Thursday, March 30, 2017

Explosion of Interest in Process / Workflow

It seems that the BPM gurus are lamenting that the traditional BPM market is not growing at an explosive rate and are debating what to rename it while process is exploding. The number of vendors that are buying or building lighter weight workflow or process management is too numerous to list. It has even gotten Apple into the game with the acquisition of an automation and scripting app called workflow. While it might not be a low code approach like many other vendors offer, it gets Apple into the game. All of the important digital business platforms have process in them. It varies from light process flow to "big BPM". but work management, which almost all DBPs have, requires flow and collaboration of some sort.  Salesforce, SAP and Oracle have flow capabilities. New entrants to the process world like Box and Hellosign are adding fuel to the process fire. 

Big BPM Drivers: 

Case Management is crucial for managing complex and evolving situations (called cases). They tend to be long running, complex, emerging and involving deep knowledge / skills. This is a growing area yet and usually requires fixed milestones. 

Goal Directed flows are pretty new, but for situational flows where the goals or milestones change it provides a good solution. In situations and times of rapid change, goal directed process win the day. Carried to an extreme, these flows involve smart bots, cogs and APIs that bid on work. 

End to End Journeys (Customer, Employee, Product, Partner)  is about managing a journey from beginning to end giving it visibility, nudges and orchestration. End to end process management is coming back strong especially around customer journeys. This is causing processes to define themselves in terms of complex goal sets that put equal or high priority to the unique customers goals and needs.

Little Process Drivers (also in big BPM with less overhead here):

First Mile Content Management journeys are a popular use to capture, sign and manage documents as they hit all of the required stops to cement an ongoing relationship managed by the governed and guided by those documents. 

Cross Skill / Departmental Flows are the life blood of organizations. While often quite simple, they help manage organizations and the resources that are included / guided by these processes. This is one of the fastest growing areas for process today. These usually are driven by low or no code and light weight process capabilities. 

Event Response is where events, expected or not, trigger off appropriate actions to deal with the situation of pattern of events. While there may be a pause for decisions before any action because the event pattern may be new, but canned process responses can be inventoried and pulled out when needed. 

Net; Net:

Work, content and data tend to flow when action is taken in response to attaining a set of goals or responding to events. Process is hot again in terms of use in new emerging solutions. The benefits for operational improvements are proven, so process persists.  I'm sure folks will be fighting about a new name, but I say enjoy the ride. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

InterConnect 2017: IBM's Digital Approach Will Change Businesses & Society

Over 20,000 folks got to hear the latest from IBM through main tent presentations, breakouts and the vendor exposition named "Concourse"

The main message was "It's not about just changing the way we deliver IT,  it's about the next era of business. It will allow all of us to things we have never been able to do." IBM has always been enterprise strong, but the new demands from cognitive AI baked in the cloud, IoT, Blockchain and always active Security is going to push IBM to new capabilities already emerging. It seems obvious that IBM and their clients are pushing things to a new level and IBM is trying to stay ahead of the demand that digital will put on cloud infrastructure. IBM is building a very capable Digital Business Platform (DBP) that is cloud centric. To hear more of the Ginni Rometty Keynote, please click the highlighted words. To read more about Digital Business Platforms (DBP) click here and search for DBP.

Much of the time in general sessions revolved around announcements and IBM efforts rather than customer stories. This says to me that IBM is changing itself to adapt better to digital based on projections and real needs from early projects.

IBM Announced Several Partnerships:

Red Hat for deeper collaboration on open source
Salesforce for AI & IoT collaboration
AT&T for infrastructure support for media
PlayFab for pushing real time high demand ecosystems
Galvanize for filling the training gaps
Dalian Wanda for Cloud in China
Many States for Schools to produce New Collar Job focused graduates

IBM Announced New Capabilities:

IBM Digital Business Assistant
IBM Cloud Object Flex
HIPAA Understanding in the Cloud
Financial Services Patterns and Developer Tools
Watson Discovery to accelerate "Speed to Insight"
Hyperledger Blockchain Fabric for Enterprise Business

Interesting Customer Stories from the Main Stage:

Everledger talked about how they are leveraging blockchain to assure diamond provenance using IBMs cloud.

