Thursday, May 28, 2015

It's Always Time for Change in the New Digital World

When most organizations think of business & technology transformation, they shutter as it requires one to target an end game and put in loads of effort to transform to that end game from today's business models and underlying infrastructure. This aversion for change is going to morph radically in the next few years as the digital technologies will allow for the steady in incremental change that will support "constant transformation". Those organizations that do not buy or create a dynamic business platform that leverages flexible technology are going to find themselves in a race to avoid whir pool of extinction.

Adaptable and Emerging Business Models:

Today organizations are hungry for business models that give them distinct advantage. This is just the beginning of a never ending cycle of having an advantage over traditional and non traditional competitors. Organizations are likely to incrementally transform to a new business models and those who use process, applications and technology that are "built for change" will likely avoid large and expensive transformations in the future as business models can emerge and transform smoothly over time. If your organization is faced with a business model today or in the near future, make sure you build it on emerging processes and applications that are supported by emerging and additive technologies. You can build, buy or assemble, but put emergence at the top of the list.

Adaptable and Emerging Processes / Applications:

Processes and applications that have, at a minimum, fast development and maintenance and at a maximum the ability to auto change based on new goals and SLAs will at a premium. Many of the old generation packages, data driven or not,  and bespoke coding environments are not capable of speed and low code. Sticking with this kind of base of applications and processes is begging for a change to wipe out your organizations ability to compete. Processes and applications are changing faster and faster, so get app and process capabilities that support easy emergence and change.

Adaptable and Emerging Technology:

The integration and data infrastructures must also be built for change. This means that it is either parameter of rule driven at a minimum and self configuring at a maximum. There is a ripple effect on the dynamism of a business model that starts with agile and dynamic infrastructure, accelerates with agile / dynamic processes and applications that can be configured by both business and IT experts.

Net; Net:

Prepare for an incremental transformation of your technology, processes and applications that will lead you to changing your business model as trends emerge. This will be the one time transformation that will allow you to transform on a continuous basis.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Dark Events; An Introduction to the Unexplored Area of Digitalized Darkness

Being unaware in many areas of life have risks for all in involved. The same is certainly true for organizations. It is imperative in a changing world to have better than 20-20 vision to anticipate appropriate decisions and actions to deal with activity that grows in the dark. Dr. Edward M.L. Peters defines dark events below:

The Digital Darkness Trifecta:

With the ever-expanding universe of digital information, concepts about what we do not know are also emerging.  Gartner has defined the term “Dark Data” to describe data that are collected, processed and stored by organizations only to be put to little or no use.  As an example, thy cite data that are captured and stored for compliance purposes as well as analytics data. Additionally, Jim Sinur, formally a Distinguished Analyst at Gartner, has defined the concept of “Dark Processes” (  According to Sinur, “…it is a process that is hidden or partially blind as it executes”.  In other words, it has become part of an undocumented process with rouge tasks executing outside of the official workflow.  Now, to this dynamic duo of digital darkness, I propose an addition, “Dark Events”.  Dark Events are typically part of a business process and are unknown and unreported due the nature of the data collection technology provided by most workflow and Enterprise Resource Planning Systems.

Dark Events: an example

Have you ever called a taxi service and been given an expected arrival time, only to find that after 30 minutes or more, the ride has yet to arrive? So, frustrated, you place another call to the dispatcher and, once again, you are told that the taxi should arrive shortly.  And after yet another 10 minutes; still no luck!  Well, the last time this happened to me, I was sitting at a restaurant in a residential district in N.W. Washington, D.C. and decided to download Uber, set up my account and request a car.  Immediately, I was aware of a number of things; first, my request was accepted, the driver was identified, a mobile number with a name a picture of the diver was provided, an estimated pick-up time was noted and maybe best of all, a map was presented that showed my location, the location of the driver and the car’s progress toward me with the time to arrival decremented as the driver approached.  I had all the information I needed to reduce the uncertainty of not being picked up.  In the dispatched taxi case, all of the information between the request for a ride and my current situation was dark; I had no way of knowing anything about the expected pick-up from when I placed the call to the taxi company to when the driver would, if ever, arrive.  In the case with Uber, the entire event from the call to the actual pick-up was visible to me, giving me a high level of confidence in the process as well as the expected outcome.  In both cases, what we are talking about is a process which consists of a series of events. Once again, the events are the same as in both cases. The difference is that in the dispatched taxi process, most of the events are dark, meaning that I had no visibility into what was happening, leaving me with simply the faith that the driver would appear: or not!  In data science terms, this illustrates the concept of “opacity” whereby, much of the phenomena are unable to be seen, hence are opaque. 

