The ability to build apps quickly is a cornerstone in our industry of model-driven development and low-code, and it’s encouraging to see some good offerings on the table already in response to our current situation.
Appian was first out of the blocks with a COVID-19 Response Management application for collecting and managing employee health status, travel history and more in a HIPAA-compliant cloud. You can read about it on their blog, and sign up for it online. Their blog post says that it’s free to any enterprise or government agency, although the signup page says that it’s free to organizations with over 1,000 employees — not sure which is accurate, since the latter seems to exclude non-customers under 1,000 employees. It’s free only for six months at this point.
Pegasystems followed closely behind with a COVID-19 Employee Safety and Business Continuity Tracker, which seems to have similar functionality to the Appian application. It’s an accelerator, so you download it and configure it for your own needs, a familiar process if you’re an existing Pega customer — which you will have to be, because it’s only available for Pega customers. The page linked above has a link get the app from the Pega Marketplace, where it will be free through December 31, 2020.
As a founding member of OMG’s BPM+ Health community, Trisotech has been involved in developing shareable clinical pathways for other medical conditions (using visual models in BPMN, CMMN and/or DMN), and I imagine that these new tools might be the first bits of new shareable clinical pathways targeted at COVID-19, possibly packaged as consumable microservices. You can click on the tools and try them out without any type of registration or preparation: they ask a series of questions and provide an assessment based on the underlying business rules, and you can also upload files containing data and download the results.
My personal view is that making these apps available to non-customers is sure to be a benefit, since they will get a chance to work with your company’s platform and you’ll gain some goodwill all around.
There’s a very real possibility that a lot of people will be “on the bench” in the near future: either their work requires travel, or their company has to make tough decisions about staffing. This is a great time to consider skilling up, and The Master Channel has courses on process and decision modeling, business analysis, analytics and more. I have never taken one of their courses so can’t vouch for the quality, and I am not being compensated in any way for writing this post, but probably worth checking out what they have to offer.
Their current offer is only until April 5th, although it’s clear to most people that our period of confinement is going to last much longer than that. Get them while you can.
If you know of other e-learning companies making similar offers, please add them in the comments of this post (including a link if you have one). I know of several universities that offer free online courses for related topics although they tend to be longer and much more detailed — I had to dedicate four weeks and relearn a lot of forgotten graph theory to get through the Eindhoven University of Technology’s course in process mining, which is more than a lot of people have time (or patience) for.
With customer churn rates approaching 25% in some insurance sectors, insurers are attempting to increase customer retention by offering innovative products that better address today’s market. The ability to create and support innovative products has become a top-level goal for many insurance company executives, and requires agile and automated end-to-end processes for a personalized customer journey.
Similar to the banking webinar, the focus is on more management-level concerns, and I’ll look at some use cases around insurance product innovation and claims.
Head on over to the landing page to sign up for the webinar. If you’re unable to attend, you’ll receive a link to the replay.
I’ll be presenting on two webinars sponsored by Signavio in the upcoming weeks, starting with one on banking processes on February 25 at 1pm ET. In this first webinar, I’ll be taking a look not just at the operational improvements, but at the (executive) management-level concerns of improving revenue, controlling costs and maintaining compliance. From the webinar description:
Today’s retail banks face more challenges than ever before: in addition to competing with each other, they are competing with fintech startups that provide alternatives to traditional banking products and methods. The concerns in the executive suite continue to focus on revenue, costs and compliance, but those top-level goals are more than just numbers. Revenue is tied closely to customer satisfaction and wallet share, with today’s customers expecting personalized banking products and modern omnichannel experiences.
You can sign up for the webinar here. This will be a concise 35 minutes plus Q&A, and I’ll include some use case examples from client onboarding and KYC in retail banking.
I thought that I was done with my CamundaCon coverage, but noticed that Jakob Freund is blogging more details about what he covered in his keynote. I spent most of his keynote behind the curtain waiting for my turn to speak, but was able to see it again when they posted the video of his presentation.
He’s doing a five-part series on the themes that he covered, based in part on their experiences with their clients over the past years, with the first two available here:
Part 1: Intro to the four key elements of becoming a digital enterprise
Part 2: The first key element, customer-focused innovation
If he keeps to his posting schedule, the next one should be up tomorrow.
Our second keynote on the first day of bpmNEXT 2019 is with long-time presenter Jim Sinur, looking at technology combinations that digitally deliver. Unlike his usual focus on future directions, he’s driving down into what technologies work for companies that are undergoing digital transformation. This is a great lead-in to what I’ll be talking about tomorrow morning, and I fully expect to be fine-tuning my presentation before then to incorporate ideas from Jim’s presentation as well as Nathaniel Palmer’s presentation that preceded it.
Digital business platforms – something bigger than a BPMS – provide the real pathway to digital transformation, combining a variety of technologies. The traditional BPMS products are strong in work/process management, but they also need proactive intelligence, integration, automation, IoT enablement and business functionality. He looks at technical streams and their benefits, ranging from computational technologies to consumer delivery channels. He had a draft version of a matrix that he’s working on that shows attributes for these different technologies, from skill level required to get started with the technology to the likelihood of the vendors in this category partnering with other category vendors successfully, leading to a list of top productive pairs and triplets that we’re seeing in the market today: BPM and AI, for example, for processes with smart resources and actions; or architecture, low code and RPA for incremental transformation of legacy.
He finished up with how we will be leveraging the trends for marketplace collaboration between vendor products, and encouraging the vendors in the room (mostly everybody) to collaborate along the lines of his top pairs and triplets. In my opinion, this won’t necessarily being the vendors deciding to partner to offer joint solutions, but larger enterprises deciding to roll their own platforms using a combination of best-of-breed technologies that they select themselves: the vendors will need to make sure that their products can be sliced, diced and re-integrated in the way that the customers want.
Slide decks and videos of all presentations will be online within a day or two; I’ll come back and update all of the posts with links then.
We wrapped up the 2019 Analyst Day with founder John Newton talking about Alfresco’s vision for the future.
Most digital transformation efforts today are focused on external experiences, that is, how a company interacts with its customers. However, there’s more to it than that: the external experience has to interact with employee experiences and operational systems; this linkage is what Newton calls digital operations. Looking at the ubiquitous onboarding use case, digital transformation is not just about the nice app that the customer sees to upload their documents: it’s also about the straight-through processing that manages what happens after the customer does that upload, or request a service. He points out that it’s all about the process, and that content follows the process. This, obviously, is music to my ears.
Customers need to think about their digital business platform, which is not the same as any vendor’s digital business platform: it’s more than that, and it may be made up of more than one vendor’s platform. It needs to handle the digital outside (customer-facing) as well as the digital inside (employee-facing), and the end-to-end processes and content repositories that link them. There are a number of disruptive technologies that are driving digital operations — cloud, microservices, edge computing, blockchain — and there will always be a new one to add to this list.
That took us to their strategic themes:
Process-first digital operations, including process, content, search, governance and insight capabilities
Global-scale, multi-cloud digital operations, which removes the enterprise infrastructure concerns such as scalability and global replication
Artificial intelligence powering digital operations, with the modern range of AI services now widely available from the internet giants being applied to content and process
Empowering business users with targeted solutions, and improved user experience
Empowering builders to accelerate solutions, with development and deployment tools
Differentiate open source and enterprise (note that this is the first mention of open source all day), with add-on capabilities to the open source core services and engines
Always an insightful speaker, and I’m particularly interested in how the layers above the API “surface” (such as the Alfresco Digital Framework and Digital Workspace built on the ADF) are adopted in practice versus direct API usage.
That’s it for the analyst day; I’ll be back tomorrow for the regular user conference.
Rob Meikle, CIO at the city of Toronto, gave a fast-paced and inspiring keynote to close out the morning at Technicity. I can’t do justice to his talk here (hopefully there will be a video, because he’s a great speaker), but a few points did resonate with me.
There’s a correlation between digital access and socioeconomic level, and we need to use technology to drive digital inclusion.
Interactions between government and constituents needs to be more digital and more responsive.
The most inclusive cities are the most successful.
Focus on meaningful and measurable outcomes to make the city prosperous.
IT organization is being reworked to support a digital city model.
Policies need to be transformed faster to keep up with data usages: innovation is in policies, not just technology.
Increasing digital literacy is a mandate for the city in order to benefit residents.
The city creates a lot of opportunities, but also needs to focus on outcomes to benefit all residents — such as the one in four children in the city who live in poverty.
Good focus on how public sector technology should focus on social good as well as making government more efficient.
If I see a link to the video published, I’ll come back and update this post.
We had a quick review of the City’s Administrative Penalty System (APS), which lets you pay or dispute your parking ticket online, with a panel made up of Lenny Di Marco, senior systems integrator; Kelli Chapman, director of prosecution services; and Susan Garossino, director of court services.
Technologically, this was a challenge to integrate old COBOL systems and newer systems across both city and provincial agencies, but there was also a cultural change to do some level of dispute resolution online rather than in the courts. Paying online isn’t new (I seem to remember paying a ticket online years ago when I still had a car), but the process of requesting a review and appealing a review result now happens in a matter of weeks rather than years. In addition to the obvious benefit of a timely outcome – which is better for citizens to get things sorted out, for the city in terms of resolving tickets faster, and for police officers who don’t have to attend court if the issue is resolved online — this also frees up court time for more serious charges. It’s still possible to do this in person, but a lot of people don’t have the time to get to a city office during business hours, or don’t want to go through the face-to-face process.
This is not just a matter of keeping up with regular day-to-day parking violations, but managing peaks that occur when the city has ticketing blitzes (usually caused when an elected official wants to make a statement about being tough on parking offenders).
The whole project took 12-14 months from inception to rollout, and is based on integrating and extending their COBOL back end and other existing systems, rather than purchasing new technology or bringing in outside help. Definitely some technology challenges, but also assessing the needs of the stakeholders from the city, the province and the police so that they can do their job including the new online review and adjudication roles.
Cool stuff, even if you don’t like paying parking tickets. Sounds like they’re already working on another integration project for next year related to Vision Zero, although we didn’t get the details.
Jordan Kyriakidis, CEO of QRA Corp, spoke at a session at ITWC’s Toronto digital transformation conference on some of the unexpected consequences of technological advances in terms of collaboration and cross-fertilization of ideas. QRA is a tech startup in Atlantic Canada, and Kyriakidis’ examples are about how companies in that relatively small (economically) region are encouraging new ways of thinking about solving business problems through these sorts of “collisions”.
Addressing the complexity introduced by advancing technology means that we have to invent new methods and tools: he gave the example in industrial complexity where design moved from paper to computer-aided design, then added electronic design automation when the complexity of where to put which chip overwhelmed human capabilities, and now design verification allows for model-based (requirements-driven) design to be validated before more expensive engineering and production begins.
Another example in precision diagnosis and treatment was around data-driven farming, combining computer vision and big data analytics (plus drone delivery of individual plant treatment) to optimize crop yields.
His third example was of integrating and analyzing a variety of data sources about a specific athlete to allow a coach to optimize training and performance for that athlete in their chosen sport.
His main theme of precision diagnosis and treatment — essentially, doing something different for every case based on the context — can be extended in pretty much any industry: consider the attempts by many consumer-facing companies to customize individual customer experiences. Interesting look at companies that are actually doing it.