I get a chance to work with CIOs in various capacities that usually involve major business challenges their organizations are facing and how IT can collaborate with business to address those challenges. These discussions are generally a precursor or follow-up to a strategic assessment, which tends to surface the expected technological challenges along with a few surprises. The surprise is not that IT has layer upon layer of fragmented, heavily redundant application and data architectures built on aging technology. This is unfortunately the norm. The surprise lies in why these problems keep multiplying and attempts to address them often turn into the next failed project. The fact is that issue analysis, problem definition, planning and funding all begin with the business and more often than not, these concerns lie behind a shroud of organizational siloes, fragmented customer perspectives and myriad business dialects.
While many, most, organizations know they need to focus on business processes, a matching focus on operational decisions is less common. The effective combination of Business Process Management (BPM) with Business Decision Management (BDM) is emerging as a critical element in successful organizations.
The Intersection of Process and Decision
Business Process Management is well established in organizations of every size. Many, most, organizations identify, document, model, automate and manage their business processes. Many of these organizations have adopted a technology stack, a Business Process Management System, to support their BPM work. Despite the importance of operational decisions, most do not yet similarly manage business decisions. This is changing as more organizations adopt Business Decision Management as well as Business Process Management so they can work at the intersection.
Most companies, from high-tech firms to heavy equipment manufacturers, are wrestling with effectively delivering content to their customers’ and employees’ smart phones and tablets.
From product manuals and training materials, to catalogues, employee handbooks, and annual reports, most organizations suffice with PDF files, the mobile equivalent of a static document or web page.
Adopting a mobile-friendly content strategy enables a myriad of benefits that go far beyond delivering the right content to the right device at the right time—including collaboration via social networking platforms, multimedia (audio and video) enhancements, interactivity (quizzes and exercises to test mastery of concepts), annotations to content, and much more.
Companies spend a lot of time and resources reporting on their businesses. There are balanced scorecards, KPIs, executive, management and status reports done daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. Executives and managers have so many reports they have trouble reading them all and employees complain that reporting takes up more time than the jobs for which they’ve been hired. After all that, the sad fact is that many reports are read and deleted, read by the wrong people, or not read at all.
Here we’ll talk about how to streamline the number of reports produced, and how to tell the right story to the right people.
There are lots of good reasons for adopting business process management as an approach, and a Business Process Management System as a technology. The benefits that can be gained are real but they can be undermined by over complex process designs. If the process you end up designing is the BPMN or BPEL equivalent of spaghetti code, then your process won’t be agile and it won’t be cost-effective. It’s also unlikely to deliver a positive customer experience or to be easy to continuously improve. The benefits of BPM are dependent on you developing processes that are reasonable, that are not over-complex.
Big Data is all the rage, but how should we use it, and how does it relate to process improvement and BPM?
Big Data is really just a new category of data, but one that has gotten a lot of buzz because it
- is a catchy term
- casts a wider net – out to external customers, potential buyers, suppliers, other networks in the general market place
- requires more sophisticated methods of gathering, modeling, and analyzing the data
So add Big Data to your organizational tools, but make it an integral part of a data-driven organization.
The two critical underlying questions before any organization starts gathering Big Data or data of any kind is:
Digital business promises to be a massive disruption to all industries. Practitioners will need to reinvent core operational processes for the digital industrial economy. What are the forces driving digital business disruption? How do you deal with digital business? Janelle Hill shares Gartner's perspective on Process Reinvention, steps that practitioners should take to capitalize on Digital Business and Business Moments and a sneak preview of major themes that will be a part of Gartner's BPM Summits in 2014.
Attend this webcast to learn:
“Yesterday's adaptations are today's routines”–Ronald A. Heifetz, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
I opened an earlier article published in this forum some time ago by setting up the following scenario, which concludes with a simple question:
Imagine yourself as the owner of a business domain within a government agency. Let’s say you’re the Deputy Administrator of entitlement programs in an organization that processes claims for benefits. No matter the type of benefit(s) or entitlement(s) your agency administers, whether loan guarantees, educational benefits, [or] disaster-recovery relief . . ., your business model – at some level of abstraction - is as simple as receiving applications (or claims) for benefits, qualifying them, and dispensing an appropriate response to each . . . of your applicants (or claimants).
Most entrepreneurs understand the meaning of a “Pivot”. A Pivot is a change of direction for the entire organization in order to take advantage (or find) an opportunity that expands the company’s business. A pivot can create an atmosphere of what appears to be total chaos and without proper management, can leave a business slogging along instead of soaring higher. However, by understanding the capabilities of your company, capability maps can make pivots more manageable. A pivot is one of the few times where capabilities may become fluid in order to adapt to the new direction. Business architecture usually assumes that capabilities are relatively stable – not so with a pivot.
A Facilitator helps participants in a group work together toward the meeting objective by providing a meeting structure, engaging the participants, keeping them focused on the content, and remaining neutral himself. A BPM Facilitator is a person who guides a business process improvement (BPI) project, using the same group process skills and behaviors of a generic facilitator but in the context of BPM. So the BPM facilitator needs to know the BPM Methodology, have a structured method of working with BPI teams, be able to coach a Process Owner, and be able to work with the BPI Project Leader toward the improvement targets of the Process Owner. And the Virtual BPM Facilitator needs to do it virtually – not face to face but using telecommunications by phone, by video conference, by Web Ex, or similar tools. That makes the medium a bit more challenging but it’s the reality of today’s global world.