Dark Events in Organizations:

As with the case of the opaque taxi process, Dark Events are an everyday occurrence within most organizations.  Sometimes they called “dark spots”, places where it is known that the information about the event is incomplete but there few solutions that will help provide visibility into the situation (e.g., a known unknown).  Similar to dark matter in physics, Dark Events comprise a significant percentage of the universe of events within a typical business process. Research has shown that Dark Events can outnumber knowingly captured events, those captured by business process focused IT systems, by a factor of 15 leaving 60 % of the organizations events un-illuminated.  Imagine the effect on enabling desired outcomes through the use of digital information if actionable decisions are being taken based on understanding what actually occurred in less than half of all the events?  It does not matter how good your analytical models are if the data are grossly incomplete! 

Dark Events; next topic: 

The next post will discuss Dark Event discovery and analysis showing a path toward illuminating the “unknowns”.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Announcing a New Series on Dark Events

You have heard about "Dark Data" and "Dark Processes", but I'll bet you haven't thought about the impact of "Dark Events". The potential upside and downside of dark events is certainly something to understand and pursue. In the coming weeks, Ed Peters and I will be doing a series on "Dark Events". We will identify the opportunities and threats of dark events and dark patterns for you. First let me introduce Ed Peters, whom I've collaborated with for a goodly number of years. He was and still is part of my dark network of collaborators and one of my heroes :)

Edward M.L. Peters. Ph.D. is an award-winning technology entrepreneur and executive. He is known for bringing innovative technology solutions to market and is a published author, media commentator and is a frequent speaker at industry events.  Dr. Peters has appeared nationally on CNN Radio and has authored a number of articles for publications such as The Financial Times, Forbes, IDB  and The Hill.  Contact-

Outline for the Series on Dark Events:

1. Dark Events- An introduction 

2. Dark Event Discovery and Analysis- Illuminating the un-known(s) 

3. Dark Events, Dark Process and Dark Data- The trifecta of digital darkness 

4. Dark Patterns

5. The ROI and Value of Uncovering Dark Events 

Net; Net:

This is my first guest blogger and I think you will find Dr.Ed  Peters worthy of  your attention.

Case Studies on Dark Processes:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dangers in the First Steps of a Digital Experience

Organizations are scrambling to deliver a new digital experience through a "Mobile First" approach. The big risk would be to deliver a fancy front experience that is "App Driven" instead of a a big data enabled dynamic and swarming process that consider the customer journey, customer behavior, customer preferences, customer history and the customer channels. Here are some of the key dangers that need to be guarded against when considering a rich and effective customer experience demanded in the new digital world.

Sizzle Over Substance:

It is easy to fall for just a better user experience that the new digital approaches can certainly deliver. While a new customer experience is necessary to show real differentiation when entering the digital world, it's the satisfaction of the whole experience; not just the interface that happens to be on your phone or pad. This means understanding what the customer wants by knowing the customer and their likely behavior and response. If this customer is shopping their business or reducing their investment in your organization, having appropriate process actions delivered in more important than the interface. Customer journey mapping, customer tendencies and real time mood detection might be in the mix along with a needed new experience.

Latest Craze:

The world would have you believe that there is an "App for That". Well in specialized situations, there probably are, but in when targeting an overall outcome, not necessarily. Let's take getting in shape and losing weight (my constant battle).  I have to use several Apps. One for tracking my activity, one for tracking my caloric intake and many for all my body health indicators. There is very little offered to bring things together in a process and overall status that I can automatically feed to my group of people that are holding me accountable (me, spouse, doctors, trainer). I like Apps, even though they are a craze, but they are not enough for measuring, monitoring and communicating my health status to even me. I picked on Apps in this case, but there are many more shiny and eye catching crazes to watch out for today and more will emerge tomorrow.

Easy to Deliver:

With the pressure to deliver something quickly, there is a nasty temptation to go for the easiest and widest path. Lets jump for the digital technology that allows for speed of development over the business experience for example. Let's optimize of open source and nearly free, so that we can avoid building a business case. While this approach works for delivering proof of concepts easily, these approaches might not be the real digital solution your customers and your organization really needs. The easy path is to put a new front end an old  and tired transaction based package / legacy application. While this might be a good first step in a transformation, use it to buy time to design a better digital business model.

Net; Net: 

Organizations are at a cross road and have to decide how to become a competitive entity in the new digital world. There needs to be efforts for the short term and efforts for the long term. Hopefully they are designed to work in concert or at least designed to learn from the short term to deliver better in the long term. Watch your step please.

Friday, May 15, 2015

PegaWorld 2015 Continues to Deliver Real World Implmentations

PegaWorld 2015 is coming up in Orlando soon from June 7 to June 9th this year. I always look forward to hearing from Pega customers as they are attempting both innovative and transformational processes on a large scale. Pega has been a visionary leader in the business process and customer relationship management areas of process improvements. Pega is also making significant headway in the Manufacturing and Healthcare arenas as well as other sectors. I am excited to see what Pega customers have accomplished in the last year and their plans for the future. In addition, the CEO of Pegasytems, Alan Trefler is always entertaining and visionary in his presentations and a highlight.

The PegaWORLD 2015 agenda has 80+ expert-led sessions designed to spark creativity, inspire innovation and provide a strategic toolkit to solve the most complex business problems in the world. Geared towards different industries, products and a host of hot topics, the agenda has something for everyone. 

Location & Dates

PegaWORLD will be held at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, FL.

Sunday, June 7th – Tuesday, June 9th. There will also be pre-conference training sessions held on Sunday, June 7th and post-conference workshops held on Wednesday, June 10th.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The BPM & Case Management Summit is Fast Approaching

This summit is a must attend for those that manage work for their organizations or are looking for approaches to incrementally transform to a fully digital organization as processes are the foundation for the new digital interfaces with customers, partners and employees. Please check out the following

Why You Should Attend
  • Develop a clear understanding of BPM and Case Management technologies and implementation
  • Gain actionable insight in defining process architecture and implementation tactics
  • Engage in collaborative networking with peers and industry players
  • Evaluate leading BPM and Case Management products
  • Benefit from the expert-designed BPM and Case Management Assessment Framework, providing comprehensive guidance on technologies and products most relevant to your specific needs
  • Discuss the issues which matter to you most with the industry’s top BPM and Case Management analysts and practitioners

The BPM and Case Management Global Summit features a cohesive and unique event format that delivers expert guidance from the industry’s most trusted and respected thought leaders, combined with live capability demonstrations of actual solutions from an invite-only set of leading Business Process Management solution providers.
  • 4 Hand-on workshops led by best in class experts
  • 50+ Sessions on the What, Who, and How About BPM, Case Management, Architecture and Emerging Technologies.
  • 30+ Case Studies, War Stories and “Best Practices” sessions by leading practitioners and subject matter experts
  • 3 Days of interactive panel discussions, expert guidance and peer-to-peer networking
BPM and Case ManagementHeld June 22-24, 2015 at the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City, the BPM and Case Management Global Summit is focused on providing actionable advice and illustrating “the art of the possible” for supporting dynamic business processes and the unpredictable nature of knowledge work. The overall theme of the BPM and Case Management Global Summit is “Empowering Knowledge Workers” with a focus on providing actionable advice and illustrating “the art of the possible” for adapting business processes and work practices to the dynamic and unpredictable nature of knowledge work.
By design, the BPM and Case Management Global Summit is the opposite of the traditional tradeshow – it is about community, networking, thought leadership, and ultimately making the best informed decisions about BPM and Case Management initiatives. Our format is unique – you will see actual solutions and tools, picked by our team, and presented by the actual key stakeholders and innovators most closely linked to their design, development and implementation. You will not see a sales pitch, but rather specifically developed capability demonstrations, representing what we believe to be the both the leading edge and most representative tools of BPM and Case Management.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Best Agents for a Self Driving Process

Knowing which agents to leverage in your new digital processes, that emerge perfectly to support innovative and evolving business models, will be a key evolving skill. Since this is an evolving science that is emerging itself, I thought I would take a shot at categorizing the typical new agents that will be used in the new digital world or the use of older agents in the new digital context. In order to design a jump start emerging process, inviting the right agents to the mix will be important. The rating system that I chose is in the figures below with two building block blog posts to review for details, if desired. I have identified 15 agent types to describe and rate, but these will probably evolve over time so use this a starting point.

