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Full Transcript: Ken Vollmer: The View From The Field - Is BPM Helping Companies Succeed?


BPM Virtual Conference - Beth Gold-Bernstein, Ken Vollmer, and Keith Swenson

BGB:  Hello and welcome to the ebizQ BPM and the Bottom Line Virtual Conference.  I’m Beth Gold-Bernstein, chair of the conference.  Before getting started, I’d like to review the features and functions of our interactive virtual conference environment.  We have a Networking Lounge where you can chat with other visitors or join a forum discussion.  

This conference includes virtual booths where you can chat with company representatives and download information.  Visit all the booths for an opportunity to win a prize.  To submit a question, click on the “Ask a Question” button on the gray console.  We will be taking your live questions after this presentation.

Larry Fulton of ForresterFind out more about the next Forrester Keynote at our 9/24 SOA Governance Virtual Event: Service Life-Cycle Management with Larry Fulton, Senior Analyst, Forrester

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To download a copy of today’s presentation, click the “Files” button.  To enlarge any of the slides, click on the magnifying glass icon to the right of the slide.  Now, it’s my great pleasure to introduce our keynote presentation by Ken Vollmer, Principal Analyst of Forrester who is going to be talking about a view from the field, is BPM helping companies succeed?

We would like to thank Fujitsu for sponsoring this keynote presentation.  Keith Swenson, Chief Architect and Vice President of Research and Development of Fujitsu will be joining us at the end of Ken’s presentation to say a few words.  Now, I’d like to turn it over to Ken.  Thank you, Ken.

ken VollmerBGB: KV:    Thank you Beth.  Welcome everyone.  This is Ken Vollmer.  I’m a Principal Analyst at Forrester covering business process management and other forms of integration.  It’s my pleasure to be with you today to talk to you about how BPM solutions are helping companies succeed and what you need to do in order to effectively deploy BPM technology in your enterprise.  

My primary theme is that BPM is having a significant impact on the ability of enterprises to support business innovation.  So throughout my presentation today I’ll be coming back to this concept over and over again to reinforce it.  

As the rapidly growing library of case study shows, BPM is providing the ability to support business innovation in a variety of ways.  We’ll look at several case studies that highlight some of the more prevalent alternatives that I have seen.  

Just a quick look at my agenda.  We’re going to take a look at some survey results that have from the end of last year.  We’re going talk about critical success factors for BPM.  We’re going to take a look at some best practices and also talk about how you measure improvements related to BPM projects.  Then we’re going to close by looking at the impact of a BPM Center of Excellence and a few recommendations.  

Find out more about the next Forrester Keynote at our 9/24 SOA Governance Virtual Event: Service Life-Cycle Management with Larry Fulton, Senior Analyst, Forrester

Forrester recently conducted a survey to measure the status of BPM efforts.  We interviewed 164 IT architects to get their thoughts on how the BPM projects were going in their enterprises.  We asked the specific question, how far have you progressed with your BPM efforts?  And this chart shows the results.  You had 16% that had one or more BPM efforts already completed.  

Another 29% that had one or more BPM efforts currently underway and 42% were involved with active planning for their initial BPM deployment.  And then there was also a group of 13% that said that they had no plans for implementing BPM.  And we anticipated there might be some in this group and we wanted to have a better feel for that so we asked this group an additional question.  What was the primary reason for not pursuing BPM?  

And as you’ll see here, the most common reason was cost, followed by lack of proven benefits, lack of technical resources, and the complexity of BPM projects.  Now, these are all perceptions but the fact of the matter is that these were the answers that they provided.  

So what about the other 87% that are implementing BPM aggressively?  Specifically, what did they see as the primary benefit of their efforts?  

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So we asked the following question, what you see as the primary benefit of BPM efforts in your enterprise?  And this was looking forward because many of them weren’t -- 42% had not actually implemented yet so this was perception of what they were expecting to see.  Twenty-four percent expect to see increased productivity for process workers.  Another 18% expected to the ability to provide realtime visibility into key processes.  

Another 15% that were looking for the ability to change processes quickly and easily.  Another 13% was looking to model business processes, 12% were looking for consistent process execution across business units or geographical locations and another 12% were looking for optimization of business processes.  

