Business Process -- What v. How v. Why

Derek Miers

At the upcoming IT Forum in Las Vegas (May 26-28), I will be collaborating with Bill Band on a piece around using the customer experience to drive breakthrough process improvement, and with it, business performance. When you think about it, satisfying the needs of customers is what all business is about (OK you could argue that governmental organizations don’t have customers, they deal with the needs of citizens, but you get my drift).  

In the first part of our presentation we will present research to support the view that improving the outcomes delivered to customers adds dollars to the bottom line of the business. Then I will switch to a theme dear to my heart -- that Business Process is at the heart of all significant Customer Experience efforts. And that comes down to:

  • How We Do What We Do -- Of course, the relationship between the Customer Experience, and how you do things, is pretty clear. I put this in the category of “Doing Things Right” -- i.e., the way in which the processes of the firm work and the employee behaviors.
  • What We Do -- But in order to deliver compelling customer outcomes, it’s also a question of “Doing The Right Things.” Which is about the business offering -- the services of the organization and the components that make it up. The business capabilities are, of course, a better way of thinking about this rather than the org chart (which is what so many folks seem to do ... decomposition of the org chart as a way of understanding processes).
  • Why We Do It -- And then it comes back to why we do this, and how it implements organizational strategy and the impact/benefit to the overall brand.
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It's That Time Of The Year

Gene Leganza

Ask people what makes May a noteworthy month, and many folks in the northern hemisphere will wax rhapsodic about its being the peak of springtime. Others might mention Mothers' day.  Ask Forrester's IT analysts and they're pretty sure to immediately blurt out "IT Forum!" IT Forum -- the conference formerly known as GigaWorld -- is our biggest IT conference as it brings together all our IT analysts and about a zillion of our customers in all the IT-based roles for whom we do research. Each major IT role gets a separate track of research -- that's 10 tracks this year. It's essentially a week of non-stop analyst-attendee interaction in various forms. It's intense for both analysts and attendees and easily the most stimulating week on my calendar. At least, on my business calendar (wouldn't want you to think I don't have a life!).

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A Different Kind Of Complexity Holds Business-IT Alignment Hostage

Alex Cullen

Business-IT alignment is one of those persistent "Top 3" CIO issues. It has been this way just about as long as I’ve been in IT. You would think this would have been solved by now. After all, you put in business-driven IT governance, relationship managers, and some really nice dashboard, and you’ve covered about 90% of the advice out there. I’m going to suggest that business-IT alignment is being held hostage by complexity. Not technology complexity, since business leaders seem to be coming to terms with that. And not the mind-numbing spaghetti charts that show how complex our application and infrastructure landscapes are. They don’t understand these charts, but since we don’t understand them either, we can hardly expect business execs to. The complexity I’m referring to lies between their goals and the "stuff" IT delivers. They don’t see the connection. And since we see business execs having lots of goals, which shift over time, and strategies that also shift, we can’t show the connection. Instead, we say, "This is what you asked for, and this is what we delivered."

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Philly Is Underated - The AIIM Show May Be As Well

Craig Le Clair

I'll admit to spending only 3 hours on the show floor.  Most was spent in the cavernous and gloomy AIIM sessions area where I gave an "Analyst Take" session on SharePoint 2010, a talk on Dynamic Case Management, and reviewed suppliers for Document output for Customer Communications. My impression  of the floor activity was an improvement over the last two years. Perhaps contraction of sponsorships had hit the right balance with demand, or perhaps the great spring weather and improving economy were at work, but the mood was upbeat and the crowds were steady. Vendors were grumbling less.  Cloud talk and SaaS were under-represented. E-discovery and records management were in line. And the usual interesting collection of arcane conversion, migration, capture, and other providers - usually in the lower rent districts - continued the tradition. SharePoint was again pervasive. Those that say "that ship has come in" may not be aware of other ports and forms of transportation. One wonders what the future of the show is if the SharePoint sessions are the biggest draw and Microsoft and key partners have the biggest booths.  Philly is a city that has lost its major corporate headquarters and no longer has growth industries - but it does not deserve its reputation.  The AIIM show - with roots in microfilm and paper - is similar - and likewise - is still pretty good.   

Where's The Line Between Architecting And Engineering?

Gene Leganza

A basic question we're frequently asked is: What is the difference between architecting and designing or, alternately, between architecture and engineering? Most people who ask this question have conflict in their organizations regarding which IT role does what, and it often comes down to which project artifact is whose responsibility.

For most organizations, the ambiguity between the responsibilities of the project-related architect (which Forrester refers to as a “solution architect” -- see Leverage Solution Architects To Drive EA Results) and a senior engineer is largely an academic issue. For most organizations what matters most is identifying and sourcing the individuals with the appropriate knowledge and skills and making them available to mission-critical projects. The availability of senior technicians on the projects is what often determines the level of detail in the design supplied by the solution architect.

The exceptions to the “most organizations” mentioned in above are the large-to-very-large engineering shops, such as the largestUS federal government civilian and DoD agencies, and large private sector organizations that do major engineering projects such as Boeing. Organizations that have over 1000 individuals in the development environment and launch multi-year $100M+ IT projects have closely defined project roles and do what is necessary -- including extensive external contracting -- to source the appropriately skilled individuals. In these environments the “it depends” argument is not sufficient and a clean delineation of role tasks and deliverables becomes necessary.

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BPM & SharePoint - Finding The Sweet Spot

Derek Miers

Finally got my first doc through publishing here - SharePoint And BPM — Finding The Sweet Spot

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. 

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EMR - Not "Meaningful" enough

Craig Le Clair

We all know our current paper-based health information process wastes hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Transforming this into a streamlined 21st century electronic system will require moving though stages of maturity from paper charts to the cross provider electronic health record (EHR). And yes, Forrester will be publishing it's maturity model soon which hopefully will be more understandable then the health care bill. Our basic conclusion is that a narrow focus on electronic medical records packaged apps. or paper replacement technologies will fall short of stated goals. Meaningful use - as in qualifying for governement bonuses - will require a process –centric  view  and a portfolio of  technologies including enterprise content management (ECM), business process management (BPM), analytics and Forms Automation.  Our three phase maturity model will show how these foundation technologies help move through the phases most providers will transit  to get to  the 21st century health care system we all need. Stay tuned.


 

Intro To A Research Series On Information Architecture

Gene Leganza

This is not really a new blog post. It's a relatively recent post that didn't manage to make it over from my independent blog. I wanted to be sure it made it to my Forrester blog because I will have lots of publications and posts on information architecture coming up and this was a post on my first piece in this series. So here's the original post:

In January, the lead-off piece that introduces my research thread on information architecture hit our web site. It’s called  Topic Overview: Information Architecture. Information architecture (IA) is a huge topic and a hugely important one, but IA is really the worst-performing domain of enterprise architecture. Sure, even fewer EA teams have a mature — or even active — business architecture practice, but somehow I’m inclined to give that domain a break. Many, if not most, organizations have just started with business architecture, and I have a feeling business architecture efforts will hit practical paydirt fairly quickly. I’m expecting to soon hear more and more stories of architects relating business strategy, goals, capabilities, and processes to application and technology strategies, tightly focusing their planning and implementation on areas of critical business value,  and ultimately finding their EA programs being recognized for having new relevance, all as a result of smart initial forays into business architecture in some form.

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Pega Announces Plans To Buy Chordiant: Maybe The Mad Hatter Isn't So Mad After All, Just Misunderstood.

Clay Richardson

Pega's announcement last week to acquire Chordiant sparked an interesting debate within the BPM world: Is Pega becoming a CRM vendor?  Is Pega moving away from BPM?  Is this a move by Pega to better connect customer experience and business process improvement initiatives? 

Over the weekend I took my daughter to see "Alice in Wonderland"  and couldn't resist comparing Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter character to Pega's recent move to acquire Chordiant.  For those of you who haven't seen the movie, it's not as weird as the usual Tim Burton movie; but the Mad Hatter character is a little disturbing, with his rhymes and riddles that keep you guessing at his true meaning.

For many process professionals, Pega's recent move was just as confusing as having a conversation with the Mad Hatter.  What exactly is he trying to say anyway?

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Pega Chordiant Acquistion - Collective Views of the Forrester BP Team

Derek Miers

 

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.

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