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Monday, 30 November 2015

Business Process Management Key Process Indicators

Business Process Management Key Process Indicators are used to monitor the business performance of an organization.  However, are we selecting, tracking, and making the best decisions relative to organizational KPIs?  I say that often there are problems with the traditional approaches.  Described next are some issues with traditional approaches, along with resolution.   
Business Process Management Key Process Indicators Tracking
 Often business process management key process indicators tracking is accomplished using stoplight scorecards.

Business Process Management Key Process Indicators Stoplight Scorecards

 From Table 2.5 from The Integrated Enterprise Excellence: An Enhanced, Unified Approach to Balanced Scorecards, Strategic Planning, and Business Improvement, Copyright 2008

With this red-yellow-green performance tracking approach, a red color indicates that a metric is not meeting its goals, while green provides the statement that everything is operating satisfactory at some point in time.  Process owners who have metrics that are red in color are to be working to bring their scorecard reporting back to green.  When a metric transitions from red to green, organizations may ?bring out the champagne?; however, often this celebration is not warranted and the color can quickly change back to red.
Processes typically have variability, where regular up and down process variation may be large enough to encompass the targeted objectives.  If this were the case, a process could transition from red to green regularly when nothing has changed in the process.  This form of tracking can lead to much non-productive firefighting and/or playing games with the numbers.
Organizations benefit when there are predictive scorecards that get organizations out of the firefighting mode.  This figure below shows how a red-yellow-green scorecard indicated that there were many transitions; however, the alternative 30,000-foot-level reporting format indicates nothing changed over time and that there is about 33% common-cause non-compliance rate.   Whenever we have more common-cause variability that is unacceptable then a change needs to be made to the process.

Business Process Management Key Process Indicators Predictive Scorecards

From Figure 6.2 from The Integrated Enterprise Excellence: An Enhanced, Unified Approach to Balanced Scorecards, Strategic Planning, and Business Improvement, Copyright 2008
Business Process Management Key Process Indicators Metric Determination
The question of whether we are tracking the most important metrics needs to also be addressed when evaluating business process management key process indicators. Often these metrics are not determined as part of an integral evaluation of what is done in the organization and how the functions are to be tracked relative to quality, cost, and time.
An Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) value chain provides guidance for the selection of business process management key process indicators (KPIs).  Where the IEE value chain describes what an organization does and how it measures its performance.
Process Indicators Improvement
Organizations benefit when they use a roadmap for business process management key process indicators improvement.  The IEE roadmap for implementing Business Process Management (BPM) provides this direction.
The analysis steps in both executing BPM and Enterprise Process Management (EPM) in this IEE system can provide valuable guidance for what should be done using data analyses and business knowledge so that business decisions support the enterprise as a whole relative to day-to-day work and whole-system benefits.
Analyses of predictive measure performance hypotheses can give guidance to what could be done to improvement the metrics as part of the IEE roadmap.  The IEE roadmap provides guidance for what might be done to implement improvements that can positively impact business process management key process indicators.
Key Process Indicators Book
A business process management key process indicators book provides the roadmap for the selection, predictive tracking, and improvement so that the enterprise as a whole benefits.

Business Process Management Key Process Indicators Book

Stitching together the customer experience

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All banks are multi–channel. Even those “online only” offerings still have phone numbers for us to call in times of need. The trouble with most though, especially the longstanding incumbents with their legacy IT platforms and back office processes, is that channels often don’t work in the same way, have the same processes or communicate in any way with one another.  You can’t finish something you started online in branch or start something online and have someone on the phone know what you’ve just been doing before you called, but you often can sort all your issues in 140 characters via Twitter.  By definition, multi means more than two and omni means every. Therefore, whilst a business may provide numerous channels, they are not omni-channel unless there is interconnection between all touch points from the perspective of the customer.
The Financial Services Club Blog in 2014 suggested 73% of people would consider a financial services offering from Google, Apple, Amazon or Paypal over their own bank. Arguably, over and above their offerings being a bit prettier or more exciting, their ability to use omni-channel in all the right places and processes must contribute significantly to this. The question now is how do banks begin to challenge this — to go from being multi-channel, which was all the rage five years ago, towards omni-channel, creating a seamless experience for us demanding customers across whichever channel we desire at any one time?
Recently, I decided to open a regular saver ISA, online, with a bank of which I had not previously been a customer. The online application process was short and straight forward and I was ultimately pleased with my decision to choose them. Three and a half weeks later however, with no open account and a bit of free time to look into some other alternatives, I changed my mind. With an application lost in the ether somewhere having sent it online, phone seemed like the obvious solution. As it transpired, sufficient security checks can’t be completed over the phone if no accounts exist for you as a customer and the telephony channel couldn’t even view an application that had been submitted online. The only way I could stop the application for a product I didn’t even have and no longer required was to go to the branch, apparently. Not being 100 percent convinced this was the case, I took to social media.
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Problem resolved in less than 5 minutes. Whilst in this instance it would have been useful for the bank to have a perfect omni-channel set up, in reality, for processes such as closing accounts or cancelling requests, it isn’t strictly necessary. Omni-channel may be the phrase of the moment, but the necessity is more to understand which customer journeys are likely to cross multiple touch points and which journeys can be completed in a single channel, or in multiple different channels but rarely requiring cross over between them.
Product opening is a great example of a process that does demand much more necessity for an omni-channel experience; take my first mortgage application journey as an example. I started by browsing on my tablet at home, playing with the online tools and calculators to understand roughly what might be achievable. Next, I gave the bank a call to try and either gleam some advice from them over the phone, or book an appointment to speak to someone in the branch. Next stop was the branch itself, where I spoke to the advisor and basically got everything sorted. At each touch point however, it was like starting from scratch, giving all my personal details, how much I needed to borrow, which kind of property I was looking at etc.; this was one of the biggest issues reported by 56% of customers in a Harvard Business Review study five years ago, yet still appears to be a prevalent issue even now. Have we really made that little progress in half a decade?

004Data taken from Harvard Business Review Jul-Aug 2010

Data from various divisions across the bank would’ve picked up everything I had done in each channel but the disconnect between them prevents that seamless customer experience. Research by the Aberdeen Group concluded that firms with a well-defined omni-channel customer experience management (CEM) program achieve a 91% higher year-over-year increase in customer retention rate on average, compared to organisations without omni-channel programs. It is this definition that it appears some financial services organisations still lack, with projects still siloed in each of the channels not really considering the “bigger picture” of the multiple touchpoint customer journey.
Analytics allow those working in online sales within banks to understand on which pages or at which parts of processes customers are dropping out, but this is not being used effectively to not only aid customers to have a more seamless experience, but also help colleagues picking these customers up in other channels. Surely it would be better for everyone if the branch staff could see what I was trying to do online before I turned up, therefore removing the emphasis on me as a customer to repeat my issue numerous times.
All banks capture and track customer satisfaction, NPS or something similar as a way to assess how happy customers are with a channel, generally using surveys to ask for a rating out of 10:
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Equating customer satisfaction purely to a number out of 100 however, doesn’t provide the necessary depth of understanding to properly strategise for the future. Banks still need to understand things like Customer Effort across a whole process, look at all the customer touch points in a journey, understand how this can impact loyalty and ultimately value to the organisation to really begin to implement a roadmap towards the right omni-channel strategy.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

W. Edwards Deming: The 14 Points

McKinsey: The IoT is Worth $11.1T a Year


connecting people

The numbers associated with the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) are always big. So big that they make the dollar signs from the US government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP ) and the bankruptcies and buyouts of the Great Recession seem paltry in comparison. 
The doozy IoT number had been from Cisco, which prognosticated that the global economic value generated by IoT could be $19 trillion.
Now McKinsey has taken the clich├ęd cake. In a June In Brief, "The Internet of Things: Mapping the Value Beyond the Hype," the global consultancy estimates that the IoT's economic impact could reach as high as $11.1 trillion per year by 2025. The key words:per year.

Wait. How Much?

The McKinsey report authors are aware that by getting "beyond the hype," they are adding to the millions of words already written about the tech phenomenon, defined by them as "sensors and actuators connected by networks to computing systems."
So then why write more?
The value, they say, is that they take a deep dive into how IoT will impact specific on-the-ground environments. They include the even-more-hyped driverless cars and FitBit and Apple Watch personal health monitoring devices. But they include real-world business settings like:
  • Logistics and navigations, which could see upward of $850 billion in economic impact per year through real-time routing and tracking
  • Worksites, where sensors and data could prevent work accidents, predict equipment maintenance and optimize operations to the tune of as much as $930 billion in benefit per year
  • Retail, where checkout automation and inventory monitoring could reap as much as $1.2 trillion in annual impact
  • Factories, which could benefit from IoT optimization by as much as $3.7 trillion per year

Escape Route

Like the gold-standard consultants they are, the McKinsey authors also left themselves a backdoor. All these benefits should happen if all goes according to plan, but may not if such and such gets in the way. And "such and such" in this case are:
  • Interoperability: For maximum potential, IoT devices and systems must be able to communicate with each other, no matter the manufacturer or platform
  • Privacy, confidentiality and intellectual property: Whom does collected data belong to, how will they be used and how will they be protected?
  • Security: It's one thing to protect vast stores of data. It's another to make sure that devices controlling cars, railroads, urban public transit systems, nuclear power plants, etc., are secure
  • Organization and talent: Within organizations, who will be tasked with managing IoT? IT? Operational divisions responsible for physical environments like factories, retail stores and warehouses?
  • Public policy: Lawmakers need to establish rules about liability (say, for driverless cars) and to incentivize IoT adoption, not to mention for data privacy, confidentiality and IP

Freak Out!

Out of these "enablers and barriers," as the McKinsey authors call them, perhaps the biggest is the last one. The consensus, as portrayed in this Fortune article, is that policymakers in Washington, D.C. know little about IoT and what they do know has "freaked" them out.
Scott R. Peppet, a University of Colorado Law School professor who wrote one of the first academic papers about IoT regulation, shares a bit more nuanced picture of Washington's perspective. As he told Politico in a recent interview when asked about his research paper:
"The other response has been from regulators, both in the US and internationally, who are starting to really look at the Internet of Things and say what are the issues and how do we regulate those issues, if at all."
Yet this is Washington we're talking about, so politics and partisanship must be in play too, right? It appears so. One of the few regulatory statements put out by the federal government about IoT has come from the FTC, which released a staff report on the IoT in January calling for companies to focus on security.
Apparently, the FTC has some teeth to enforce its guidelines and publicly announced last week at an event at Georgetown University that it has brought more than 50 data security actions against companies.
Still, many in Washington — notably Republicans and the FTC's own Commissioner, Joshua D. Wright — believe the federal government, FTC included, is taking too active an approach to regulating security and privacy at risk of free market competition and innovation.
So the question becomes: Will the IoT bring $11.1 trillion in economic value per year by 2025 with or without lawmakers?

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Digital unleashes new competitive threats, forcing CIOs to take charge

Jennifer Banner, a bank director and CEO at the family-owned Schaad Companies LLC, had some stern words for CIOs at the recent MIT Sloan CIO Symposium.
"Don't come down with a thousand pages of PowerPoint decks and heat maps," said Banner, a panelist at the event. "Come into the board room, put your fist down and say, 'There is a war going on.'"
The dramatic language referred to the new competitive threats created by the digitization of business processes and business models. Digitization is not only enabling competitors intent on upending whole industries but has also spawned a new breed of competitors that's happy to demolish just a piece of a business. They're "chipping away at various business lines and profit centers," said Banner, a director at Branch Banking & Trust Corp. and at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's Nashville branch.
These days, a financial services disruptor doesn't have to reinvent the banking industry (although that's happening). Instead, the competitive threat could come in the form of a mobile payment app that alters the traditional relationship between financial institution and customer -- something Banner is experiencing first hand.
Jennifer Banner, CIO, MIT CIO Symposium
From l-r: Peter Weill, Pablo Ciano, Jennifer Banner, Christopher Perretta, Derek Roos
"I have a couple of teenagers who keep me pretty informed on how the world is changing. Most recently, my 19 year old asked me what a check was and if she needed those," she said.

Time is of the essence

Christopher Perretta, executive vice president and CIO at State Street Corp. in Boston, Mass., agreed that businesses must pay attention to competitive threats from outside their traditional peer groups.
Christopher Perretta
Before the days of digital disruption, Perretta said he and his colleagues "felt pretty safe," taking comfort in the high barrier to entry for their industry. State Street is not a commercial bank; it's a financial services holding company with strict regulatory requirements. These days, however, "it's not enough to know what the [usual] competition does," he said.
Businesses like State Street want to be in front of the innovation ball -- not behind it losing market share. "So speed is a big deal," he said.
Just don't mistake agility for speed, said Derek Roos, CEO at Mendix Inc., arapid app development software company. Agile methodology relies on quick development cycles and incremental improvements to build products or manage projects. While agile production cycles are shorter than they are in waterfall development, incremental improvements can go on forever and the time-to-market doesn't necessarily change. If CIOs want to accelerate time-to-market, "you have to do things differently," Roos said.

Strategic partnerships to combat competitive threats

Roos pointed to a Mendix customer, an established insurance company that was struggling to innovate faster. Guided by standards set by a new CEO, the company created a "fast-track innovation team" of about 10 employees.
"It wasn't only on the IT side, it was a cross-functional team across all departments," Roos said. In short order, the strategic partnerships between IT and the business brought to market a product in a couple of weeks that normally would have taken about 18 months to launch. But to experience that kind of success with an innovation team or lab, CIOs can't aim low. "The key is to put them on your most important projects and accept that they may fail," Roos said.
For Pablo Ciano, CIO at DHL Express Americas, strategic partnerships don't live just within the enterprise. The global delivery service is working with third parties to create new "opportunities to optimize our operations," he said.
Pablo Ciano
DHL, an organization with about 500,000 employees worldwide, has seen a major shift in business-to-consumer (B2C) deliveries from 5% to 45% in the last five years due to ecommerce purchases, and that's put significant focus on the last mile of service.
"It's all about delivery options; it's all about convenience," Ciano said. "It's all about expanding the way consumers, driven by B2C purchases, can choose where they want to pick up their packages."
Currently, DHL is partnering with Amazon and Audi on a pilot program to deliver packages to the trunk of a recipient's car. "Audi will send a one-time code for the driver to open the trunk of the car and leave the package," Ciano said. As of right now, recipients have to live in Germany, where DHL is headquartered, if they want to take advantage of the service.

Getting Employees Excited About a New Direction

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When your company is in trouble — a new competitor or technology threatens your business model, your cost structure changes, the economy tanks — you have one job as a leader: to get the company back on track. The crisis provides compelling reason for change and, if companies can weather it, they can emerge stronger. But no company today can rest on its laurels. Disruptors can come from anywhere, any time. Leaders — especially those in large, successful organizations — must create an environment where people thrive on passion and purpose, and are as agile and innovative as their potential disruptors. How do you take a successful company — one already highly regarded by employees, customers, and shareholders alike — and reignite people’s passion? How do you energize and galvanize them around a new course?
That was exactly the challenge that Dave McKay faced when he was appointed President and CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) in August, 2014. McKay was a proven and successful executive at the highly regarded Toronto-based financial services giant, having most recently led the group’s personal and commercial banking division. Moreover, McKay was following two iconic CEOs: Gord Nixon and John Cleghorn, both of whom successfully navigated RBC through the choppy waters of the financial services industry over the previous two decades. Few would have criticized McKay for staying the course, as RBC was profitable, highly regarded by clients, and scandal-free, emerging from the global financial crisis of 2007/8 relatively unscathed.
However, staying the course wasn’t an option for Dave McKay. “I want RBC to matter — to our clients, to our people, and in our communities — both here in Canada and around the world, wherever we do business.” These were the first words McKay said to me in a discussion set up by RBC’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Zabeen Hirji. I had written an HBR article along with my co-author Emily Truelove in the aftermath of the financial crisis that focused on the things that made the difference in how some companies came through that dark period even stronger than before. We pointed to companies that placed a premium on building three organizational capabilities simultaneously — being purpose-driven, performance-oriented, and principles-led — a process we call creating “collective ambition.”
I had known McKay and Hirji from advising the company on its leadership matters for many years, but now both were in powerful and influential roles at the company and were ready to act. McKay was struck by the simple message of collective ambition: place organizational purpose at the heart of your business model and make sure your vision, strategy, brand, and values are all closely linked to it. Using those principles, RBC ignited the passions of 80,000 people, breathing new life into an already successful company. Here’s how:
1. Connect organizational purpose with individual meaning: Agenda setting for a leader is no easy matter. There are plenty of issues that can attract one’s attention and consume one’s energy — and more than a few stakeholders who are eager to capture your share-of-mind for their units’ initiatives. Despite these temptations to be pulled in a variety of directions, McKay focused like a laser beam on bringing RBC together through the power of finding its core purpose. McKay reasoned that by articulating why RBC existed as an organization, the process itself would serve as the glue that would bind the organization together and the grease that would enable bold and decisive action. This wasn’t a matter of stagecraft on McKay’s part. He had reflected deeply on the matter, as he knew that this was not a journey to be travelled in a half-spirited manner.
2. Embrace leadership as a collective accountability: While an all-encompassing process such as this requires C-suite leadership, it will be doomed to fail if it is labeled as the CEO’s initiative. Shaping RBC’s “Collective Ambition” was a remarkable effort. It involved socializing the idea with RBC Group Executive (GE), the company’s top eight leaders. Here, Zabeen Hirji, a member of the GE, played a key role in gathering input and building momentum among her GE colleagues, but also was mindful to not have this be an HR initiative. McKay created the RBC Collective Ambition Champions Group — comprised of key business and functional executives who were opinion leaders and important culture carriers, and thus critically important in building broader buy-in and ownership. This group, which also included some younger leaders, acted as a sounding board, and as early advocates and mobilizers. A respected VP of HR for RBC was enlisted to work with McKay, Hirji, and the Champions to develop the articulation of RBC’s purpose, vision, values, and priorities for a new competitive era — in a way that engaged and united employees and leaders across the company. RBC also incorporated discussion about purpose into the curricula of the company’s enterprise leadership programs to build awareness, and gather input for the effort.
3. Find your collective voice: A Vision and Values Jam was one of the defining moments in RBC’s search for its Collective Ambition. One thing RBC had to reflect on as part of this rigorous process was its history of being paternalistic and agreeable — almost to a fault. Given such a culture, launching a process that would invite inputs and yes, potential criticism from every single member of the company in an open and real-time format, set more than a few nerves on edge. But that’s exactly what the Vision and Values Jam was all about. RBC’s Jam was held over 55 consecutive hours with Dave McKay and all members of the GE as well as 40 other leaders involved in asking questions, giving opinions, reacting to posts, and fielding responses to unfiltered commentary on RBC’s purpose, vision, values, and desired leader behaviors. It was a remarkable success. More than 20,000 people weighed in from 22 countries, posting more than 17,000 threads, comments, and replies. As Chief HR Officer Hirji put it: “We found our collective voice through the Jam. What happens when all RBCers are invited to contribute ideas, suggestions, and opinions about what RBC does well, where we can improve and what it will take to succeed? We found out — enthusiasm, candor, and inspiration. The Jam was three great days of idea generation and dialogue.” The process paid dividends for McKay’s leadership brand as well. The top-rated discussion from the Jam was the CEO’s “Ask Me Anything” session, which is now a recurring event.
4. Unleash new energy: Organizations are literally teeming with the potential to do great things, to go beyond what’s expected and to become game-changers. Yet, so few do. As a result of thousands of conversations, dozens of interviews and focus group sessions led by the GE and subsequent layers of leaders, and through the engaging dialogue encouraged in RBC’s leadership programs, and employee input through the Jam, the company crafted a powerful purpose statement: Helping Clients Thrive and Communities Prosper. This purpose statement strikes at the heart of who RBC is as an organization and who RBCers are as employees. The company’s newly-articulated vision: To be among the world’s most trusted and successful financial institutions, spoke directly to the importance of trust as RBC’s most powerful currency of all.
The company’s much-admired core values were modernized to provide direction for a new age and yet remain true to what it holds dear as an organization. By telling a powerful story about why RBC exists as an organization and by creating a collective and distributed leadership capability to realize that potential, the leadership team has unleashed the beast from within. There is now a palpable energy that permeates throughout the organization.
The stage is set. An organization of 80,000 people have come together around a renewed sense of purpose that has reignited the entire workforce. Now the hard work begins. But I for one will bet on this company becoming a benchmark for what it takes to become a game-changer: purpose-driven, performance-oriented, and principles-led.