The 12% figure was low.  The ability to support optimization of processes is directly related to the maturity of the BPM efforts so I think rightly so the people who responded with 12% looking for a process optimization realized that they would have to have some maturity in their program before they could achieve that.  In other words, enterprises experiences more success on process optimization would have been more familiar with BPM tools and methodologies.  

We fully expect that this -- the percentage of enterprises having successful process optimization will grow as these enterprises become more sophisticated in their use of the tools and the methodologies.  

So now let’s talk for a couple of minutes about BPM critical success factors.  And the first one we have here is strong executive management support.  

Now, I realize at this point its overused in many situations; it shows up in just about any list of critical success factors regardless of the technology being discussed.  However, in this case, it really is critical for the following reason.  Many BPM efforts just not all BPM efforts require a high degree of change to break down the organizational silos that stifle process improvements.  Strong executive management support can help in building the organizational consensus around process change and help to eliminate many of the barriers through success.  

The next critical success factor is a methodology.  

A methodology is your blueprint for how you’re going to implement your BPM effort.  Just as a builder would not consider trying to build a house without a blueprint, you should not attempt to implement a BPM effort without a comprehensive plan as well.  So it’s very important that you prepare one and have a existing methodology.  If you’re doing something like Six Sigma or TQM, you can fold those efforts together; it doesn’t have to be a separate project.  

The next one is having a combined business and IT BPM team.  This is critical as well.  I’ve seen too many examples of business people going off on their own trying to do a process improvement effort without the IT people and even some cases where IT will attempt to do it without really solid input from the business side.  Joint efforts are required for BPM success.  So trying to do it with one group or the other is not a strategy for winning.  It’s not a critical success factor.  

Strong project management skills are a key point as well.  As we stated earlier, BPM projects can be complicated and a strong project manager is needed to keep all parties focused.  An appropriated BPM software product should be available for the team.  Now, what does appropriate mean in this context?  Well, there are a number of BPM needs that vary signification from one enterprise to another.  There are also individual BPM tools that vary significantly and the capabilities of one product may be very much different than the capabilities of another product so you need to make sure that you match your needs to the right type of BPM tools.  

The major categories could be document centric, for example, having business on document flows.  There could be a lot of human activity that would be supported best by Human-Centric BPM, and there could be heavy integration requirements that would be best covered by an integration centric tool.  So that’s what the term “appropriate” means.  You need to measure or match your requirements to the category of software that you choose.  

Now, some best practices -- a brief discussion here are those.  We have listed first the requirement to plan, plan, plan, but not forever.  There’s a real balance you have to come into play here.  Upfront planning for BPM efforts is crucial because they can be very complex and there’s a lot of loose ends that have to be dealt with, and they need to lay out a clear path between your “as is”  environment to your “to be” environment.

And make sure that you identify those things have to change in order to move between those two points.  And also identify high-level remedies for how you will address the issues that could be roadblocks.  However, don’t get stuck too much in the analysis/paralysis.  Detail solutions can't be addressed at the outset in many situations.  

So you come up with a high level plan that addresses many of the key points and that should be enough to get you started and you’ll fill in more details of your plan as you proceed and you receive more details on the obstacles that have to be overcome.  So planning is important but if you plan forever you’ll never get anywhere so you need to keep in balance.  

The next one is to choose your first project carefully.  And this is another balancing act.  

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You may have noticed that we’ve talked a lot already about balancing.  It comes into play in many situations.  In your first effort, you want to try and avoid the most complex problems that your enterprise has because you need to learn how to walk before you run with the tools and the methodology.  If you take on a overly complex project initially, you might put too much stress on the environment and you might have an unnecessary failure whereas if you had started with a smaller project to start with and learn from that, it may have better positioned you to tackle that more complex situation as you go forward.  

However, the reality of the world is and then in some cases you may be forced to address a complex improvement effort early in your maturity cycle with the product.  This makes the planning phase even more critical when you have to address a situation like that.  

Established project metrics at the beginning.  Determine which key performance indicators you want to track and make sure you collect the relevant data to track them effectively.  You can be aggressive at the outset and maybe set up more KPIs than you will actually end up using.  But it’s a simple matter to reduce KPIs once you determine you don’t need them.  

Take a snapshot of where you are when you start.  In order to measure your success accurately, you will need a good collection of where you were; a good status point, or status details, metrics, whatever of how bad the situation was before you started that you can measure your progress effectively.  So you need to capture the real “as is” environment before you get too far down the road.  

Sign up the senior management team.  I know I already mentioned this point but it is critical.  So while it’s -- certainly a critical success factor it’s also a best practice.  You need to make sure the senior management team is onboard and they have publically stated support for your project.  

And finally, establish a BPM Center of Excellence.  We will talk more about this later but suffice to say at this point and time that the BPM Center of Excellence has proven to be a strong indicator of the potential success of BPM efforts and we’ll provide some details on that in just a bit.  

Keynote Presentation with Ken Vollmer: Business-Empowered BPM Implementation: Good for Business... and IT

Many early BPM efforts were hampered by an inability to measure project success, so at Forrester we put together some different areas that can be looked into to try and determine how you should measure your success.  And we’ve come up with two primary areas.  

This first slide shows three areas of focus that fall under the general category of improved operational efficiency.  

And these deal with increase productivity, shorter cycle times, and B2B agility.  And what I would like to do quickly is just give you a case study for each one of these so you can see more details in what we’re talking about.  So under the area of increased productivity, here we’re talking about situations where you end up with fewer resources required to achieve the targeted objectives, such things as automation of tasks come into play, auto invocation of business rules, and orchestration of processes and mass changes.

The technology that comes into play here could be most likely BPM.  You could also have B2B and EDI technology that come into play here.  So let’s look at an example of this increased productivity.  And this was a US telco.  The problem they had was delays in provisioning new orders because the provisioning was manual to a high degree and they were losing business to more agile competitors.  

For a solution, they implemented a BPM tool that was set up to automatically deal with many aspects of the provisioning lifecycle.  And the result was they automated 99% of their manual efforts, eliminated most of the manual steps and reduced processing time from hours to minutes.  This enabled them to be much more agile and be more competitive in the marketplace.  

The case study I’d to look at talks about shorter cycle times.  And this will be a situation where less time is required to complete key business process such as order to cash, claims approval or order creation.  And the benefits could be achieved through automation of feeds from external partners into internal processes, parallel electronic processing of documents and approvals would be another area as well.  

So let’s take a look at a case study in this area.  This was a U.S. manufacturer in the automotive industry, I believe.  And the problem they had was the manual reconciliation of accounts receivable.  And the solution was that they implemented a BPM tool to automatically allocate incoming funds to appropriate ERP accounts.  So instead of somebody taking the bank reconciliation statement manually going through it and determining where the cash should go, this all set up ahead of time in the BPM tool and when that bank reconciliation hit, the cash was able to be allocated in a matter of minutes.  

So they saved two full times in the allocation of the cash.  Another example is an area of B2B agility, less time required to complete key B2B tasks.  And this was accomplished through specialized partner on-boarding solutions and partner sandboxes for testing of transactions.  The case study I’d like to talk to you about was a paper manufacturer.  They were unable to provide inventory status to potential customers quick enough and they were losing orders to other competitors.  

They implemented a BPM solution that provided inventory status to potential customers via a portal and this resulted in increase in sale.  They were no longer using orders because of they could not provide visibility to their potential customers.  

As I mentioned, there were two categories.  The first one was productivity related.  This one -- improved operational efficiency, I’m sorry, was the first one.  

Keynote Presentation with Bruce Silver: Business-Empowered BPM Implementation: Good for Business... and IT

This category, the second one, is support for innovation.  And this one has more potential for bottom line results to many enterprises because it unlocks new capability.  So let’s take a look at some examples.  The first one is capturing new business.  The indicator is the enterprise is able to respond more effectively to new business opportunities.  And as you’ll see in all of these solutions is heavily oriented towards BPM and SOA.  

The first example illustrating the capturing new business example was a large printing vendor.  The company had maxed out is manual order processing capability; they could no longer physically handle increased volume in traffic.  They implemented a BPM solution that automated many of their order processing tasks and the result was they were able to increase their order volumes by 30% within the first 30 days and they have continued to show improvements beyond that.  

The next one is talking about new capabilities.  What this refers to is being able to do things that were unable to be done with the existing environment.  And let me show you an example that highlights this very quickly.  This was a title insurance company.  The problem was the company was unable to differentiate itself from its competition.  It didn’t do much different than any of the other title insurance firms were so they had to compete on price.  

