Survey Says…

Martyn Christian, FileNet’s CMO, is up on stage right now giving the usual rah-rah speech about how great FileNet is doing with their customers, but with a very cool twist: all the customers in the audience (more than 700 of them) have a handheld voting device and can respond to questions that Martyn is asking, with the responses shown live on the screen.

So far (I’m paraphrasing the questions slightly since I couldn’t write them down quickly enough):

Question 1: What % of your projects are using BPM?

25% responded “none”, 49% said that less than a third of their projects used BPM, 13% said about half, 9% said about two-thirds, and 4% said all. Martyn also quoted Gartner (I believe) in stating that 95% of BPM projects are successful these days, which is an amazing number.

Question 2: What’s the primary driver for ECM solutions in your organization?

“Content” scored 27%, “Process” scored 45%, and “Compliance” scored 28%. Interesting results, considering the relatively low usage of BPM indicated in the responses to question 1, and the fact that compliance was a non-issue only two or so years ago.

Question 3: How do you select a FileNet partner to work with on your implementations?

18% already have selected a partner and 30% don’t use one, but the breakdown of the remaining votes was interesting: 32% make their choice based on the partner’s technical knowledge of FileNet and their own environment, whereas 20% select based on industry knowledge. I can certainly validate that from my experiences: although I specialize in financial services and insurance, I end up doing work in other industry verticals because of the value placed on my BPM knowledge. I would guess that this holds true for many products, not just FileNet.

Question 4: Are content and process management part of a larger information management architecture in your organization?

28% said that this is true today, 39% responded that it will be happening in the next 12 months, 28% said that it will be happening but beyond 12 months, and 5% said that it’s just never going to happen. My breakout session this afternoon is on enterprise architecture and BPM, so I’m very encouraged by the fact that about two-thirds of this audience is considering content and process management in the larger EA context.

By the way, please excuse any typos and the lack of links in these posts from the FileNet user conference: there’s no WiFi in the meeting rooms so I’m blogging live from my Blackberry.

Instructional Overload

I’ve just finished two days of teaching “Making BPM Mean Business” to about a dozen FileNet customers at their North American user conference — the first time that I’ve done it in the two-day live format. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent that length of time in front of a classroom, and I had forgotten how exhilerating that it is, and also how exhausting. I had a great group of people in the course who shared their BPM experiences and some of the issues that they have with their business processes, and based on their feedback, the course was useful to them so I’m feeling good about the content that I decided to include as well as the experience of actually teaching it. I especially liked the comment on one evaluation form: “Sandy is great!” (thanks, Mark), since comments like this validate all the work that I put into the course.

Now that the course is over, I can focus on the rest of the conference, although I do have a one-hour breakout session to present this afternoon. It’s a bit like old home week for me, since many of the FileNet sales and marketing people are here, people who I worked with back in 2000-2001 when I was FileNet’s Director of eBusiness Evangelism, as well as a lot of customers who I visited when I was in that capacity. I’m also amazed at the number of other ex-FileNet’ers here who have retained close ties with FileNet, most of them closer than my occasional FileNet-related work as part of my larger BPM practice.

I’m currently sitting in the morning main tent session and have a lot of interesting breakouts to attend over the next three days. Stay posted.

BPM: a moving target

I’m prepping for the 2-day Making BPM Mean Business course that I’ll be delivering this weekend in Las Vegas, and it’s giving me a chance for a complete end-to-end review of a lot of material that I’ve been gathering, thinking about, presenting and rewriting over the past several months. One thing that immediately strikes me is the constant state of change: since I sent these materials for printing three weeks ago, there’s new things that I just have to include. The BPEL for People initiative (IBM-SAP white paper here), for example, which is a critical step to having BPMS products use BPEL more extensively. The ongoing effects of the OMGBPMI merger. New versions of Enterprise Architecture modelling tools such as ProVision, since I position BPM in an EA context in this course.

There’s also a lot of wisdom that I’ve gathered over time that it will be fun to discuss with the course participants: how to do a business walkthrough, analyzing and designing business processes, and ROI calculations for BPM.

I spent this morning sitting in a local café (a good place to get away from all distractions except the Crackberry, which I am unable to detach from my psyche), putting the final touches on the workshop exercises that I’ll be having the participants do during the course. It’s a small class which should result in a lot of interaction amongst the attendees, and since they’re all from different companies, I’ve decided to do individual projects rather than group projects so that they actually have something usable to take home about their own business processes at the end of the two days. It’s sort of like speed-consulting for me, which should be fun all around.

I’m all a-quiver with anticipation.

BPM Think Tank

I couldn’t make it down to Philadelphia this week for the AIIM conference, but if you’re there, consider dropping in for the BPM Think Tank task group sessions organized by BPMI that form part of the WfMC meetings.

After an initial think tank meeting in Miami in March, three working groups were formed: Execution, Modeling, and Education, and the latter two of these will be meeting this week. If you want to see what happened at the meetings in March and keep up to date on these joint meetings, check out the Specifications section of the BPMI.org forum (no registration required unless you want to post a comment). You might also find out something about that rumour of BPMI and WfMC merging.

The standards debate

Another funny thing from yesterday at BPM 2005: at a BPM standards panel session that included representatives from BPMI, WfMC, OMG and OASIS, Dave Petraitis from OASIS took great exception to an audience member’s suggestion that a standard could be biased in favour of a particular vendor. C’mon Dave, why do you think that vendors sit on a standards committe? It’s not purely altruistic, and they’re not just there to learn about the standard so that they can incorporate it into future products; they’re there, in part, to attempt to influence the standard to their way of doing things, both to make it easier for them to conform and to provide them with some competitive advantage.

    Also heard Martyn Ould speak yesterday afternoon, and went online to buy his book from Amazon with hopes that it will be waiting for me when I get home.

    Skype at BPM 2005

    Between the conference, friends, travelling and keeping up with the news from home, no time to blog until now. BPM 2005 is working out to be a very rewarding conference: some great presentations and networking with old friends, new acquaintances and BPM thought leaders who I have only ever met electronically before this week.

    One thing from yesterday that I would not have missed: Peter Fingar was to present one of the keynote speeches, but at the last minute was unable to fly over. However, he used Skype to call into the presentation PC (which was connected to the room’s AV system) and give his talk, someone else flipped his slides for him, and with the lights turned low, it was easy to forget that he wasn’t in the room. Kudos to Peter and to Roger Burlton (who played “Vanna White” for him with the slides) for coming up with a creative solution to what could have been a disappointment for all.

    More later tonight or tomorrow when I’ve had a chance to digest the three days, but I have to say that this has been a great catalyst for my creative spark, and I’m brimming with ideas. I’ve been thinking about BPM and EA together for quite a while, and have heard several things this week that shows me that others are thinking the same thing.

    BPMG London

    I’m headed for the BPMG conference in London. I’ll try to blog some daily notes about the conference; I’m staying with bandwidth-challenged friends, but there is wireless connectivity at the conference site.

    At most conferences, presentation materials are handed out on CD, which is my preferred method of receiving them since my paper filing space is reserved for things that can’t be easily scanned. As an added bonus, BPMG has made most of these materials available online to attendees ahead of time: I can download and review them at my leisure (such as on the flight over), or even print them to take to the conference if I decide not to carry my laptop every day.

    If you’re at the conference, look me up.

    BPMG London conference

    Looking at the BPMG’s 13th annual conference in London next month, some interesting material at all levels. It appears that this is really the main BPMG conference worldwide, which makes sense because BPMG started in the UK and there is a strong BPM community there. The conference in Las Vegas later in May doesn’t seem to have the breadth of London’s event, and I really don’t want the Vegas immersion experience anyway. Besides which, they have one price for “Industry Professionals” and a higher price for “Vendors/Consultants” — what’s with that? I do consulting for a living (although I hate the word “consultant” because of the high number of IT charlatans who assume that title), but I’m certainly considered an industry professional: would I have to pretend not to be a consultant to get a fair price?

    When did 3-day conferences get so expensive? The London 3-day (workshops plus conference) is the equivalent of $C3,200, plus the cost of travel and living… a pretty significant outlay for a small business. The Vegas conference is even more for a day of workshops plus the conference, and increases further by adding evening workshops to top out at over $C5,000. Given that budgets are still tight in many organizations, who can justify attending these?