and retain customers. This shows that processes are heart of great CRM while delivering more revenue per hour worked.

This is a highly summarized case study provided by Pegasystems

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Art Projects for the 4th Quarter 2013

Despite heavy conference activity (iBPMS, Tucon, BBC & Enterprise World), I managed to create some new pieces. Being a big fan of the Caribbean Islands and been smitten by a number of moon rises on the beach, I decided to paint one. I hope you like it :)

My current collection is available on http://www.james-sinur.com/

                                               Moon Rise Beach

I also completed a couple of new fractals for your enjoyment, hopefully:

                                                             Light Storm       

Star Stream 

I also manage some creative digital art through leveraging long exposures and movement


Purple Rain     

I also finished off a spiritually minded painting that seems appropriate for those who celebrate Christmas. If you do not, feel free to skip this one

Flying Cross 

I was also selected by my local park and recreational department to display a number of my past pieces. If you are interested, see below:

I am currently starting a number of new pieces that I hope to complete by March. If you have any requests, I would like to hear them. You can reach me at jgsviper@cox.net

Monday, December 2, 2013

Is Process a Dirty Word?

I am hearing that people frown on the word process, these days, because of what it implies in the minds of folks. The outdated view is that process implied a rigid and inflexible approach to work actions that support a static business model.  Well, I am here to say that nothing could be further from the truth in today's leverage of process.

 Processes are Not Limited to Actions Anymore:

First off, processes not only can act, they can sense and decide new courses of action leveraging a combination of pattern recognition and decision features based on events, cases, process instances and data (big data or not; cloud based or not). Processes are good at action, don't get me wrong, but they can do more. They also don't get the respect they deserve in other areas because they are cross discipline and each discipline claims to have it's own domain. Processes are great at cross domain impact. 

Processes are Not Limited to Structured Best Practices Anymore:

Processes are no longer rigid flow models that are drawn,  "agreed to" and carved in stone. While process may start with process models; in the future the process model will more represent the audit trail of what the process did and the decisions it made. There a many self adapting processes that work within governing constraints, business plans and goals. This is growing fast trend being accelerated by many technologies and techniques such as adaptive case management. Dynamic processes are becoming the norm these days.

Processes Can Adapt to Changing Business Outcomes:

Processes are becoming more goal seeking in their design and can change in near real time, if needed. The power of change in processes is now considered as an "ante" in the process game. As time rolls along processes will more commonly seek conflicting goals by balancing them and linking to the internet of everything. There are many examples of processes plugged into live agents (human or bots) that provide and demand information and actions. 

Net; Net:

Right or wrong processes have gotten a bad rap because of the history of processes. They go back to the idea of static production lines of yesteryear. Just like the production lines of today, flexible and adaptable, processes can behave in a similar fashion. All the technology is here, the methods are emerging and there are many proof points in production today. Over the next 5 years processes will prove to be the coping and training mechanisms of business change.  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Giving Thanks is a Blessing

I'm not sure if the happiness cycle starts with thankfulness or blessings, but it seems to be a cyclical phenomena. I think I will finish off 2013 and start 2014 with thankfulness.Sustaining thankfulness under all circumstances is the real trick, though. There are so many things to be thankful for in life, it's bewildering to figure out where to start. Here are some of my top categories.

I am thankful for:

Health: It's amazing how our bodies are made to run well most of the time. Having a near death experience in 2011 has humbled me in this category.

My Spouse: Sherry has to put up with a crazy energy bunny personality daily and keeps me on track

My Family: I have a large nuclear family with various personalities that shows that God has a sense of humor

Enough: It seems no matter how we struggle to exist, God gives us enough to make it.

Gifts and Talents: Even though I did work for an education, God blessed me talents that I had no choice in, but enjoy greatly. The most would be artistic and writing gifts.

Inner Peace: Believe me, I have many blessings, but inner peace is the best one God has given me.

My Readers: I appreciate the time you take to read my stuff whether it be good, bad or ugly

Have a Happy Thanksgiving every day if possible :) 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's Not Just People that Collaborate in Modern Processes

There is a lot of buzz around collaboration in process (AKA BPM) activity these days. It because work activities are getting more complex and more in need of specialized knowledge. This requires processes that adapt to multiple knowledge workers collaborating on a process instance or case. To that end, additional forms of process methods and structure are emerging under names like case management, social processes, unstructured processes, adaptable and dynamic processes.

