Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A Little BPM Package Known As Aquima

We've talked about innovation quite a bit recently and it's quite an important topic, but today we're talking more practically about how you can use innovation.

In the form of a neat little BPM package known as Aquima.

There are many reasons why Aquima is innovative and we couldn't hope to cover them all here, but what we will do, for your viewing pleasure, is pick out the best of the innovation:

  • One thing that makes Aquima stand out is that it can bridge the gap between IT and business, to connect two (seemingly incredibly different) cultures together for the benefit of your organisation.
  • It provides your organisation with dynamic agility, allowing it to adapt to just about any situation or happening. Even in the event of something catastrophic- Aquima has your back.
  • Worry not about having a sea of wires in your office to run this powerful package, Aquima uses cloud computing technologies which mean you don't need to worry about your information- but can still control it- while using it to improve your productivity.
  • It is a bespoke solution and has enough power to dwarf five bespoke systems. Aquima is a platform-independent, fully customisable, all inclusive solution to your problems.
  • Aquima isn't about hidden costs which are why they don't have any- unlike other BPM packages, Aquima is all inclusive and doesn't require any external systems to run any of its features.
And these are just some of the reasons that Aquima breathes innovation in to your organisation.
There are many more reasons, much deeper, and more specific, to almost any organisation in any industry out there. Using Aquima not only makes you more effective, efficient and dynamic- but innovative- and cost-effective and even more!

Thanks for reading, as always, everyone.

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, 30 August 2011

Google TV Makes It’s Way To The UK

When it comes to the mediums that it plays in, Google could sit back and remain content with its strong position on the desktop and mobile devices.

But as successful as it is, the company stiill sees opportunity to create a bigger footprint.
One of the mediums in which it's hoping its footprint can extend: television.

The potential of Google's vision for the future of the small screen is obvious: television-web convergence. But no matter how compelling the vision, the proof is in the pudding, and thus far the company's Google TV pudding isn't looking so great.

But that isn't stopping the search giant from trying to move Google TV forward.

Last week, Google confirmed that it will bring Google TV to the U.K. later this year. Will content creators and distributors in the U.K. be any more receptive than their counterparts across the pond in the U.S.? That remains to be seen.

Given the muted interest in Google TV there, it's possible that television players in the U.K. won't be as worried about Google's intentions, perhaps allowing the company a greater ability to court consumers.

The question: how will Google drum up the kind of interest in the U.K. that it wasn't able to drum up in the U.S.? One part of the answer: it needs compelling applications.

So in a natural move, Google yesterday released a preview of a Google TV add-on for the Android SDK. According to the Google TV blog:
While the add-on does not contain all features of Google TV, it enables developers to emulate Google TV and build apps using standard Android SDK tools. It also provides new APIs for TV interaction, such as TV channel line-up.

Not surprisingly, Android apps built for Google TV will be distributed through a TV-specific version of the Android Market that displays only apps that are compatible with Google TV and that adhere to its UI guidelines.

Some developers will be pleased to find that their existing Android apps are already Google TV 'ready', while others may need to make modifications.
Of course, while there will almost certainly be developer interest in TV, Google will likely face a chicken-egg dilemma.

Without consumers, there's little incentive for developers to develop apps, and without compelling applications, consumers aren't going to rush out to buy Google TV-equipped televisions, or add-on hardware.

While one might point out that Google has been successful with Android on mobile devices, the television market is not the mobile market.

Google will need to address that, and it will need to do so relatively quickly. The company's poor showing in the U.S. has caused quite a few observers to write Google TV off.

If the product receives a similarly cold welcome in the U.K., Google itself may be forced to write it off.

Thank You for reading and Please feel free to leave a comment!

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, 24 August 2011

Goal Driven Processes: The Future Target of BPM

As organizations mature in their use of BPM, they will find the need to more directly and automatically tie process activity and outcomes to corporate performance. The first steps in BPM are around process efficiency and effectiveness. The next steps revolve around continuous improvement and require a significant amount of watching to keep the improvements coming. Goal driven, the next step, directly ties the process behaviour and activity to the desired goals of the process. Imagine processes that flex and define themselves according to goals. It’s kind of like dynamic sets of plays to score a goal in football.

Goal Driven by Outcomes:
The technologies are converging towards being able to tie process activity and resource behaviour to corporate performance as it dynamic redefines itself as a mix of weighted and potentially conflicting goals. As process become smarter and/or linked to decision related platforms, this will become a reality for many organizations going forward. Right now it is the leading organizations, but over time this will become the norm.

Goal Driven by Policies/Rules:
Even if there might not be a direct tie to corporate performance with auto-tuning, the next best thing, would have to be policy/rule driven processes where the process can change behavior as policies and rule change. This is certainly happening today and I expect much more of this kind of activity in the next few years.

Goal Driven by Constraints:
As BPM expand into social and unstructured processes necessary to help knowledge workers, there will be unfettered and evolving best practices and processes. It will be important to set boundaries as these processes evolve. This is where constraints can be set to keep unsuspecting knowledge workers out of activity that may spell issues for their respective organizations as they collaborate. 

Over course, there will be combinations of the above guided by emerging patterns and management guidance, but it is clear that BPM has adaptability that will need to be guided. The guidance will come in the form of goals. We will have arrived at high levels of BPM maturity as more organizations grow into innovate use of goal driven processes.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment!

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, 23 August 2011

Where SOA Meets Cloud: The Cloud, Agility, and Reuse

Agility and reuse are part of the value of cloud computing, and each has its own benefit to enterprise architecture.  In the past, as an industry, we've had issues around altering the core IT infrastructure to adapt to the changing needs of business.  While cloud computing is no "cure all" for agility, it does provide a foundation to leverage IT resources that are more easily provisioned and thus adaptable. 

Agility has a few dimensions here:
First is the ability to save development dollars through reuse of services and applications.  It's helpful to note that many services make up an application instance.  These services may have been built inside or outside of the company, and the more services that are reusable from system to system, the more ROI from our cloud computing. 

Second is the ability to change the IT infrastructure faster to adapt to the changing needs of the business, such as market downturns, or the introduction of a key product to capture a changing market.  This, of course, provides a strategic advantage and allows for the business to have a better chance of long-term survival.  Many enterprises are plagued these days with having IT infrastructures that are so poorly planned and fragile that they hurt the business by not providing the required degree of agility. 

Under the concept of reuse, we have a few things we need to determine to better define the value. 

These include:
·      The number of services that are reusable.
·      Complexity of the services.
·      The degree of reuse from system to system.

The number of reusable services is the actual number of new services created, or, existing services abstracted, that are potentially reusable from system to system.  The complexity of the services is the number of functions or object points that make up the service.  We use traditional functions or object points as a common means of expressing complexity in terms of the types of behaviours the service offers.  Finally, the degree of reuse from system to system is the number of times you actually reuse the services.  

Moreover, the amount of money saved depends upon your development costs, which vary greatly from company to company, data center to data center.  Typically you should know what you're paying for functions or object points, and thus it's just a matter of multiplication to determine the amount of money you can save by implementing a particular cloud computing solution

Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave a comment!

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, 22 August 2011

Social Media: What’s In It For Business?

Even if you take all the generous media attention and coverage away, the social media wave seems to be certainly picking momentum. And I don’t say that just by looking at the number of sign-ups Facebook has each day or how many tweets get fired each second. That doesn’t really suggest an organization should invest in this new trend.

What seemed like a fad for college kids has soon made analysts, IT decision makers and vendors sit up and seriously explore various benefits of applying the concept to business contexts. Social media certainly seems poised to provide many benefits to organizations.

So is there a ROI for an organization from social media?

That’s exactly the question,  it’s probably still too early to start looking for proof of benefits .
But put your ear on the ground and listen carefully – you can hear the rumble building up.

And the rumble is approaching us from tens of different directions.

Here are a few that I have noticed
  • Technology Rumble: Look at how seemingly disconnected technology developments are converging – the big thrust by vendors to offer on-demand solutions, increasing availability of innovative technology driven services that allow people to share, collaborate and connect.
  • Recession Rumble: Look at how an unprecedented global economic phenomenon has forced a radical change in spending – and urged a shift in the way organizations assess IT options. Open Source, SaaS, PaaS, and so on.
  • Customer Mind-share Rumble: Look at how businesses are desperately looking for bigger value from customer interactions  and want to reach out to a wider audience, quicker and more directly – This is happening across multiple functions – Marketing, Customer Service, New Product Development, etc.
  • Social rumble: Look at how people are naturally warming up to a new collaborative way of working, of sharing information, of community bonding.Open Source software developmentforums, wikipedia, and so on.
What are the other trends you have notice?

Thank you for reading and feel free to leave a comment!

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, 17 August 2011

Unlock that Revenue Hiding In Your Processes!

The failure rate of software implementations involving CRM has always been a cause of concern for both vendors as well as buyers.

In most implementation engagements, the key aspects of strategic thinking, solution design and delivery are typically sliced apart in silos involving resources with different skills, causing lack of synergy ultimately resulting in the loss of a huge opportunity to unlock value from an implementation. While almost any software implementation has this shortcoming, in a CRM implementation, these silos exacerbate the causes of failure even more, and further render these implementations more operational in nature.

CRM projects demand a not-so-apparent duality of perspective. While maintaining a well planned external view, CRM implementations should also ensure that organizations are able to also look inward to address internal processes and drive them towards more efficiency.
The entire relationship management process has to be an efficient orchestra of inward and outward looking processes, both driven by the twin objectives of revenue profitability to the organization and value benefits to the customer.

If cognizance of this duality is lacking, the core purpose of the CRM exercise is undermined. On the other hand, if the duality is effectively addressed, you have organizational processes aligning brilliantly to create significant value benefits.

Providing such value benefits to customers in implementation situations could result in customers who go beyond being happy – because you end up delivering value that may even be beyond defined deliverables.

Your Revenue Function needs more attention!
In most organizations, the revenue generation function, despite being one of the most important, is still one of the least organized. And what is interesting is that just a little bit of screw-tightening can have a ripple of positive effects.

Let’s take a look at how re-aligning a single aspect of the sales management process can lead to a series of positive effects on subsequent events in the revenue cycle – thereby facilitating improved efficiency of sales efforts leading to improved revenue performance.

A holistic plan – the fundamental need
Organizations have to understand what makes them effective in generating demand and revenue, and of course, what limits their effectiveness. Many organizations, unfortunately, focus on various effectiveness parameters such as closure skills while neglecting efficiency. When revenue realization becomes a concern, organizations are tempted to make investments in marketing, training etc. these may include buying prospect databases, training on effective negotiating, closure skills, etc; printing fresh collaterals and so on. These are all at best, ‘point solutions’, while the need of the hour could be to look at ways to improve underlying sources of dysfunction.

The challenge to sales managers is in viewing sales processes from a holistic perspective. Organizations need strong processes that allow the various players in sales and marketing to work together to meet common objectives and sales managers have to first understand how the right processes and technology make them efficient.

Surprisingly, in many organizations, sales and marketing typically have the least mature processes compared to product development, finance and accounting, service and support and other functions.

Revenue and Profitability must be King, Not the customer!
One of the most widely quoted ‘truths’ in any industry is that the Customer is King. It is a statement with such profound implications, that debating it would amount to blasphemy. But lets take that point as an argument. Organizations need to understand and acknowledge first that if there is only one purpose to relationship with any customer, that one purpose cannot be ‘Make customer feel like King’. Instead it would quite simply be “make a profit”. The relationship occurred in the first place because the organization saw a revenue opportunity and the customer saw a value. Therefore an organization will benefit the most when it acquires only those customers that can help it achieve its revenue growth plan – which means the cost of acquiring, cost of keeping, cost of growing should all contribute positively to that growth plan.Such a carefully selected basket of customers are the ones you should treat like a king. And here starts the process definition basics of the inward looking aspects of CRM.

People, Process and Technology : In-synch
Improving adoption through such tools therefore has to be achieved by empowering the sales people; helping them become more effective and by removing barriers to effective selling. Typical barriers occur because of dysfunctional processes. A process-oriented approach ensures that all related business processes are aligned to both strategic as well as sales objectives. The effort to improve sales effectiveness can lead to more revenue opportunities; better marketing effectiveness, shorter sales cycles and several similar goals.

And the starting point to designing such a process is an enterprise view of how an organization attracts and draws effectively on customer interactions to effectively drive revenue activities. Access to the right information at the right time drives effective internal processes that maximize sales opportunities. And this can happen when people, process, technology and information are all aligned to strategic objectives.

The role of technology in most situations CRM is more about realizing an opportunity cost. An organization could anyway reasonably manage without such a tool. But when implemented properly, the right CRM product has the potential to give benefits that can surpass expectations immensely because it impacts the very core of an organizations growth engine – revenue.

Opportunities for product and services companies
The need for technology implementations to positively impact business processes has been acknowledged widely. Technology vendors are talking to customers more about business strategy and policies, business models, process methodologies, etc., and less on technology and platforms. Customers are also looking for value differentiators, opportunities to increase margins, reduce costs and so on.

The opportunity cost of re-aligning and improving underlying processes, though undefined, could be more significant than many organisations might imagine. That chunk of additional revenue that comes simply by better alignment of processes, people and information stares as an opportunity right in the face of every organization and waits to get noticed and grabbed. Indeed, this can be a very tempting initiative to any organization. By helping customers realize that, tremendous value far beyond expectations can be added. With enough successes and demonstrable capability to indeed add quantifiable revenue improvements to customers, there is a definite option to link the delivery-pricing model to a percentage of revenue improvement realized by the customers.

Thank you for reading and feel free to Comment!

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, 16 August 2011

Emerging from one era, into another…

Even as we begin to hear about the easing up of the recessionary phase, it is not difficult to see that things are not going to be the same as they were before.

And one of the biggest impacts this recession is likely to have is not in our pockets, but in our minds.
Whether it is you or your organization, the biggest effect may well be the shift in thinking that this recession has brought about. And it does appear to be here for several years to come, for some of the views that you or those that your organization has had – of business priorities, budgets and spending, efficiencies, competitiveness and performance – have all perhaps changed for good.

And in all this, although among the first things you hear often is about cutbacks on IT spend, Technology is, inevitably, going to play that important role of an enabler more than ever before.
But the choice of technology will be different from the way it has traditionally been. From the options that will be available, I think to a large extent, those that are adopted in the coming few years will have to score relatively higher against available options.

The recession does not differ too much from others. We go in, we go through and we come out, unfortunately not without harm being done to people, some more than others.

During and for some time after the recession you will see caution in behaviour of companies. First because they are not sure it is a structural improvement and after that because they remember the pain. Then the market starts heating up, and nobody wants to miss the boat. At that point in time hasty decisions are easily made and risks are often not assessed well enough. This will last until the first few discover that their progressive plans will not be realized and then the “fun” starts all over again. Simplistic view maybe, but at least this is what I saw happening in the last few.

But, after each crisis we have been able to pick up and at each high there has been created more wealth compared to the previous high. New markets, new technologies, new products & services, that enable Customers to improve their lives, and new ways of combining this all (you can call this management or strategies) have emerged. Even during this crisis this process of continuous improvement has not stopped. It is in our human nature or genes if you want. And this is exactly what we will continue to do, but at a higher pace when the crisis is over. Right until the moment that more than a few companies find out that their projections of growth do not fit with reality.

Another interesting thing about this particular cycle is that technology developments like Cloud computing, Social Media etc have also piqued the interest of the technology consuming market and since it coincided with the recession offering low cost alternatives, orgs are looking with more interest at these and I believe they will become part of the mainstream IT investments for the near term future.
To summarise I think the whole thing serves as a periodic reality check, that gives us a need to introspect our excesses and bloat and make a correction of sorts.

Do not agree? Let me know and we can discuss.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave a comment!

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, 15 August 2011

When The Cloud Becomes The Silver-Lining…

Cutting cost is no more an option. It is a must-do that is high on the priority of every organization that wants to survive this slowdown. And no stone is left unturned to find ways to achieve that.
Interestingly, this anxiety to cut costs will result in a business that IDC expects will grow to $42 billion by 2012. Or so it seems.

Yes, we are talking about cloud computing.

If you are wondering how this business of IT keeps throwing out new jargon and concepts in the air in frequent intervals, let me say that you may already be using cloud computing to some extent.
John McCarthy had predicted way back in the early 60s that Computation will someday become a public utility and it looks like his prophecy is coming true now.

If you use Google docs, you are a participant in cloud computing. Some common Cloud computing applications are, Google apps, etc. Cloud computing is nothing but software or technology made available over the internet as a service.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service(SaaS), Platform as a Service(PaaS), Web 2.0 etc. are all components of Cloud Computing. When you use applications such as those offered by Google Docs (Word, PowerPoint and Excel) you are using Software as a Service. Conventionally, while you paid and had Microsoft Office with MSWord, MSPowerpoint and MSExcel installed on your PC, with Google Docs, you don’t buy the licenses or install any software, but can still access the applications on a need basis – over the Internet. For now, Google docs is free, but imagine being charged for access (by time, by kind of features you use, by frequency etc).

The big difference is that now you don’t need to pay the full license price of Microsoft Office regardless of how extensively you use that investment, but pay only to the extent you use. That is potential saving for sure. When core packaged apps like Enterprise Resource Planning, CRM, etc are made available on demand, there is a huge potential for savings – you don’t pay heavily for license, you hire fewer resources, you don’t invest heavily in CapEx – meaning you don’t need to buy servers and other hardware, and you don’t run huge fixed costs for managing them.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave a comment!

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, 10 August 2011

Gartner: BPM Spending To Keep Increasing This Year

Businesses may still be cutting back on other initiatives, but they expect to increase their BPM investments during 2011, according to research by Gartner Inc.

Overall, participants in Gartner's global BPM spending survey were bullish on BPM spending, with 54% planning an increase of at least 5% this year. Nearly 20% expected an increase of 10% or more.
Survey respondents in the Asia/Pacific region, where some countries are experiencing strong economic growth, were especially interested in investing in BPM: Fully 25% said they expect increases of at least 10% this year.

What's behind the overall upswing? BPM is focused on improving business outcomes and explicitly meets the objectives of many organizations' return-to-growth strategies, A Gartner principal analyst, explained in announcing the survey results. Gartner also cited increased interest in SaaS tools, which offer a cheaper entry point, and a shift toward funding BPM projects from business-unit budgets rather than IT, reflecting emphasis on BPM's business benefits.

But Gartner cautioned companies against becoming over-optimistic about process-improvement potential. There is a mismatch between what users think they will achieve from BPM and what they actually achieve. Understanding the real benefits and how to measure them will help organizations create better business cases and get the expected business results.

The survey, which included nearly 600 midsize-to-large companies in 14 countries, indicated that companies' initial BPM investments fall somewhere between £100,000 and £200,000. Gartner calls that range low in comparison with the cost of many BPM-suite implementations. The upshot: Many companies want BPM capability--but aren't ready to buy a complete suite.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave a comment!

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, 9 August 2011

Apple Cloud vs. Google Cloud

The Google cloud

Google’s entire strategy and approach to the cloud is based on the future, and not the Internet as it is today. Google is betting that the world will have low-cost, ubiquitous Internet access in the not-too-distant future, including fiber connections in offices and homes and super-fast mobile broadband in virtually every nook and cranny of the planet.

It is building its cloud for that world, and it’s hoping that by the time it has its application stack refined and running like clockwork that broadband will be everywhere. That’s absolutely necessary, since all of Google’s apps are connection-dependent and all of the data is stored on Google’s servers in the cloud. You’ve got to be online to take advantage of many of the best features, like simultaneous editing of Google Docs where you can see your co-workers’ edits happening in real time.

I love Google’s optimism about the future of broadband, but it’s not going to magically happen on its own solely based on free market forces. There are too many places where it’s just not financially profitable to deploy high speed access — and probably never will be. In order for Google’s vision to come to light, there will need to be more competition in the big markets and much stronger public-private partnerships in the smaller markets.

Google has started talking about making critical apps available offline, especially for Chromebooks. The company has already taken a few baby steps in that direction with Google Gears. However, the fact that offline access is an afterthought and not an intrinsic component of Google’s solution tells you where offline and local syncing rank on the company’s priority list.

The Apple cloud

Apple’s approach is not to use the cloud as the computer-in-the-sky the runs all the cool stuff. It doesn’t want or need everything to happen in the cloud. Instead, it views the cloud as the conductor of Grand Central Station who makes sure all of the trains run on time and that they make it to the right destinations.

With iCloud, announced on Monday, Apple uses the cloud to orchestrate data streams rather than control them. This is the cloud as a central repository for apps, music, media, documents, messages, photos, backups, settings, and more. A decade ago, both Apple and Microsoft talked up idea of the Mac and the PC, respectively, as the central hub of our digital life and work, with a variety of devices relying on it to coordinate content. On Monday, Apple clearly stated that’s no longer the case. For it, iCloud is now the hub.

In this way, Apple is taking an approach unlike Google (which essentially mimics the old mainframe approach). Instead, Apple is doing something similar to what the popular start-up Drop box does. It is allowing users to sync their personal data and media purchases from their computers and mobile devices up to a personalized central repository. Then, that central repository on the Internet syncs all of the data and media files back down to all of the user’s devices, so that all of them have the same data. Users no longer have to worry about constantly managing their files and music libraries in order to keep them up-to-date across a bunch of different machines and devices - a computer, a tablet, and a smartphone, for example.

Geeks, technophiles, and IT pros tend to love this approach because they still control their own data and have local copies of everything. However, syncing can also get a little complicated, especially if you choose to not automatically sync all of your devices (to save on performance and bandwidth). It remains to be seen whether mainstream users and business professionals will grasp the syncing concept and easily make it work.

Still, Apple’s approach is probably more practical for the Internet as it exists today. But, in a world with ubiquitous ultra-fast broadband, will syncing still matter in 5-10 years? That will depend on whether users prefer to have local copies of their data for performance, security, and peace of mind.
Naturally, there have been heated debates about Apple iCloud in social media since. In Apple’s vision, the cloud makes native apps better. Others see the cloud as a substitute for native apps.

Final analysis

All that said, let me try to boil this down into two sentences that shouldn’t surprise you. For Google, the Web is the center of the universe. For Apple, your device is the center of the universe.
Can they both be right?

Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave a comment!

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, 8 August 2011

Achieving Business Agility

The combination of business process management technology and business rules puts organizations in the driver’s seat to maximize their business processes and hand that power off to their users.
Today, business success is not just a matter of how effectively an organization can create or sell products. It’s also about how fast it can react to changing market conditions. Speed, flexibility, and organizational agility have become critical success factors for all companies.

Many companies are experiencing some of their fastest rates of change and the most important process requirements at the “edge” of their businesses or the front of the value chain. That’s where the business connects directly with customers, suppliers, and partners. It might be through something as simple as supplier communications or something as complex as customer self-service or business-to-business (B2B) supply chain integration processes.

Improving a business’s agility increasingly depends on the ability to quickly and easily modify the decisions and business logic that drive and manage its fastest-changing and most dynamic business processes.

As a result, business processes and applications must be brought out to the front of the value chain in order to meet rapidly changing customer requirements, increased user expectations, and more competitive market pressures, coupled with the need to increase revenue, customer satisfaction, and other key performance indicators. Unfortunately, most companies have realized that too much of their business logic is tied up in apps that are difficult to modify rapidly and adapt to the challenges at the edge of the business.

Rolling with the Changes
Over the years, some organizations — especially ones in markets such as financial services, banking, or insurance — have relied on specialized business rules solutions or technologies in order to help address the ongoing need for change. In general, these business rules technologies have traditionally focused on providing greater flexibility for back-office applications. Now, however, times have changed, and as the challenges that companies are facing have changed, the market for business rules is changing too.

What’s needed are new business rules approaches that dynamically cross a wide range of front-office business processes and applications, both stand-alone and embedded. Think of these as dynamic business rules solutions for customer-driven applications.

To enable faster, better responses to customer requests, to integrate more rapidly with business partners, or to create more compelling applications that meet changing market demands, business logic and business rules need to be pushed from centralized, monolithic applications out into appropriate components that can be managed locally — often at the edge of the business — by the business user. Moreover, they must be deployable quickly to reduce time to market.

That’s where business process management (BPM) coupled with business rules comes in. Business rules are an increasingly important aspect of complete BPM solutions. For most organizations, BPM solutions are just one part of the answer for creating a flexible and agile set of automated business processes. Business Rules are an important complementary technology that will enable organizations to realize the full value of BPM and reduce the amount of work required to modify critical business processes.

Any organization evaluating or deploying BPM should be sure to understand and explore the role that business rules play in process-oriented solutions and where they may gain benefits from using a business rules engine. Business Rules enable an organization to gain control of these valuable assets and manage them in a way that is both more efficient and increases the company’s agility to respond to competitive opportunities. Combining a BRE with a BPM system will enable an organization to maximize the power of business processes and put that power in the hands of the business users.

Thank You for Reading and please feel free to comment!

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, 3 August 2011

The Agility Challenge For BPM

Business Process Management (BPM) software is becoming an increasingly relevant option for the day-to-day management of business processes. BPM controls process lifecycles with support for process modelling, execution, monitoring and optimization. The conventional system’s process control was not capable of governing highly variable change requests in a situation-specific and purposeful manner that is, adapted to change request content and project context. For example, both minor and drastic changes followed the same process steps, which placed unnecessary strain on the organization and reduced overall process efficiency.

The Agility Challenge
The recent economic turmoil has elevated the importance of “agility” for enterprises. There are way too many systemic factors that are causing chaos and volatility. In this climate, agility – meaning the rhythm of rolling forward new solutions and rolling back current offerings – has to be synchronized with both market oscillations and anticipated market receptiveness. BPM suites are the critical enabler and catalyst for achieving such dynamic agility.

There are two interdependent and critical requirements for agility in business process management solutions:

·         The first is the ability for business stakeholders to quickly – and incrementally – introduce change. The change “delta” from business analysis to execution has to be almost seamless and instantaneous. What is required to change is what gets executed is the new mantra. This “change” spans creating new solutions for existing and new markets. It also includes deprecating or re-positioning existing solutions.
·         The second – and perhaps more important— is the ability to respond quickly and adeptly to a given situation. This “ability” to respond, based on a situation, applies to business functions, lines of businesses, as well as the enterprise as a whole. Here you have the execution of adjustable process machines that can manoeuvre, adjust, and respond for a given context.

For BPM to be flexible, agile, and dynamic, it needs to adapt to situations, applying the best BPM asset (process, policy, etc.) for the given situation. Newly discovered processes or policies could be enacted. Others could be deprecated. The granule of the situation can be an entire mission- critical BPM solutions or specific user interactions.

All this may sound a bit like process fiction. But it is actually achievable. More importantly, it is a fundamental requirement for true business agility.

Thank You for reading! And please feel free to leave a comment!

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, 2 August 2011

Standardization or Flexibility

You probably know experts who state that standardization is critical for work and information processes. They dogmatically declare that you get reduced variability, cost reduction, better quality, and consistency across the organization with standardization. In fact if you don’t have standardization you can’t make improvements because people and business units do the process differently to start!

Yet, on the other side there are experts that say that flexibility is critical, the only way to stay current in the market place, to satisfy varying customer needs. Flexibility allows your process to respond to specific demands, to be agile, to use the human decision making that is necessary in so many decisions.

First, let’s agree on some definitions. Standardization of work and information processes can take many forms. At the basic level, standardization means that processes have exactly the same steps, in the same sequence, and completed by the same roles for all units doing the process. At an even more stringent level standardization means that the process runs at the same speed and maintains a stated level of inventories. There is no variability between processes across units and there is no variability in the process on Monday vs. Tuesday vs. Wednesday.

Flexibility on the other hand means that the work process is different under varying conditions, and these conditions created the need for differences. The most obvious need is a difference in customer type which demands a different output from the process from the commoditized standardized process. The customer might demand a different level of service or different elements in the product.

So how do you know which is more important for your process – standardization or flexibility?

It is true that the more standardization you have the less flexibility you have but there are many examples where you can have a combination of each. And I assert that you need to have both. Standardization and flexibility are both strategies for maximizing return and they bring different results, but you need to consider both to get the best result for the customer and the organization.

Let’s look at the benefits of each: standardization and flexibility

·         Repeatability
·         Consistency across units
·         Means to gather conforming information
·         Quality
·         Cost
·         Easier for training personnel
·         Easier to implement changes
·         Eliminates variability in steps and outcomes

·         Ability to respond to different customer requirements
·         Ability to alter processes based on specific needs
·         Agility – in marketplace
·         Ability to meet different geographic or cultural needs
Allows for experienced human input with special cases
·         Allows for use of different decision models 

Standardization and flexibility are both important in understanding and improving your processes. Standardization moves the needle toward a single method, process, and outcome. Flexibility provides for variation where the customer situation requests it and it make sense for the business. Both can differentiate a product in the marketplace, one more for price and consistency and the other more for distinctive customer requirements. In order to get to the best combination, and to get both sides seeing the common goal, it is best to look at several instances of the way the process is done today, see what is the same and what is different, and standardize where you can but keep distinctions where different processes and different approaches make sense for special customer requirements.

Thank you for reading! And please feel free to leave a comment!

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, 1 August 2011

Scope of Artificial Intelligence in Business

Business applications utilize the specific technologies to try and make better sense of potentially enormous variability (for example, unknown patterns/relationships in sales data, customer buying habits, and so on). However, within the corporate world, AI is widely used for complex problem-solving and decision-support techniques in real-time business applications. The business applicability of AI techniques is spread across functions ranging from finance management to forecasting and production. 

In the fiercely competitive and dynamic market scenario, decision-making has become fairly complex and latency is inherent in many processes. In addition, the amount of data to be analyzed has increased substantially. AI technologies help enterprises reduce latency in making business decisions, minimize fraud and enhance revenue opportunities.

AI is a broad discipline that promises to simulate numerous innate human skills such as automatic programming, case-based reasoning, neural networks, decision-making, expert systems, natural language processing, pattern recognition and speech recognition etc. AI technologies bring more complex data-analysis features to existing applications.  Enterprises that utilize AI-enhanced applications are expected to become more diverse, as the needs for the ability to analyze data across multiple variables, fraud detection and customer relationship management emerge as key business drivers to gain competitive advantage. 

They stretch from the military for autonomous control and target identification, to the entertainment industry for computer games and robotic pets, to the big establishments dealing with huge amounts of information such as hospitals, banks and insurances, we can also use AI to predict customer behavior and detect trends. 

This generally involves borrowing characteristics from human intelligence, and applying them as algorithms in a computer friendly way. A more or less flexible or efficient approach can be taken depending on the requirements established, which influences how artificial the intelligent behavior appears. The potential applications of Artificial Intelligence are abundant. 

It is difficult for business to see general relevance from AI. This is probably one of the reasons for the compartmentalization of AI into things like Knowledge Based Systems. Business should not lose sight of where AI could go because there are many potential benefits to current and new businesses of future research. 

Thank You for reading! And Please feel free to comment!

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