They implemented a BPM tool that enabled them to setup a totally electronic mortgage closing processing and the result was no physical meetings were required to finalize a mortgage.  The result was that this was clear differentiator that enabled them get away from the price sensitive competition and actually provide a greater level of service, which they were able to charge a little bit more.  And they also increased their business over 50% in the first six months.  

And finally, the last one is a development time and cost savings.  Let me go right to the example quickly.  This was an European telecom provider.  The problem they had were they were also losing business due to limited effectiveness of their IT group being able to respond quickly to new business needs.  They implemented a BPM suite that included a streamlined application development environment on model-driven development and service oriented architecture.  

The result was that they were able to achieve a 75% reduction in their time required to create application functionality.  A huge differentiator for them.  We got a slide that in the survey I referred to earlier.  We talked to organizations about what benefits that they see, and as you see here, 37% had clear measurable benefits, 42% had some benefits, 18% had no measurable benefits.  

Process Management and the Bottom Line Panel Discussion: BPM in the Enterprise with Michael Dortch and Mark Rothman

We asked another question that talked about the impact of the BPM Center of Excellence, which is the dark blue bar shown at the top.  So what this is saying that of the group that had 37% had clear measurable benefits, 49% had a BPM Center of Excellence in place.  And the next layer group down, those had 42% had some success of failures.  Only 10% of those had a BPM Center of Excellence and so on down the line.  

This shows a very strong correlation between the BPM Center of Excellence and project success.  Why is that?  Well, if senior management is willing to fund a BPM Center of Excellence, it sends a message to the organization that we are supporting this effort.  The BPM Center of Excellence also provides better coordination of BPM activities.  This chart talks about whether or not organizations who had completed some of their efforts felt that they had met their expectations.  

And what this shows is 28% of the larger firms felt that they exceeded their goals, 58% of the larger firms that it met their goals, and 11% felt that it did not meet their goals.  Again, the impact of the BPM Center of Excellence on these results are clear.  With those who felt that the goals were significantly exceed, 67% of those had a BPM Center of Excellence.  And further on down the line you can see the success levels degraded with the availability of a BPM Center of Excellence.  

So I’m going to close here quickly with a few comments.  I’m just about out of time for my part of the show.  You need to clearly define your objectives when you’re doing your BPM project.  That will make sure that you match the right tool with what you’re trying to accomplish.  You need to development a joint business IT project team.  This is the most successful way that you can pursue an effort rather than individual groups trying to pursue BPM on their own.  

Use a BPM Center of Excellence to guide your efforts as we have shown in a couple of these slides recently.  The correlation is very strong.  And finally, procure a BPM tool or tools that meet your needs, bearing in mind that multiple tools may be needed.  We also found out during this survey that an average of four BPM tools existed in each of the enterprises that responded just indicating the different tools for the different specific requirements were implemented.  So with that, I’m going to turn it back to Beth now will and will be available for questions at the end.

BGB:    Thank you very much, Ken.  And now I’d like to turn the program over to Keith Swenson, Chief Architect and Vice President of Research and Development for Fujitsu.  Welcome Keith and thanks for joining us.

KS:    Thank you, Beth, it’s my pleasure.  Ken has pointed out many of the benefits of BPM as well as strategies to implement them.  Here at Fujitsu our Interstage BPM is used by customers all over the world to help them run their business in a more efficient manner.  One of the questions we get asked a lot is how do you get started?  And that’ll the focus of my presentation today.  

Let me first explain a compliance case.  This was a customer we that we had that wanted to review and streamline their revenue recognition process.  So potentially, there are millions of dollars in savings for this company.  Because this is a compliance case, it’s less about making it more efficient and more about making sure that they comply to every aspect of the law and avoid fines and fees and things like that.  

In order to get started, you have to understand what your business process is before you can automate it.  
So what they did was they hired a consulting firm with three consultants.  It took about six weeks, it cost about $300,000, and it involved about 20 people inside their own business who understood the line of business.  They went and interviewed all of the people involved in order to understand what they were currently doing and that’s a bit of a trouble there because those people are actively part of the business while they’re being interviewed about the business process.  