H&R Block talked about leveraging Watson to absorb tax regulations, content and experiences to create tax wisdom. This wisdom was used to get larger refunds for many US tax payers and giving H&R block a set of happier customers. I love the idea of using Watson to deal with government red tape :)

Interesting Breakout Sessions:

IBM is using Watson to assist the help desk folks and customers deal with questions, error messages and support. Watson is helping to serve 40,000 request a week through several channels.

SparkCognition talked about applying leveraging AI and analytics for security and the new industrial world.

A private bank, Brown Brothers Harriman, talked about using chatbots in an omnichannel environment for customer service

Bottom Line:

IBM gets digital and is leading their prospects and customers to the digital world in an incremental fashion for some and new business models for others.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Google Next 2017: On to Innovative Infrastructure

There were literally lines wrapped for blocks around the Moscone Center West, here in San Francisco as 10,000 folks tried to get registered and seated for the first days general session. The major theme was that while Google was still making their cloud the best, it needed to be expanded to support not only individuals, but organizations and ecosystems with a growing ability to conjure creativity and innovation in new ways. It is clear to me that Mobile and Cloud are now table stakes for organizations and migrating to the Cloud is no easy task yet, but it's getting better. It is also clear that the speed to leverage the results of being on the cloud is at least an order of magnitude faster.

Google did a great job of putting some big name companies on stage to show enterprise levels of prowess and results. While most were business operational or spreading personal productivity, there were glimmers of innovation in a few of the case studies. I would suggest reviewing the following YouTube Video starting at the hour thirty mark (1:30 mark) where it gets increasingly interesting. I was especially captivated by the Ebay example at the (2:26 mark) Day General Session. EBay is combining its history of purchases around the world for the last 20 years to provide not only a concierge shopping bot, but a pricing bot leveraging gobs of data in the cloud, natural language chat bots processing, machine and deep learning to create some real innovation with Google's new and traditional cloud services.

My Key Highlights So Far: 

Aggressive Partnering with Solutions Providers to Push the Creative Cloud
Completing a Partnership with SAP for Functional Transaction Access
Proof Points on Speeding up the Cloud Migration Process with Logical Phased Steps
Leverage of Machine Learning in a Democratized Fashion
The Proof Points of a Resilient Cloud (Security, Elastic, Dynamic and Cost Effective)
Great Improvements in Google Hangouts Supercharged by the Jamboard
The Application of AI to Image and Video Recognition on a Portfolio Basis
The Tilt Brush 3D Art Booth (being an artist myself, I was drooling)
The Integrated Use of Geolocation and Big Data to Visualize Opportunity
The Emphasis on EcoSystem Creativity and Reach

                                                          Immense Cloud Network

                                                         Visualization of Big Sensor Data

                                                        Power of Geolocation Context

                                                      Leveraging Video with Hangouts

                                                Video Indexing of Semiotic Themes

                                                    Collaborating with a Shared Jamboard

                                                       Tilt-Brushing it Baby

My Low Lights So Far:  

Not Enough Capacity for Breakout Sessions
Not Enough Repeat Sessions for Hot Themes
Too Product Driven; Not Real Market, Sales and Customer Driven
Too Many Products Vying for Attention
Need to Emphasize Google's Growing  Digital Business Platform Capability; Not Just Cloud
More Emphasis on Other Parts of AI; not Just the Beating Drum of Data Driven Machine Learning

Bottom Line:

Drinking from a firehose where the water is sweet for the most part. I wish there was two of me to get a grip on this large and overwhelming conference.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Better Fan Experience with Connected Processes

The Sacramento Kings new entertainment and sports center is the first digital coliseum of the 21st century. Given the mission – to deliver a truly connected experience – the Kings needed to ensure the arena, app and anything under the hood remain ‘future-proof’ by delivering continuous innovation and upgrades to the overall experience for years to come. A seamless and frictionless fan experience that begins long before you get to the arena and last beyond the final buzzer. 

The Solution Phase I
The first step was to build an app for the 2015-16 season – the final year at the Sleep Train Arena – to provide the best experience possible and test future integrations in an app. With features like realtime stats, experience upgrades, in-seat food ordering, merchandise browsing and Uber integration, the app has already provided Kings fans with an invaluable experience leading up to the opening of Golden 1 Center. It also allowed the Kings to deliver an updated app even before the new Golden 1 Center opened for the 2016-17 season.

