Returning home after IBM’s Impact user conference (Impact 2010). I’ve been to a lot of BPM conferences in my time, but never one this big. 6,000 miles (to Las Vegas) there and 6,000 miles home again to see 6,000 people going through a few of days of indoctrination and engage in a few meetings with important execs. From the point of view of a busy analyst, one has to wonder whether it was all worth it. But putting aside the sore back/neck and the lack of sleep, I think that, on reflection, it was worth the trip. I am sure other pundits will have already posted their own interpretations of the conference, so this is just one report to add to your perspective of Impact 2010.
6,000 people all gathered to hear the carefully scripted message. Well that is what it seemed like; a scripted story that was supposed to sound spontaneous. Even the Q&A was scripted on the teleprompter, which, quite apart from the wooden presentation style of one or two of the speakers, sort of took away from the central message.
There was a pretty important message there. A message that was being communicated to the faithful. And whether you like it or not, IBM has a lot, and I mean a lot, of faithful followers. I didn’t do a scientific assessment of the number of IBM badges versus non IBM badges, but even if half of the attendees were internal, there were plenty of customers there too. And those internal folks were also being recruited as emissaries and evangelists for the new mantra.
Every year, I take 250 to 300 calls from Forrester clients. The vast majority of these calls are from executives embroiled in the process of trying to select the right CRM technology solution to support their business strategy. From these conversations, I have distilled a set of decision criteria to help you quickly cut through the CRM tech vendor underbrush.
Ability to meet your specific business requirements. You have to know what business outcomes you are trying to achieve, and define the business capabilities that you need to support, before you seriously consider investing in a CRM software solution. Although the core capabilities of leading CRM software vendors are quite similar, the companies I hear from still place a very high importance on the solution meeting the functional and technology criteria that are specific to their needs. Can the vendor meet your use-case requirements?
Ease of use for front-line workers. My clients expect CRM software to demonstrate the capability to make people more fruitful in their work, and this is predicated on how easy the solution is to use. Good usability encourages user adoption. Is the solution UI modern and adaptable to diverse role-based requirements?
Capability to provide advanced analytic abilities. My clients place a high value on CRM vendors' ability to provide analytic tools to better understand customer behavior and make insightful customer-facing decisions using the myriad customer data collected. Analytics are the key to unlocking the value in CRM applications. Does the vendor have powerful and easy-to-use business intelligence capabilities?
It was quite a challenge to nail down all the detailed points ... and of course, the publishing process took a little getting used to. To be honest, I had most of it finalized over a month ago.
The next doc is just about to go into the editing queue - that will focus on the rationale behind the Pega acquisition of Chordiant, highlighting a major shift we see in the way that Enterprise Apps are developed.
Inside the BPA Group at Forrester, we conducted a little experiment. I suggested that we should collaborate on a piece about the Pega acquisition of Chordiant. What followed was a large number of email exchanges. I drew the short straw in bringing all these thoughts together into a coherent whole. I prepared a document for Forrester clients to explore the acquisition in detail (probably getting through the editing process next week some time), and this blog post is culled from that document. So while the blog post bears my name, it reflects the collective opinions of Connie Moore, Bill Band, Natalie Petouhoff, John Rymer, Clay Richardson, Craig Le Claire and James Kobielus. Of course, I have put my own interpretation on it too.
Pega definitely wants to be in the customer experience/customer service business, and they want to get there by having a very strong BPM offering. It is not that they are moving away from BPM in favor of Customer Experience – they’re just strengthening their hand in CRM (or CPM as they would call it), more forcefully making the connection. We already knew this, but the Chordiant deal just reinforced that point (see related research doc from Bill Band in 2005 !!). This is not a new direction or change in direction for Pega, it is a strong move that takes them faster in the direction they were already going.
From a product point of view, Pega are adding/strengthening their hand – Choridant’s marketing automation and predictive analytics seem to be of greatest interest. Of course, Pega also values the engineering talent that Chordiant has, and will redirect those people over time to work on integrating these capabilities into the BPM offering. They were also interested in the vertical industry and functional expertise that Chordiant had to offer.
I recently published a sample business capability map for insurance firms as a way to illustrate many aspects about the description and use of this business architecture methodology. One of the readers of this report commented “It seems the business capability maps provide value as a complement to existing methodologies” and referenced Strategy Maps and Business Process Modeling. This made me realize that I should explain more how Forrester sees capability maps as more than a complement – and why we, along with many of our clients are so ‘jazzed up’ about this methodology.
A bit of background: Forrester views capabilities as stable elements of a business model, where the dynamics of a firm are reflected in the business goals for the capability, and the processes, functions, information and other assets which are how a capability is delivered. A capability map describes all the capabilities, and the relationships between them, which an organization needs to have as part of their business model to achieve outcomes. Think of Sales as a simple example, where there are business goals and associated metrics for Sales, and processes, functions, information and people assets necessary for this capability to be delivered. And Sales has a relationship to Fulfillment, to Customer Service and to Marketing.
BPM has always provided fertile ground for new ideas but often results in confusing business process and application professionals. Recently Dynamic Case Management and Social BPM are being spoken of as important directions for BPM. But how do they relate to one another? And since social media is an important part of both, what value does social really add to process improvement and Line of Business professionals if any? No doubt social improves collaboration in process design, and more important is the ability -with analytics to add a new form of input to process improvement -input that may go directly to the CEO. This is part of the BPM advantage but the area of Case Management may have more dramatic value as you collaborate during a critical incident like an adverse drug reaction, or create a stronger community to deliver a more personalized service event -or to gather "voice of the customer" data to improve case handling. But in both BPM and Case -social is an enabler and takes a seat along side important advancements such as analytics, convergence of BPM and ECM, and a stronger domain focus.
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.
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.
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.
Business Process professionals are scratching their heads at today's announcement by Progress Software to acquire Savvion. Process professionals are asking what exactly does this deal mean - for Progress and Savvion's combined customer portfolios and for the broader BPM market.
Connie Moore and I sat down earlier today to record a video blog post on what this deal means for Business Process professionals and to the broader BPM market.
In our video blog post (also posted on Forrester's YouTube Channel), we outlined three key themes driving the Progress/Savvion deal and how Process pros should view and respond to the latest round of acquisitions in the BPM space: Process pros should: