Sunday, March 30, 2014

Art Projects for the 1st Quarter 2014

Despite heavy conference activity (PEX, Kofax Transform, DST Advance & bpmNext), I managed to create some new pieces. I love fall colors, so I conjured up a waterfall scene in my mind and added some fall touches. I hope you like it :)

My current collection is available on

                                 Wind Creek

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



                              Fingers of Light


                            Solar Flare 

I also landed a corporate office deal and four of my pieces landed outside the board room. If you are interested, see below:

Past Art Posts

Thursday, March 27, 2014

bpmNext Had Something for Everybody

This was my first bpmNext and I came away impressed with the level of honest interchange. I was fortunate enough to land the keynote slot, but the real benefit was to see the depth and breadth to the process related technologies and activities (BPM). There were a number of key themes including lowering the barriers to entry plus expanding to new and exciting movements leveraging the new digital assets and form factors. There were interesting sessions for all levels of BPM maturity and types of BPM efforts. There were sessions aimed at expanding the BPM biosphere, making BPM efforts more consistent and expanding the reach of BPM

                   Demo of a SAP Hana driven dashboard for a transportation hub

Expanding the BPM Biosphere:

There were several sessions that showed how the barriers to entry for BPM could be lowered for an expansion of BPM for lower complexity processes. Almost all of the sessions here leveraged social, mobile and or the cloud. These sessions were presented by Colosa, Interneer, BP3, Effektif, Bonitasoft, BPLogix, Camunda and Inswit. The goal for these vendors are to easily handle process creation and execution. Each vendor had their unique way to attract newbies to the process work. The highlight for me was W4s approach that allowed developers to start at the process model, data definitions or UI experience.

Making BPM Efforts More Consistent:

There were several encouraging presentations on making BPMN more consistent through new and resilient methods/guidelines even enforced by a rule driven macro generator. Also there were several sessions demonstrating the interchange of BPMN models between BPM vendors. I was most impressed with the session that aggregated snippets of process models that were created by a geo-diverse set of authors. All of this makes BPMN more stable, consistent and useful. IBM showed possible new approaches for extending BPMN for event condition and patterns combining event management, decisions and processes. Camunda is experimenting with a collaboration environment for checking BPMN diagrams leveraging the collective.

               Whitestein shows an intelligent goal driven AO BPM approach to logistics                        

Expanding the Reach of BPM:

There were a number of themes that showed the delivery smarter processes. There were several sessions on linking architecture to processes (Signavio & Vision Waves). There were several sessions on Agent Oriented BPM besides my opening keynote. Kofax/Kapow presented on data agents and how to leverage them for business results. Enterpriseweb and WhiteStein showed goal driven AO BPM with some impressive presentations. SAP presented the combination of goal mining, analytics, rules and process driven approaches to keeping logistics on track. Keith Swenson of Fujitsu suggested we call agents personal assistants and showed a medical example for sharing information around patient testing using federating sandboxes.

 James Taylor demonstrated his brilliant decision modeling capability that assists in delivering better decisions inside or outside the context of processes. Robert Shapiro of Process Analytica demonstrated his powerful process mining and  process optimization technology.

Net: Net:

There was plenty of evidence that the BPM industry is alive and well. There is something in BPM for everyone and bpmNEXT represented this theme in an exceptional way. I was in learning mode throughout the sessions. Even though the BPM GURUs and key BPM vendors were there, there was plenty of intellectual food for even us normal folks.

Funny Quote of the Week from Jacob Freund of Camunda:

 "BPM is like a roach; it gets everywhere and you can't kill it"

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Digital Organization is Obsessed About Customers

The successful digital organization is laser focused on leveraging digital assets for customers. There has been an explosion of technology options for organizations to leverage towards better customer interactions and self enlightened organizations are smartly applying these options to the delight of the customer experience.

Lagging Customer Engagement Costs:

There is a burning race to delight the customer. In fact, customers are demanding an exceptional experience and those who deliver it will be handsomely rewarded. Each customer interaction should be treated like  "a first date" instead of taking your partner (customer) for granted. There are hard numbers for the cost of dealing with customers properly. The numbers were from a large benchmark conducted by Lior Arussy of Stratvity and they were pretty impressive. The cost of a customer complaint was on average was $458. The cost to resolve that complaint was $1338. The overall economic value of a customer over the long haul was $91,500 and the cost of gaining one new customer was $4995. It doesn't take a lot of calculation to justify spending millions on the right processes to "wow" customers. 

