BPM and Social Technology Converge

December 27, 2012

BPM has always been social, especially the analysis and modeling phases that are heavy with discovery and information exchange. Social is the glue that binds the process. As practitioners of improving how work is done, social technologies give us the tools to improve how we work.

EveryOnesTalkingWith the convergence of social we are able to take a more collaborative approach to promote greater stakeholder integration into the exchange of information and discovery, especially for those data and layer intensive processes. Discussions and the interchange of information via a social platform offer new possibilities for more effective and flexible process design.

The analysis and modeling phases are one of the most if not the most time consuming activities of BPI workflow. Taking advantage of social technologies to connect process owners and stakeholders, to get answers, resolve issues, and address specific business processes makes sense and advantageous in reducing time and cost. Social platforms offer the resources to better manage expectations. The wide range of participants collaborating eliminates many of the constraints associated with doing process analysis.

Incorporating social technologies into our schemes provides for the discovery of similar experiences and relationships between work and the information technology landscape. Taking advantage of social business models like Facebook, Bebo, Twitter, internal blogs and even knowledge management platforms provide venues for a library of information, and have the ability to deliver increased value in that they can facilitate improved communication and coordination of information, making them relative to the decision making process. Merging social with BPM eases the adaption to changes, as in the modeling process by minimizing the obstacles that arise between modeler and the process and stakeholder, which are often barriers to model adoption.

Social is natural, part of the human experience, an element of the corporate landscape, it makes sense for BPM and social technologies to come together.


BPM and Mobility, Unified Approach

October 17, 2012

The mobile enabled work revolution and Cloud migration is creating an environment in which enterprise IT departments will  have to rethink their service distribution and support models wp.me/pO8n7-7L to meet the needs of mobile workers, customer anytime-anywhere-access, and how the organization manages its resources. This revolution will take a little more than just virtualization, increased data storage, server-side controls, and authentication and authorization, etc. to make mobile access a reality. Organizations contemplating or implementing mobile will need a unified approach to process management that will govern architectural changes with reinforced processes and operational controls. The whole idea behind mobility is to provide information access to decision makers, knowledge workers and customers anytime on any device. Providing access to back-end system information, enterprise data and process infrastructure is essential to increasing competitiveness, productivity and efficiency. The role of BPM in this shift in technology consumption is not only more robust process automation, but control to make “access anywhere” efficient for the user and provide safeguards for organizational assets and to minimize risk.  How does an organization manage the mobile access revolution?

You begin with a process driven strategy for implementing mobile enabled work/access that will guide the organization including the IT department in the delivery of services. A targeted framework will include the processes needed to deliver anytime access and safeguard investments.  Regardless if the organization implements BYOD, invests in mobile devices, or if the mobile deployment is customer centric, governance and controls are important.

The principles of a mobile technology governance framework is not limited to the IT department, but is inclusive, it has to be developed in the light of risks associated with a mobile deployment and the management  of  those risks, to include collaboration with business units as the owners of processes that fit a mobile usage criteria. Strategic direction and proper planning are necessary, understanding the process landscape, what the users require, user needs and application expectations along with KPIs need defining and assessing for a review at a later time. Mobile technology devices such as smart phones, mp3 players and tablets that feature video calling and integration with Social Networks for the always on people presents big data challenges that will require a management and control strategy as part of the mobile governance framework.

Initiating a mobile center of excellence designed to optimize the use of corporate resources will smooth the progress towards the best chance of success. The Center should have the responsibility for developing standards, communication, planning and performing quality assurance for mobile application development. It should consist of representation from business units, IT and operations.

As we have seen in our personal mobile life, mobile is a rapidly evolving technology, it is important to plan for obsolescence. Organizations should adopt the same replacement plan for mobile as for server and desktop and vendor selections, with dedicated resources for rapid mobile application development.  Not to forget mergers and acquisitions in the vendor space will impact mobile deployment and use.

A strong policy is essential for governing the use of mobile technology and devices, whether BYOD or corporate investments. Out-of-the-office-by-design access is nothing new; resources have changed as well as the hosting platform – the Cloud, which presents a change in how technology is used. Other than the usual policy content describing  proper behavior and stipulating what may and may not be done and for when people leave the organization, mobile policy should address where a device containing sensitive data can be used, as-need-usage, cost and reimbursements, types of devices supported by the organization and those that can be connected to enterprise information sources to retrieve information through controlled ports, exceptions, unsupported devices and if data is stored on the device or server side, etc. As a part of policy it should include where in the IT department support will be provided.

Establish a comprehensive security policy to include a strong identity model. The risk of unauthorized tapping into wireless networks is higher with the borderless Cloud, stolen or lost devices is a high risk area, leak of sensitive company data creates legal liability or an employee is injured using a supported device. We have heard or read that cell phones can cause cancer or damage to the brain, do not think for one minute that a disgruntle employee will not try to take advantage.

