Thursday, 28 April 2011

Back to basics – why use a BPM system?

Here is a blog about the bedrock of BPM systems (BPMS), and indeed BPM in general, that is, the reason why any business should bother to use it.

The benefits of using a BPMS can be summarised as:
  • Higher productivity
  • Faster process times (eg end to end)
  • An order of magnitude improvement in process transparency/visibility
  • An entry point to a virtuous circle of process understanding, improvement and execution
  • Better control over the process (eg through the use of embedded business rules)
  • Improved job satisfaction for operational staff using the system

Of these the most significant in terms of both impact and universality is undoubtedly process visibility. Whilst senior business managers can be passionate in demanding visibility, Boards can demand more, as IT investments do not always produce a return. This is where the higher productivity benefit comes in handy, higher productivity in the operations teams can pay for the initial project and the ongoing IT costs, whilst the benefits arising from enhanced visibility are spread across the business.

Faster process cycle times; usually arise from a BPMS implementation. Naturally, additional focus and effort can drive further improvement. BPMS can use prioritisation to ensure that outcomes are optimised, something that can be especially hard to achieve where processing is manual.

All information presented here is © copyright Carkean Solutions Ltd., 2010 - Not to be used without our permission - The views expressed here are the views of an individual not the corporation

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

BPM Apps?

Recently reading that 2011 is to be the Year of the App Store, I visited some App Stores to look for BPM Apps. The results start by unearthing some real BPM Apps and conclude with a vision of the App Store as a whole new paradigm for BPM.
You’ll be amazed to read that there are currently 134 BPM Apps for the iPhone alone and equally disappointed to learn that nearly all of these relate to music (beats per minute). One of the features of today’s App Stores is that their search and filter features are remarkably limited considering that a successful search is intended presumably to conclude with a sale.

Most all of these Apps require that you host a BPM server before you’ll get any business benefit from the App. Some of the Apps are a complete BPM system, cloud-based and accessed through a web browser.  As I understand it, their target market is any organisation, big or small, private or public sector, which wants to build and manage its own processes without actually investing in their own BPM platform. This is essentially the traditional BPM market, expanded down towards SMEs that could not previously afford the upfront investment that BPM has tended to require.

The benefits from this will flow mainly to the end consumer. In the same way that much software that would previously have been boxed and sold for is now available in App Stores, there is no reason why business processes should not provide similar economies of scale. And the profits of the successful Process Apps will be shared by the App Store, the BPM Platform Provider and the Process App Developer. Combining the traditional BPM virtues of ease of process build with new App Store publication and subscription functionality will encourage and support a whole new world of competing micro-processes, benefiting all involved parties.

If 2011 is to be the Year of the App Store, will 2012 be the Year of the Process App?

All information presented here is © copyright Carkean Solutions Ltd., 2010 - Not to be used without our permission - The views expressed here are the views of an individual not the corporation

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

We as BPM Vendors

A recent Gartner BPM survey I read noted that the majority of companies leveraging BPM solutions are using BPM to provide better value back to their own customers.  I found this detail to be extremely interesting and also a reminder of the end goal of all BPM vendors should keep in mind. 
If BPM vendors are not placing the customer’s needs first and foremost, then what real value do BPM solutions provide?  If BPM solutions are not designed to specifically drive the customer’s (buyer’s) business needs, then we as BPM vendors are not conducting good business; we are simply engaging in code development.

I know there are a lot of deterrents between the technologies that BPM vendors provide and the actual real needs of the customer.  For example:
  • BPM Platform versus a customer’s specific need
  • BPM Suites seemingly to never quit growing in terms of features and functions
  • Ease of adoption and use by the customer’s employees who drive the process (A recent BPM notion where some argue that the buyer actually needs to retrain their day-to-day thinking to employ a BPM technology, rather than the other way around)

I remain excited and encouraged about the value BPM provides.  BPM needs to be easy and needs to be better aligned with customer needs, arguably one day BPM could be where Email and Excel are today.

All information presented here is © copyright Carkean Solutions Ltd., 2010 - Not to be used without our permission - The views expressed here are the views of an individual not the corporation

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Gartner Business Process Management Summit 2011

Gartner, an information technology research and advisory company is hosting the Gartner Business Process Management (BPM) Summit on April 27-29 in Baltimore. The company says the BPM Summit is the largest, most comprehensive BPM conference in the industry.  The Summit will be offering objective advice, actionable insights, hands-on problem solving and unlimited peer networking. It’s the only BPM event that fully explores proven BPM management disciplines as well as the latest BPM technologies and demonstrates how to use them together in the most effective way possible.

At the 2011 Summit attendees will be exploring proven BPM best practices and the latest BPM technologies and delivering the actionable insights, information and problem-solving you need to create or expand a successful BPM program of your own. There will be 4 tracks targeted to BPM maturity levels. Participants can enjoy 17 Gartner analysts offering unbiased one-on-one private consultation. There will be 50 Gartner analyst-led sessions.

There are six keynotes with top BPM innovators and seven interactive BPM workshops. Participants can also network with 5 BPM Excellence Award 2011 winners, including the Winner Carphone warehouse, to read more about the winners click here. The event will have 4 Panel discussions on critical BPM topics. It will also present 7 Guest Case Studies. The latest BPM suites and tools will be demonstrated by more than 30 companies exhibiting at the conference.

So how do you create BPM success for your organization? How do you drive high-performance business results? With a carefully calculated formula that helps you launch BPM projects, hone evolving BPM competencies and exploit leading-edge BPM insights for long-term success. These are all the things that attendees will learn and take away from attending the summit and leave the conference with some action steps that can be applied in participants own organisation.

This is a very important summit if your organisation is in the BPM industry, as you will be able to get advice, see the best practices and tools to meet your BPM challenges. It’s an important summit that allows companies in the industry to keep up to date, so save the date.
All information presented here is © copyright Carkean Solutions Ltd., 2010 - Not to be used without our permission - The views expressed here are the views of an individual not the corporation

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Gartner Guidelines to BPM Project Success

The Core driver of Business Process Management (BPM) projects is the delivery of enhanced business performance through cost reduction, increased productivity and the ability to easily change and adapt the business to any situation. It is primarily a business philosophy about people, the way they work together, their business processes, the technology they use, and the performance objectives that these processes underpin. At the same time, BPM technology delivers the ability to make this vision a reality with BPM projects now a competitive advantage. The vast majority of BPM technology projects are successful According to Gartner, who recently surveyed BPM projects, 95% of those questioned said that their BPM projects had been successful.

Gartner has identified seven key factors that organizations need to observe when selecting a BPM project to pursue:
  1. 1.       Limited scope. For the best results, start small. This means a limited-scope project, not a major end-to-end process to improve, but perhaps a portion of one.
  2. 2.       High value. The business performance improvement must be seen as having a high value towards attaining the desired business performance results.
  3. 3.       Clear alignment to goals. The BPM-based performance improvement that is being pursued directly contributes to the attainment of a targeted goal and fulfils the corresponding strategy.
  4. 4.       The right metrics. Only through measurement can companies get the necessary awareness and credibility regarding the value of the BPM-based improvement achieved.
  5. 5.       Goal agreement. All the relevant process stakeholders must work together to agree on what is the desired performance improvement. 
  6. 6.       Enthusiastic business sponsor. To get the project done promptly and well, and to spread the word across the organization, an enthusiastic business sponsor is essential.
  7. 7.       Business user engagement. Getting the people who actually do the work of the process onboard can be an enormous help towards success. Getting them on board typically means offering a fresh perspective on how to look at what they do in their jobs, and making a process view easy to understand and intriguing.

Early, visible, concrete project success is especially important to the long-term acceptance of business process management as a valuable discipline. The Seven key factors above contribute to attaining the highest probability of immediate, and therefore long-term, success.  I think it’s important to have a guideline before deciding to start a BPM project as it helps the organisation to achieve its goals as well as avoiding failure. The key factors above are from Gartner, the world's leading information technology research and advisory company and the insight they have provided will help clients to make the right decisions.

All information presented here is © copyright Carkean Solutions Ltd., 2010 - Not to be used without our permission - The views expressed here are the views of an individual not the corporation

Monday, 18 April 2011

Artificial Intelligence is Tomorrow's Business Intelligence

Although BPM strives to automate the mechanical processes of a business, the future is in developing BPMs that move into the territory of human judgment. Some of the processes involved in a business environment are not included in the automation because some sort of human decision is needed. With the growing complexity of information systems - especially into decision support systems and artificial intelligence - some human decision-making processes can actually be automated. This is the future goal of BPM, to further automate previously un-automatable processes.

Making computers think more like people. In the workplace, software already predicts customer behaviour and machine failures on the factory floor. These capabilities will continue to evolve. AI’s strength is that it can uncover patterns and spot problems amid a mountain of data. That might translate into detecting future trends.
AI would help businesses because they revolutionise how you can interpret data and turn it into useful information. Thereby it allows the user to set their own parameters, their own needs and their own expectations to which the system is then able to work out the solution. Rather than simply sorting the information or recompiling it.

At Carkean solutions our product; Aquima is second to none when it comes to artificial intelligence. Aquima facilitates agile application development, which in turn allows systems to be quickly modified and adapted to changing market conditions.

All information presented here is © copyright Carkean Solutions Ltd., 2010 - Not to be used without our permission - The views expressed here are the views of an individual not the corporation

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

BPM in the Financial Sector

To date, many organizations often start a BPM project or program with the objective to optimize an area that has been identified as an area for improvement. In financial sector, BPM is critical to make sure the system delivers a quality service while maintaining regulatory compliance. In Recent years several financial organizations have merged, willingly or otherwise. Others have changed their status, moving from investment banks to traditional banks, to acquire more government protections. Meantime, governments throughout the world are introducing new regulations to prevent practices that are presumed to have caused some of the current problems.  Mergers always result in two sets of processes that need to be merged into a common process. Changes in status also require that new processes and business rules be implemented throughout the organization. And, of course, new regulations require new practices and new business rules. All such changes require process analysis and redesign.

There is a great deal of reluctance in the financial sector for BPM adoption, one of the primary reasons for this reluctance is the high expectations placed on BPM. There are a number of reasons for the failure of BPM:  There is a Failure to adopt a holistic approach to BPM, Obtaining organization-wide support is important for a successful BPM implementation, especially senior-management support. This is because a BPM implementation seeks to change the very way the organization functions and this will not occur without support. 

There is also a Failure to adopt an ongoing approach to BPM, Many companies treat BPM as a one-time IT project, neglecting to learn from experience and tweak services and processes for optimal benefit. Instead, many companies remain content with the small gains of a one-time redesign. Finally there is also a Failure to look beyond process automation, what many companies fail to do is to focus on BPM as an enabler to deliver a better customer experience.

However if applied properly, BPM offers financial firms a huge number of opportunities:  BPM allows for Integration and process optimization which can reduce the time lag between sale and completion to enhancing the customer experience and optimize revenue in any financial transaction.  BPM also allows for a structured and powerful approach to Process Discovery combining the ability to change a new process easily while maintaining a high degree of control as required by a financial industry process. A new product or process can be launched in a short time, optimized easily to reach a matured process status with the next decision point of integrating with other existing systems.

Easily the most difficult problem for financial firms today is compliance management. Financial firms today are practically under siege from multiplying regulatory frameworks. Achieving compliance is an seemingly-endless struggle, marked by high costs and time-consuming processes that change on a regular basis and require repeated effort to stay compliant.  Many of the difficulties of compliance, however, can be avoided with effective BPM tackling process definition and process monitoring, which are at the heart of compliance. BPM technology allows businesses to automate and standardize processes that are both auditable and consistent, which allows the enforcement of rules-based behavior across information silos. On the process monitoring side, BPM automatically captures information on a company’s processes, as required by a number of regulatory mandates, and creates an audit trail. 

There are a number of key advantages that Business Process Management offer financial organizations. However, these advantages are not attainable unless BPM is applied in a holistic, ongoing, organisation-wide manner and treated as a means to better overall business performance - rather than merely a tool for automation and minor cost savings.  Applied in such a manner, BPM has the potential to deliver not just cost savings, but the strong revenue gains that automatically come out of a service-centric organizational ethos.

All information presented here is © copyright Carkean Solutions Ltd., 2010 - Not to be used without our permission - The views expressed here are the views of an individual not the corporation

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Beepy-Em in the Finance Industry

Over the past few years financial services firms have been obsessed with Business Process Management (BPM) software and rightly so. As we know banks rely heavily on profitability. Both their own and that of their clients and they find it very difficult to measure and maximise that profit. Another attribute of banks is that they tend to ‘snowball’, quickly getting larger through multiple mergers and acquisitions.
With those points in mind, it’s no wonder they so eager to obtain such software. BPM software is very proficient when it comes to measuring and maximising profit through improving efficiency and customer relations. BPM software can also help when it comes to connecting the various systems gained through the numerous mergers and acquisitions banks often commit.

So we have established that financial services firms do benefit greatly from BPM software, but which vendor do you chose? With so many different companies selling various different products it can be understandably confusing when choosing the right package. A very important tip is to check the focus of both vendor and the product. From the point of a financial services company; applications that have built-in financial intelligence are a must. The company providing the software must also have a clear understanding of what the financial services require from a BPM.

At Carkean solutions we have extensive knowledge of exactly what is required of us when it comes to financial services firms. And our product; Aquima is second to none when in terms of artificial intelligence.

Feel free to leave any comments or questions and we will get back to you!

All information presented here is © copyright Carkean Solutions Ltd., 2010 - Not to be used without our permission - The views expressed here are the views of an individual not the corporation

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Eat, Pray and Tech

Imagine a world where your refrigerator emails you when you’re out of milk or your mobile phone buzzes when your dog leaves the yard. You won’t have to imagine it much longer. Such connectedness will be one of the defining trends of 2011, according to JWT’s annual trend report. Among the predictions: We’ll increasingly see worlds colliding, with technology impinging on areas that were formerly tech-free; we’ll also people on technology overload choose to disconnect, at least for some amount of time each day. JWT compiled its sixth annual list by conducting surveys in both America and Britain and also getting input from 50 of the agency’s planners in two dozen markets worldwide.
The reports overriding theme is the economy and technology, the borders between the online world and the physical world are becoming increasingly fuzzy. Mobile gadgets are bridging the two worlds--the web accompanies you and helps you navigate the physical realm--and all kinds of Objects/devices are becoming internet-enabled.   So not only will we have a multitude of connected gadgets, from e-readers to phones to televisions, but objects like fridges or even dog collars will connect to the internet, alerting us that we need certain groceries or that Rover has strayed beyond the basement, for example. The latter is often referred to as the Internet of Things.

If there are two trends that stand out to me in this report, it’s their Eat, Pray, Tech trend and De-Teching trend—they both address our increasing dependency on technology, but from completely different angles. Eat, Pray, Tech speaks to that fact that high-tech devices and services--and the skills to use them--are fast becoming as integral to people as food and clothing. In an interconnected, tech-driven and -enabled marketplace, the latest technology will be more than just a luxury or a guilty pleasure. (Example: The story of a homeless-by-choice writer who owns an iPad and a netbook is symbolic of tech as a core need.)
 At the same time, as our dependency on technology rises, so too will our desire to dial it down. De-Teching speaks to the idea that more people will log off—at least temporarily—or engage in one tech activity at a time in an effort to re-engage in the offline present and/or to rewire their brains to be more effective.  (Example: People have begun voluntarily abstaining from digital media and in some cases initiating unplugging drives around certain holidays.)

All information presented here is © copyright Carkean Solutions Ltd., 2010 - Not to be used without our permission - The views expressed here are the views of an individual not the corporation

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is taking off on a massive scale, so what should companies know as they move their information technology into the cloud?

Cloud computing is a fundamental change of how we - companies and consumers - use computer technology. Cloud computing is the delivery of computing power over the internet. It turns software into a service where customers don't pay for a licence but for how much they use; it makes computing power and storage space a commodity, bought when needed and scaled up when necessary.
The cloud is such a "major technology disruption" that the new chief executive of computer giant Hewlett Packard, Leo Apotheker, has decided to refocus his whole company around a cloud strategy.

The early adopters are both the very big and the very small beasts in the corporate world. Ironically, small firms would be best placed to take advantage of the cloud. Indeed, it is usually start-ups that are seizing the moment. After all, information technology is costly. It requires capital expenditure - for servers, software licences - and a team to maintain it all.
The global economic crisis is helping with cloud adoption. Big IT providers report that customers' budgets are so squeezed that there's a huge reluctance to invest. So finance directors hope that moving to the cloud allows them to replace capital expenditure with operational expenditure.
Getting your IT from the cloud may be cheap, but it comes at a price: standardisation. Using the cloud means opting for off-the-shelf solutions. There will be no, or hardly any, customisation. On the upside, instead of having the same big, pricey software package for everyone, your staff should be able to select smaller and cheaper applications with the functionality that is just right for them.
The cloud is also the perfect answer to the surge of corporate mobility. Workforces are becoming ever more mobile, while staff - from the chief executive down - carry smartphones and tablet computers, and expect that they can use them to access their work files everywhere.
Using cloud services saves companies from building the expensive infrastructure to support mobile solutions.

All information presented here is © copyright Carkean Solutions Ltd., 2010 - Not to be used without our permission - The views expressed here are the views of an individual not the corporation