Friday, 27 November 2015

BPM of Things: the Next Generation of the Internet of Things

It seems that every day there’s a new headline about the next smart, connected device. The big news lately has been about the self-driving car – slated to become a reality on the roads in just five years. Aside from the initial safety concerns that naturally surface when someone hears the words “self-driving car,” there are other countless data concerns that both developers and consumers should be taking seriously. In the world of programmable devices ranging from smart phones to smart cars, watches, fridges, and phones, it’s crucial that the information is not only transmitted and processed, but also managed, updated, and tracked in a seamless fashion. It’s more than just a swarm of standalone objects, it’s the way that the information from and about those objects works together in a cohesive fashion to drive the absolute best results.
So, how can we make sure this gets done – achieving optimal results from connected devices?
This can be done by taking the Internet of Things (IoT) to the next level with Business Process Management: The BPM of Things.
Understanding the BPM of Things
Managing the BPM of ThingsJust how does BPM relate to the Internet of Things anyway? Although IoT has become quite the popular buzzword, many still struggle with the concept of applying processes to IoT. BPM, at its core, uses workflow to manage, update, and track large volumes of data and information. Understanding how BPM relates to IoT is a lot less complex than it sounds. For example, when a smart watch receives data from your wrist that it then transmits to a fitness-monitoring app, how does the app know what to do with that information? Does it simply store the data in its memory? Does it send the data to other apps that monitor your health, your diet, and your schedule of medical visits? Processes like these use BPM to manage smart objects and applications in the right sequence. The volume of the data that we are working with on a daily basis is increasing exponentially, making it an absolute necessity for us to better manage this information with processes that serve us well.
The ultimate goal of business process management is to connect people with the right automated systems and processes to measure effectiveness and to keep up to date. BPM adds value to the IoT by connecting smart objects. This, in turn, expands their integration and orchestration. With more and more devices being connected and IoT use increasing, there is a greater possibility for chaos from rapidly multiplying individual interfaces. Smart devices send information from a connected device through an API to activate a response. The responses can be orchestrated through a complete process, invoking subsequent responses like, for example, opening a car door or allowing access for certain files in a systematic way. Incorporating BPM allows for many things within the IoT to be managed properly and seamlessly, together.
Why Manage IoT with BPM?
 There are many reasons why developers should be aware of and consider the downside of not incorporating BPM with the IoT. As the number of connected devices increases day by day, there exists more room for miscommunication among devices, or for no communication at all. This represents the possibility of a huge missed opportunity to deliver more and better service using connected devices. The competition in the tech market is increasing at a fast pace and, in order to stand out, services delivered should be fully end to end and provide the end user with the power to manage how their devices work together. Managing smart devices with BPM allows easy maintenance of their orchestration (when APIs change, for example). It also allows a layer of tracking that allows you to easily bring in KPIs to track operations and devices and make the right decisions on how best to operate your swarm of objects.
The Internet of Things has no doubt shaped the world we live in. Aside from our smart, connected devices, IoT already has made a mark in the medical and security fields. As society continues to innovate, it is essential to take IoT to the next level and incorporate BPM to direct the flow of massive amounts information these devices collect and share. BPM will turn the Internet of Things into the Internet of Things That Serve Us Well.

Being smart(er) about ECM: the KISS principle revisited

Enterprise Content Management – towards simple and smart

The ECM market, just like many others, is changing fast. Research says it and you see it in your business each single day. As John Mancini reminded us during his opening keynote at the recent AIIM Forum UK 2015 we are on the crossroads of a period of massive disruption.
Disruption and transformation inevitably impact (how we look at and use) ECM as the labels become unclear and the rulebooks are changing while there is a shortage of best practices in the current context of disruption. ECM filled a need when it became widely used and the emphasis within that need was on the enterprise, content and management parts, in the end what the acronym stands for. While these needs still matter, we increasingly see that some parts are ‘missing’ and we know that other parts are evolving fast, at the speed of disruption.
ECM remains an umbrella term, covering many information and process related activities, the many ‘parts’ I just mentioned. And by now virtually everyone heard about the shifts, expressed in the somewhat overused idea of the move from systems of records to systems of engagement. But what does all that mean in reality? This is for sure: the focus is more on the business drivers, the people and process dimension, actionability and the customer/stakeholder than it ever was.
From complexity to simplicity: simple matters
At the same time we see (at least) two other phenomena. The ECM market is not just changing, it is also driven by overall enterprise change while the other way around many functional areas are instrumental in what has become known as ‘digital transformation’.
Furthermore, the landscape of solutions is enriched – and in some case complexified – because of platforms adding to various dimensions in the overall ECM equation in ‘new’ ways. Regardless of whether we want to keep using the term ECM or not, time to take a deeper dive.
In a series of blogs we’ll look at various aspects of ECM as it is today and will become tomorrow. But let’s start simple. I mean literally simple, as in KISS, the good old design and usability acronym we know as Keep it Stupid Simple to emphasize the essential role of simplicity in design and the need to avoid unnecessary complexity.
Even if it goes back to the sixties and we’ve picked it up again in web usability somewhere in the nineties that KISS principle once more became ‘hot’ in many areas for all the right reasons. Think about the contact center and customer service, for instance, where simplicity is a key goal. Not for the sake of it but for the customer and thus for efficiency. The right reasons indeed.
Instead of manually having to identify what information has value and next manually classify and tag that information, we need to ask if we can use analytics and, based on the work process, automate how our important corporate information is identified, captured and classified (Atle Sjekkeland)
KISS 2.0: back to the essential questions and forward to smarter information management
In an interview at the recent AIIM Forum UK 2015 with Atle Sjekkeland, Chief Evangelist at AIIM, Atle came up with a brilliant way to look at some of the evolutions in ECM based on the good old KISS principle, albeit it with an important twist.
I asked Atle to share his views on the future and mainly the challenges of ECM, one of the topics at the event.
Atle Sjekkeland: There are many [challenges]. It reminds me of how some years ago we used to talk about the KISS principle. And it feels like we’re back to KISS 2.0 these days. But the Ss now stand for (Keep It) Simple (and) Smart.
Atle Sjekkeland also stressed the importance to keep IT simple and smart during his workshop at the AIIM UK Forum 2015 - picture J-P De Clerck
Atle Sjekkeland also stressed the importance to keep IT simple and smart during his workshop at the AIIM UK Forum 2015
SMART. It does sound better than stupid but if you think about it there’s a lot of truth behind it. And I’m not talking about smart cities, smart cars, smart process applications, smart everything really, nor about the intelligence needed for today’s information management success (whether we call it artificial intelligence or any other term).
I’m talking about smart in the business sense: why do we pick a solution to solve a need, how do we use it in a, well, smart way and everything else we need to be smart(er) about. The benefits as I mentioned in a previous blog post, ‘Being smart about the Internet of Things’. Come to think of it (Atle did inspire): SMART is also an acronym. In goal setting: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
Unlocking the power of information: simple and smart are not enemies
Back to Atle who elaborates further on what he means with KISS 2.0 and the simple aspect.
Atle Sjekkeland: We want to make what we have done in the past [in ECM] much simpler. It should be intuitive and easy to use. The days that we had a 300-page requirement document that is almost out-of-date before even the solution is live…we have to forget some of those principles. We have to ask ourselves how do we make this simple. How do we get users to say “this [solution] makes sense for me and therefore the business is going to benefit from it”.
So, simple. And smart?
Atle Sjekkeland: And then there is smart. Instead of manually having to identify what information has value and next manually classify and tag that information, we need to ask if we can use analytics and, based on the work process, automate how our important corporate information is identified, captured and classified.
While all this and ‘smart’ might sound complex, smart is not the enemy of simple. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. After all, isn’t that what moving from information chaos to information power and success in a context of digital business transformation is about too?
The essence of smart information to win in digital transformation
Automation, processes, analytics (as in context and insights), prioritization (importance of information for the business goals) etc. These are just a few themes discussed at the event and tackled by Atle.
And maybe his KISS 2.0 idea and this blog helps you to consider what is a key part of Atle’s evangelist role at AIIM: help organizations to RETHINK how they are doing things now and look at how they can use technologies in a better way, especially around information-intensive processes, whether it’s to improve collaboration, ensure governance and compliance, better manage security/privacy or unlock the power of smart/intelligent information.
Because this is for sure: organizations that unlock, combine, analyze, use, share, manage and provide the information needed to better achieve SMART business goals and make the lives of customers and user more SIMPLE are those who will win in this age of digital transfomationwhere information is one of the core enablers of success, more than we often realize.
The full interview with Atle Sjekkeland

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Business Process Management is not about process, it’s about user experience


If you think that user experience and Business Process Management are two separate things, I think you should reconsider.  “But process management is about processes!” I hear some of you say. However, process is the means to the end and not the end itself. Processes are used to achieve something like create a product or service, sell something, buy something and so on. And more often than not, people are involved in these processes. In those cases where people are involved, they are usually a key part of the process and as such one of the (if not THE) main driver for success. How do you maximize success in this context? Simple: You deliver the best possible user experience for those people that have the biggest impact on the success of your business.
Let me elaborate a bit and you might just agree with me at the end of this blog post.
A little while back, we held a webinar on the topic of driving innovation through an improved user experience (UX) with BPM. In case you missed it, you can watch the recording here.

