Sunday, August 31, 2014

Up Coming Events for Collaboration / 2nd Half 2014

Things are shaping up for an exciting second half of 2014 for me. For those who want to interact on the role of process in the digital organization, we should have some good opportunities. I hope to have some interesting conversations and identify great case studies.




Date           City                Sponsor                 Content

9/9          Web Event           DST                       Insight to Action
9/16        Web Event           Open Connect      Improving Employee Performance
9/17        Web Event           Software AG         Process Analysis as a Service
9/18        Atlanta                  Software AG         The Future of BPM
9/30        Chicago                BPM in Banking   Changing Business Interactions
11/4-5     San Francisco     Tibco Now             BPM Panel
12/10-12  Las Vegas            Gartner BPM        Agent Technology / Book Signing

Net; Net:

I hope to see you or chat with you sometime soon.   

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Missing Models in Process

Business Process Management (BPM) claims to be model driven, but why is BPM ignoring key models? We find that process flows, decisions, cases, data and result visualizations are often modeled well in BPM technologies. These models have served processes and business results well to date, but there is much more for processes to model.The importance of semiotic representations of process components can't be overstated.  I have identified another six areas so far, that are under-served at best and not dealt with to date, at the worst. Enumerated are areas that processes will have to deal with as larger scopes and more complexity is introduced to the process world.


There are few accepted representations approaches for collaboration patterns, though I have seen some attempts to represent social interactions captured during social mining and analytics. It may take a while for this area to come up with some common patterns of representation.


As processes become less structured and more emergent in nature, constraints will become more important in the process governance and control arena. I have not seen any great representation of boundary constraints that show a process surrounded with these protection mechanisms.


As processes become more proactive in sensing active patterns and scenarios, there will be a need for representing the contexts that process participate in and are interested in for sensing events and patterns. These contexts will be inspected for advantages, threats and learning experiences.


While there are couple of great examples of goal models and goal interactions by a few brave vendors, there is no accepted modeling approach that is being embraced today. In fact few organizations have send the turn to goal driven processes from flow directed processes.


Today organizations seem so be more interested in events to react to than patterns of interest. This will change over time, but there is no accepted way to represent patterns today.  Patterns of interest will need semiotic representations eventually.


While there are some models for singular analytic approaches (PMML for predictive analytics), there is no known modeling method for interacting analytics that one can find in smart processes that exist today.

Net; Net:

There are five established areas for modeling that the process world does take advantage of today, but there are at least six more that are under served. I'm not sure if anyone in the standards groups are focused on the under served areas, but standards scramble to take advantage of known momentum. I suspect we will see some brave vendors stepping up to the challenges here.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Does the IoT Serve Process?

I think the answer to this question is "yes" in certain situations, but processes can also serve the IoT as well. As processes can include" in memory" and adaptive big data behaviors, they are equipped to better interact with IoT. If processes have analytic capabilities and heuristics embedded, the interactions can do even more. There are any number of ways they can collaborate with each other. I have identified 7 discrete ways they can support or collaborate with each other. Of course these can be combined in various options to create new and innovative processes and digital platforms. All of these options assume the notion of OODA, Observe, Orient, Decide and Act:

IoT as a Process Sensor:

IoT can serve processes in providing sensor input around predefined and purposed processes. It could be any kind of device, smart or dumb. In this way the process polls specific sensors for expected trips, signals or gradations and takes actions based on typical uses. There are a large number of case studies using this kind of collaboration.

IoT as an Event Generator:

Processes can depend on the IoT to emit events as they are sensed these can be expected events like in the above collaboration or they can be unexpected events that are collected in an event hub or mined from collections of things of interest. Also events can be emitted when constraint boundaries are crossed.

IoT as a Pattern Generator:

Processes can depend in the IoT to generate patterns of interest by aggregating events and data of interest into patterns. IoT can emit these patterns for processes to sort out themselves. This way the IoT patterns are unfiltered and raw.

IoT as a Pattern Recognizer:

Additionally processes can depend on the IoT to recognize patterns and only pass those patterns that a process might be interested in rather than all patterns. This is using IoT as a filter for patterns of interest for immediate action while collecting all patterns for future mining and analysis.

Process as a Dashboard for the IoT:

Processes are good at visualizing results for people and machines, so the IoT can leverage process dashboards for visualizing the performance of portions of the IoT of interest.

Process as an Intelligent Analyzer:

Smart processes are good at applying multiple analytic models(poly-analytics) on behalf of the IoT to add decision power. While there will be smart portions of the IoT, processes can be counted upon for traditional decisions and predictions.

Process as the Action Provider for the IoT:

The traditional view of view of process is to serve the IoT as the action engine of the IoT especially if it involves systems and people. There a large number of case studies using this kind of collaboration. As most of the newer processes are composed of process snippets, portions of processes can be leveraged.

Net; Net:

These are the collaboration patterns that I have observed to date, but I expect there might be more emerging. There might be a case for the "just in time" process that is made up of agent encapsulated process actions with agent encapsulated decisions, pattern observation and observation. I would call this
"Process as a Swarming Responder"

Additional Reading:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

IoT & The Process of Everything Introduces More Complexity

We are fast heading to more inclusive processes that have to be more aware, make complex decisions and act both proactively and re-actively. This puts pressure on processes to handle new forms of signals, orchestrations and participation. While process can exist in forms of master task control, a part of an overall end to end process, or a actual task snippet of activity, this posting will come from the master task control and orchestration. In coming posts I will discuss other forms of control and communication. Processes and cases will have to manage across a number of different styles of process actions in the near future. I have identified seven, so far, enumerated below:

M2M :

Processes will need to interact with the fastest growing source of signals and actions. This will allow processes to interact closer with the growing pool machines, devices, controls, sensors and chips. The actual machines will contain a certain amount of intelligence and data that aggregated a process level that will allow for greater organizational & business leverage. In essence, there are sub processes and services in each of these machines and interactions.


Processes have been heavily involved with system interactions both inside and surrounding various forms of application integration for decades now, but this is expanding to systems of systems and emergent behavior. Processes will have to deal with these morphing combinations and interactions. Again these systems interactions will provide data and aggregated intelligence for leverage


Processes / Cases have been expanding their forms of human interactions around knowledge heavy tasks. As process technology tires to mimic and support the way humans interact to support organizational events, this will be a growing sector of process activity as seen by the interest in adaptive and emergent case management. Processes will take on better support for these human communications and problem solving.


Some would consider M2M and M/S interactions to be one in the same. Of course one could make the argument that a system is just another machine or that a machine is carrying out the work of a system. I think this set of interactions to be unique in that the language to interaction might be the same, the logic surrounding decisions and actions to be more brittle and fixed in machines so far. This may change with the advent of true machine learning over time, but for now these are different kind of interactions and separate entities. Processes will have to deal with managing these interactions to achieve goals.


How humans interact with machines has been a challenge for over 100 years, but intelligence and process is now being added to the mix changing this relationship forever. Ergonomics, pre-built configurations,  sequences, and machine learning are all influencing these relationships. Processes will also have to deal with the outcomes of these interactions and become embedded in these interactions.


The study human and system interactions have become a great mix of art and science. Semiotics comes from art and actions and constraints come from the science of the systems. Process technology has usually done well to coordinate this area, but again this relationship is changing as role and skill based contexts are an expected factor to consider in these interactions.

Complex Hybrids:

The obvious hand grenade, under the door, is the what the various combinations demand from process management and the technologies that support processes. This is a real complexity that organizations and process vendors will have to face and learn how to manage. We will see better practice patterns emerge and spread quickly to the advantage of process participants, process managers and stakeholders

Additional Reading:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Mid-Sized Credit Union Discovers The Power of Process

Often organizations overlook the power of having good visibility on their existing processes. By leveraging process modeling in the cloud, this credit union made changes to it's goals, flows and work assignments with impressive results for their underwriting processes.

The Problem: 

Quite often organizations think they understand their existing flows because everybody knows their own job well and feels that others should as well. In reality, when a combined process flow is created across job roles, organizational boundaries and even outside the base organization, the process map tends to point out problems that only appear when you put the big picture together. There ends up being significant benefit to creating a current flow usually revolving around removing unnecessary or old task steps. Quite often, role and goal conflicts can be discussed and resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. These benefits usually come from removing unnecessary work and the benefits can be quite large in large scoped end to end processes such as supply chains and value chains. This organization had no documented processes. 

The Solution:

Using Business Process Analysis(BPA) technology, in the cloud, this organization adjusted its processes to improve member satisfaction levels. For example, credit union used its member feedback process to pinpoint that the delay between submitting an online loan application and receiving a response frustrated members. The organization quickly established an improved loan application process. In the past, an underwriter reviewed every loan application, which took two business days or longer. Now, if the loan application meets standard underwriting requirements, members receive an immediate answer, and only those loans that fall outside the requirements need underwriter review. The organization also reengineered its mortgage process.

The Results:

 Using a process modeling offering, this credit union identified points of redundancy and bottlenecks within the process, resulting in an 80 percent reduction in cycle times and improved member satisfaction ratings. In addition, they set up new processes to ensure it communicates with members throughout the mortgage process. They achieved the following benefits through its use of a cloud based process modeling capability: 

●● ● A 52 percent reduction in average time to fund home equity loans
●● ● A 71 percent increase in loans handled per underwriter 
●● ● A 61 percent reduction in average time from application to funding 
of car loans 

●● ● A 36 percent increase in loans funded with no increase in staff 

Net; Net: 

Understanding the reality of your processes and casting a wide net for collaborating on process improvements can deliver significant operational improvements.

This is a highly summarized case study provided by IBM and Blue Works Live

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

IoT and Process: Process Must Step Up the Awareness Factor

While the Internet of Things (IoT) promises more process participation, processes are not being designed with enough awareness to step up to the coming demands. Processes need to step up their cognition to another level beyond just responding to being called or just triggered when needed. I see a need for processes to have the ability to have three kinds of increased awareness enumerated below:

Through Pre-planned Signals and Patterns:

Processes do well when they respond to planned stimulation (through data, triggers or beckoned response). Analysts, designers and programmers know how to get this done, but they do not understand the amount of trigger points (external or internally generated) are going to emerge with fury as the relation of process and IoT grows. This may become overwhelming at some point as unknowns become visible and understood as something to respond to in the future. This may become explosive in nature as organizations learn to deal with the volume generated by the IoT and agents.

Through Reactive Unknown Signals and Patterns:

How many times are business professionals, analysts and developers are taken by surprise signals and patterns that need attention? This is going to happen and accelerate over time, so those organizations that can transform the unknowns to knows the fastest will out perform those that don't. Processes need to be equipped to catch unknown signals and patterns and inform process managers and participants that need to consider measured responses.

Through Proactive Context Scans for Signals and Patterns:

Another approach to awareness to have processes check context for new and unusual patterns and have those patterns match against expected and unexpected threats or opportunities. Organizations that do scenario planning, both likely and unlikely, will have an advantage to seek out patterns that represent scenarios of interest. This will allow organizations to turn way from reactive approaches only.

Net; Net: 

The best approach is to employ all three of these methods of building awareness in the proper balance for a point in time, but any increase in process awareness is a good thing. As we head to a very interactive world rife with M2M, H2M, M2H and H2H interactions the awareness to identify better alternative practices will become important.

Additional Reading:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Competitive Battles Coming: Choose Your Process Weapons Carefully

In the near future your organization will compete at a much higher level, so get ready for a battle. Organizations are represented by their processes that engage customers, employees, partners, stakeholders and the community they operate in on a regular basis. These processes represent the organizations face to each of these constituents. Processes have proven to help organizations operate efficiently at a lower cost, raise revenue in competitive markets and deliver innovation in the hands of business visionaries. Needless to say processes and the cases they operate on have a great contribution to more desirable outcomes. It is important to understand your current processes, at a minimum, to make sure they optimize results against your competition. At a maximum, target processes plus transitional plans to get to the target processes for differentiating organizations should be mapped with along with incremental improvements along the way. Choosing the right process approaches will make a difference. Enumerated below are five approaches that can be used alone or in combination:

Buy a Best Practice Process:

Quite often you can buy processes that are pre-built best practices in packages that are built on rigid platforms with some pre-configured options. While these promise to deliver quick time to market results, they tend to be costly and long running efforts. I think these are best for non-differentiating processes that are not likely to change. These processes tend to be more functional in nature, but there are some "end to end" processes. The change management issues are very challenging with this approach. 

Buy a Jump Start Process on an Agile BPM Platform:

Buying a process that solves 80% plus of your organizations needs that is easily upgraded and combined with other sub processes in an "end to end" process makes good sense where your differentiation is easily added to a core process. The source of these are sometimes package like vendors that have a reasonably flexible process capability. Most of the time these come from flexible BPM platforms that have evolved to have significant differentiating features, content and knowledge. The time to market here is faster than packages. 

Merge with an Organization with Proven Processes:

I have seen savvy organizations target acquisitions around processes plus business model as a top priority over adding immediate customer base. This has worked out to add new customers incrementally through business and process model differentiation. This is a quick approach, but you need deep pockets. There is also a huge amount of change management issues that emerge that are a bit messy as well. 

Wrap Existing Assets with Differentiating Processes:

Quite often organizations are stuck with legacy applications, packages and even old BPM capabilities. Some that functionality is fine as it is, but new differentiating contexts need to be added to make them viable going forward in the ultra competitive environment we face today. Existing assets should be inventoried and rated for changeability, behavior and inclusion in hybrid contexts. 

Incrementally Transform Your Current Processes:

Organizations that are savvy do not necessarily go for the big bang, but they plan out the evolution of their battle plan. They choose the most flexible approaches to match their need for change. Starting with smaller scale process focused projects with big benefits that can fund further differentiating efforts is a smart way to evolve to a desirable end game. The more flexible the technical infrastructure, the more success will be enabled. Smart and flexible BPM platforms play well here. 

Net; Net: 

While I wish processes that produce innovation, advantage and growth opportunities could be listed as assets on a balance sheet, the reality is that processes are often the secret sauce of competition for results on the income statement and the balance sheet. Remember that picking the right assembly of process approaches will make a big difference of the mid to long term. All of these approaches have proven to work in the right situation, so know your foe to pick the very best combination of weapons. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

IoT and Process Everywhere Helps Solve Business FOMO

Since organizations now have to be ready and able to make changes quickly, they now or soon will suffer from a syndrome called "The Fear of Missing Out" (FOMO). If an organization missed a pattern of opportunity or threat, they risk having the wrong policies at the wrong time. The Internet of Things (Iot) combined with processes (BPM) gives organizations a calibrated "radar like" approach that can augment the collection of big data for further analysis. The IoT plus Process gives organizations an advantage in three ways enumerated below.

The IoT Emits Events of Interest:

All of the Agents on the IoT, devices, machines, chips or people, are trained or programmed to emit signals of events, status and state change. While not generally responsible for analyzing, deciding or acting on these events, the IoT is often dependent on down stream process, systems, other agents and big data stores for further analysis and action.

Processes & IoT Together Can Identify Patterns of Interest:

Many of today's processes and cases contain rules engines or poly-analytics, so they can combine several simultaneous or serial events to create patterns. These patterns can be presented to process managers or process participants for further analysis. In sophisticated situations, there could be expected patterns inventoried for predetermined actions.

Processes / Cases Give Context For Events & Patterns:

Events and patterns are sometimes interesting, but having to filter all of them can be difficult. Like radar, context can be represented by the structure of a case or process. This helps filter the events and patterns to identify the ones that represent a threat, opportunity or a need for further action or analysis. A missile out 1000 miles is much different than one is within 100 feet of you.

Net; Net:

Business FOMO is a real thing that needs to be managed. If the IoT takes off as fast as expected and delivers the amount of events and patterns that need to be dealt with, FOMO will accelerate. If you are active on social sites, you grok the phenomena. Get ready for incoming.

Recommended Reading:

Friday, August 1, 2014

Thanks for the Prayer & Support

Death is not a kind visitor, but the kindness of those in and around the Sinur family has been as spectacular as Andy's legacy. We have felt the prayers, kind thoughts and warm words and we are truly grateful. We a sorrowful about the loss of our beloved Andy, but we rejoice in the love of God, family, friends and associates. Thanks !!!!

There were 110 registered guests from 7 states at the memorial that was a sweet send off. There were very few dry eyes in the audience as we listened to some of Andy's favorite tunes, eulogies from Emilie, Beth and myself. We were assured about Andy's relationship with God now as a saint from Dan Lind, Senior Pastor at Faith Bible Church. We only hope God enjoys him as much as we did. While we can't individually thank everyone, but here were some of the highlights:

Wonderful Flowers & Plants: Disney, US Army, Steve Sinur, Wagner family, Roberts family, Froelich/Stamps family, Mazzarella family, Michelle & Robin Yount, Benoit  & Esther Lheureux, Debby Bannan Schwendler, Ed Peters & several others.

Memorial Donations: Paul Hessinger, Frank Hein, Howard Dressner, Bob & Sue Turner and James & Carol Sinur.

Memorial Gifts of Mini Chucks, Balloon Release & Quilt patches: Tia Mazzarella, Beth Sinur, Jim Sinur and Kaitlyn McGuin

For those who are tolerant, I have a hand held video of the slide show to Andy's preferred memorial song. Enjoy :)

Continued prayer support for Emilie Sinur, Keegan Sinur and Karson Sinur would be coveted.

More about our precious Andy: