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 


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

BPM is Not Dead: Process Management is Alive and Well.

Every other year, someone writes an article stating "BPM is dead". Well, the facts do not support this theory, but BPM is transforming to something better. Bigger scopes and new features are happening. Might we call it a nice new name to make it sound new and shiny? I'll let others do that as this is above my pay grade.

BPM Benefits are Real:

I have been privileged to see many completed BPM projects and successful programs and the is a resounding positive track record. I have heard of few failures, so I am convinced the benefits are there and I have seen case studies that deliver multiple benefits from the list below:

Proven Revenue Lift
Proven Cost Containment
Proven Time to Market Delivery
Proven Innovation
Proven Visibility
Proven Accountability
Proven Adaptability

There is a shift going on in organizations from a cost savings push to a revenue generation set of efforts. We need to let our executives know that BPM does help lift revenue while saving costs. IT folks are way too aimed at saving costs alone. This has to change.

BPM Vendors Are Consolidating:

While the overall market is growing north of 13%, by conservative measures and estimates, the number of vendors are going down. This is normal in all markets. There a winners and losers and some of the early players get bought as the market plays out successfully. This is not a sign of problems; it is normal. In fact new players are still merging as niche geographical players.

Winning BPM Vendors are Doing Well:

I am aware of several BPM vendors with strong momentum despite not having a new and shiny label. The winners are leveraging the shiny terms inside their architectures. There are many examples of social, mobile, cloud, Internet of things, adaptive flows, real time, complex events, poly-analytic and big data features being leveraged. There are even examples of Agent Oriented BPM out in the market today.

Processes are Taking on Larger Scopes and More Complexity:

Because of these proven BPM benefits, organizations are moving forward with more ambitious process efforts that are successfully crossing organizational boundaries to the level of supply and value chains. I have seen many innovative and business model differentiating processes roll out in the last few years. I expect even more case studies.

Net; Net:

"BPM is dead" seems a shallow call to me based on the facts. BPM may not be shiny and new, but BPM and the BPM vendors deliver. Let's not be hysterical :)  IT and the IT prognosticators want shiny new names to get funds. Business professionals do not, so BPM works for them.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Magical Transformations are Scary, but Incremental Transformation Reduces Risk

Business and process transformations are not magical like in the video below, but they are now possible in an incremental way. See some interesting visual transformations here  http://vimeo.com/m/75260457 That was pretty mind blowing, but the risk of business transformation can be mitigated by leveraging the incremental aspects of business process management (BPM) and Agent technologies.

There are some real practical approaches to accomplish incremental transformation. See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/07/incremental-transformation-is-here-today.html
These are not theoretical marketing ideas, organizations have accomplished transformation using some or all of the principles documented in this blog posting. Other organizations have created innovative parallel processes in green field (new) situations to test out new transformation approaches.

How BPM Helps: 

BPM not only has adaptability features that supports incremental change, but BPM is designed to hand the keys of change to the business professionals. BPM configuration and development environments are designed to encourage business to take the lead on the business design supported by process. The collaborative nature of both the configuration and process execution environments of BPM leads to easier change. The more intelligent BPM technologies become; the more transformation will be enabled and attempted. Read more about intelligent processes  http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/05/measuring-cumulative-intelligence-of.html

How Agents Help: 

Agent Oriented (AO) approaches are even more conducive to change than BPM. Combined (aoBPM) creates a more dynamic BPM. See http:/ /jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/09/harnessing-business-complexity-with.html and some of my other posts for emerging agent capabilities. Agents, in pure form, are autonomous and self organize around business situations and dynamically create successful process patterns guided by governance policies and constraints.

Net; Net:

Organizations will no longer be able to avoid transformations, so education on coping approaches and technologies are a must. True leadership will pursue these emerging aoBPM approaches that are supported by social, mobile, big data, events, poly-analytics and cloud technologies.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Agents Can Effectively Bid for Process Activity

Agents are intelligent by nature therefore they can bid on process activity. This gives the process director more options as they seek to deliver ever increasing value and business results. In fact a process director could set up an agent to govern the bidding process for agent selection leveraging policies and constraints that could change dynamically. This encourages a competitive environment with resource performance monitoring.

Agents Provide Heterogeneity:

Agents can be software or humans See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/09/agents-have-power-of-intelligent-and.html . More importantly agents allow for more precise selection for the business goals that are in effect at any particular moment in time, assuming proper measures of success are established and captured.

Agents Free Up Investment Funds:

Since the agents leveraged are already trained for their specific tasks, organizations do not have to invest in skills development unless the organization considers the skills necessary to own in it;s own agents. This takes the idea of out-sourcing and super-charges it. This is only true, however, if proper measures are established and tracked (including quality).

Agents Allow for Better Capacity Management:

Agents can be quickly cobbled together for business expansions driven by new campaigns. Agents can be quickly dismissed as business winds down as well. Both of these actions can be accomplished in a time to market fashion.

Net; Net:

Agents allow for great flexibility for changing business conditions and can be managed dynamically through bidding. With proper performance measures we can avoid some of the downside of past sourcing models.