UX is not UI

In the webinar, Dan Roberts and I walk through a real-world example of a process automation scenario and show what user experience for the different process participants looked like before we implemented the solution and how it positively changed for every single persona participating in the process.  These improvements could be changes in terms of user interfaces being easier to handle and containing some intelligence to actively support users in their tasks, but they could also be user experience improvements that have nothing to do with a web or mobile UI. In those cases we have to look at the broader context of user experience where maybe you have saved the person some mind-numbing data entry task altogether or where you now allow someone an additional communication channel (i.e. customer receiving mobile status updates instead of having to call customer service for a status update).  It is a much broader topic that just user interface design and I’d like to encourage you to read Wesley Haines’ blog over here for a deeper insight into UX vs. UI.
User experience is what is going to make or break your new process-driven application, so make sure to spend enough time with your different process participants to understand exactly what issues they need to deal with as part of their everyday routines. This will get you very quickly from a theoretical world of as-is and to-be processes into a world of how work gets actually done and you have to bring these two into harmony. Don’t see this as a hindrance. See it as an opportunity to increase acceptance for your solution.
I don’t think it is a big surprise to see that many organizations are now looking at Customer Experience Management as the guiding element behind Integration- , Monitoring- or Process Automation projects. It is a pretty obvious thing to do as this allows you to focus your experience improvement efforts and the required IT support on one thing: The group of people who are the reason for your organization’s existence – your customers.  Make them the center of your process improvement efforts and they will reward you if you do it right.

The Challenge of Developing Lean Management

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Success breeds success with social collaboration

For any social collaboration initiative, one of the biggest challenges is making the leap from the early adopter stage to broad, cross-organisation use of the platform. Whether you’ve built your initiative on a foundation of viral, grass roots adoption of a free tool, or whether you’ve sensibly started small and focused, with a carefully identified use case and a group of enthusiastic pilot users, translating this into new use cases and engaging employees who may be resistant to changing their ways of working can be extremely difficult, and is often the point at which such initiatives peter out.

Often, the biggest missed opportunity is in failing to fully capitalise on that early success, to make sure that you get every possible value out of it. Some of this is about demonstrating credibility; if you can show senior leaders the tangible value that teams and individuals are getting from using the technology, it will help them to buy into what you are trying to do. Some of it is about publicity; finding ways to stay in people’s consciousness is a constant challenge, especially when day-to-day business problems inevitably take people’s attention away. The more positive stories you can find to share with people, the more you can reinforce the idea that this change is here to stay; it’s not just another passing fad.

But perhaps more important is that sharing your success stories – the use cases for your platform that actually deliver value in a business context, whether through making people’s jobs easier, saving them time, or enabling things to happen that simply couldn’t have happened without their use of the social collaboration technology – allows people to understand WHY. This is probably the biggest challenge for people in adopting social collaboration; they simply don’t know why and how this is relevant and potentially valuable to them. Context is extremely important; firstly to show what collaboration means in the context of your particular organisation, given its industry and culture for example, and secondly to show what it means in the context of an individual’s particular role or in a particular team. 

Replication is your starting point – the more times you can replicate your early adopter use case across the business, the better. But more than that, you want to inspire people, to help them come up with their own ideas for how the technology could help them. A great idea is to build these success stories into your training courses, like Springer Nature (formerly Macmillan Science and Education) has done, and encourage people in that setting to discuss potential ways they could emulate this, or to come up with alternatives.

The final point I want to mention here is the advocate opportunity. Not only is it important to share your successful use cases far and wide, it’s also critical to highlight the individuals and teams involved in those successes. This is something that is often forgotten about, but it can actually provide a fantastic boost to your efforts, as these early adopters are often your very best advocates, especially if they were not wholly behind you to start with. The more you can celebrate these teams across the organisation, and encourage them to share their experiences with their peers themselves, rather than you doing it as a third-party, the more real and genuine they will come across. This is ultimately your goal; you want people to collaborate because it is worthwhile, and these individuals are the perfect spokespeople for that. Celebrate them well.