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.