Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Expanding Process Scopes Presents Challenges (Part 2)

While the process movement, under the BPM moniker, has been successful in terms of financial returns, agility, collaboration, and innovation, more will be expected from processes. Organizations are showing confidence by expanding the impact and scope of processes. This may be as wide as value and supply chains or aggregating end to end processes that leverage tactical processes in aggregate. These wider scopes present challenges of technological and political interactions that have not been tested to date for most organizations. This article will help with the political side where just being aware of the issues can defuse problems and sometime accelerate business outcomes. I posted an article on the technical challenges on July 22, 2013 and an article on people change issues on June 19, 2013. These issues can create mystery and challenge.

See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/07/expanding-process-scopes-presents.html &

There are many ways to get hung up in political issues besides individuals not liking each other. Quite often there are clashes that are created by roles and goals of individuals in organizations and seven political issues that I have seen play a role in process success or failure. They are as follows:

Organizational Culture:

Quite often organizational cultures can inhibit or enhance process efforts. If an organization has a planning culture, it helps in considering all alternatives, but this kind of organization can get hung up in "analysis paralysis". If an organization has a "run and gun" culture, it can get something up and running quickly, but it may sub-optimize on near term results and miss big issues. The ideal is a blend of both, but will take a powerful coalition to push against cultural tendencies.

Industry Influences:

Some industries are progressive by nature and others are comfortable with the status-quot. Understanding the trends in your industry can make help in outlining a strategy that leverages the leaders within your specific industry. Just like people behave in a herding manner, organizations can follow the heard instead of striking out for better pastures. Create a view for the new pastures.

Nature of  the Competition:

Almost all executives have competitors that they admire or hate. Playing on those tendencies can help a business process owner or director. Doing a quick competitive benchmark inside or outside of an organizations industry can help in business outcome design. This is particularly effective when admired organizations are targeted.

Leadership Vision & Commitment:

Often one hears about a lack of leadership vision and commitment as a reason not to attempt large scoped processes. This can be defused by showing success in other organizations or smaller scopes. The other approach to waiting to a visionary is to gather a collation of business progressive participants and create a vision. This can be assisted leveraging business scenario planning with simulation assists.

Organizational Stove Pipes:

A goodly number of organizations are driven by operational goals that are designed to be conflicting. In addition, rewards are often crafted to mirror these artificial functional separations. With great care, these stove pipes can be brought together by showing that there is a "win - win" not a "zero sum" opportunity for these organizational or departmental leaders. This is very crucial for cross organizational value and supply chains leveraging shared processes.

Organizational Velocity:

It is important to know the kind of reaction times that are burned into organizational behaviors. These behaviors can be gleaned form published goals and observed behaviors. Almost all organizations are being faced with an acceleration challenge these days. This pressure can be used a lever for change and has been successful in many process efforts.

History & Decision Tendencies:

Understanding how decisions have been made in the past will be crucial to understand and exploit. It is equally important to understand how decision enabled processes can accelerate decisions while increasing collaboration (usually considered a luxury). Today's smart and social processes can assist here.

Net; Net:

Understanding the mysteries of these seven issues and making a plan to exploit these issues will be important for any process owner or process director. There are many subtleties that can also enable or entrap the creation of process innovation and excellence. This should give one a good starting point, I hope :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Announcing a New Process Book: BPM the Next Wave

You can get on the list for this new and exciting book that talks about the next wave of business process management (BPM). See the web page for more interesting details, but this book launches agent oriented business process management (aoBPM). http://mkpress.com/aoBPM/

Monday, July 22, 2013

Expanding Process Scopes Presents Challenges

While the process movement, under the BPM moniker, has been successful in terms of financial returns, agility, collaboration, and innovation, more will be expected from processes. Organizations are showing confidence by expanding the impact and scope of processes. This may be as wide as value and supply chains or aggregating end to end processes that leverage tactical processes in aggregate. These wider scopes present challenges of technological and political interactions that have not been tested to date for most organizations. This article will help with the technical side.

Here are the technical areas that face organizations that are trying to deliver an end to end process where there are existing assets and resources to leverage in a larger and combined context: 


Most organizations are not blessed with an integrated architecture that caused all processes to be managed by one BPM technology. This may mean that several process engines will have to leveraged to complete an end to end process. It maybe a master process management engine that surrounds all sub processes or it could be hand offs from one sub process to another. Another complication is that all the resources orchestrated by these processes need to be aggregated, shared and coordinated in all the contexts they currently play in today and tomorrow. This is a level of complexity that is new to most organizations.

Applications /Agents/Services:

Processes have to have ways to surround, integrate and integrate legacy and purchased applications. These are the most common resources that processes leverage today and this can be a challenge to surround and leverage. It also may be specific portions of an existing application. Those organizations blessed with a SOA or an Agent Architecture will have a jump start on those organizations that don't have either architectures in play.


Processes that have to have direct access to data sources without purposed services or agents prebuilt to assist the process are challenged to gain access to pertinent data. Those organizations that are blessed with an established or emerging "big data" strategy will have an advantage over those organizations that do not where data access will be done opportunistically.


Process that have on in-flight and on demand analytics available are able to them have better advantage than those processes that are flying without analytics assisting the process participants. Organizations that have a decision management architecture that can combine analytics in a real time poly-analytics fashion will have advantage over those who leverage analytics opportunistically


Processes that can't sense the surrounding context they are running in, the kind of process instances(cases) and the patterns that are being emitted in and around the end to end process are at a distinct disadvantage. Organizations that have an events architecture that can sense singular and complex events across large scopes will be at better advantage than those who do not have a plan.


Process that can depend on a policy and rule management architecture will be in a better state with managing agility that those that do not. While individual agility levers are helpful, the real business advantage comes with policy management that can work in both proactive and reactive modes. Organizations that have a policy/rule architecture will have an advantage.

Business Outcomes/Goals:

Process and all the resources within a process need visibility into progress across the complete scope and context, This will include integrating dashboards, scoreboards, work-lists, progress towards goals and links to desired business outcomes. Organizations that have an architecture for business visualization, goal tracking and work environments will have a distinct advantage. Work environments would include the mobile and cloud experience.

Net; Net:

There are a lot of moving parts to creating a large scoped "end to end" process. These are just the technological issues that need to be considered, so the management and political issues actually can loom larger. The payoff, however, will be large in customer satisfaction, speed to leverage agility and higher revenue per hour worked.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Events in Railroad Management

The recent tragedy in Canada involving an unattended train magnifies the critical need for organizations to have systems in place to monitor critical events. Events aren’t new to railways. The logistics and transportation industry was one of the first to adopt event management around the physical movement of goods and resources. The need for hyper efficiency, safety monitoring, and simplification of complex logistics led to the development of RFID and other systems that could monitor and anticipate opportunities and risks as they occur…as discrete events


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Managing Business Agility Gets You What You Want

While BPM claims that it delivers agility, you always don't get what you expect. Almost all of the BPM focused vendors provide some form of agility, but is it good enough? Is the agility managed in a holistic fashion, or is it in pieces and parts. When the speed of business accelerates, in good times or bad, the kind of agility your BPM vendor affords you can make all the difference in the world when you are challenged by a business event and need to respond to it rapidly. Don't be like this girl who ordered a seafood platter and ended up with something else.
There are three levels of process agility that I have seen in the past and it is clear to me what I would want in my crucial processes. The three are as follows:
Simple Process Logic Agility:
This is where rules and parameters in processes are made explicit for rapid change. These generally revolve around navigation, simple logic, work allocation, dashboard displays, tolerances, work list environments and other local context agility levers. In this case there may not even be a rule classification and these explicit agility directors are designed in context with no common rule behavior. This is an entry level approach to agility and certainly helpful when tweaking local changes to specific parts of a process. Most BPMS vendors have this level of agility.
Complex Process Logic Agility:
This is where explicit rules are everywhere in a process and include advanced behaviors. This would include agility levers that are wider in scope and effect and would subsume simple logic agility as well. Examples would be explicit goals, case definitions, poly-analytic combinations, personas, work environments, simulation features, optimization, social behaviors, BI, complex events, in context mobile behavior and other larger context and compound agility levers. This would likely occur in smarter and wide ranging processes, but they are not tied together in a managed manner. Most, but not all, iBPMS vendors have this level of agility
Linked Managed Agility:
The problem with most agility afforded in processes is that the agility is aimed at separate points and there is no linkage of this point agility. Well managed agility allows changes to cascade to and through many of the agility levers in process and the resources they control. While it is unlikely that all the points for a change will be linked, look for a BPM vendor that allows linkage through rule and parameter management. This will contribute to a faster time to market response, at a minimum, and preplanned changes that reflect planned business scenarios, at a maximum. There are few BPM vendors who have looked beyond multiple and localized agility levers. It is rare, but necessary in change prone businesses.
Net; Net:
Process agility is always a good thing, but if you can’t easily manage the agility levers in logical groupings, the amount of time to find and change processes will increasingly become problematic, counterintuitive and far too time-consuming over time.

Monday, July 15, 2013

End to end Processs Transparency Bests Silo Views

A mid-sized multi-national company aims at delivering better results for customers with process. It specializes in steel and steel construction and they provide customers with efficient steel solutions for better living working and moving. By providing x-ray vision to an end-to-end process from opportunity to delivery by combining data from two separate systems, they made discoveries, based on the process transparency, enabled the company to make the right decisions for optimizing process performance.

The Challenge:

Processes are usually looked at and scrutinized one by one. But how about combining two processes to get an end-to-end view to really understand how things are running? This is the stance that this company took when wanting to see the big picture, starting from opportunity and ending at delivery.

The process development team at has extensive experience of modeling processes the traditional way. They spend time and put considerable efforts in conducting interviews and doing manual work for scoping the processes that drive the manufacturing, sales and delivery of construction material. A siloed view at separate systems was not the objective but a complete ‘as-is’ process, enabling the discovery of the root causes for the possible issues and bottlenecks and to verify that the tasks and process steps are carried out as planned.

The Solution:

As the analysis was done as a three week service project, the work was done in close cooperation with the customer’s system and process owners to verify the relevant data for the process discovery. Data verification was at the forefront since needing to combine CRM and ERP information. Following a structured project plan, this company was able to see, step by step, how the results were unraveling and see the real status of the process.

The Result:

Based on the findings delivered, this company was able to realize benefits serving the needs of both system management and business.

For System Owners: Transparency to system usage and enabling more focused guideline enforcement and modifications.

For Business:

 Support for prioritization of process improvement activities

 Highlighting the importance of transparent process management over functional silos

Net; Net:

Organizations that manage processes will be challenged in creating and end to end view for many reasons including separate and differently times sub-process efforts. True process management will require a true end to end process view to keep companies running intelligently and opportunistically.

This is a highly summarized and anonymous case study provided by QPR


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Processes Need Events to Become Proactive

Most organizations are just starting to deal with events and event patterns in a reactive fashion. This is particularly true in the world of the Internet of Things or the Internet of Everything, where there are emitters everywhere that are creating events and event patterns of interest to organizations and the processes that support business operations. Organizations will have to move from pure response to predictive.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Incremental Transformation is Here Today

Transformation is generally something that is avoided at all costs because it is viewed as big, difficult and costly, if not desperate and extreme. World economic conditions, extreme competition and the need for customized customer management are driving organizations into situations that cause them to consider real transformations. We have seen it in manufacturing, finance, healthcare and now retail. It seems that organizations had better be ready to move in a rapid fashion to grab the bone. That's the bad news, but the good news is that incremental transformation is easily ascertainable today with modern intelligent business process management (iBPM) technologies, methods and fleet change management. I hope to document some compelling case studies around the contributing factors to transformation in the coming months, but until then, I have documented seven areas for organizations to focus on while on this journey (below).


Surround Your Legacy to Differentiate:

Your existing technology assets can either be an anchor dragging you back or they can be leveraged going forward. Since business process management (BPM) is good at orchestrating resources in a new and better context, leading companies are adding BPM as a differentiating layer on top of existing processes, systems and applications.  

Make Your Policies and Rules Explicit for Ease of Change:

Many organizations have their core policies and rule embedded in peoples’ heads and systems. This is fine, if your world is stable, but that is a luxury today that many global organizations cannot validate. There are specific BPM vendors that practice this approach throughout their platform, processes and solutions. This allows for change within the same structure and in some cases affects the actual structure of the solution.

 Make Your Processes Agile by Minimizing Structure:

With newer process technologies, flexible process flows and cases are allowing for quick adaptation. Case management, with the ability to shift milestones and activities on the fly, is one visible way to enable unstructured and adaptable processes.

Make Your Desired Outcomes & Progress Visible:

By making goals and desired business outcomes visible, all those who are watching the score can affect the result. Visibility also helps point out the need for adjustment, tuning and potential change efforts. This is called the “Hawthorne Effect”  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawthorne_effect)

Apply Intelligence Constantly and Proactively:

It is important to run active and on-demand analytics to see if changes might be necessary to intercept expected conditions. Even if your organization is not trying to be predictive in its analytic efforts, knowing when to react to changing conditions is the minimum price of admission today. I expect that organizations will not be able to capitalize on conditions without some predictive capability in the near future.

Design for Global Impact, but Customize Locally:

In todays’ world, you do not have to do business on a multi-national basis to want global process behavior with local variation. While you certainly need global process and rules in a multi-national situation, you may have needs for variation by product, service, vendor, customer and business context. Smarter processes take this into effect and allow for optimization on multiple goals simultaneously and shift goal weightings when necessary. 

Design a People Centric Approach to Products, Services and Change:

Business change needs to be approached in a new way now.  Until recently, process/application change was in the critical path to complete the change. With modern BPM, the technology change is not the problem. Change paths need to be designed to be faster and people change now becomes the issue to deal with going forward. New communication methods and training techniques have to be re-evaluated.

 Net; Net:

Leveraging the proper built-in levers in BPM and great change management practices, will give the executive suite and process owners unprecedented power to transform incrementally. This is a powerful ability that we have not had in the past.




Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy Birthday USA

While the US is not perfect, it's leaders are not perfect and the our people aren't perfect, I can't think of a better country to exercise freedom and a drive to succeed. THANK YOU  USA for my opportunity to be free and to seek my continually evolving dreams :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Smart Farm Operations Processes Measured on the CPIQ

This is another innovative processes rated on the cumulative process intelligence quotient(CPIQ). See http://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2013/05/measuring-cumulative-intelligence-of.html This is one of my favorite smart processes that manages farm production levels. The process optimizes moisture / fertilizer balance for specific terrains and plants.

The Challenge:

In order to step up food production in a significantly arid area of the world, new methods and processes will have to be established to apply fertilizer in optimum ways considering present and future moisture levels customized by crop type.

The Solution:

By leveraging point measurements through out the terrain of the farm, combined with local and national moisture models, five large farms have increased crop production up to 40% by having processes direct fertilizer applications and in some cases apply mechanical watering techniques.

How Smart is this Process Measured by the CPIQ?

Net; Net:
You can visually see where the intelligence of this process is more advanced.

This is a highly summarized and anonymous case study provided by Appian