The ability to swarm means that the agent has the ability to collaborate with other agents, especially humans, while seeking common goals shared by the other agents. The more intelligent an agent is will determine the effectiveness of the emerging swarm to achieve the dynamic goals. While some of the 15 agent types can be either human or not, the more specialized the outcomes, the more likely that software or devices are the resources that swarm with nano second speed. With more machine intelligence emerging in the digital world, this trade off will change over time. The first two agents for the figure above will be assumed to be humans for now.

Managers are the people who look laterally at interactions between resources and those folks who set and change the goals, policies and constraints. They guide the resources and coach the workers to get better outcomes and to grow in capability. In the digital world the goal changes and mixes change much more frequently in these self driving processes

Workers are the people who are generally "heads down" and have specific actions and behaviors that leverage their specific knowledge and skills for the good of the overall desired results targeted and coached by the managers. In the digital world, some of the workers will have enhanced knowledge with the help of other agents to become more generalized in some instances.

Negotiators are most likely a piece of software that decides which agent actually does a portion of the emerging/swarming process by weighing the bids by the intelligent agents and knowing the specific capabilities of each of the non-bidding agents. While some of this can be pre-planned in snippets of fixed actions and sequences, much will be dynamic in the new digital world. In fact there could be several collaborating negotiators working to the same goals sets. This is particularly true in the operation of end to end processes like a customer pleasing process, a value or supply chain.

Personal Assistants are most likely a highly interactive piece of software that knows the human resource it is supporting very well and can deal with requests in a friendly manner. In some cases they can predict the patterns of activity ahead of time and anticipate an individuals need before they request them. In most cases they can sense the persona and adapt to their needs in a real time fashion with the utmost of grace. These will be a fast growing segment of agents in the new digital world.

Cognitive Agents are the new class of software agents that are self learning artificial intelligent in nature. The learning can range from complex knowledge / pattern searches to real deep learning, but the aim is to supercharge the humans and other agents that are involved with self driving processes need in the new digital world.

Agile Process Snippets are basically sets of actions or tasks that are sequenced in an agile or externally controlled fashion. These are in contrast to dedicated snippets that have no ability to dynamically change other than using them in a different context. These agile snippets usually have explicit rules or are dependent on seeking external data parameters for the behaviors of the actions.

Multi-Functional Robots are general purpose robots that can interact with various other agents and can adapt to requests. These robots tend to interface with humans better and quite often are guided by machine learning of some sort.

Smart Application Program Interfaces are leveraged to use multiple and differing dedicated APIs in aggregations. These composed and leveraged software applications will have to be smart to hide underlying differences, transformations and communication protocols.

Smart Composite Applications are software applications built by combining multiple existing functions into new applications. This can be compared to mashups for software aggregation. In the new digital world existing components will have to be combined and used in new and innovative ways.

Complex Events are involved with processing that combines data from multiple sources to infer patterns that suggest complicated circumstances. The goal of complex event processing is to identify meaningful events (such as opportunities or threats) and respond to them as quickly as possible. In the new digital events of interest will emerge beyond the expected event patterns and must be dealt with quickly.

Dedicated Services / Snippets are individual actions represented by the fixed interaction of software and human actors. The sequence and outcomes are unchanging and can be easily modeled and only changed with new versions of the service or process sequence. They contain predictable functionality and do not vary in behavior. They are often leveraged from a portfolio of existing services in the new digital world.

Specialized Bots are mechanical or virtual artificial agents, usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by a computer program or electronic circuitry. They tend to be singular in focus and function.

Controllers / Clusters are the aggregation of multiple event sensors for local pattern sensing, decisions and actions in physical devices. They can act independently or in concert with an emerging process. in the digital world, more actions will be pushed closer to the event sensing and notification will be sent after the fact unless the conditions warrant independent intervention.

Dedicated Application Program Interfaces are a set of routines, protocols and tools for building and leveraging software applications or pieces there of. The API specifies how the software components should interact with software components, particularly user interface components. In the new digital world, agents will have to publish their set of interfaces to cooperate with other agents.

Sensors are generally devices that sense (that is, to detect) some characteristic of its environs. It detects events or changes in conditions or quantities and provides a corresponding output of the sensation. In the real time digital world that interfaces with the internet of things (IoT), these event sensors are critical for both physical and logical condition changes.