Well, the same is starting to happen with process engines. Ideally all work could be on one engine and that engine would support all forms of process behavior. Realistically, organizations have multiple engines and styles available working in parallel. To this end there are new patterns of process engine, acting as agents, in cooperation today. As process mix best practice process snippets (portions of process) with evolving better practice patterns, process engines will have to learn to cooperate like and with people. In fact people and bots may become interchangeable. See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/09/agents-have-power-of-intelligent-and.html There are three styles I have seen to date:

Homogeneous Distributed Engines:

There are a few process engines that can support multiple process styles on top of multiple and collaborating process engines. Metasonic, with it's Subject Oriented BPM (S-BPM) method and distributed process engines, has the goods today.

Heterogeneous Distributed Engines:

There few vendors that support heterogeneous engines that they have bought at separate times and are trying to allow cooperation between these engines inside the family. They usually do this by having a common user experience and the ability to wrap and call these various engines or reusable features in and around their engines. IBM and OpenText come to mind. There are a few vendors who are engine independent who really do not require one of their process engines at all, but they tend to be for light workflows for now.

Intelligent Bidding Agents:

Agents do not necessarily need a process engine as they can act independently and fire off a request for another agent to perform an action. Precedence is negotiated as needed and dynamic by nature. An example of a goal directed vendor who leverages agents is WhiteStein (Living Systems in the US).  See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/10/agents-can-efectively-bid-for-process.html

Net; Net:

The days are numbered for architectures that dictate and enforce one process engine that all processes run on in the future. First of all, there are few engines that can support all the process styles necessary outside of the intelligent process engines. Secondly, most organizations are combining existing processes, applications and services that have their own engine. I think the more common model will be heterogeneous engines evolving to intelligent and independent agents held together by methods and emerging dynamic design techniques.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Open Text Has a Big Opportunity to Push Process

Open Text has decided to name their strategic process engine and this is a good move. Now that it has done so, it is a good time to examine all of it's other technology stacks and leverage their strategic choice. In addition, OT has support for various vertical solutions that could also benefit from the strategic process engine choice. See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/11/open-text-is-delivering-its-business.html

OT is being good about supporting process visibility across most of their process engines through the use of former Manager View (Now Process Intelligence). There are bridges from each of the large usage engines thus allowing for consolidated views of end to end processes. In addition OT is unifying the UX for the process engines and other key technologies and allowing for the leverage of sub-processes in various engines. It is going to take a while, if OT keeps it's eye on the ball, but a gradual move can be accomplished.

Net; Net:  OT is a a much better position today to compete in the process markets (iBPMS & BPMS), but OT will have to keep it's focus on process and intelligent business operations. We will see.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Open Text is Delivering It's Business Operations Platform at Enterprise World

After attending the opening session of Open Text's Enterprise World in Orlando, I couldn't help concluding that OT is aiming at integrating their many technology assets into a business operating platform. While the CEO, Mark Barrenechea, did not use the phrase, it was clear that they are aggregating their technologies in ways to better support business operations.

They have the five major suites that are organized to optimize cross-utilization while incrementally aggregating their technology portfolio through integration and bridging. They are the Discovery Suite, the Process Suite, the Content Suite, the Experience Suite and the Information Exchange Suite. OT also announces the App Works Suite aimed at attracting developers in a way to leverage these suites in the most productive ways to deliver information and process flows. It did hurt that William Shatner showed up as guest speaker to lament the presence of such an information technology company to guide him in his lifetime to make better investments. Captain Kirk did well to amuse the crowd while supporting OT.

I am really only qualified to judge the Process Suite, so I will keep my comments to that suite. As we all know OT has made several investments in BPM technology, but this time they committed to making the Cordys acquisition the strategic process tool. While OT boldly made this statement, they also are designing a co-existence strategy that uses the same UX to wrap all the process engines and leverage each engine as a callable component. This is a good strategy for an organization that chooses to buy technologies and package them together. Cordys gives OT a cloud based, rules enabled process engine that can scale and get OT to better ESB under the covers. Combined with the GSX E-commerce platform, the process suite has potential to grow to support shared processes.

Net; Net:

OT has some good pieces of technology that are being combined. The question is can OT entice clients to their strategic technologies over time. It is possible with the right trade up and pricing options. Time will tell.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Business Activity is Emergent; Processes Had Better be as Well

The old school view of processes is they are convergent and represent another form of best practices like applications. While processes can support convergent activity, since that is where processes started, they have several different ways of supporting emergent activity. Processes technology is aimed at emerging better practices as well as best practices. New approaches to leverage free and emerging processes will also be evolving. The power of BPM technology to dynamically adapt will be harnessed over the next few years to keep pace with business needs. See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/04/days-are-numbered-for-rigid-processes.html  Process technology supports emerging business needs through multiple adaptive approaches discussed in this posting.

Pattern & Event Driven:

Processes technologies are now either subsuming or getting connected to technologies that identify emerging business patterns of interest through complex event technologies, social analytic technologies and automated business process discovery technologies. These technologies either identify emerging patterns of interest or success patterns that have occurred in the past that have gone unnoticed before.

Goal Driven:

Processes have been traditionally flow directed, but now process technologies can support goal directed processes that either use static or dynamic goal models. The ideal support for goal directed processes would include agent technologies that can negotiate collaborative just in time processes.

Constraint Guided:

Processes that are left to wander on their own and adapt automatically or semi-automatically need bumper guards to keep them on track. Constraints, which are inverted rules, can keep processes from going out of bounds and remain compliant despite their new found agility and freedom to act.

Adaptive Case Management:

Case management has always been an excellent way to get knowledge workers to collaborate, but with the advent if adaptive case management, milestones can change dynamically to support emergent cases and work patterns. This allows exceptions to be handled without stopping the case until a new milestone can be designed into the case structure. Just like process paths that do not need to be all pre-planned, cases can evolve.

Hybrid Processes: 

The reality of processes, going forward is that they will be composed of structured best practices and emerging better practices necessitated by emerging business need. This means that processes as we know them will likely use all of the aforementioned techniques and technologies.

Net; Net:

Process folks have to stop being parochial in their approaches and branch out into other forms of successful business process methods and technologies. This is no time to be myopic in our approach to solving business problems with processes

Monday, November 11, 2013

Launching A Process Transformation Effort with a Bang

Often organizations get bogged down into where to start a process effort. There are a number of traditional approaches that organizations tend to traditionally pursue such as pockets of optimization and cost savings opportunities. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, I think there are more opportunistic approaches. There is one pattern that is emerging that is worth pursuing with vigor. Combining incremental revenue generation within the context of a desired transformation.

Raising Revenue to Multiply Opportunities:

During down times cost savings gets a lot of attention, but today raising revenue is the mantra of the CX level; particularly the CEO. By focusing on raising revenue these days is just a smart tactic to win an opportunity to do something bigger. When there is no process vision at the top, this is essential until confidence is built around process efforts. I am seeing more emphasis on customer on-boarding which means that organizations are kicking off a period of competition on speed of revenue acquisition driven by better processes.

See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/11/a-mid-sized-bank-getting-to-revenue.html or

Designing a Transformation Target and Roll Out:

If you have visionary management that believes that process can get the organization to new or incremental outcomes, defining a transformation target and plan is essential. If you have incrementally built to a point where designing a transformation makes success, getting a consensus and program defined is an important planning step in designing a transformation that will really work.

See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/10/magical-transformations-are-scary-but.html

Incrementally Delivering Transformations:

Many organization have chased expensive and large scale transformation efforts, but few have delivered the desired results. Today organizations have gotten smarter and tried incrementally achieving results by leveraging the agility and changeability afforded in modem BPM methods and technologies. Decades ago there were only a handful of successful transformations, but today I am seeing many successful transformations that leverage existing systems and incremental techniques to either compete better or to leverage apparently burning platforms

See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/07/incremental-transformation-is-here-today.html

Net; Net:

While I have personally worked on successful large scale transformations, I sure would have appreciated the kinds of plans, methods and technologies available today for transformations

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Mid-sized Bank Getting To Revenue Faster

There is a movement to bring on customers fast and keeping them coming. Here is another example of how smaller organizations can compete with big organizations. Once a smaller organization lands a client and gives them better service, it's hard to steal that customer away. This is a smart way to use BPM to compete.

                    For more Fractal Images, see http://www.james-sinur.com/


This bank competes with large national banks through superior speed and customer responsiveness. A Senior Operational Officer believed that further-enhancing the external customer experience would require accelerating key internal processes. “After interest rates, the primary thing our customers care about is speed,” he says. “They want to be able to close their home or commercial loan and get their funds as quickly as possible.” He believed BPM-based process improvement was the place to start, but he also wanted to create a more mobile and collaborative Enterprise Social environment. He identified the mortgage processes as a first candidate for improvement due to its core importance to the organization and its current limitations, such as manual hand-offs, paper-based systems, limited process visibility, and lack of consistent and sustained communications. “We wanted BPM for core process improvement. We wanted to be more mobile and use Social technology, but we didn’t have a good implementation plan around it". When they saw social collaboration in business process-centric context, they made the move to BPM.

Loan origination involves a combination of structured automation and unstructured human interaction and collaboration. It also creates volumes of paperwork that must be reviewed, approved and maintained. BPM was selected to improve the efficiency of straight-through processing using the platform’s integrated business rules, alerts, escalations, and more. In addition, the bank believed BPM’s ability to present enterprise data via a simple social interface, within the context of established business processes, would increase the speed and quality of human collaboration and decision making in cases that involved exceptions to standard policies.

The Solution:

The team began building the new Mortgage Loan Origination application using the Cloud. This allowed
the team to jump-start development even as it waited for the provisioning of on-premise hardware and move it behind the fire-wall later. The BPM vendors worksocial platform combines the best of BPM work automation with the most innovative capabilities in Social, Mobile, Cloud and Data technologies. BPM
centralized all  mortgage-related communication, processes and data into one platform that allows loan officers, managers and customers to collaborate together to get work done more quickly. Through automation and flexible business rules, the system eliminated reliance on disparate paper forms,
faxes, emails, and snail mail.

Making all of that power available on an iPad/iPhone, Android or BlackBerry means  the Bank’s loan
officers can interact with customers to initiate, check on, or modify a loan request from anywhere. This interaction is created by dynamic case management with structured automation, leading to better interaction
between loan officer and customer.

The Results:

The bank has seen a host of business benefits from its initial implementation. Chief among these is a 30% acceleration of mortgage loan approvals, which directly impacts the quality of the customer experience. BPM delivered this by eliminating multiple days of work and duplication in the process, automatically enforcing the movement of work to its next step. Other received benefits include full process visibility, increased data quality, less re-work, and decreased training times. The improved loan management system helps the bank achieve its mission critical business objectives by integrating disparate legacy systems, overlaying them with a more flexible, natively-mobile architecture and social interface. Making loan officers mobile with an improved workflow system gives them the tools needed to increase efficiency, while collaborating with customers through a simple, user friendly social interface.

Net; Net: 

BPM can not only accelerate revenue increase, but allow for better relationships. This is a great example of a hybrid process. See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/11/process-styles-headed-to-hybrid.html

This is a highly summarized and anonymous case study based on Appian technology 

See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/10/me-bank-is-taking-on-big-banks-with-bpm.html for another example of using BPM to compete with large competitors.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Process Styles: Headed to Hybrid

Today there some large forces that are trying to make us pick process styles rather than solve business problems with processes. There are those who push modeling processes to perfection. There who claim case management is the answer to process problems. Some propose straight through automation and others propose dynamic orchestration of process snippets. Well the truth is we are headed towards processes that have many process styles (hybrid styles). There are many reasons that processes can't really stick to one style, but the ones that I am seeing are as follows:

Super Sized Scopes:

As processes prove themselves their scope of benefit impact are being stretched to larger scopes. Examples would be supply and value chains at the extreme end, but cross organizational unit is where this mixing usually starts. Departments with a high density of knowledge workers would need some kind of unstructured or case management style, but action oriented and heads down production workers would require a more best practice driven structured approach.

Mixture of Work Styles:

Most processes have one major work style. As processes add intelligence and show alternative better practices, work paths and styles will vary. As employees and stringers are enabled to make decisions, they will impact the path that process instances or cases take. Thus processes will have to have multiple styles to deal with the embedded decision points driven by changing desired process outcomes.

Intelligent Adaptability:

As processes become more goal driven in addition to flow driven, complex process styles will become more common. BPM delivers significant dynamic capabilities. As organizations take advantage of these intelligent dynamics, driven by events and analytic behavior, there will be more adaptability that could be human or machine guidance.

Net; Net:

Just like cars are employing multiple drive options, processes will be doing the same. I can't wait to see what these hybrid process deliver. This will introduce more complexity that will have to managed, thus implying some new management approaches such as agent oriented.