Delightful Customer Engagement Delivers Revenue:

Several research firms have done studies about satisfied customers and have concluded that over 20% of customers will actually pay more for a similar product or service, if they are delighted with the organization that they are about to do "new business" with in the future. Imagine what a great reputation, competitive pricing and seductive processes could do for the digital organization. This means that the digital organization uses technology to greatly improve the customer experience. It does not mean that you pave old cow paths (poor processes) with a thin mobile interface. 

The Customer Journey:

Savvy digital organizations map out the customer journey from their viewpoint in an end to end fashion. This is the kind of holistic approach that goes beyond point online transactions with surveys set to clients before they actually taste the results. Organizations are at a critical inflection point where they decide to transform their customer experience to gain revenue or just add enough technology to live another day. 

Net; Net:

The string of years of cutting costs to bolster profits by delivering 10% returns to boost stock prices is coming to an end. It is time to raise real revenue. A successful digital organization will map the customer experience and transform it. What will your company do? 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Millennials & Processes: The Engine for Creative Collaboration

1) Generation Y aka the Millennials:   The networked generation place a great importance on communicating and sharing at each stage of their decision-making processes in their personal lives, what is this generation looking for when it comes to Business Process Management? 
The experts say Generation Y is marked by an increased use of and familiarity with communications, media and digital technologies and is willing to trade high pay for fewer billable hours, flexible schedules and a better work-life balance. I think this translates to better collaboration on knowledge intensive work. This might allow organizations to leverage creative collaboration and the cognitive surplus on the Internet. Since gamification appeals, organizations could insert machine intelligence as part of this collaborative opportunity. 
2) What are the specific challenges with case management vs. process automation.  Is there an increase in Case Structures vs process structures, and how does that affect the tools used for automation?
Traditional processes were historically dominated by structured processes (doing by design), but more of the work today is much less structured (design by doing) and aimed at customer pleasing and knowledge intensive work. This leads to more of a balanced approach to process management. Over time more collaboration between people and machines as well will tip the balance towards case management as work becomes more complex and processes expand in scope. Process models will be used more as visualizations of what really happened rather than a map to always follow. This will kick off a “better practices era” and goal driven technologies.
3) How important are integrations for process automation, and can BPM be used with core apps to engage users and add flexibility and agility to an organization? 
As process expand in scope (aka Big Processes), there will be a need to integrate more resources including systems resources. Since processes are being leveraged as a strategy to incrementally transform organizations by tying people engagement to systems of record, integration that can flex over time becomes essential.
4) How quickly are organizations deploying new applications to introduce new processes?  And, is the deployment speed meeting expectations? 
Since organizations do not readily embrace “big bang” approaches, they will likely implement incrementally starting with customer pleasing approaches with high visibility for business goals. This strategy is quite successful for a good number of organizations. This way the benefits can be gleaned to fund down-stream process efforts.  Incremental transformation, through agile processes, seems to be successful, but this approach puts strains on change management efforts.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

DST's Advance 2014: Insight Plus Actions Equals Results

Advance is being held in Orlando Florida as I write this blog and I have to say that DST is showing it's extremely loyal clients the way forward. Traditionally, DST was quite focused on the financial industry, but now is widening it's appeal to many other industries in order to drive growth. To that end, DST has accelerated it's features in AWD (BPM technology) to be more friendly, more analytic and inclusive of case management features.

To move it's conservative client base to the new world, DST is showing how new revenue can be added to the mix by leveraging "Big Data Analytics". DST now has significant resources for service engagements around revenue generation and will be enhancing it's new technologies to work "hand in hand" with AWD to generate the "Next Best Actions"  These actions can not only raise revenue, but help with "Delighting Customers" and specific smart packaged process based applications. Since DST is fantastic at serving it's loyal clients, these words ring true.

