Monday, June 30, 2014

Free White Paper on "Reality Based Business Operations"

Business operations are based on the collective activities of your people, systems and constituents and improving those actions can prove to be very profitable. However, there are problems with knowing what really goes on without precise and detailed measurements. These measurements are often time consuming and require specialized skills, if you can get at the measures. Traditionally business professionals have to rely on process or technology professionals who have methods that are less than perfect because they rely on interview driven process models to lay the baseline for improvements. While there may be precise measures for individual parts of a process, getting a complete end to end and precisely measured process is usually not possible without close and  automated inspection.

Leverage Operations Intelligence with Process Discovery:

Processes are a reflection of the business operations in an organization. By basing process improvement on real metrics or measurement s and allowing business professionals to direct the creation of the existing base line for improvement, the results should be profitable and timely. Improvements driven by these accurate pictures of actual behavior can be designed and implemented in the new and improved processes. How this is accomplished makes all the difference in the size and speed of the benefits. Operational Intelligence can be implemented in several ways, but it is always based on real data.

Free White Paper:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Knowledge Collaboration with Automated Personal Assistants

I'm sure you don't expect to be buddies with a bot any time soon, but you could be closer to having automated personal assistants than you think. The knowledge necessary to complete complex cases that require deeper knowledge than the human participants have at hand might benefit from a machine assist. With the advent of a multitude of personal assistant bots or agents in the cloud powered by Watson or Deep Mind, getting a knowledge assist is becoming a real possibility. The use of personal assistants (PA) will cause some new opportunities and challenges, but we will have to have a good mixture of people and automated personal assistants. Listed below are some areas where humans are best and areas where assistants can help.

People are clearly superior in the softer skills of dealing with others and have natural abilities around creative thinking. Humans alone are good at the following:

Playing Games
Creating Art
Handling the Unexpected
Unstructured Problems
Acquiring and Learning New Information
Handling Non-Routine Work
Dealing With Emotions

Personal Assistants are clearly superior in dealing with super fast analysis and the presentation of multiple alternatives. Bots alone are good at the following:

Accuracy and Consistency
Handling Volumes of Big &Thick Data
Power and Speed
Adaptable with No Complaints
Analytic Driven
24 by 7 Availability
Stacking Alternatives with Probabilities

Net; Net:

There is not doubt that we are heading towards greater machine intelligence and assistance for knowledge workers, particularly in an adaptive case management situation. Our challenge is craft the combination of human strength and bot assistance moving forward as we challenge the new knowledge intensive work streams.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Case Management Encourages Knowledge Collaboration for Goal Attainment

Case management, particularly adaptive case management, enables knowledge worker collaboration to reach evolving goals as a team. This is needed because work, cases in particular, have become more complex and perfect knowledge is not available in one job role or person to handle a case. There are five kinds of collaboration that I have observed in my work life and are enumerated below:

Unstructured Communication:

Most collaboration happens in things like social media, email and through texts. While this gets the job done, sometimes, it doesn't get captured for reuse and future leverage. If we are working together to reach today's goals and really don't intend to help others downstream, this is a great approach. However, in the interest of capturing gems of wisdom, there are additional approaches.

Enabled Conferencing:

Quite often one to one communications, captured or not, are not up to the task of solving complex and complicated cases. This often requires "brain storming" in a group fashion to "noodle through" difficult, event patterns, decisions and appropriate actions in a speedy fashion. This may require "in person", audio and video conferencing where content (images, voice, image and video) can be shared in a cooperative understanding session. This helps understanding the semantics, semiotics and dimensions of complex work, agree on actions and glean cooperative commitment to the solution.

Coordinated Activity:

While independent activity such as communication and conferencing can solve complex cases, the process is quite haphazard in attaining goals. If this goals are coordinated and driven to in a milestone fashion with proper recording of activity and history, there can be value carried forward for future cases and patterns of success. This is especially true when the milestones are not carved in stone and they can flex as cases progress. This where adaptive case management leverages a technical assist.

Leveraging Community:

Often organizations are only focused on the resources that they directly control with salary and employment contracts. While there is some sense in this practice, sometimes cases need to tap into worlds that the organizations do not have the knowledge or skill. Even if the organization has all the knowledge and resources, they may not have the bandwidth to handle the work. This where stringers, communities and public cognitive surplus can be leveraged to the advantage of case resolution and positive organizational outcomes. This approach usually interjects a new level of security and responsibility, however.

Better Practice Guidance:

Often knowledge workers are left to their own experience and judgement as to how to approach a case that may be growing in complexity over time. While it is good to have experienced resources, there are assists that work for both the uninitiated, the normal knowledge worker and the expert. Identifying better practice patterns should be the goal of organizations where the work varies greatly and  the kind of cases are still emerging. By analyzing better practices and rating them in the light of goal attainment can give your knowledge workers several alternative paths for success. This could be at a large grained level or as fine grained as to identify great collaborative patterns between resources.

Net; Net: 

Organizations will need to practice all five of these collaboration approaches. The wisest organizations will define when and where each have their greatest leverage. As work gets more complex and as processes aim for larger "end to end" scopes there will be a mixture of knowledge work and routine process actions, so get ready now for guiding these practices.

Additional Reading:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

2014 BPM & Case Management Global Summit in DC

I had the pleasure to speak at the inaugural BPM & Case Management Summit and I found it to be a unique and helpful event. There were over 200 participants that enjoyed the rich set of presentations. There was a good mix of training, case studies, networking, vendor participation and awards. The key major themes were customer facing processes, adaptive case management, delivering BPM in the government setting and the WFMC Awards. There were minor themes around simulation, health care and managing process components (snippets, services, rules, goals etc.).

Customer Focus:

Not only was there a key note on Reinventing BPM for the age of the customer, presented by Clay Richardson of Forrester, there were a significant number of supporting case studies around customer service, on boarding and changing the client experience.

Adaptive Case Management(ACM): 

While the majority of the sessions were on Case Management and ACM, the best session was presented by Keith Swenson on the Seven Domains of Predictability: Understanding the Spectrum of Case management Approaches.

BPM in Government:

There are many more issues stacked against the government BPM implementations in that the workers are not interested in risk and change. The workers are easily capable of stopping projects easily through resistance. It seems that this was really acute in the federal arena. The states had a better success rate, but this conference highlighted many successful Federal Government implementations. I saw some from the defense folks and the non-defense folks. While many were just tapping ACM, there were solid results.

WFMC Awards:

In parallel with the conference, WFMC issued a number of awards across many industries, but the big winner was the Port of Antwerp, Belgium. The highlight of the "rubber chicken" dinner was the honoring the Connie Moore (formerly Forrester) for her deep contribution to BPM and the clients working on implementations.

Great Case Studies:

Johnson and Johnson for worldwide scope and core process consolidation (probably an award winner next round).

Norwegian Food Safety Authority for high quality and regulatory compliance (a 2013 award winner)

Special Operations Enterprise for prototyping dynamic integration, new technologies and the future soldier (Iron Man).

Vendors with Pop:

Whitestein, Pega, IBM, Framework Solutions, Trisotech, Process Analytica, & BP Logix

Net; Net:

A conference well designed and executed worth another visit for me.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Adaptive Case Management: The Path to Emergent Processes

Business Process Management(BPM) is ever evolving and it's not taking a rest now. BPM started with straight through processing combined with simple workflow with pre-determined flows and exception paths. Even where the process paths were loose, case management with pre-determined milestones to hit had to be set with fixed targets. This gave processes some flexibility that wouldn't be modeled. Today with adaptive case management employed, BPM can handle emergent and non-deterministic goals. This will give way to process models acting as visual audit trails for the most part. Of, course there will be deterministic snippets of process that can be modeled ahead of time.

Traditional Processes:

Normally processes represent best practices (happy paths) with exceptions for known deviations for the best path. These processes can include free collaborations, but they are focused around specific points in the process where knowledge and judgement is called for to complete a process instance or structured case.

Emergent Processes: 

Emergent processes form naturally around collaboration in a people to people fashion, a machine to machine fashion or people to machine fashion. This collaboration is forming naturally and are captured as better practices potentially. These practice patterns can be analyzed as bad practices or better practices. The bad practices are avoided through constraints (do no allow them) and the better practices are presented for future leverage. If a better practice is used often, it can become a best practice or be established as an alternative happy path.

Adaptive Case Management(ACM):

ACM encourages collaboration and the dynamic adjustment of milestones, goals and tasks plus supports emergent processes well. As processes expand in scope and more knowledge work is supported, the growth of ACM is expected to expand. However processes are likely to include ACM and traditional process snippets. As better practices yield best practices, over time, traditional best practices will play in end to end processes.

Net; Net:

I really expect ACM to grow over time as it is very valuable in getting practice handled and established without all of the analysis up front to create complete and perfect models. I also expect that the bed of better and best practice patterns inventoried as snippets will grow as well. It's not a "zero-sum game".

Back Ground Reading:

Monday, June 9, 2014

PegaWorld 2014: The Digital Pressure Increases

This year the PegaWorld attendance zoomed over 3000 in attendance and audience was treated to great line up of sessions. It's clear that Pega has something special going on, in that, it has been designated as one of Forbes most trusted companies. Alan Trefler started the sparks flying by stating that organizations can't side step the march towards digitization that gets rid of the friction between lines of business and enables better partnering with IT. The digital organization will be outcome driven and aimed at transformation over time. This means that organizations will have to be digital by design which will require the power to engage customers, the power to simplify and the power to change. Through incremental transformation with intelligent, agile, and case powered processes, organizations will develop the proper rhythm of change.

Alan then introduced an acronym that he felt would make a huge impact on organizations and the processes that support them. SMACT combines social, mobile, analytics, cloud and the internet of things to enable the true transformation to digital organizations. This has guided a number of acquisitions by Pega in recent years. Pega PRPC has been augmented with more social (Fire Fly), more mobile technologies (Antenna),  and more analytics (Chordiant & Mesh Labs).

Vodafone then told the story of how they have increased revenue and reduced costs by intelligently leveraging Pega PRPC.

A panel of three clients Lloyds, United Healthcare and the FBI shared their success with Pega. Lloyds has transformed from simplification and cost reduction efforts to customer engagement driven with digitization. United Healthcare is trying to improve customer service by getting the customer out of the middle between providers and rigid rules. FBI is trying to predict bad events before they occur.

Kerim Akgonal talked about a new and omniscient version of CRM that leverages super big data that combines customer and context data to deliver emerging actions. He then demonstrated a brilliant example of a mobile interaction with an insurance company while Kerim tried to find and buy a motor cycle. Anyways, Kerim only qualified for a scooter that he drove off the stage.

The process of absolutely everything was explained by Bruce Williams and Setrang Khoshafian. They explained how there would be billions of things linked to processes over the next decade and there were great opportunities for innovative processes. This was followed up by a demo drama showing a mini drone checking oil pipelines for faults. Once the cracks are found, a crew is dispatched to deal with the problem.

Net; Net:

An exciting first day that promises to lead to another tomorrow. The digital organization is unstoppable. Read more about the behaviors of the Digital Organization.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Top 10 Behaviors of Winning Organizations

We are at a critical point in time for organizations to leverage digital technologies in a way that leads them into a future that allows businesses to keep up with changing conditions. This must be accomplished with increased revenue or market share and with few negative impacts to partners and employees.

I would like to drill down into ten practices that will differentiate organizations in the next several years while taking full advantage of new digital behaviors and emerging technologies. These behaviors will likely be assisted by agile and self organizing processes leveraging automated agent based personal assistants. Please dig into each posting that draws your attention for more detail.

1. Obsessed with the Customer:

Customer is King, Queen, Prince and Princess wrapped into one. A new definition of CRM needs to be established by organizations that takes into account personal desires, likes, collaborators and patterns of disappointments.

2. Goal Driven by Nature:

As organizations face the challenges of shifting and blended goals, support processes and systems need to automatically adjust to new goals and new goal mixes.

3. Seeks Differentiating Innovation:

Organizations can no longer stand pat on business models and behaviors, so much time needs to be expended on innovative and bold behaviors

4. Focused on Great Decisions:

Putting the odds in an organizations favor should be the obsession of decision makers, so the most advanced application of analytic models and understanding emerging patterns for better actions should be excercised.

5. Possessed with Time to Market Results:

The pressure for timely products, services, decisions, actions and adjustments is high,so there is a premium on fast development and adjustment.

6. Seeking the Proper Context:

Knowing the right space to set goals, make decisions and take actions should be the obsession of organizations.

7. Opportunistically Leverages Dynamic Capabilities:

If organizations want decide and act quickly they need to build in agility levers.

8. Provides Excellent Visualization for All:

Organizations can't appreciate or manage what they can't easily see and perceive, so there will be a premium on better visualization and human interaction.

9. Aggressively Leverages Legacy Applications:

Organizations generally can't start with a clean slate or have the privilege to throw out legacy processes or  applications, so incremental transformation and differentiation wrapping will be common.

10. Embraces Emerging Agile Development Methods:

A faster world will beget faster methods, so the emergence of Wagile methods is no surprise to the savvy organizations.

Net; Net:

Like no other time in history organizations are poised to separate them selves from the pack. Do you work for one of them? If not, you have a short time to transform the one you are in at the moment.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Digital Organization is Time Sensitive

It doesn't matter if an organization is racing the competition to the next set of turns or trying to conserve fuel for the long race ahead, being time sensitive is something to master well. Organizations are having to deal with expanding complexity and increased time pressures. If you have ever had the chance to race ultra fast cars, you will find that your decisions and reactions have to step up in speed. Speed to adaptation is the new goal in today's economy. I believe the same thing is happening in the business world. I'd like to dig into five areas that are facing many organizations.

Time to Intercept the Market:

Customers are not just satisfied with commodity goods and services. They want organizations to understand them and deliver options tailored to their individual needs. This means that organizations have to quickly deliver products, services, terms, conditions and innovations that meet their evolving needs. For those organizations dealing with brittle or embedded processes, systems and people will be at a great disadvantage.

Time to Deal with Constituent On Going Needs:

Just because you win a customer, partner, vendor or employee to your organization does not mean your get to keep them. You can throw loyalty out the window these days. If you do not provide excellent and timely services to any of your constituents, you risk losing them today and for the foreseeable future. This is a new kind of CRM that considers a wider context that includes reputation and how fast stories of bad service can spread in social media. Trolls ignored, you can be hurt quickly these days.

Time to Respond to Opportunities:

Organizations have to perceive opportunities quickly and take advantage of them when the present themselves. This means moving past the "muscle memory" of your organization and mine for opportunities in real time as well as looking at the past missed opportunities. This may require innovative thought presented from unlikely sources. Patterns of opportunity are fleeting, so seek them with vigor.

Time to Avoid Threats:

Organizations had better perceive threats early and react to them in real time as threats can take an organization out quickly these days. There is a need for diligence in seeking patterns of threat in this changing world. Once detected, levels of defense need to be cobbled together with great speed.

Time to Anticipate the Future:

If one could tell the future, we all would be in a better place. Since we mere mortals, do not have a crystal ball to predict the future. While we can use predictive analytics on a small scale problems, there is a need to do scenario planning for probable large scale options. For those organizations that want to be more complete, scenario planning driven by any possibility might be prudent. This is where simulation and the study of "black swan" alternatives makes sense.

Net; Net:

If you don't pay attention to your lap times, you will get passed by your competition. It's very important to focus in on the acceleration that is happening in the world today in order to survive, thrive and exhibit competitive advantage. Keep in mind that some things move at slower pace, but those are becoming rare in today's world of keen competition.

More Reading: