Reading the recent Harvard Business Review article from Tom Davenport et al., it occurred to me that next best offer (NBO) is actually a subset of what my colleague Jim Kobielus calls “next best action” (NBA). And when you couple that predictive thinking with advances in process mining (see Wil van der Aalst’s post and the Process Mining Manifesto), it clearly becomes possible to optimize operations dynamically on the fly. First of all, the organization could mine the existing system (the transaction logs of traditional systems or a newly implemented BPM/CRM system) to identify what happens today. This then enables you to identify the outcomes that are most interesting (or those you want to achieve) and then optimize the NBA accordingly.
We take for granted a process definition where the next action is predetermined by the arc of the process definition. But if we can do NBO in 200 milliseconds, we can also do NBA in a similar time frame. Directed arcs in process models and the business rules that go with them start to become a little redundant. This sort of combination (mining and NBA) enables wide-open goal-oriented optimization for all sorts of processes, not just those related to marketing and cross-sell/upsell ideas.
As my first calendar year as an analyst draws to a close, I wanted to thank everybody who has read and commented on my blog and say that I look forward to even more next year. In closing out the year, I turn for a moment away from emerging technology to share an email I wrote to one of our clients in response to some questions he had about the changing nature of EA. In describing the future, I'm going to blatantly pirate a term that Randy Heffner has been using for a while because as I sought to answer this client's questions, I realized how absolutely spot on it is. here is the relevant text of that email:
Happy to answer your questions as outlined below in the inquiry request. We have published a report along similar lines, BT 2020: IT's Future In The Empowered Era, that I recommend for additional ideas. Regarding timing, 2015 will be a stepping stone towards 2020, so I’ll focus answers on 2020, and you can extrapolate to 2015 in terms of the migration that needs to occur.
Awkward title, I know. But this blog is about two related points.
Forrester has long believed that business and technology have become inseparable. The Business Technology organization that embraces this reality is replacing the Information Technology organization that thought of itself as separate from business.
Enterprise architecture is also shifting — from a technology and application-centered function (“IT architecture”) where the business was simply a source of requirements to a business-focused, strategic, and pragmatic discipline broader than the team called EA. We see signs of this shift everywhere — just look at the winners of the 2011 InfoWorld/Forrester Enterprise Architecture Awards.
As part of this shift, business architecture has become the foundation of enterprise architecture — making possible strategy, planning, and change management of the fused business+technology reality of today’s enterprises. Forrester’s Enterprise Architecture research focus is to help our clients make this shift, providing them with best and next practices ranging from removing barriers between business and architecture, to creating frameworks and models that provide insight and drive decisions, to measuring and communicating benefits.
Which is where the second part of this post – and potentially you who are reading this – come in. We are expanding our business architecture research team to deepen depth, utility, and value to our clients.
Are “business first and center” in how you think,
Have your own ideas and want to refine them as part of a team to create a body of research more impactful than any single analyst can create,
Want to engage with clients both to advise them and to learn from them,