Beyond Excel Era

Excel Era continues. For many organizations (or at least part of their processes) Excel Era will never end. Not because these organizations are ignoring  technological revolution but due to nature of processes. Excel is excellent tool for extremely flexible businesses functions. In finance, Excel will be often-used tool for long time. It is always faster to type dozen of formulas into Excel, then go through request-develop-build-test-deploy process. Automation is important and effective for processes which could be formalized, business rules management (BRM) is emerging to address agility in changes, but there always will be calculation documents somewhere. Read the rest of this entry »


IBM Impact 2012 – Final 2 days

This year I visit one of most promised enterprise IT conferences in Las Vegas – IBM Impact. There are my impressions and take-aways from world-wide IT industry hardware, software and IT consulting monster – IBM.

This is wrap up of final 2 days.

Business Process Optimization. Is always possible if you know your goals. The ways include task flow optimization (reduce round trips, cycles, collect more information from one task), task time optimization, end-to-end scenario optimization, optimization for throughput. The human services and automated services interfaces have huge difference and should be designed in different ways. For example, human service requires a lot of denormalized information to be passed, while automated activity need only valuable information for algorithm-based decisions. Big difference in error handling (for human service errors are passed to user, for automated should be handled via policy, with retries and recovering). Optimistic (human) vs. pessimistic locking (automated).  Response time – for human interfaces is critical for UX, for automated activities response may be longer, but throughput is more important.

Optimization could take place w/o automation, though automation enable new horizons such as better visibility onto task progress, no chance for task to be lost, process intelligence and activity monitoring. Without optimization measurement are very difficult if not impossible. Finally, 20% of optimization should be applied in green-field (before-production) and 80% using production process analytics (“brown field” optimization).

ECM and BPM integration. So far it works one-way: BPM interfaces may display list of documents or document internals as well as manipulate those documents via automated activities. Great news that common interfaces to ECM are standardized via CMIS standard, approved at May 2011 and currently supported by major vendors (Microsoft, Alfresco, IBM, Oracle). No process triggering from ECM (though it’s possible via just web service call).

BPM in Healthcare. Sample case study from Ottawa Hospital proved that healthcare processes could be dramatically optimized with  use of BPM and mobile iPad interfaces. But this require not just one project, but several-years mobility strategy. iPad is now one of the way to better engage doctor and patient via sharing info on the screen, but initially it got a lot of resistance from doctors who did not want to carry such bulk devices in their pockets (now pockets are bigger).

Oracle vs IBM – series of talks, on how IBM outperforms Oracle dramatically (Oracle claims same but vice versa). I personally believe that WLS vs. WAS is question of company expertise in any of these and available other products from one of companies. Regarding Exalogic and PureSystem – IBM PureSystem is just released, and Oracle will add same features soon, I believe. For BPM portfolio IBM outperforms Oracle, especially with new IBPM 8.5. But in DB space Oracle definitely rocks over DB2.

Mobile security – again confirmed that this is strong trend, much stronger than development of mobile apps (which is comodized already).

And generally, the event was great chance to network with tons of experts and IBM customers.


IBM Impact 2012 – Day 3

This year I visit one of most promised enterprise IT conferences in Las Vegas – IBM Impact. There are my impressions and take-aways from world-wide IT industry hardware, software and IT consulting monster – IBM.

Day 3 is more impacting then previous.

Keynote – social, extended enterprise, gamefication. From keynote interesting talks about bigsheets application, analysis of 900,000 tweets by student in 1 night, and awesome talk by Jane McGonigal about Gamefication – one of emerging trends of this century. 1.3 billion players of angry birds – what if this power could do something more than just kicking birds? Gaming produce positive emotions. Kids that play video games are 40% smarter (but are there side effects?). Mass thumb wrestling proves the point about positive emotions.

Read the rest of this entry »


Task flows in Intalio

In one of previous posts I depicted the main features of process-driven-task-based systems. I would like to back up thoughts by modern BPMS systems and discuss how do they support common sense.

Intalio is considered the best (or one of the best) open source BPMS. For instance, this comparison highlights slight outperforming of Intalio over jBPM. Intalio offers free version, which can be considered by small organizations or as an evaluation (due to restrictions of enterprise features like security, RDBMS support, scalability most organization will still need paid version of Intalio which starts from 9,500 USD/EUR). It may be not fair to compare Intalio to Oracle BPMS or IBM’s IBPM, which cost much more. Read the rest of this entry »


Is Excel Era over?

Citing an IBM study of customers (as stated here), 2.5% of the processes are complex, 22.5% are somewhat complex (less than 200 steps), 75% are not complex at all. This last category is done today by excel over email. Excel era is everywhere – people are creating and updating spreadsheets, sending them to managers by email for approval. Read the rest of this entry »


Common Sense Task Flows

In this small post I will depict typical behavior worker model.

Let ignore BPM, BPMS and other technology related stuff and focus on how people work. We have some typical tasks to do that fall into task pool (what to do). Worker get task (probably based on some priority decisions) and takes it. Taks may be already assigned to this person or person gets task from group pool (e.g. our team perform client loan history verifications, and tasks are assigned to us based on branches geographics, and for the rest we take clients from pool).

The key items that worker need in order to perform the job are:

1. Context. What data was gathered prior to this task? What additional information is useful for my decision making?

2. Instructions. How should I perform this task (isntructions may be already known for this type of activity)

3. Data. What data need to be gathered by me and passed by along with task completion (how do I report task results) Read the rest of this entry »