See the following blogs for more information on aoBPM


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Top Trends in Process Today

Process management is reaching towards the peak of productivity in a goodly number of organizations. With the shift to business driving the change, even proactively, there are some trends emerging that are worth noting that are playing at the macro level. While there are many micro trends and infusion of new technology, in addition, I have identified seven top trends in and around processes and process management. 

                     For more Fractal Images, see http://www.james-sinur.com/

Increase in Revenue Per Hour Worked:

Right now there is a huge emphasis on processes that help in new client capture and account opening on top of typical cross sell and up sell related processes. The C-level executives are looking for more revenue right now and the business folks are leveraging process here. Traditionally process activity was almost purely focused at cost savings. Things are different now.

Time to Market Responses: 

Because process technologies today expose business change levers and tuning features, business professionals are jumping at the opportunity to tweak running processes to optimize business outcomes. With the adaptive nature of process adaptation through case management and dynamic processes, things are speeding up. In fact,  I am seeing more real time change implementations of processes than ever before. In addition, BPM technologies have business and IT collaborative development and composition environments that deliver processes in a much faster fashion.

Customer Sensitive Behavior:

Today processes can appear to know the customer by delivering core behavior with variations by groups and individual kinds of customers. With great data management and leveraging business rule technologies, customers can change their own experience with a process. Today many process participants can customize their process experience, tomorrow the relationship with an organization, product and service can be customized. This keeps customers coming back, partners feeling involved and employees enabled. 

Better Support for Collaborative Knowledge Work:

Processes are ideal for mixing collaborative styles of work with more automated process automation. With that being said, processes are also geared to cross knowledge worlds and get them to work together for a common outcome. While process management can create role based (aka persona based) experiences, they can also support many kinds of collaboration styles up to crowd sourcing. Adaptive case management features are extending this strength over time. 

Empowered Participants & Resources:

The beauty of process management is that process participants can have a focused and customized experience, but also processes can swap out resources as need for any process instance or case that is in flight. In fact each of the resources can be made stronger with the addition of pattern detection, decision analysis and recommended actions based on processes outcome history.  In fact human resources can get an assist from real time event detection and analytic models as needed.

Business Agility Driven by Dynamic Goals:

Many processes today are process step or data driven, but there is a shift to goal driven going on to take advantage of the agility and speed that processes now offer. Processes can be given new sets of goals that are linked to desired business outcomes and the process can morph to reach these goals. In fact processes, assisted by analytic models, can find the sweet spot between conflicting goals and find a better balanced set of outcomes. 

Evolving Better Practices:

Processes now can find interesting patterns and visualize them for process owners, managers and participants to find better ways to do work. While best practices are great, evolving better practice patterns that differentiate an organization are even better.  This is a new and evolving science that will be beneficial in dynamic process situations that leverage knowledge collaboration. I can see a day when a knowledge worker is presented with multiple better practices for a case and select one based on situations at hand.

Net; Net:

While there are many emerging positive trends coming out of the process world, these are my macro trends. I suspect more may emerge over time.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

ME Bank is Taking on the Big Banks with BPM

Members Equity Bank is a fully Australian-owned, regulated bank. It was established by a collection of industry superannuation (pension) funds. The Bank was built to provide a genuine banking alternative to Australia’s four leading banks – creating, as its motto suggests, a fairer way to bank. ME Bank consistently offers lower rates and charges than the big four banks to the industry fund and union members, and it is aggressively taking market share as customers seek an alternative to the big four's perceived oligopoly. As smaller bank in Australia with limited branch coverage the Bank relies on mobile bankers and has recently released an innovative portable workplace bank that makes banking more convenient. ME Bank has in excess of 300,000 customers and more than 800 employees.

Getting to Revenue Faster First:

The first round of implementation is leveraging BPM for customers to open their own accounts in minutes. ME Bank this week completed a major milestone in its three year technology transformation project and is on track to finish the project within its original timeframes next year. The bank is implementing a new business process management platform, a new reporting platform, and a new core banking system, a project that will make it one of the most technologically advanced banks in Australia. The ‘straight-through’ transaction process verifies customers’ identities online and at the end of the process provides them with an account number, BSB, internet banking login and dispatches a transaction card to arrive within days. ME Bank is one of only a few banks in Australia that offer this service.

The Incremental Transformation Continues:

ME Bank will move its remaining deposit products onto the new BPM platform at the completion of the second stage of Transformation in early 2014 followed by its loan products at the third and final stage later in 2014. The second and third stages will also see ME Bank’s deposit and loan products moved onto a new T24 core banking system. A new reporting platform, Insight, will also go live in the second stage.

Jamie McPhee, ME Bank CEO, said “One of the benefits of being a young challenger bank is we’re not encumbered by a host of legacy systems that can have a major impact on project scope, time, and cost. To expedite a project of this scale you also need a robust methodology, which means thorough planning, a staged approach so you don’t try to implement too much at once, the right people in the right positions combined with reliable suppliers and the discipline to keep the project and its deliverables within scope. Transformation will be a major enabler for ME Bank, unleashing a wave of product and service innovation and operational efficiencies. We’ll have the ability to bring new products and services to market faster, critical in an increasingly digitized market where customers’ expectations for what banks can and should deliver is expanding and accelerating. We’ll also have an enhanced capacity to handle very high customer numbers without impacting service levels and operating costs, also critical for a young and growing bank that’s hungry to challenge the dominance of the big four.” McPhee said the entire project is centered on improving ‘customer experience’ and capability, and will enable ME Bank to challenge the majors like never before by giving ‘real edge’ to its fairer approach. The transformation will add real muscle to a bank that already has a lot of heart, a potent combination in an environment where the majors are tolerated for being secure, efficient and effective.” 

Net; Net:

ME Bank is taking the smart approach of going for revenue quickly to fund an incremental transformation that will allow for aggressive growth and a better customer experience. Adding and retaining customers while increasing revenue is the battle cry right now for business, so this approach is a sure-fire win. This transformation is linked to an industrial strength intelligent business process management platform (iBPMS).

This is a highly summarized case study based on ME Bank Success Using Pegasystems technology 

For more reading on incremental transformation, see

For more reading on intelligent processes, see

Monday, October 21, 2013

BPM is Alive with New Opportunities

Process management is morphing quickly as organizations are looking for additional business outcomes to cost savings. Earlier this month there were articles about BPM being on it's death bed and I responded with the following post. http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/10/bpm-is-not-dead-process-management-is.html.  I think what is dying is that BPM is not just about cost cutting anymore and the name is not a shiny object anymore. As we all know IT types like shiny new names. I kind of like the new mantra of Civilization 3.0, but I'll let others decide if a new name is required.  BPM has new opportunities now because of it's ability to adapt like a chameleon. They are a follows:

Revenue Opportunities:

Process can be used to raise revenue which is currently on the mind of the CXO level. While fast and friendly approached to account opening is a major push, right at the moment, there are many examples of using BPM is the sales cycle and customer relationship cycle. This will take a different tack, but BPM is proven in helping to raise revenue.

Time to Market Response: 

Some organizations are looking at speeding up their organizations and their ability to beat the competition to a delightful customer response and experience. Some businesses are aiming at real time recognition, decisions and responses. Because the new generation of process technology supports intelligent and rapid response, BPM is ready willing and able to increase an organizations velocity.

Resource Leverage:

With the advent of smarter resources that are ever expanding in number and capability, managing them is challenging and complex. Whether it is the internet of everything,  tagged inventory, supercharged knowledge workers. robots or intelligent agents, BPM has the smarts to compose, leverage and optimize usage of many resources, so leading organizations are lining up to implement process solutions.

Built for Innovation:

Because BPM is built for collaborative development and operation, the best business minds can easily collaborate with the brightest technical folks to create innovative process solutions. Unlike most advancing and morphing emerging technologies, BPM makes them consumable on one base that can be shared by business and IT types without painful translation

Transformation Enabler:

Transformations can be made less painful because of the adaptability of BPM and it's underlying technologies. See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/10/magical-transformations-are-scary-but.html Transformation is a dirty word normally because the technology and infrastructure was limiting. This is less true with BPM, but people change is still a challenge.  http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/06/people-change-is-bpms-roadblock.html In fact BPM is wrapping old and tired applications these days.

Net; Net:

BPM is not a shiny word like "Big Data", "Mobile", "Social", "Streaming Events", "Cloud" and "Poly-Analytics", but BPM leverages each of these emerging technologies, usually on one base with the ability to adapt quickly or incrementally. How could BPM not be alive with \opportunity? Well at least it's not called  "healthcare.gov".

