I’ve been remiss with blogging the past couple of months, mostly because I’ve been involved in several pretty cool projects that have been keeping me busy. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I recently wrote a paper for Flowable about end-to-end automation and the business model transformation that it enabled.
I’ve been working on a video series for a process mining startup, Futuroot, which specializes in process intelligence for SAP systems. We’re doing these as conversational videos between me and a couple of the Futuroot team, each video about 20 minutes of free-ranging conversation. In the first episode, I talk with Rajee Bhattacharyya, Futuroot’s Chief Innovation Officer, and Anand Argade, their Director of Product Development. Here’s a short teaser from the video:
I recently created a paper for Flowable on end-to-end automation, including a look at how the Gartner “hyperautomation” term fits into the picture. End-to-end automation is really about enabling business model transformation, not just making the same widgets a little bit faster, and I walk through some of the steps and technologies that are required.
Check it out on the Flowable site at the link above (registration required).
I’m doing a live webinar next week, Thursday March 10 at 11am Eastern, together with Kramer Reeves of Work-Relay. If you’re in BPM, you probably know who Kramer is — he’s been in the industry almost as long as I have, with a career ranging from startups to IBM — and may know that he’s now CEO of Work-Relay. They’re a small BPM vendor that specializes in integrating with Salesforce to handle all the “other” processes that are not part of Salesforce; they also have an interesting GANTT-chart-ish timeline view of processes that helps with less rigid, milestone-driven goals.
Kramer and I will be having a 20-minute freeform discussion about removing the surprises, obstacles and barriers — namely, points of potential failure — from your business operations. We will be covering the current state of intelligent process automation, how we got here, and how process automation products need to work within a broader business operations context.
We’re keeping it short and won’t have time for Q&A, but I’m always open for questions here or on othersocial platforms. You’ll also be able to watch the video on demand at some point after we broadcast live next week.
I’ve been asked to participate in a panel in honor of International Women’s Day on March 15. Sponsored by Camunda and Infosys (and technically by me, since I’m giving my time and effort to this without compensation), this panel brings together actual technical women: nothing against women in tech marketing or other non-technical roles, but this is the first “women in tech” panel that I’ve been on where every single one of the non-sponsor participants has a degree in engineering or computer science, and has worked in a technical role at some point in her career.
I’m honored to be invited to join this group of trailblazers in the tech world to discuss the challenges and experiences for women in technology.
Regardless of your gender, the topics that we will discuss have an impact on you. Technology and automation are huge drivers of innovation, and companies are starving for good technical talent, regardless of gender. In fact, women in technology and leadership roles foster diversity, collaboration and innovation in ways that result in higher revenues for companies. Yet with an environment that seems a natural for encouraging more technical women, many companies still toss up barriers, from hiring biases to an unfriendly “bro” culture.
Register at the link above, and tune in on March 15 at 12:30pm (Eastern) for our live discussion with Q&A to follow.
Now that I’m starting to produce more video — see my short videos on the Trisotech blog and the citizen developer series on Bizagi — I’ve been combing through my portfolio of previous interviews and presentations, and it’s been a real blast from the past. These stretch back to my days at FileNet (2000-2001, or what I refer to as “the longest 16 months of my life”) where I did a lot of public conference presentations and internal educational courses on the emerging field of BPM, but most of the pre-YouTube content has been lost to time.
I’ve created a playlist of all of the ones that I can find on my YouTube channel and I’ll add new content of my own on the main video page. Click Subscribe over there to be notified of new videos when I publish them.
Here’s the earliest video that I can find of an interview, talking about TIBCO’s first release of ActiveMatrix BPMat the 2010 TIBCO conference. This was recorded and published by (now retired) Den Howlett. I discussed the trend of BPM suites moving to an all-in-one application development environment, a trend that swept through most of the mainstream vendors over the ensuing years and is still popular with many of them.
By the way, the review that I wrote of AMX BPM a few months later, after a few more in-depth briefings, is still one of the most-read posts on this blog.
If there’s something that the last 1.5 years has taught me, it’s that speaking for online conferences and even recorded video can be almost as much fun as giving a presentation in person. I give partial credit for that observation to Denis Gagne of Trisotech, who encouraged me to turn my guest posts on their blog into short videos. He also provided some great feedback on making a video that is more like me just chatting about a topic that I’m interested in, and less like a formal presentation.
In addition to these videos, I’m working with Bizagi to publish a series of eight short video interviews about citizen development, and I’ll be keynoting with a summary of those topics at their Catalyst conference on October 14.
In case you miss listening to me blather on about process while waving my hands around to illustrate a point, here’s a video that Daniel Rayner recorded for his Process Pioneers YouTube channel of a conversation that we had recently.
We chatted about challenges that organizations face when implementing BPM (both documentation/management and full automation projects), and some of the wins possible. The “pivot on a dime” quote was about how having insights into your business processes, and possibly also automation of those processes, allows you to change your business model and direction quickly in the face of disruption.
Back in May, I did a webinar with ASG Technologies on the importance and handling of (unstructured) content within processes. Almost every complex customer-facing process contains some amount of unstructured content, and it’s usually critical to the successful completion of one or more processes. But if you’re going to have unstructured content attached to your processes, you need to be concerned about governance of that content to ensure that people have the right amount of information to complete a step, but not so much that it violates the customer’s privacy. If everything is in a well-behaved content management system, that governance is an easier task — although still often mishandled — but when you start adding in network file shares and direct process instance attachments, it gets a lot tougher.
I also wrote a white paper for them on the topic, and I just noticed that it’s been published at this link (registration required). From the abstract of the paper:
Process automation typically provides control over what specific tasks and structured data are available to each participant in the process, but the content that drives and supports the process must also be served up to participants when necessary for completing a task. This requires governance policies that control who can access what content at each point in a process, based on security rules, privacy laws and the specific participant’s access clearance.
In this paper, we examine what is required for a governance-first approach to content within customer-facing processes, and finding the “Goldilocks balance” of just the right amount of information available to the right people at the right time
Back in 2008, I started attending the annual academic research BPM conference, which was in Milan that year. I’m not an academic, but this wasn’t just an excuse for a week in Europe: the presentations I saw there generated so many ideas about the direction that the industry would/should take. Coincidentally, 2008 was also the first year that I saw process mining offered as a product: I had a demo with Keith Swenson of Fujitsu showing me their process discovery product/service in June, then saw Anne Rozinat’s presentation at the academic conference in September (she was still at Eindhoven University then, but went on to create Fluxicon and their process mining tool).
Over the years, I met a lot of people at this conference who accepted me as a bit of a curiosity; I brought the conference some amount of publicity through my blog posts, and pushed a lot of software vendors to start showing up to see the wild and wonderful ideas on display. They even invited me to give a keynote in 2011 on the changing nature of work. Two of the people who I met along the way, Marlon Dumas of University of Tartu and Marcello La Rosa of University of Melbourne, went on to form their own process mining company, Apromore.
I’ve recently written a white paper for Apromore to help demystify the use of process mining alongside more traditional process modeling techniques by business analysts. From the introduction:
Process modeling and process mining are complementary, not competitive, techniques: a business analyst needs both in their toolkit. Process mining provides exact models of the system-based portions of processes, while manual modeling and analysis captures human activities, documents informal procedures, and identifies the many ways that people “work around” systems.
Facebook is a hot mess most of the time, but I usually enjoy the “memories” that remind me what I posted on this date in past years. A couple of days ago, on April 30, I was reminded that in 2007 I attended the New Software Industry conference at the Microsoft campus in Mountain View. These were the days when SaaS and other cloud platforms were emerging as a significant packaging concept, and companies were rethinking their delivery models as well as their split between product and services.
In reviewing those old posts, there were a lot of points that are still valid today, and topics ranged from development practices to software company organization to venture capital. The discussion about the spectrum of software development practices was especially on point: there are some things that lend themselves to a heavily-specified waterfall-like model (e.g., infrastructure development), while others that benefit from an agile approach (e.g., most applications). I also liked this bit that I picked up from one of the sessions about software industry qualifications:
In World of Warcraft you can tell if someone has a Master’s in Dragon Slaying, and how good they are at it, whereas the software industry in general, and the open source community in particular, has no equivalent (but should).
I finished my coverage by pointing out that this was a very Valley-centric view of the software industry, and that new software industry conferences in the future would need to much more exclusive of the global software industry.
I was already live-blogging at conferences by this point in time, and you can read all my posts for the conference here.