Intelligent Capture enables Digital Transformation at #ABBYYSummit16

IMG_0672I’ve been in beautiful San Diego for the past couple of days at the ABBYY Technology Summit, where I gave the keynote yesterday on why intelligent capture (including recognition technologies and content analytics) is a necessary onramp to digital transformation. I started my career in imaging and workflow over 25 years ago – what we would now call capture, ECM and BPM – and I’ve seen over and over again that if you don’t extract good data up front as quickly as possible, then you just can’t do a lot to transform those downstream processes. You can see my slides at Slideshare as usual:

I’m finishing up a white paper for ABBYY on the same topic, and will post a link here when it’s up on their site. Here’s the introduction (although it will probably change slightly before final publication):

Data capture from paper or electronic documents is an essential step for most business processes, and often is the initiator for customer-facing business processes. Capture has traditionally required human effort – data entry workers transcribing information from paper documents, or copying and pasting text from electronic documents – to expose information for downstream processing. These manual capture methods are inefficient and error-prone, but more importantly, they hinder customer engagement and self-service by placing an unnecessary barrier between customers and the processes that serve them.

Intelligent capture – including recognition, document classification, data extraction and text analytics – replaces manual capture with fully-automated conversion of documents to business-ready data. This streamlines the essential link between customers and your business, enhancing the customer journey and enabling digital transformation of customer-facing processes.

I chilled out a bit after my presentation, then decided to attend one presentation that looked really interesting. It was, but was an advance preview of a product that’s embargoed until it comes out next year, so you’ll have to wait for my comments on it. Winking smile

A well-run event with a lot of interesting content, attended primarily by partners who build solutions based on ABBYY products, as well as many of ABBYY’s team from Russia (where a significant amount of their development is done) and other locations. It’s nice to attend a 200-person conference for a change, where – just like Cheers – everybody knows your name.

American Express digital transformation at Pegaworld 2016

Howard Johnson and Keith Weber from American Express talked about their digital transformation to accommodate their expanding market of corporate card services for global accounts, middle market and small businesses. Digital servicing using their @work portal was designed with customer engagement in mind, and developed using Agile methodologies for improved flexibility and time to market. They developed a set of guiding principles: it needed to be easy to use, scalable to be able to manage any size of servicing customer, and proactive in providing assistance on managing cash flow and other non-transactional interactions. They also wanted consistency across channels, rather than their previous hodge-podge of processes and teams depending on which channels.

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AmEx used to be a waterfall development shop — which enabled them to offshore a lot of the development work but meant 10-16 months delivery time — but have moved to small, agile teams with continuous delivery. Interesting when I think back to this morning’s keynote, where Gerald Chertavian of Year Up said that they were contacted by AmEx about providing trained Java/Pega developers to help them with re-onshoring their development teams; the AmEx presenter said that he had four of the Year Up people on his team and they were great. This is a pretty negative commentary on the effectiveness of outsourced, offshore development teams for agile and continuous delivery, which is considered essential for today’s market. AmEx is now hiring technical people for onshore development that is co-located with their business process experts, greatly reducing delivery times and improving quality.

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Technology-wise, they have moved to an omni-channel platform that uses Pega case management, standardizing 65% of their processes while providing a single source of the truth. This has resulted in faster development (lower cost per market and integration time, with improved configurability) while enabling future capabilities including availability, analytics and a process API. On the business side, they’re looking at a lot of interesting capabilities for the future: big data-enabled insights, natural language search, pluggable widgets to extend the portal, and frequent releases to keep rolling this out to customers.

It sounds like they’re starting to use best practices from a technology design and development standpoint, and that’s really starting to pay off in customer experience. It will be interesting to see if other large organizations — with large, slow-moving offshore development shops — can learn the same lessons.

Rethinking personal data: Pegaworld 2016 panel

I attended a breakout panel on how the idea and usage of personal data are changing was moderated by Alan Marcus of the World Economic Forum (nice socks!), and included Richard Archdeacon of HP, Rob Walker from Pega and Matt Mobley from Merkel.

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The focus is on customer data as it is maintained in an organization’s systems, and the regulations that now drive how that data is managed. The talk was organized around three key themes that are emerging from the global dialog: strengthening trust and accountability; understanding usage-based, individual-centric frameworks; and engaging the individual. Thoughts from the panel:

  • Once you have someone’s data, you remain responsible for it even as you pass it to other parties
  • Customer data management is now regulation-driven
  • It’s not enough to restrict values in a customer data set; it’s now possible to derive hidden values (such as gender or race) from other values, which can result in illegal targeting: how much efforts should be put into anonymizing data when it can be easily deanonymized?
  • Organizations need to inform customers of what data that they have about them, and how it is being used
  • Consumers want the convenience offered by giving up their data more than they fear misuse of the data
  • The true currency of identity for organizations is an email address and one other piece of data, which can then be matched to a vast amount of data from other sources
  • The biggest consumer fear is data privacy violation from a security breach (about which is there is a high level of hysteria), but possibly they should be more afraid of how the companies that they willingly give the data to are going to use it
  • Personal data includes data that you create, data that others create about you, and data that is inferred based on your activities
  • Many people are maintained multiple identities on social media sites, curated differently for professional and personal audiences
  • Personal health data, including genetic data, has an additional set of concerns since it can impact individual healthcare options
  • Unresolved question of when personal data is no longer personal data, e.g., after a certain amount of aggregation and analysis occurs
  • Issues of consent (by customers to use their data) are becoming more prominent, and using data without consent will be counter to the regulations in most jurisdictions
  • Many smaller businesses will find it difficult to meet security compliance regulations; this may drive them to use cloud services where the provider assumes some degree of security responsibility

Food for thought. A lot of unresolved issues in personal data privacy and management.

Pegaworld 2016 day 2 keynote: digital transformation and the 4th industrial revolution

Day 2 of Pegaworld 2016 – another full day on the schedule.

The keynote started with Gilles Leyrat, SVP of Customer and Partner Services at Cisco, discussing how they became a more digital operation in order to provide better customer service and save costs. Cisco equipment provides a huge part of the backbone of the internet, supporting digital transformation for many other organizations, but this was about how they are transforming themselves to keep pace with their customers as well as their competitors. They are using Pega to digitize their business by connecting people and technology, automating processes, and using data for real-time analytics and process change to support their 20,000-strong sales team and 2M orders per year.

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Their digitization has three key goals: operational excellence, revenue growth, and “delightful” customer experience. Customer experience is seen as being crucial to revenue growth, with strong causal links showing up in research. He compared the old world — offshore customer service centers augmented by onshore specialists — with the new digital world, where digitization is a means to achieving their customer experience goal by simplifying, automating and using analytics. By reducing human touch in many standard processes, they are able to reduce wait time for customers while allowing workers to focus on interacting with customers to resolve problems: 93% of cases are now handled with zero touch, saving 2M hours of wait time per year and reducing order resolution time to 6 hours. The employee experience is improved through integrated workplaces and actionable intelligence that support their work patterns. He ended with the advice to understand what you’re trying to achieve, and linking your digital transformation initiatives to those goals.

Next was a panel on digital transformation moderated by Christopher Paquette, Digital Principal at McKinsey, including Alistair Currie, COO at ANZ Bank; Toine Straathof, EVP at Rabobank; Kevin Sullivan, SVP and Head of the Decision Sciences Group at Fifth Third Bank; and Nicole Gleason, Practice Lead for Business Intelligence & Analytics at Comet Global Consulting. A few notes from the panel (I mostly haven’t attributed to the specific speaker since the conversation was free-ranging):

  • Digital transformation is being driven by rapidly-changing customer expectations
  • Banking customers prefer mobile/online first, then ATM, then branch, then call center; this aligns well with operational costs but requires that the digital platforms be built out first
  • Moving internal stakeholders off their old methods and out of operational silos can be more difficult than dealing with regulators and other external parties
  • Making IT and business people responsible for results (e.g., a guiding business architecture) rather than dictating their exact path can lead to innovation and optimal solutions
  • Employee incentives need to be consistent across channels to lessen the competition across them
  • A lot of current digitization efforts are to bridge/hide the complexity of existing legacy systems rather than actual digital transformation

wp-1465322079456.pngAlan Trefler returned to the stage to introduce the concepts of the fourth industrial revolution and workforce disruption; he sees what is happening now as a step change in how society works and how we interact with technology. We heard from Alan Marcus, Head of the Technology Agenda at the World Economic Forum, on this topic, and how new categories of jobs and the required skill sets will completely transform employment markets. Lots of opportunities, but also lots of disruption, in both first world and emerging markets. He covered a timeline of changes and their impacts, and stressed that skill sets are changing quickly: 35% of core skills will change by 2020. wp-1465322062127.pngCompanies need to expose workers to new roles and training, and particularly open doors to women in all roles. Creativity will become a core skill, even as AI technologies gain acceptance. Governments and education systems need to innovate to support the changing workforce. Organizations need to reinvent their HR to help employees to move into this brave new world.

IMG_9803The keynote finished with Gerald Chertavian, Founder and CEO at Year Up, an organization that helps low-income youth prepare for a professional job. There’s a social justice goal of helping young adults who have no college degree (and no path to get one) to become hireable talent through practical training and internships; but there’s also the side benefit of feeding skilled workers into the rapidly-changing technology-heavy employment market that Marcus discussed earlier. Year Up was contacted by American Express, who needed people trained in Java and Pega in order to re-onshore some of their development work; they created a curriculum targeted at those jobs and trained up a large number of people who then competed successfully for those jobs. IMG_9804Year Up is now in 18 cities across the US, working with large organizations to identify skills gaps and train people to suit the employment pipeline. They’re changing tens of thousands of lives by providing a start on the path to upward mobility, and feeding a need for companies to hire the right skills in order to transform in this fourth industrial revolution.

 

Destination: Digital at the TIBCONOW 2016 day 1 keynote

TIBCO had a bit of a hiatus on their conference while they were being acquired, but are back in force this week in Las Vegas with TIBCO NOW 2016. The theme is “Destination: Digital” with a focus on innovation, not just optimization, and the 2,000 attendees span TIBCO’s portfolio of products. You can catch the live stream here, which covers at least the general sessions each morning.

IMG_9433CMO Thomas Been opened the day by positioning TIBCO as a platform for digital transformation, then was joined by CEO Murray Rode. Rode talked about TIBCO’s own transformation over the last 18 months since the last conference, and how their customers are using TIBCO technology for real-time operations, analyzing and predicting the consumers’ needs, and enhancing the customer experience in this 4th industrial revolution that we’re experiencing. He used three examples to illustrate the scope of digital business transformation:

  • A banking customer applies and is approved for a loan through the bank’s mobile app, without documents and signatures
  • A consumer’s desires are predicted based on their behavior, and they are offered the right product at the right time
  • A customer’s order (or other interaction with a business) is followed in real-time to enhance their experience

Although TIBCO has always been about real-time, he pointed out that real-time has become the new norm: consumers don’t want to wait for information or responses, and the billions of interconnected smart devices are generating events all the time. The use of TIBCO’s software is shifting from the systems of record — although that is still their base of strength — to the systems of engagement: from the core to the edge. That means not only different types of technologies, but also different development and deployment methodologies. Their goals: interconnect everything, and augment intelligence; this seems to also represent the two main divisions for their products.

wp-1463505346663.pngThat set the stage for Ray Kurzweil, the author and futurist, who spoke about the revolution in artificial intelligence-driven innovation supported by the exponential growth in computing capabilities. The drastically dropping price performance ratio of computing is what is enabling innovation: in some cases, innovation doesn’t occur on a broad scale if it’s not cost effective. He had lots of great examples of how innovation has occurred and will continue to evolve in the future, especially around human biology, finishing up with Thomas Been joining him on stage for a conversation about Kurzweil’s research as well as the opportunities facing TIBCO’s customers. I didn’t put most of the detail in here; check for a replay on the live stream.

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Matt Quinn, TIBCO’s CTO, took over with a product overview. In this keynote, he looked at the “interconnect everything” products, leaving the “augment intelligence” side of the portfolio for tomorrow’s keynote. They’ve set some core principles for all product development: cloud first (including on-premise and hybrid, as well as public cloud), ease of use (persona-based UX, industry solutions, and support community), and industrialization (cross-product integration, more open DevOps, and IoT). He expanded the idea of “interconnect everything” to “interconnect everything, everywhere”, and brought in VP of engineering Randy Menon to talk about their cloud platform strategy specifically as it relates to integration. As Quinn mentioned, he talked about how TIBCO has always built great products for the core, or “products for the CIO” as he put it, but that they are now looking at addressing different audiences. He went through some of the new functionality in their interconnection portfolio, include enhancements to ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks, ActiveMatrix BPM (now including case management and more flexible UI building), TIBCO MDM, and FTL messaging. He also introduced and showed demos of BusinessWorks Container Edition for cloud-native integration, supporting a number of standard cloud container services; TIBCO Cloud Integration, allowing iPaaS use cases to be enabled using a point-and-click environment; and Microflows using Node.js. He talked about their Mashery acquisition and what’s coming up in the API management product with real-time APIs, richer visual analytics leveraging Spotfire, and a cloud-native hybrid gateway. Combined with the other cloud products, this provides an end-to-end environment for creating and deploying cloud APIs. But their technology advances aren’t just about developers: it’s also for “digital citizens” who want to integrate and automate a variety of cloud tools using Simplr, which allows for simple workflows and forms. Nimbus Maps, a slimmed-down version of Nimbus, is also a tool for business people who want to do some of their own process documentation.

IMG_9452Rajeev Kozhikkattuthodi, director of product marketing, came up to announce Project Flogo, a lightweight IoT integration product, which they intend to make open source. It can be used to create simple workflows using a Golang-based engine that integrate with a variety of devices, a design bot in Slack and an interactive debugger; the runtime is 20-50 times smaller than similar development environments. It’s not released yet but he showed a brief demo and it’s apparently on the show floor.

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Quinn returned to mention a few other products — TIBCO Expresso; Momento; and their IoT innovations — before turning over to Raj Verma, EVP of worldwide sales to talk about their customers’ journey during the purchasing process. With 10,000+ customers and $1B in revenue, TIBCO is big but has room to grow, and a better experience during the purchase, installation and scaling of TIBCO products would help with that. They are starting to roll out some of this, which includes much more self-service for product information and downloaded trials, plus enhancements to the TIBCO community to include more training materials and support; standardized pricing for product suites; and online purchasing. Although there is still a significant field sales force to help you along, it’s possible to do much more directly, and they’re enhancing their partner channel (which Verma admitted has some significant problems in the past) if you have already have a trusted service provider. A much more customer-focused approach to sales and implementation, which was certainly required to make them more competitive.

A marathon 3-hour general session, with a lot of good content. I’m looking forward to the rest of the conference.

I’ll be speaking on a panel this afternoon on the topic of digital business, drop by and say hi if you’re at the conference.