I am fortunate that Howard Webb (BPMG principal) and Kiran Garimella (VP, Office of the CTO at webmethods and author of The Power of Process) have agreed to present at our first webinar titled "Understanding Business Process Management & the 'People' Factor of Process Change".
This is the first of three e-seminars on business process management. This session focuses on the "people aspect" of BPM and how change leaders are enabled by BPM adoption. The next two sessions will feature a discussion of process and technology aspects of BPM.
No matter what your familiarity and experience with BPM, you won't want to miss the opportunity to hear the views of two leading BPM experts who have worked with Fortune 1000 companies for over a decade on business process improvements.
Date: March 16, 2007
Time: 10:00 AM CST
To register go to - http://www.talisentech.com/BPMRegForm.htm
Today's sessions started off with a great breakfast event with Michele Cantara (VP, Gartner) talking about the BPM marketplace. Most of the rest of the day, I focused on client examples. Everyone seems to be talking about the organizational challenges of change (a lesson we should all have learned on all our other system implementations).
Gartner has decided to offer a second show in the fall in FL. This is definitely the even to be at if you want to talk with customers, hear client / prospect challenges, and meet the vendors. Most of the vendors are here with one noticeable exception - Intalio.
I will work on longer items around some specific topics of discussion, but here were my key takeaways from Day Two (while acknowledging that I am skipping the last section to blog and relax).
So, for those of you missing the conference, here are at least a few nuggets. Nothing earth shattering if you know the space but good reinforcement and examples.
Gartner is holding their 3rd BPM Conference right now in San Diego. There are about 1100 people here which shows the growing interest in BPM. It is a mix of companies with a certain bias towards financial services / insurance and government.
There are several things I will pull out an blog on over the next few weeks, but I thought I would share a few items from the first day.
More to come...
I think this is a challenge for lots of people. Process improvement should be iterative. It won't be perfect the first time, and as people wait for perfection, they miss opportunities for feedback. One of the benefits of BPM is that it allows people the flexibility both from an modeling perspective and an automation perspective.
This can be good and bad. The ease of use in changing a model and modifying the resulting application or automation of the process makes it tempting to tweak it real-time. This both creates some change management and application stability risk, but it also makes it difficult to manage user expectations. As they better understand flexibility, they want to make real-time changes. Compare this with years past when the user realized that if they missed their requirements window, they had to wait for a future release.
There is something in between that allows for agility while preserving stability. But, the key is making everyone understand this. I will stick with my golf analogy from blogs past. If I waited to play golf until I perfected my swing, I wouldn't have a lot of fun. But, in playing the game as I learn, I continue to find things to work on, situations I didn't consider, and identify questions to ask. When I go back to my pro for more lessons, I know things to work on and areas to develop on the practice green. BUT, modifying your swing during the round is typically a mistake. I think this is a good framework for thinking about your BPM efforts.
It takes a lot for a general print article to get me going, but I read an article earlier this morning that talked about the stupidity of using auto-replies on e-mail to tell someone you are out of the office. The person claimed that they don't use voicemail, travel 250 days a year, don't have a Blackberry, get 200+ e-mails a day, and respond to everyone within 24 hours. Obviously, they must be an amazing communicator (or have an amazing assistant).
While I agree that it may not be optimal to use an auto reply that says you are out of the office and gives an alternative contact, I appreciate knowing that fact. We are all busy. Travel is a way of life, and everyone wants an instantaneous reply. I can't advocate that people don't take vacation, and I do advocate that people be disconnected at times. People need to refresh and innovation often happens when you step back from the fray.
I talk about this because the better solution than giving up your life would be to use e-mail (for example) to kickoff a process. You could create a customer management process by which they can call or e-mail or fill out an online form to initiate the follow-up process. The prospect or customer provides some basic information that lets the process route it for follow-up. If your sales person is gone, the process automatically escalates it. If another SME needs to engage, the process engages them. If it is a billing question, the data can be pulled up and routed (with context) to an agent for follow-up.
The point is that sales and customer support don't need to be dependent on one, always connected resource. It is a team effort and process management using rules can make this seamless and transparent to the end customer. If you choose the original route, good luck. I have tried, and I couldn't do it.
I think it is a great article that hits a lot of key points. As I am off to the Gartner conference tomorrow, I will look Janelle up to discuss.
I mentioned it earlier this week, and I am a big believer that the small and middle market will rapidly embrace BPM at the right price point. I was with the COO of a small professional services company earlier this week. Along with his VP of Finance, we were looking at using BPM for their billing process. It was a great fit but cost was one factor. (but BPMS cost for big companies is minor compared to ERP, CRM, custom development, etc.) The other issue was process standardization.
It is hard to automate a process when each partner does HR, billing, collections, etc. very differently. We are going to look at documentation and standardization before worrying about technology.
That being said, I was surprised to see the Appian Anywhere pricing announced via a blog by Bruce Silver (http://www.brsilver.com/wordpress/2007/02/20/appian-heading-in-a-saas-direction/). It seems amazingly inexpensive which is great for the middle market. At under $50 per user per month, it is a very compelling business case.
I guess (as a business person) I might have come to this positioning over time, but it took several technologists to convince me that BPM systems "could" (and I am not advocating should) be viewed as toolkits for building custom applications.
If I think about it, the reason for custom applications is that each business has their unique quirks to any process. Rather than change process, many companies change tools either by customizing off the shelf software (not my recommended strategy) or developing a home grown solution from their internal IT group. The custom application meets the users needs to a tee. (or at least the needs they identified two years ago when the project was funded)
With the BPM tools, a business user is defining their custom process and modeling it. That model becomes the core of the application with some additional integrations needing to be build. But, the work is 70-80% owned and done by the business. So, the business now has a short-term strategy for achieving a custom application that can be modified on an ongoing basis without simply getting on a long list of IT open projects.
This is a great reality in my mind, but selling a toolkit is not very exciting (to a business user). I think keeping focused on process automation and reporting is much more exciting. It talks about what I care about - bottom line results. Although I am frustrated by IT's inability to understand and respond in real-time to my needs, I don't care how they fix it. I just want it better. (at least that's what many business execs would say)
A prospect asked me the other day to summarize my opinions about BPM. What did I think were the 5-10 things that they needed to think about. I don't know if I passed the test, but here is what I told them: