When business processes finally become intelligent
Over the past several months I have done a lot of research on the BI market, the trends and the vendor landscape. There is a clear indication that BI solutions are becoming more sophisticated, more intelligent and – more integrated into other applications to enhance the performance of the application supported business processes.
Very recently now, in discussions with BPM vendors like IDS Scheer, HandySoft and many others it became very eminent that from the other side, BPM solutions are moving steadily into the field of Business Intelligence too. The world of BPM and BI solutions are converging to bring intelligent business processes to the market – eventually. However, today we are still some steps away from this picture and the convergence of BPM and BI will likely proceed in smaller steps are outlined in the below BI-BPM convergence model.
Today several BPM vendors have actively integrated business intelligence capabilities into their solutions. Larger ones like IDS Scheer have developed their own analytics while smaller vendors like HandySoft are using OpenSorce components offered by JasperSoft and other OpenSource BI vendors. The integration offers users new and consistent insights along the whole business process. A user in this context means both:
a) Business users that are part of the business process get access to relevant information and reports that increase the efficiency of the process, and
b) Business process owners get an insightful analytics of the process metadata to be able to further enhance and streamline the process.
Here now is the broader conceptual model that I promised in the prior blog post. As I said, I built conceptual hooks in my decision support ROI model to address broader requirements for decision automation and decision management.
I recently experienced a real world story that is so reminiscent of the BPM journey from rags to riches that I'm going to start many a BPM stump speech with it. I didn't realize it was so apropos until a friend and colleague, Steve Bullinger, told me that the lunchtime story I shared for grins at an IBM advisory session would be a great way to kick off a keynote. After talking with Clay Richardson today, I realized it would make a pretty interesting blog post too.
So, here goes. True story (and I promise it will relate to BPM):
My 12 year old son, Alexander recently wrote a thriller of a book called The Curse Of The Cottonmouth. It's a humdinger and in it, one of the characters is a cat named Tabitha. Here's Alexander's rendition of Tabitha:
Even more recently, Alexander and I visited North Carolina to see Grandmother. My husband drove down separately. As I was returning home, Alexander and I dropped by my sister's grooming shop and animal rescue operation. I briefly mentioned to her that Alexander dreamed of owning a cat like Tabitha, despite the fact that we already have two cats and a super high energy Dalmatian.
I am thrilled to announce that Derek Miers has joined Forrester Research. If you don’t know Derek, then you are really missing something because he is a giant in the business process management world and is a thinking person’s thinker. In fact, I have known Derek for many years (16 years to be exact) and Derek has always been my personal BPM guru. Whenever I was thinking through a thorny issue or complex problem, I’d call Derek to get his advice. You see, Derek has been an independent consultant for many years and has collaborated with me on many conferences and articles so we’ve developed a great working relationship over the years. I know he’ll bring a ton of value to all of you too in this new role at Forrester.
So here’s the news: starting February 8th, Derek Miers will join us as a Principal Analyst focusing on the methods, techniques and technologies of Business Process Management (BPM) and business process improvement--with a strong focus on customer facing processes. Derek will be based in London but will have a focus on both Europe and North America, as well as other regions too. Derek is a true internationalist—he hails from New Zealand but has lived for many years in the UK, and most recently France.
In case you don’t know Derek, you may be wondering, who is this mysterious guy I’m singing accolades about? Derek has a deep process background to call upon. For the past few years, he served as President and CEO of BPM Focus, a company providing BPM training and consulting services. Before that, in the early 1990s, he founded Enix Consulting, another process-oriented advisory business. Derek was co-chair of the BPMI.org (steering the merger with OMG) and also co-authored BPMN Modeling and Reference Guide, Understanding and Using BPMN, a landmark book in the BPM modeling space.
Interest in case management will climb higher and higher throughout 2010. The drivers are a mix of old and new an include. The most important - there will be an increased need to manage the costs and risks of servicing customer requests — like loans, claims, and benefits. Customer experience has evolved to where fundamentals of the product are secondary. Its now about design and the personality of the experience. I tried to help my daughter buy a car the other day. The Ford Focus didn't make the cut. Why? No lighted mirror. I then knew I was in for a long process.
There is also a greater emphasis on automating and tracking inconsistent "incidents" that do not follow a well-defined process. Does homeland security come to mind? And lots of new pressure on government agencies to respond to a higher number of citizen requests. But this next one is the killer. We will see new demands from regulators, auditors, and litigants on businesses to respond to external regulations. After Bernie "made off" with 50B or so the SEC had an epiphany of sorts. Gee.Lets give the field agents more authority to investigate — and perhaps depoliticize the process. Brilliant. Lets let the folks that actually know the regulatory target actually make decisions. Well. Great. We think this will lead to a ramped up number of investigative inquires and guess what? Each one is best handled as a case where consistent policies, audit trails, and analytics can apply. Lastly, there is the increased use of collaboration and social media to support unstructured business processes.
As a growing number of executives learn how to apply Toyota’s famous Lean principles and tools to improve quality and reduce costs, Toyota is making headlines. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the company had to suspend sales of different models this week, and will halt production at their five North American factories next week, for quality reasons (see, this article for more).
The moral of the WSJ story is strikingly simple: Toyota was trying to get too big, and changed too fast. In doing this, its leaders obviously abandoned some of the principles of continuous improvement which made the Toyota brand and its Lean production system (TPS) so famous. These principles are about establishing a highly specified working environment based on mature norms to minimize quality-control variables. For example, never build a new product in a new factory with new workers.
Does this mean that Lean creates barriers to change? The answer is yes, and this is good news. Abiding by your Lean principles can protect your organization from moving too fast and making potentially unsustainable, even damaging changes. True business process transformation initiatives based on Lean focus not only on zero-defects and no-waste targets, but also look at how people work and interact to make processes and services flow. This means that for any change you plan, you will need also to allocate time and resources to build the organization and develop the skills that support the desired state of maturity.
Forrester analysts will host a “Tweet Jam” on February 10, 2010, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM ET to answer questions from Business Process professionals and App Dev professionals about top challenges facing their process improvement initiatives. During this interactive Jam session, Forrester analysts will share the results of our groundbreaking “Business Process Professional Role Deep Dive” research that uncovered major trends and critical challenges facing aspiring process improvement programs.
Key questions we will tackle during this Tweet Jam include:
1. Which role(s) should lead your business process initiative?
2. What are the best practices for establishing your BPM COE?
3. Do yourtraditional business analysts have what it takes to drive BPM initiatives?
4. How heavily should you rely on your software vendor for project implementation?
5. How should you connect your EA and BPM initiatives?
6. Which process improvement methodology (Six Sigma, Lean, TQM) is best for your initiative?
7. How should you incorporate BPMN modeling into your process initiative?
8. How should you measure the progress or success of your process initiative?
9 What’s the typical sizeand composition of process improvement teams?
10. How should process improvement connect to master data management?
11. How do you think Social BPM will impact your organization?
The session will be hosted by Clay Richardson, Connie Moore, CraigLe Clair, Alex Peters, John Rymer, and Ken Vollmer. To join this interactive conversation, simply tune in to the #bpmjam hash tag on Twitter or follow the analysts that will host and moderate the session.