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tucon 2013: Civilization 3.0 will be Enabled by the Amazing Application of Technology

On the first day of Tucon, Vivek Ranadive, the CEO and founder of Tibco, gave a visionary mention of the term Civilization 3.0. He hinted at an innovative application of technologies and a better customer experience. Well, on day two of Tucon there were concrete examples given of how this might work. It started out with a change in the way that organizations would engage client and a change in philosophy. The line that captured the change for me was: "Tomorrows organization will shift from "earn and burn" to a technology driven VIP experience for loyalty."

While there were many customer sessions to follow to demonstrate success with Tibco technologies, some were examples that helped the audience surround this concept of a mobile and kinder relationship with organizations:

The first was the way that the sporting experience was going to change radically; starting with the Sacramento Kings. The mobile experience inside the new stadium (yet to be built) will be all inclusive and directed from the seat of the attendee. The experience outside the stadium will include large artistic screens greeting each VIP ticket holder and telling them that their dinner reservation is awaiting and give step by step directions to their table via mobile. Of course, offers will follow as nobody is against increasing revenue.

The second was for patient care where the whole history of an aging patient, with multiple critical problems could be known and all the special needs would be prearranged. This could be up to and including custom designer medicines designed for this patient based on their DNA for optimal homeostasis for their set of conditions.

The third was from a very knowledge centric service provider for accumulating and sharing knowledge to help their customer base. It might go as far as finding better practice patterns by mining the activities and events of past successes.

Net; Net:

It was encouraging to hear an innovative vision for a streaming event, analytic and process vendor, like Tibco, and how they thought that they could deliver a new base for civilization leveraging social, mobile and cloud for differentiation.

See the first day of Tucon 2013 http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/10/tucon-2013-in-vegas-tibco-and-their.html

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tucon 2013 in Vegas: Tibco and Their Clients are Transforming Business Models

Tibco really gets Intelligent Business Operations(IBO) and is adding to it's business platform in significant ways. Meanwhile Tibco's clients are delivering business bang with event driven process focused applications with visual business outcomes. It was very encouraging to hear one client after another tell a story of big business impact leveraging differentiating business function.

Tibco is adding wider pipes to handle a greater level of patterns, events and big data opportunities, they are working on technologies that will help clients transform with a better mobile experience. This means Tibco is leveraging streaming real time events to search for business opportunity and threat patterns. The ideas is to assemble predictions and potential actions based on these streaming event patterns. Imagine this applied to your personal health by predicting health events. By injecting nano technology into your blood stream that could detect chemical changes, you could be notified ahead of time that your were close to a heart attack through notification. Besides this great leverage of event patterns, Tibco is rolling out better and mobile visual metrics, a combination of  big data and "in memory" data/events and a supercharged business process management capability. While there was a big emphasis on infrastructure sessions, there were great tracks around poly analytic approaches and innovative use of technology to leverage for organizations.

The impressive list of clients ready to share success included Nielsen, Royal Caribbean, Kroger and Proctor & Gamble. Each had it's own version of Tibco leverage, but it is clear there is transformation going on leveraging intelligent business operations guided by great decisions on top of a resilient infrastructure.

Net; Net: Tibco has a mature base of technology, that is positively evolving and clients leveraging that base for business transformation.

iBPMS Expo Delivers a Side by Side Comparo

I was fortunate to be invited by BPM.COM to speak at the iBPMS Expo on the trends in Intelligent Business Operations (IBO) and the characteristics of processes that make them intelligent.  This is important because organizations need to compete with speedy results. Intelligent processes have the business functions and features to help businesses deal with the pressures for profitability today. What I really liked about the iBPMS Expo was the access and ability to drill into each vendors offering using a common use case. This years use case revolved around revenue generation with an intelligent account opening process. There also awards given onsite, even though I had to leave the event before that occurred.    

Businesses are in a Battle to Lead in Revenue Per Hour Worked / The Normalized Measure

 Nearly Every Business Resource will Need to be Operating at an Ever Rising Level of Productivity
 Nearly Every Internal Action Will Need to Be Viewed in the Light of Business Outcomes
 Nearly Every Action or Pattern of Actions in the Business Context Will Be Ascertained for Opportunity or Threat
 Nearly Every Decision Will be Made in the Light of Conflicting Goals
 Nearly Every Process Will Have be More Intelligent