A policy must be enforceable and either eliminate use or force compliance. As part of governance the policy must clearly communicate the organization’s stance on mobility; permissible use, sourcing, charge-back, standards for devices and usage, support and service levels and security, etc.

Deploying new technologies are always a challenge, managing and controlling are a greater challenge.  Mobile devices are literally moving targets, making control a potential nightmare. Having a guiding framework and operational policy are jump-offs for developing a control process. A control process has a continuous flow between measuring, comparing, and action, with key result areas and success indicators, also known as KPIs. The four steps in a control process are establishing performance standards, measuring actual performance, comparing measured performance against established standards, and taking corrective action. The mobile deployment just as any other service has to be monitored regularly to ensure effective utilization of resources and return on investment.


What does it mean for a company to journey to the Cloud, culture and processes

October 6, 2012

Business environments are faced with rapid change to better adapt to evolving market conditions and operational costs. These challenges most often requires the company to change the way business is done. BPM has become a critical function in many companies and is expected to grow even further with the journey to the Cloud.

Enabling IT operations and workflow over the cloud is a concept that many organizations are embracing and this service is growing in popularity among other companies that have yet to transition IT operations over to the Cloud. Shifting IT operations to the Cloud will fundamentally change the way that technology is exploited and the value that it can bring. Using cloud solutions to manage a business’s operations is a shift in technology that offers great value, with an increase in complexity and challenge to traditional IT operations. According to Gartner, by 2016 20% of all the “shadow business processes” will be supported by BPM cloud platforms, such as spreadsheets, routing of emails, collaboration apps, etc. As applications mature, performance requirements, regulatory requirements, or specific business drivers change the organization will explore other Cloud solutions that will continue to present process and cultural challenges.

The journey to the Cloud will need a re-inventing of the traditional IT model of plan, build and manage. Traditionally 100% demand for IT services has gone to the IT department. Cloud solutions are changing that model. With traditional  IT services transitioning to the Cloud Service Provider (CSP) the waterfall of activities  associated with the traditional IT model for delivery and management of services such as security, governance, capacity planning and budgets will pose a challenge for the CIO and CTO. Cloud providers are usurping the CIO and going directly to the business to sell their line of business solutions, such a shift in strategy causes a disruption in IT service delivery. Along with providing the business units with a consumption model, something the traditional IT department does not do, the business unit is able to keep an eye on their budget and the direct relationship offers project visibility. For the business unit these are added value for doing business with the CSP. Such shifts will force the hand of the enterprise to look at change of culture, operational processes, infrastructure and architecture as part of a new model for IT operations.

In a July SAP Cloud Computing post Sina Moatamed, Ding, Dong, The Suite is Dead! (as we know it)  proposed the following architectural components for a new IT model. Such changes will transform organizational culture and the way we traditionally think of the IT department. Creating a Process-as-a-Service model will revolutionize the IT department from traditional plan, build, manage to Service Provider. In this role the IT department is the “gatekeeper” of company assets, representing the business before CSP. Business units no longer have the need to go directly to the CSP.

Integration-as-a-Service would give process integration between SaaS solutions and with existing internal application services.  It would also provide for Master Data Management.  If the enterprise is journeying to a Public cloud offering which is without borders, the security issues so many companies wrestle with, Sina suggest the only way to properly secure organizational assets is to tightly manage the identities that have access.  So IT will need to use an Identity-as-a-Service provider to manage identities across all SaaS services. A centralized  Platform-as-a-Service environment. The normalization of data will allow for developing point solutions and workflows.  He states this is significant change to the traditional model.  Because now the PaaS is the center of the universe with many SaaS services surrounding the PaaS. The PaaS concept as being “the center of the universe” causes me to think of BPM PaaS.

This model not only transitions IT from overseer to an actual service provider, it offers solutions to some of the challenges and concerns expressed by companies with regard to moving to the Cloud. This is a frontward architecture for other shifts in technology consumption such as mobility and social networking.


How can BPM be a driver of enterprise innovation? Question is from the ebizQ forum

June 5, 2012

I struggled with the question to come up with an answer that makes sense. When I thought about it, BPM is not the driver – corporate culture is the driver, BPM is part of that culture that gives it the structure to support innovation. BPM is about control; internal and external accountability measures, facilitating adroit management decisions, and visibility – if you can’t see it you cannot manage it or fix it, forget innovation. BPM creates the opportunity for organizations to take their efforts a step further to drive competitive advantages; taking advantage of social media, collaboration and mobile technologies that are catalyst for innovation. Visibility of tasks and integration of data with greater ability to monitor and measure the performance of the processing department(s) is innovation within itself.


This a question from one of the BPM forums: If case management is the answer, what is the question?

June 5, 2012

Our response:
As an organization are we thinking on terms of collaboration and driving for a higher degree of customer engagement via channels our customer wants to use?

Case Management is an approach to improving how work is done. It is both methodology and technology. Processes have to be defined, understood and made efficient. Management must be adroit to acknowledge that not all knowledge workers work the same, understand how each worker works, what are the application expectations, what the user requires of the application, who is the knowledge worker, what do they do, what are the pain points – taking on an historical analysis. Rules have to be defined for collaboration to take place within the framework of the Case, thus governance and controls are important.

Recognition of social capabilities, the consumption of large amounts of data, how workers connect with one another, the different conventions used to collaborate and the ability to automate within the context of the Case are very important. For those organizations that are consumer driven, providing their customer with access to information when, where and how they want to see it is a strength of CM, you see this with banks and insurance companies.
These are just a few thinking points.


Gartner Says…LOL

February 25, 2012

Posted in Linkedin Group Adaptive Case Management

Within the IT community Gartner tends to have the status of when Gartner speaks IT professionals listen. Well this time Gartner you’re funny and somewhat late. Unfortunately Gartner’s findings/predictions are not revelation about organizational politics playing havoc on change and BPM efforts . We know all too well about the politics and the aversion to change that makes our work prickly and thwarts sustainability – look at Borders and Kodak for starters. As for the “shadow processes” aka known as the 20% unknown or the unstructured processes, PaaS maybe a solution, albeit capturing those steps involved in the value stream would be more valuable to the organization, structured as Case Management, capturing the process as BPM PaaS would be a better approach. With their prediction of unstructured processes rising by 2015, 40 percent or more of enterprise work will be non-routine, up from 25 percent in 2010; says creativity is on the rise and organizations will have to welcome adroit management strategies and structure for process visibility, control and IT architecture.

As for gamification strategy…hmm, the rule of game – there is a winner and a loser. In the real world the loser does not get the chance to come back and do it differently. Gaming is a creative approach to collaboration and strategic planning; the strategy has to keep the knowledge worker in the game, alive and well and scoring point. Getting and keeping the knowledge worker involved as the SME while the Practitioner facilitates the process against the goals of the organization is a winning game strategy.

We have posted a link to the press release under iArticles.


Collaboration with Case Management, taking BPM to the next level

November 9, 2011

Case Management (CM) and collaboration creates an opportunity for those organizations who have already invested in BPM to take their efforts a step further and continue to drive competitive advantages.

Work is complex, information intensive, data driven and with more and more regulations. It takes more effort and resources on the knowledge worker’s part to complete a task from end-to-end. Social capabilities such as email, conversations, exchange of knowledge, collaboration, etc. are natural parts of work. Social media makes it easy to connect and communicate. With Web 2.0, mobility and unified communications people are always on. CM makes it easier to combine and keep large amounts of process-case context information in a controlled way while improving workflow.

Technologies ranging from email and chat to smart phones, mp3 players, and tablets that feature video calling and integration with social networks are used by knowledge workers for expert searches, to connect for solving problems and for connecting with more and more people. Organizations are pulling together social media and CM to allow for expediting work, storing process information, mapping to and creating a case, and adding context. More cloud base applications are available for sharing documents and collaborating. The push for higher customer engagement through channels they want to use, empowering knowledge workers and the need for a simple interface for all process information gathered are driving Case Management.  Providing social media capabilities, such as chat within a case management system, the information is captured, mapped to create history and saved as a record in the case for use in analysis, customer service, identifying trends and patterns, as a learning tool, in audits, etc.

In organizations using CM, higher level knowledge workers use the information within cases to understand the metrics behind each process through the alignment of processes with case data. Customer focused organizations are providing high touch customer engagement through automation and controlled access to information they need and want to view. Businesses are connecting and making readily available process data within case context available to internal and external customers and their partners; reducing the time invested for solving problems and making decisions. Case Management and collaboration address the geo and economical factors of doing business. Both deal with the changing needs of today’s workforce that is largely of the mouse click internet born generation, the growth of telecommuting and job sharing. CM releases high level workers from administration of a task – jumping from screen to screen, moving between applications, etc. freeing them to invest more time in getting work accomplished.

CM is evolution of BPM. BPM must have a presence within the organization in order to understand CM and benefit from both CM and collaboration. Case Management is an approach to improving how work is done. It is methodology and technology. Process understanding and visibility of the process landscape is kernel.  Not all knowledge workers work the same. Performing an historical analysis of how they work, what their needs are and their expectations, taking a user experience based approach to design will allow work to advance quickly and easier; with the objective of creating a long lived case. Collaboration must be done within context of the case; control and governance are imperative.