The Solution Phase II
To this end, they needed a highly scalable platform to power their mobile app, bring together many different services and also demonstrate the ability to be constantly updated. In addition, the app environment needed to facilitate the testing and deployment of yet-to-be-released features for the upcoming season. However, connecting the world’s most technologically advanced arena and making it work effortlessly with a mobile app was a daunting task. 
The Results:
The app’s connected infrastructure supports everything from realtime stats and play-by-play updates to the ability to order an Uber, giving fans a reliable means of connecting with the team in the buildup to the opening of the new arena. Continual advancement has been the cornerstone of the Kings, and will assure the Kings App stays ahead of the pack even after Golden 1 Center opened.
“The new platform provides us with a nimble and robust technology foundation. We’re able to test and iterate innovations with fans on demand. We can try out new services at any time and if our fans like them, incorporate them into the mobile app. Or, if we come across a better offering, we can unplug the existing service and plug in the upgrade. Having a dynamic platform allows us to foster an enhanced fan experience that continually evolves” said CTO Ryan Montoya.
Using a combination of advanced flow and integration products is hailed as an enterprise-grade best practice by the Kings team for the following reasons:
  1. By investing in ‘products as a service’, the Kings ensure that adopting new technology is seamless and does not require continuous in-house maintenance and upgrades.
  2. The platform auto-scales and is highly synchronous, so no one has to do anything to keep the app running and deliver the latest game details. Under the hood, the apps runs 1,500 flows, or automations, per game across 10 different APIs spanning the NBA, Urban Airship and PubNub. This automates a realtime game experience with up-to-the-moment scores, play-by-play details, shot charts, team and player stats, as well as daily news and multimedia updates.
  3. This combination of products is the backbone that accommodates the massive number of integrations (30+) that will be present in the updated Kings App to be released prior to the opening of Golden 1 Center.

Net; Net:
The new infrastructure has put the Kings in a position to achieve the objective of a worldwide fanbase. The fans are really pleased with the experience no matter the outcome of the games.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Opportunities to Collaborate in 2017

It looks like I have another busy quarter and great opportunities to interact/collaborate with many folks on the advancement of Intelligent Digital Businesses Platforms and BPMs role in better business outcomes. I hope we can chat in the next few months :)


Date               City              Sponsor             Content

3/7-3/10      San Fran          Google              Next
3/19-3/22    Vegas               IBM                    Interconnect
4/7               Web                 Aragon              Digital Business Platforms
4/18-4/20    Santa Barbara BPM.COM         bpmNEXT
5/11            San Fran          Aragon              Executive Dinner
6/5-6/7        Vegas              Pega                   Pegaworld 2017

Net; Net:

I look forward to interacting with many to move the intelligent & digitally equipped processes into the mainstream.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Worlds' First Rating of Digital Platforms

Aragon Research, a technology focused research and advisory firm committed to providing thought leading strategic research and trusted advisory services, introduced its Tech Spectrum™ Market Evaluation Report for Digital Business Platforms, 2017. In the first market evaluation report of its kind, Aragon Research provides an introduction of the Digital Business Platform (DBP) market and evaluates 23 providers who are at various stages of DBP enablement.

Aragon Expects the DBP Market to Reach 50B Quickly 

Aragon Research predicts that by the end of 2019, 65% of enterprises will retire many legacy processes in favor of those based on the Digital Business Platform, leading to the proliferation of DBPs. This proliferation comes from the benefits that the DBP aims to provide, including business automation, faster time to revenue, and overall cost reduction. Digital transformation is about the speed of business, and the DBP will help organizations make their business activity fully digital.
“The primary driver for the rise in DBP is the need to make businesses more responsive with faster and more effective processes or applications while dealing with frequent change and increasing demands for customer-driven approaches,” said Jim Sinur, VP of Research and Research Fellow at Aragon Research. “Aragon expects that the DBP market is poised to grow into a $50-billion market by 2021.”
To learn more about the Digital Business Platform and the 23 providers, read the full Tech Spectrum™ report.
About Aragon Research 
Aragon Research is the newest technology research and advisory firm. Aragon delivers high impact interactive research and advisory services to provide enterprises the insight they need to help them make better technology and strategy decisions. Aragon Research serves business and IT leaders and has a proven team of veteran analysts. For more information, visit