Net; Net:

The best agent for a self driving  and emergent process will depend on the situation, but identifying the types and use of these agents in the new digital world is our challenge.  While the figure of the 15 agent types is not a periodic table for agents at this point in time, it is helpful for process designers and participants.  It helps to understand the potential swarming participants and their roles in self driving processes.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Self Driving Processes are Built to Swarm

We are now seeing trucks that drive themselves with human overrides. We are also seeing portable ATMs that drive themselves to you for money based on a mobile summons. Processes will be taking on the same characteristics with the ability to self compile in real time, by setting goals, constraints etc in real time. I call this "A Just in Time Swarm". Process managers, builders and participants will have agents that the want or don't want involved in "the Swarm"  How will those people determine proper swarming. I would like to to see a rating system eventually, but until them how about understanding where system & people components play the best? In order for the best swarm, the agents need to seek the goals mentioned in my last post and that implies a certain level of intelligence and ability to collaborate while seeking goals.

 I would like to suggest the following set of scales depicted in the figure below:

Ability to Seek at Set of Changing Goals without Collisions:

If an agent has no ability to respond to goals set outside of itself (explicit goals), it probably does not play well in the swarm world. If it can seek goals set outside of itself and the adjust to dynamic changes to the goals, it has a play here. It also must seek goals without causing collisions with other agents, physical in representation (Robots for instance) or other software agents. This scale is represented with the gold arrow (vector).

Ability to Collaborate with Other Swarm Participants:

If an agent can cooperate with other agents (people or things), it is ideal for a swarming situation. This means that an agent can cooperate while it seeks goals. This is especially important if an agent has a specialty that it needs to complete and communicate status on as the swarms makes progress on the goals. This scale is represented in green.

Ability to Have Enough Intelligence to Participate:

If an agent can complete a simple task, it sure can be leveraged as a black box.  However, if it has the ability to induce or deduce based on knowledge, information, conditions or patterns, the value of the agent to "the swarm" goes up. Knowing the relative intelligence of the agent is crucial. Can it think? If it is a human, but is not trained, this may create a dilemma where a intelligent agent in the cloud can step in (a cognitive agent AKA COG). This scale is represented in blue.

Ability to Interact with Humans in Proper Cultural Context:

Certain agents were designed to swarm with other agents that are not human. Humans require more sophisticated interfaces that are sensitive who the person is and where they are and what conditions they face at the moment. How much humanity is necessary to complete the swarm actions is crucial to the desired results. This scale is represented in red.

Net; Net: 

As we move from non-differentiating components necessary for standardized processing to self directed and swarming processes that leverage several kinds of agents in real time our level of understanding will have to expand to leverage and build them.

Additional Reading on Swarming Processes:

Monday, May 4, 2015

Managing & Coordinating Change with Big Data

Dynamic and swarming processes are a difficult to accept when not knowing how the dynamics will be managed. Enter big data, accessible in a global fashion for processes, process snippets, APIs, embedded code, and swarming agents. Big data acts a bit different in this case as it contains definitions of the controls for all process resources to access (aka Meta Data). These controls might be on a secured file or secured in cloud memory. With the controls accessible to all components, negotiations for the proper resources to swam and behave as desired can be enabled. For emergent processes that are aimed at business differentiation for which there is a level of complexity and heterogeneity, this approach is appealing. The figure below shows where big data access can help manage swarm dynamics and the five key components that will reside in big meta data.


Swarming processes will seek goals that can change dynamically. These goals can be singular in nature or a set of goals that are weighted and managed by analytics, events or shifting balances of goal sets. Sophisticated organizations may have sets jump start goals associated with business scenarios to deal with black swans.


When we don't want processes or swarming processes to violate certain boundaries, rules or policies, constraints can be established and shared. If process components access these constraints, they can avoid violations


There are so many algorithms and combinations/sequences of algorithms, that the algorithms to select and leverage need to be cataloged and associated with processes and portions of process.


Dynamic and swarming processes can behave differently in different contexts. Like a car that can convert to a boat, the moving parts behave differently in different contexts


Patterns of interest that are known ahead of time can be cataloged and stored, Also triggers of interest can be noted for emerging patterns that might be of interest may also be stored. 

Net; Net: 

Swarming resources can be guided and controlled by big meta data that allows process managers and participants to trust these resources and combinations of resources to create desired results without violating governance policies and rules.