Many people are not really aware of the  process that they implement.  It is somewhat of a guess to reconstruct what it is that you on a daily basis and how the whole thing flows through.  And then, of course, there were several weeks of analysis in preparation of an official report.  So the important thing to note here is that it can be a significant effort to understand what your business is before you start your BPM project.  

Now, the standard way of doing this exactly the way that this company did it, which is that you take a look the operation manuals.  But sometimes those manuals are out-of-date; they’re not showing you the latest way that the business works.  Then you interview the key people involved and to the extent that they know how the thing runs.  It’s kind of a quandary, of course, these are professionals.  

They obviously know what the process is but much of this information is tested knowledge, its knowledge that you can do -- you know it, but it’s hard to externalize and say.  Then a process is put together which may or may not match reality.  

One of the interesting things that Fujitsu has is we’re now offering a Process Discovery Service where we can actually come in and help you do that.  

podcast boxHear Charles Brett main points about using event processing (3:44)

What we have found is that even if your IT systems are not integrated into a Business Process Management system now, and they’re not integrated together into a business process, what we’re finding though is that these people are using different applications and that those application are in fact recording when things happen.  So the data is actually there; its being collected by your organization. It’s simply not integrated together.  That’s where we can help.

We can bring the data, the log file so to speak, from these various applications together and do analysis on them and come back and show you your business processes.  Here’s a depiction of how this might work.  We have consultants who will come and analyze your applications that you’re using in your organization, determine what we need to extract, and we’ll extract this event data from your existing application.  

There’s no need to change your organization or to deploy new software into your organization, we pull the data that already exist.  We then run event extraction on it and we discover business processes.  We then go through a phase of process analysis because what we’ll find is that the way you’re working today it may not be the best way to work but we can give you some insight into what has worked well and what the exceptional cases are and how you have to design your processes to handle those exceptional cases.  

The first example of actual process visualization that I have here is from an organization and is the manufacturing company.  And this is from about 18,000 process instances.  And as you can see, it looks like a mess.  It’s very hard to tell anything from this process diagram and that’s the thing you need to realize that in a real world organization, as you run your real processes, there are a lot of exceptions.  

In fact, a successful organization is successful precisely because it can handle exceptions, not because it does the exact same thing every time.  And so in real data, you’re going to see not such a perfect diagram come out.  But one of the features that we have is the ability to draw back and to analyze across the 8,000 cases and determine what the most common cases are.  

And so, what you’re seeing here was extracted from that same data but only the 40% of the cases that were most common.  And so out of that mess comes a process that show what the organization’s been doing.  And from this you can analyze, in fact, this organization took a look at this -- some of these loopbacks.  They determined that they were not operating sufficiently as they should.  

They changed their process slightly, they did some steps upfront to avoid loops later on, and in fact, they improved not only the process but they had a measureable improvement in the product as well.  So I talked about the most common case, that’s the sunny day scenario, that’s the way the process goes when everything goes well but what about when things don’t go well?  

So we have a way of visualizing exceptional cases, and in this diagram, you see the red line is an exception case.  Then the software allow you to view what happened in a particular case and to understand why that exceptional case about and what you could’ve designed it, how you could’ve designed it better to avoid problems.  A third example here is where we were able to extract data from an organization and this organization was using the same software across the entire organization and they thought they were doing things the same way.  

But what we really found was two branch offices that were actually using the same software but using it in different ways.  On the left, you’ll see an example where about half of the orders were backordered and half the orders were handled out of stock.  On the right, we see a case where most of the orders were being handled out of stock.  

This organization was not aware that the different branches were working differently, but this exposed that and allowed them see that and then they go back and decide which branch was actually operating more efficiently, depends on their own business, it gives them the questions to ask and then they can possibly institute the same process across the whole organization.  

Another way that this analysis can help is by looking at how long it takes on the average for a particular step in the process to take.  If a step in the process is very, very consistent, and so the deviation is very small, that’s usually an indication of a very mature process and a very mature activity.  But if the activity takes -- there’s a large deviation at times.  

Sometimes it’s very quick, sometimes it takes very long, that’s often an indication of something that can be improved and so that gives you something to look at in the process and something to possibly improve about it.  

So to summarize what our process discovery service will do, is to come to an organization and extract existing data that already exist there, to then use that data to map out your existing business processes and to give you insight into how your business is currently performing. And to give you insight into two exceptions so that you can design a business process which will work for you effectively in the future.  

And the amazing things about this is the turnaround time.  We can, with very small amount of interruption to the organization, we can usually discover your business processes in about seven days and that is big advantage in kicking off your business process initiative.  

There’s some immediate ROI on that and nothing has to be installed into your organization.  And coming back to what Ken said, as you do your BPM initiative, you need to have a team that’s put together of both business people and IT people.  And one of the interesting things here is that this approach allows the IT people to participate more fully in the design stage of the process.  

They actually can contribute to helping to show what the business process is.  Also, these become snapshots of the business process as it is so that later on once you got the process automate, you have something to look back on and to compare it to so that you can show how much improvement you’ve actually achieved.  So that’s it.  

We’ve got some contact information here if you’re interested in learning more about Interstage BPM or the Interstage Business Process Discovery service, please contact us at interstage@us.fujitsu.com.  And with that, let me hand it back over to Beth so we can go on to the question and answer session.

BGB:    Okay.  Well, thank you very much, Keith.  And now, I’d like to remind our audience if you’d like to ask a question, please press the “Ask a Question” button on your console.  Before we go to your first question, please take a moment to answer this poll.  Would you be interested in participating in Fujitsu’s Automated Process Discovery Pilot Program at no cost?  And take a moment and we’ll be back with you shortly.  


For our first question, Ken, will BPM replace existing business applications or will it be complementary and work with existing applications?

KV:    Well, that’s a very interesting question.  At the moment, we do not believe that BPM tools will replace business applications.  There’s a whole wealth of corporate information tied up inside of a wide of range of ERP, CRM, financial applications, and that data can stay right where it is.  BPM will make it easier to get information in and out of these tools.  

It will make it easier to modify processes, surrounding how some of that information is used, and it will also make it easier to develop new composite applications that can use some of that data from the existing databases where it resides.  So it’s highly complementary in that we do not expect BPM solutions will be replacing wholesale replacement of business applications for anytime in the foreseeable future.  Keith, what do you think about that?

KS:    Well, that’s sounds right.  Obviously, the existing applications are still going to be there for a long time so complementary is the way we’re seeing it at them.  We’re seeing people continue to use applications and then replace functions as it makes sense to integrate them together into a business process.

BGB:    Okay.  Now, we have a couple of questions regarding human processes.  What’s the best approach to begin on automation of human processes?  Do you start with a regular routine functions and then automate exception processes or do you do exceptions first?  Ken, do you have an answer for that one?

KV:    Yes, I think Keith will probably have something to say because I his company does a lot with Human-Centric process.  I think the -- in any case, in any type of BPM project, where you start will depend upon what the operational pressures are upon your group.  So if, I mean, in many cases, you will find that BPM efforts, even bringing the tool in-house was directly connected to a specific project that was already chosen.  

So in those situations that’s a foregone conclusion and you don’t have to give that any thought.  In general, if that’s not the case, if you have a clean plate, and you can start on a clean palate, then it’s always best to start small and then learn as you go along.  But as we indicated earlier, that’s a luxury that’s not always available to many organization.  They’re doing BPM for a very specific reason to deal with a operational threat.  Keith, what do you think?

KS:    Yeah, that’s right.  The best advice I can give for looking at human processes is to start by looking at the things that people do.  And the reason I mention that is that we found that when people approach Business Process Management, they’ll come from one of two approaches.  They could come from the human point of view where they’re looking at what people do.  

But a large number of will come from the point of view of what data gets transferred around.  And if you’re asking the question, how does data get transferred around, you’re not really looking at what people are doing; you’re looking at things that would be helped facilitate them.  As for the question, do you start with the exceptions or do you do start with the regular?  

You have do those together.  So what you want to do is find a functional block which provides value and supports what the people, the choices, they need to make, the various branches that need to go, and pick a interconnected set of tasks that provides value and do each of those blocks at a time.

KV:    Beth, do you have any more questions?

BGB:    Yes, I’m sorry.  Keith, is your process discovery, does it handle human processes as well or is only for automated?

KS:    The process discovery service can be used for discovering both human processes as well as completely automated processes.  But where’s we’re seeing the most bang for the buck, the most value to the organization is in helping to optimize the human processes in an organization.  

It’s really great for -- we look at these events that get recorded and the logs of the various applications and those events are reflecting what a person has done.  And what we want to do is then look at the process at what the various people are doing, add steps in the process.  And if we can then through looking at that picture, if we can optimize the human process, there’s often a very big payoff for the organization.  

BGB:    Now, is your process discovery a product or a service?

KS:    Process discovery is a service.  What we mean by that is we got some technology, which we have developed which helps us to do this.  But since we see this primarily used to kick off a BPM project, we see this a way of quickly coming in and helping people to get started.  It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in many cases for us to train someone on how to use this if they’re going to use it only once or twice.  

So instead what we do is we’ll come in with a team of people and we will take a look at the applications that are involved in a particular business process, we’ll determine what data needs to be drawn out of those applications, we’ll then correlate the various events together to make processes, and then we come back and show you what the processes are.  

And we can do that in about a week or two, so seven to ten days we can come back and show you your processes.  That then becomes the beginning point for BPM for implementation of your BPM automation.

BGB:    Okay.  Ken, could you say a little more about establishing a BPM Center of Excellence.  Who is it actually comprised of?  What is the average size of this committee and what are the core roles and responsibilities?

KV:    Okay.  We’ll see how much of this we can cover quickly.  The BPM Center of Excellence should number one have its leadership role coming from the business side.  And surprisingly, we surveyed 18 large financial institutions in the last year who had a BPM Center of Excellence and were very surprised to find that in all of those situations the IT organization was providing the leadership for the BPM COE.  

Now, why would that be?  We believe that it’s a matter of expedience.  The IT organization is normally a centralized group or frequently a centralized group or has a centralized component providing many services to the organization.  And it would be more difficult for an individual line of business to fund a BPM Center of Excellence than it would be for  an IT organization with a more wider scope.  

Also, the IT organizations frequently already have competency centers in place, integration competency center, for example, could be a starting point for a BPM Center of Excellence but we need to very clear that long term we believe that the business side has to provide the major leadership for the BPM Center of Excellence, otherwise, it’ll get sidetracked into many technical discussions that will limit its effectiveness.  

The Center of Excellence should have somebody who’s a visionary from the business side who understands what the business challenges are and can provide a lot of feedback and have some vision of the future of the business that can be wrapped into the planning for what the types of projects are that the BPM Center of Excellence works on.  

Individual process experts from individual work areas should also be included.  These would be more temporary assignments.  As an individual projects gets worked on, these people should be brought into this BPM COE and then transferred back to their original workplaces after the efforts are done.  IT people have to be involved in order to support it, but primarily, the leadership should come from the business side.  Keith, anything else you want to add there?

KS:    Yeah, I’d just like to mention that for about two years we’ve been getting a lot of requests from customers for a Center of Excellence type thing.  And I think what’s happening there is BPM technology is very well accepted as technology today but there’s a need to pool the skills at being able do the BPM and so organizing that into a Center of Excellence makes a lot of sense.  

We’re also in the past we were seeing islands of integration, we were seeing particular divisions and departments integrating.  We’re now seeing cross-divisional processes and that’s  really driving the need for Center of Excellence.  And so we’ve seen requests for application partitioning in our new Version 10 product, which now allows you to put multiple applications in there, but keeps them isolated so that different groups can be hosting their applications.  That’s actually very important capability that a Center of Excellence would want to provide.

BGB:    Okay.  Well, I apologize, we’ve run out of time.  We don’t have time for the rest of the questions, but there are some interesting ones here.  Please visit forum and ask your question, continue the discussion.  I hope you’ll all state tuned.  We have a great program coming up.  And next up have Dennis Byron at noon, Eastern Time with Jim Sinur talking about how putting BPM at the top of the stack help the bottom line.  

At one o’clock Eastern time, Bruce Silver is going to be talking about Business Empowered BPM Implementations.  And please come back at two to join our live panel discussion.  And we’re talking about what makes this go in organizations as well.  Please be sure to visit all the booths.  You can see a booth popup now.  We thank Fujitsu for sponsoring this keynote presentation.  So everyone who visits all the booths will be eligible to win the iPhone.  So I hope you have a great day and we’ll see you again shortly.

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