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Anne Stuart’s BPM in Action

Michael Dortch

The Big Mash-Up, Continued: Perhaps Perfect Process Perception?

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If you had complete visibility into everything that happened across your enterprise and its networks and IT resources, how would your business processes change?

This is not just a philosophical exercise, at least not anymore. If it's true that "you can't manage what you can't measure," it's at least equally true that "you can't manage or measure what you can't see or know." And so, both vendors and users are seeking a new quasi-Holy Grail: visibility. Visibility into every process, and every element of IT and business infrastructures. Some examples:

In April, Fujitsu Computer Systems announced an Automated Business Process Discovery service. It promises to do exactly what the name implies - to help companies discover, map, and refine and improve their business processes, faster and more economically than they can do it manually. And how better to achieve process visibility than by starting with a comprehensive, accurate map? (Fujitsu said in its announcement that select companies could qualify for a free trial of the new solution - seems like a price worth paying to me.)

At the 2008 JavaOne Conference in May, one of the biggest buzzes of the show surrounded Sentilla. Sentilla is the latest iteration of a company previously known as Moteiv (as in "motive," as in "mote," as in The Mote in God's Eye," a great science-fiction novel, and the mote in the Gospel of Luke (6:14) from which the title of said novel comes). Sentilla aims to make the long-forestalled promises of "pervasive computing" real, by putting a Java-based application support platform on teeny-tiny computers, each about the size of a quarter currently. If RFID technology generates useful data from the edge of the corporate network, how much more visibility can you get from full-blown Java-enabled devices chattering away at each other and at your IT infrastructure?

And near the end of May, Cisco Systems unveiled its Cisco Motion initiative. A key element is the Cisco 3300 Series Mobility Services Engine. This is an appliance intended to ease and speed the integration and management of a variety of wireless technologies, including but not limited to RFID. It's also intended to enable "context-aware mobility," and to let developers build and users use applications that span a wide variety of fixed and mobile communications alternatives. All while providing - wait for it - complete visibility of who's using what, where and when.

There's more coming. Lots more. Watch for more on this subject, here and in my Aberdeen Group research. Meanwhile, your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to ensure NOW that your IT and business infrastructures are ready.

To help you, here's a link to an Aberdeen Group survey I'm conducting on RFID and IT infrastructure management: www.aberdeen.com/survey/rfid-im-ebizq. Take the survey, and you'll get a free copy of the resulting report when it's published - AND a free copy of my study on "Winning Master Data Management Strategies for 2008 - 2009" as soon as you complete the survey. Such a deal!

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Business process management and optimization -- philosophies, policies, practices, and punditry.

Anne Stuart

I am the editor of ebizQ.

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