Now DST has invested heavily in this approach by buying the Lateral Group and focusing them on packaging services, extending "Big Data"  functionality and build smart applications. This combines the strength of DSTs analytic capabilities with the strength of DSTs process capabilities. This should leverage the big investment that DST has added to AWD in case management and role based work. The temptation for their clients is not to think the same old way and get innovative in applying these new capabilities over time.

The challenge for DST is to encourage their existing client base to take advantage of the great investments that DST has completed in AWD and by buying and incorporating Lateral Groups fantastic technical and people assets. The new clients, that DST has gotten recently, seem to focused on the new products and services. DST is working hard to see that the existing client base sees the value and moves forward with them as a trusted partner. I am impressed with the thoughtful way DST is handling this transition to the new and agile world that is focused on revenue growth, customer care and efficiency.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Kofax Transform Day 2: Deeper Dive

After digesting a number of sessions, it is clear to me that Kofax not only has the executive vision to play deep in the smart process world, it also has the technology. I tried to taste sessions around all of the Kofax technologies and came way feeling good about their technology. The technology pieces that I would deem as minimal to draw together over time with traditional Kofax capture technology would be as follows:

Total Agility(KTA)           Business Process Management
Kapow                            Synthetic Data APIs or Bots
Altosoft                            Real Time Business & Process Intelligence

I was able to find proof of stable use of all of these product lines and progress towards a future road map that is aimed at adding features and integrating. I was actually impressed with a number of case studies on each separate technology. Kofax now has all the pieces to complete intelligent processes that leverage social, mobile, cloud, analytic and real time response. Just yesterday Kofax announced Total Agility in the cloud with full multi-tenancy, so the progress continues. 

Impressive Case Studies:

VISA Leveraging Kapow Bots (minions) and KTA for data gathering from partners in an approachable manner instead of a forced march to a VISA dictated format

Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania building nested and overlapping Altosoft dashboards by role for better business results with better patient care

BAE leveraging Kapow to sniff multiple social, operational and internet sources to find cases of child abuse in less than 24 hours

Net; Net: 

Kofax has carefully crafted a solid tech portfolio to match it's vision. They will be encouraging their client base to upgrade to smart processes to delight their respective customer bases. I fully expect to see double the impressive case studies a year from now.

Got Smart Processes?

I thought you might enjoy this audio interview about smart processes.

More Reading on Smart Processes

Monday, March 10, 2014

Kofax Transform 2014: Making the First Mile of Business Smarter

Transform is being held in San Diego as I write this blog and I have to say that Kofax is showing a new side of itself. With recent acquisitions, changes in management goals and strategies, Kofax is showing how it can help their clients deliver a better customer experience necessary to generate more revenue for an extended period of time. This is the CXOs challenge today and Kofax is stepping up to assist.

Reynolds Bish, the CEO of Kofax, took the stage and shared how Kofax was aimed providing packages of software that were aimed at the first mile where the sophisticated and connected customers could be won over with a delightful experience. He said that the challenge was connecting the systems of record with the systems of engagement. With recent acquisitions of Total Agility (formerly Singularity) for process/rule management, Alsosoft for real time business/process intelligence and Kapow for visual scripting of dynamic data integration as agents (synthetic APIs), Kofx has the combination of technologies to bridge this gap in an intelligent fashion. He told a pretty compelling story that was to be backed up by customer experiences during the rest of the conference.

The highlight of the day, for me, was next keynote by Lior Arussy of Stratvity on the economics of the customer experience. He was totally engaging and had us all convinced that there was a burning race to delight the customer. In fact, customers are demanding an exceptional experience and those who deliver it will be handsomely rewarded. He indicated that each customer interaction should be treated like  "a first date" instead of taking your partner (customer) for granted. He also provided hard numbers for the cost of dealing with customers properly.

The numbers were from a large benchmark and  were pretty impressive. The cost of a customer complaint was on average was $458. The cost to resolve that complaint was $1338. The overall economic value of a customer over the long haul was $91,500 and the cost of gaining one new customer was $4995. It doesn't take a lot of calculation to justify spending millions on the right processes to "wow" customers. This was probably the best presentation, I have seen in recent years.

After the two great keynotes, we were dismissed for breakout sessions in several tracks including BI & Analytics, Mobile Solutions, Smart Process Applications, Data Integration, Image/Content Capture and Industry Solutions. My favorite break out was a customer case study on creating dash linked dashboards for the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania.

Net; Net: 

It was a good first day and I look forward to day two when the customer case studies get thicker on the agenda.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Successful Digital Organizations Reinvigorate Legacy Applications

Most organizations are stuck up a tree with old, tired or lazy legacy applications. There are several approached to dealing with these difficult applications. One is to understand exactly what these applications do or don't do. Another is to wrap an leverage all or parts of these tired applications. Last resort is to convert all or part of  all of these tired applications.

Understand Your Legacy Applications:

Your legacy applications have important policies, rules and constraints that enable and implement business operations. Understanding how these rules affect resources and constituents will help organizations to determine the disposition of this business logic and the actions they control. For organizations that want to reorganize, eliminate or leverage this business logic, understanding the logic and it's relation to resources can be a great advantage for mission critical or business differentiating action. Some enlightened organizations carry out intelligent portfolio analysis to understand the inventory of software they own and use.

Surround, Leverage and Differentiate Your Legacy Applications:

Legacy applications can be leveraged in new contexts and under new interfaces to deliver better and smarter business operations. Organizations that are on a transformation journey often leverage legacy applications in new combinations, sequences and contexts (social, mobile, cloud). Quite often BPM methods and technologies are employed to leverage all or portions of these legacy applications. This is a common approach that is reaching ubiquitous levels. Enlightened organizations slowly replace the legacy applications over time.  

Convert Your Legacy Applications:

There are technology assists that help convert portions of legacy applications. While there are few pure automated conversions (exceptions include simple platform conversions), there are some automated supports for partial conversions. This can give organizations a way to reduce the heavy manual conversions and give a jump start to the manual efforts. Enlightened organizations use both automated and manual approaches to create reusable services or agents for future usage.  

Net; Net:

There are many ways to leverage old legacy applications, from understanding to re-platforming, for enlightened digital organizations. There are many organizations that have or are addressing legacy applications. These organizations are breathing new life into critical applications and retiring some of the old tired applications.

Additional Behaviors of Successful Digital Organizations:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Successful Digital Organizations Slay the "Wagile" Dragons

We all know that business process management (BPM) works in an agile "do it; try it and fix it" fashion. This is exactly the opposite of what most organizations have been practicing. The current methods usually practice a sequential, lock step, creating perfection approach. Unfortunately, this is not tolerable in a world that is headed towards faster development and maintenance cycles. BPM helps bring together agile methods with water fall methods (AKA Wagile) to increase waves of change cycles without giving up on quality. Each has it's own set of benefits and challenges.


What Agile Methods Bring to the Party:

When you think of the challenges of delivering change quickly, ones mind turns to agile methods that employ friendly or visual interactions between developers and business professionals using resulting processes or applications. BPM employs visibility in designing the processes through models, visual orchestrations of resources and resulting dashboards that are ideal for incremental and quick development and improvement. The problem with these incremental approaches that the teams need tighter communication patterns to keep everyone up to date with the latest results of each iteration. Some savvy organizations limit the number of increments within a given time fame to keep the whole team in synchronization. Agile is quick, but it also quick to have the chaos factor enter the efforts.

What Water Fall Methods Bring to the Party:

When you think of the challenges of delivering a perfect release where all are kept up to date, so that they buy in and approve of the resulting process or application, ones mind turns to waterfall methods that are careful at each sequential step. There is careful delivery of proven milestones and deliverables and every one knows what to expect at any moment in time. There is a project schedule that is visible and everyone knows the plan and executes to it, however this approach is too slow for the pace of business change and one never ever gets it right because of the need for change in the middle of development.

We Need WAGILE  (Water Fall and Agile):

The answer is the best of both worlds, but organizations have great debate and churn around just how to accomplish this. It is very important to combine these methods to the satisfaction of most of the developers and business folks, There are jump start training approaches to help combines SDLCs and Agile BPM and many of the successful BPM vendors are there to help, along with their solution provider partners.

Net; Net:

You have no choice in the digital age, but to combine agile with current methods. Knowing it, in advance, will help your journey. This is a "pay me now or pay me later" effort that is really necessary for Digital and BPM success.