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  1. Peter Schooff
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. Tuesday, August 02 2016, 09:52 AM
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As Ian Gotts wrote here: "We need to rebrand 'process' so it is palatable by these CEO's. So maybe a supplementary question for this group is 'What do we call 'process' so the high growth CEO will see it as important?'" So do you think we need a new name for processes, and if so, what should it be?

Emiel Kelly Accepted Answer

Using the general word (with 123.839 meanings) "process" never made much sense. Or other non saying things like end-to-end or customer-to -customer.


Although the ideas behind what we call BPM make sense, I always try to bring some context by referring to "these are the useful things what we do here for our customers"


Liker "Deliver Pizza", "Installing software" or "Deliver training"


The big challenge is of course to agree on the usefullnes of the result of those....eeeh... processes.
Common Sensei at Procesje.nl
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 1
Walter Bril Accepted Answer

Already answered that question last week :-). And basically it's actually dead simple: We just need to replace the phrase
[b]Process[/b]
with
[b]Profit[/b]
.


So BPM becomes:
[b]Business Profit Management[/b]
. Watch how many CEO's will pay attention...


Jokes aside, I'll repeat the comment I gave on [url="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/business-process-dead-long-live-customer-journey-keith-stagner?trk=hp-feed-article-title-like"]this Pulse article[/url] by Keith Stagner:


It's already 2 decades ago when I read "Beyond Reengineering" by M. Hammer. Not much later I understood its all about the "why". Answering the why of any activity in the context of adding value for the customer justifies the reason for existence. No customer value = no reason whatsoever for existence.


Unfortunately BPM got way too much sucked into the technological / commercial / pick me area. It was all about (technical, automated) execution of process
[i]and not anymore about the why. [/i]
And leaving (loads of) gaps (that were too difficult for automation).


Therefore it might be an idea to combine the customer journey with
[b]Business Process [quote][u]Knowledge[/u]
Managemen[/b][/quote]t rather than BPM. The incentive behind it being: What about when John " Spreadsheet" Doe leaves your company...


As currently is happening to the term
[i]blockchain[/i]
, the same has happened to thet term "process." On short term basis there will be not so much profit, so investors and CEO's will look quickly at the next hype.


 
Comment
I see Knowledge Management as having a main focus under "Strategy".


Strategy -> Initiatives -> Cases [explicit coordination of work] -> KPIs –> Strategy


Selecting, prioritizing and mapping out "Initiatives" is implementation

Process Management\Workflow Management/Case Management is all about converting information into action.
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 4 months ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 2

Would help.


The problem is wider than just the term "process":


Click on the URL to get to an article I wrote last week . . .


[b]Is it time to rename "Business Process Management" to "Business Performance Management"?[/b]



but that will not work because there already is a movement called "Business Performance Management" in a crowded market area PLUS there are several other key methodologies needed to go from operational objectives to strategic objectives. The BPM we know would  remain a key module in a wider arena.


At first sight, I don't see the Business Performance Management software products doing a very good job on other than perhaps analytics and dashboarding. .And, given the evolution of analytics to real-time predictive analytics, it may be that these products need to evolve or have an almost singular focus on dashboarding.


See Capterra's list of "Top Business Performance Management Software Products"


Now may be a good time to put a focus on how the gap between operations and strategy can be narrowed.
References
  1. http://wp.me/pzzpB-MB
  2. http://www.capterra.com/business-performance-management-software/
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George Chast Accepted Answer

Whenever people get hung up on terms, I step back and say, "it's simply the work you do that matters."


That's it. It is the "work you do."


Let's stop wasting time defining things and trying to get people to understand our terms and just help them.
Comment
Agree it's about work. But I would stress on work towards a useful result. And change it in "Work WE do"
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 4 months ago
Well, i'd say it's the difference between effective and efficient. I see so much ineffective work being conducted in the most efficiently way. Hence I'm keen asking the WHY before I even dream of automating something :-).
  1. Walter Bril
  2. 4 months ago
Bravo George "the work you do" -- this is the reason that BPM exists. I do disagree however that this is what we should call BPM. There's a distinction between purpose and technology.
  1. John Morris
  2. 4 months ago
BTW, one of the early questions people ask is "How do I sell this internally?"
My answer? "Don't say BPM!"
  1. George Chast
  2. 4 months ago
  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 4

Maybe to align our understanding of the ‘process’ concept first?


If one can do “Business Process (as explicit coordination of work) Management” then performance and profit will come.


Thanks,

AS



Comment
Sure and the essential advantage of this BPM is that its "explicit coordination" can be used for informed decision-making at all the steps of your chain!
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 4 months ago
Sure, but this presumes the right work is being done so we need

Strategy -> Initiatives -> Cases [explicit coordination of work] -> KPIs –> Strategy
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 4 months ago
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Tim Bryce Accepted Answer

We always defined the hierarchy of an Information System as:


LEVEL 1 - System


LEVEL 2  - Sub-System (a business process)


LEVEL 3 - Procedures (both Administrative & Computer)


LEVEL 4 - Programs (for Computer Procedures)


LEVEL 4 - Operational Steps (aka Tasks; for Administrative Procedures).


For more info, see:


[url="http://www.modernanalyst.com/Resources/Articles/tabid/115/ID/1056/Information-Systems-Theory-101.aspx"]http://www.modernanalyst.com/Resources/Articles/tabid/115/ID/1056/Information-Systems-Theory-101.aspx[/url]


 
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  1. more than a month ago
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Bogdan Nafornita Accepted Answer

Operations.
Managing Founder, profluo.com
Comment
@Patrick, then just call it whatever the pocket likes / knows best. They don't care about the underlying tech and math, they just want a business app that fixes their skit
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
  2. 4 months ago
+2.... but it's usually not the COO that brings an initiative or a BPMS in-house. It's not even IT these days (for the most part), it's an LOB with a wallet.
  1. Patrick Lujan
  2. 4 months ago
+1... The COO will get it.
  1. John Reynolds
  2. 4 months ago
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  3. # 7
John Morris Accepted Answer

How to kill a technology: define it in generic business terms. I call it "the lure of the generic".


Here's a blog post I wrote in 2009 on this topic:


[url="http://www.standupsales.com/content/how-not-end-level-playing-field-competition"]
[b]How Not To End Up On A Level Playing Field With The Competition[/b]
[/url]


A technology is not its outcome. BPM or process is not their outcomes. To confuse the two is to confuse the customer and to put on the table all the other ways of doing the same thing.


Do we need a new word for accounting? Or engineering?


Maybe the word "process" could be adjusted a bit. I always liked "
[b][quote][u]workflow[/u]
[/b][/quote]", even though for historical reasons it's not very popular. But it sells well.


Our discomfort with the word process is a huge sales issue. It's an identity crisis. Either BPM technology exists or it doesn't. And it does. BPM technology, as the technology which uniquely concerns the work of business should be seen as a core business technology. Along with business rules, BPM technology helps you automate the work of business. This is something to be proud of. And to get better at talking about. And selling.
Comment
Ian -- you're making some really great points -- especially re: BPM-Grandaddy Pega positioning themselves as CRM (among other things) -- and BPM technology becoming another (checklist) feature in an ERP "like reporting or identity management" etc. And the result then is "fighting for a better yesterday".

I could even add per my enthusiasm for comparing accounting and BPM that accounting technology is also "just a feature" of ERP systems, indeed ERP is built around a GL. And going further, SAP has its own estimable in-house BPM product in NetWeaver.

So fair enough, there is truth in your comments.

Please allow me to present an alternative view though. Which is, "there's a difference between technology, product and outcomes". "Operational excellence", for example, is both a mantra and an outcome -- but not really a technology.

Here's another example showing a distinction between technology, product and outcome: SAP ERP is a product which includes BPM. And SAP drives outcomes. But NetWeaver, used according to Volker Stiehl's recipes, is a also and irreducibly a technology in daily usage.

I also took the original excellent question to apply to BPM generally. If BPM and accounting are both subsumed into products and outcomes, that's great. But BPM and accounting don't lose their identity. And the need for on-going research. And the professional enthusiasm. And day-to-day usage as-BPM. When a bookkeeper uses QuickBooks, they are doing accounting. When a call center CSR uses Avaya Breeze to manage inbound calls, they are doing workflow.

There's a danger that hard-won BPM-as-BPM momentum will be lost when BPM becomes just a feature checklist. BPM is unique, important and difficult. And the payoffs for those that stay the course will be measurable.
  1. John Morris
  2. 4 months ago
Yes, Ian, actually, ERP tools have initiated the workflow technology to deal with their inflexibility.
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 4 months ago
Sorry John - but BPM technology / workflow exists as part of core apps like ERP and CRM, the same way reporting or user management does. The market for standalone BPM technology (i.e. workflow/automation/BPMS) is dwindling unless you can find a profitable niche to hide in. If you need an example look at the grand-daddy of BPM - Pega. They present themselves as a CRM vendor.... (ironically just as Salesforce has moved on from CRM and call themselves Customer Success.) Getting better as selling BPM technology is fighting for a better yesterday.

So when I posed the question I meant process in its wider operational context. Hey there's a thought.. Call it Operational Excellence.
  1. Ian Gotts
  2. 4 months ago
David C: Even though Emiel has encouraged us to get back to work (!) here's my comment on "collaboration". Sure, executives and managers like collaboration (although I wonder, "for how long") today. But BPM technology and process technology is not identical to collaboration. Collaboration is an outcome of social processes enabled in part by technology; some of that technology is process-oriented and BPM-based.
  1. John Morris
  2. 4 months ago
I, too, have always liked "workflow".

Way back, we used to talk about "flowgraphs" that were easily differentiated from "decision trees" by the passage of time along flowgraphs..

I have tended to use "best practices" in place of "processes".

"Worklfow Management" using best practice templates (private instances of templates per order, per insurance claim, per patient) can then take on a focus of automated resource allocation, leveling and balancing within and across Cases (the run time workflow management environment).plus decision support at steps as these become current.

BPM provides background guidance in all of this, with the run time Case environment hosting objectives and providing governance (preventing extreme, unwanted deviations away from best practices).

For me,'best practives" gives a lot of flexibility - there is recognition that a "best practice" can benefit from improvement (leading to better practices), pitches can be qualified by pointing out that "best" does not mean 'best" all of the time (you can skip steps, insert steps etc.)
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 4 months ago
Haha, that's your definition of Case Management ;-)

You are right. Unfortunately it got the wrong meaning in my opinion.

I wouldn;t call a case work, but you can work on a case ;-)

Let's stop these discussions and get to work...
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 4 months ago
Workflow is too restrictive in today's world and unlikely to excite busines. Collaboration gives better vision of people working together?
  1. David Chassels
  2. 4 months ago
"Case management" has too many syllables. And anyway, not all work is case management, so we just lost a big chunk of the market. But all cases are work. All projects are work. The organization of work is what business and organization is about. That's it.
  1. John Morris
  2. 4 months ago
Does work flow? No, I think cases do. From work to work.

If I had to choose one replacement of all it would be "Case Management" because that is what organizations do (and some have processes for that ;-)
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 4 months ago
I'm liking workflow more and more, even though I don't dislike "process". "Explicit coordination" has too many syllables. And could just as easily refer to bulletin boards and morning reviews. Workflow includes the word "work". And "flow" is a proxy for process. The fact that there are historical definitions that interfere with this shouldn't really be a roadblock.
  1. John Morris
  2. 4 months ago
Alexander, your point is well taken, and indeed several earlier comments have refered to the "why". From a sales perspective, we certainly need the why, which would be a "business case". My point though is to emphasize the difference between technology and business case. We seem to want to hide the technology. That's like hiding the calculus and engineering that goes into making a bridge, and only focusing on the nice new traffic flows. Someone has to care about the stresses and strains and construction.
  1. John Morris
  2. 4 months ago
"workflow" is associated with what you see, "explicit coordination" is about WHY that work flows as we see it.
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 4 months ago
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  3. # 8
David Chassels Accepted Answer

For BPM the P could be process or performance the later certainly would gain quicker attention at "C" level but fact should remain it is the way to think how outcomes achieved. Let's remember BPM was coined in context of IT in recognition of that gap between people and the inside out driven systems of "processing". Trying to change the BPM concept would be a mistake and cause confusion. After all BPR still means something?


I think the real challenge is what do you call the supporting software that could achieve that quick buy in? I think Walter hit a button with Knowledge. Add the must have Adaptive capability in the Software and the much loved TLA tag could be AKS....? The real trick is to explain in business language how it works to deliver better knowledge to improve operational performance reflecting the inevitable future change; making it a future proof investment.
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 9
John Morris Accepted Answer

Let's compare ("again") to accounting. Accounting enables us to track "performance" and "profits". These are terms which "catch the attention of C-suite executives". But accounting is still accounting.
[u]You can't sell something by selling only it's benefit[/u]
. (See my note above on the "lure of the generic"). An outcome is not a feature; an outcome is not a technology.
[u]Like it or not, we are in the technology business[/u]
. Accountants are also in the technology business, the accounting technology business, at least the ones that are successful. They figure out how to sell outcomes AND accounting at the same time.
Comment
David -- fascinating comment -- the link between accounting, process and BPM isn't just a nice comparison -- but it's a real fact of business. And increasingly interesting is what you are saying I think. Sounds like opportunity, yes? : )
  1. John Morris
  2. 4 months ago
John
Interestingly there is very current focus in accounting profession about Assurance and how ensure it is meaningful...! Accounting records book keeping rely on being feed data from business operations. Sadly many problems not picked up every even if the books squared! So need to get back to basics understanding just how data created = BPM people and their processes where the audit focus was in the 70s. Yes now the technology in software now exists to support but not sure the profession quite "get it".......yet!
  1. David Chassels
  2. 4 months ago
Perhaps we have all learned too well a core principle of marketing, captured so beautifully in the famous aphorism by Prof. Philip Kotler ("Principles of Marketing"):

"A manufacturer of quarter-inch drill bits may think that the customer needs a drill bit. But what the customer really needs is a quarter-inch hole."

So, we correctly focus on the outcome, in this case the quarter-inch-hole.

But this excellent lesson has been widely misapplied though, I believe, especially by American companies and especially where any kind of technology or real things are concerned. One begins to discount the importance of the drill or the importance of knowing how to manufacture.

In the case of the idea of process technology, in focusing so much on C-suite saleability (which is certainly important) we lose the focus on BPM and process technology. And then wonder why the technology isn't as good as it could be.
  1. John Morris
  2. 4 months ago
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Patrick Lujan Accepted Answer
Blog Writer

"Processes?" No. That's pretty straightforward. So too is this site domain's own definition for BPM - http://bpm.com/what-is-bpm. This is a horse that's been flogged to a pulp. I'm on the "let's get to work" wagon, always have been. And for the record, yeah, I like "workflow" too.
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E Scott Menter Accepted Answer
Blog Writer

I do like the points John is [url="http://bpm.com/bpm-today/in-the-forum/do-we-need-a-new-name-for-processes#reply-3950"]making[/url] [url="http://bpm.com/bpm-today/in-the-forum/do-we-need-a-new-name-for-processes#reply-3952"]above[/url]. I still use “process” when I specifically mean 
[i]process, [/i]
but when referring more generally to the things we model and create using BPM, “application” is a better term. Our focus has been on process for so long, we tend to forget that we're creating much more than that: we're building user experiences, defining and rationalizing business rules, generating dashboards and reports, all wrapped up with some ETL, web services, and analytics. Process is but one block in the giant Minecraftian castle of BPM-powered applications.
http://www.bplogix.com/images/icon-x-medium.png Scott
Comment
Absolutely love the image of a "Minecraftian castle"!
  1. John Morris
  2. 4 months ago
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  3. # 12

Workflow is associated with a rather well-defined flow of work, e.g. a conveyer belt or flow-chat . It ilikes the laminar (or streamline) flow of a liquid. Its mathematic (WHY a flow has this shape) is very simple thus such a flow (WHAT) is rather predictable and the operational excellence (HOW) is straightforward.


Unfortunately, there is also another kind of flow – turbulent one. Its mathematics is more complicated, it has no analytical solution and its behavior is not easy to predict (as far as I remember from my university time, we used some computer-based simulation models to visualise turbulent flows). The operational excellence is not managable by "streamline" way any more.


Modern processes are more dynamic than conveyer belts, so more explicit coordination techniques have to work together to simulate behavior of complex systems of processes.


Thanks,

AS
Comment
Good point, Karl. RE "BPM assumes that when one step ic committed the next-in-line step(s) immediately start but that is rarely the case. " - actually not BPM per se, but the flow-chart-based coordination technique whcih is only one of possible coordination techniques. For example, recently I saw a process-centric solution in which each activity had its own pre-defined start time (imagine the setting-up an event venue for with a lot of goods to be delivered by external providers in accordance with a predefined schedule). All the processes were defined as a schedule in the MS project tool.
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 4 months ago
I get it (Emiel Alexander) that for other than continuous processes, work itself really does not "flow".

Once you go beyond one person performing all of the steps along a process we get into handoff territory.

BPM assumes that when one step ic committed the next-in-line step(s) immediately start but that is rarely the case.

We know that there are delays caused by changing priorities, delays caused by the unanticipated, accordingly supervisors load up staff to where they have to make on-the-fly decisions re which tasks to do immediately and which ones to micro-schedule to later times/days.

So, we end up with a lot of interruptions for ongoing tasks and wait times between tasks. If you add up all of these times, they can rival or exceed the sum ot task performance times.

The one thing that flows (without exception) is time.
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 4 months ago
Re Other concerns . . .

“Providing the context for any incidences” is an important capability.

Raising an incident ticket is easily done in some of the environments that host BPM, probably not so easily done in others.

If the need to raise an incident ticket can be anticipated by positioning a gatekeeper task plan side to automatically launch a sub-process that performs your “light check” example process (i.e. if the performing resource at the gatekeeper task is “system”, no user needs to see or be aware of the gatekeeper task).

If the need to perform a check cannot be anticipated plan side, any run time environment that includes a “menu of services” can allow a user to manually launch a (e.g. “light check”) sub-process. Here, the user must know when the time is right to perform the check/action and a “suspend” tag needs to be imposed on certain main process current steps (i.e. wait for completion of “light check”).

If a “light check” process does not exist, it can be mapped, compiled, rolled out and featured in the “menu of services” as a new process.

The way our folks handle extraordinary processes at service menus in our Case environment is not as elegant as it could be - we suspend by overriding the roles of main process steps that need to be suspended to the specific user name who performs the manual launch. This ensures that no one other than that user can advance the processing at and beyond suspended tasks.

A better approach would be to merge the extraordinary process to the main process by adding on-the-fly arcs between the end point of a “light check” process and the main process task(s) that need to be suspended. This would avoid the need for role changes at main process tasks.
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 4 months ago
RE ' This causes wild gyrations in "float". ' - Exactly, one of the main concerns was to see that a late task has a potential negative effect on tasks which depend on it.

Other concerns:
- be sure that everything goes in accordance with the plan for next 48 hours
- alerts rising if number of hours to complete a running task (daily reported at 16:00) is abnormal
- provide the context for any incidences - e.g. a task to validate that all the lights are OK may initiate an incident ticket with all the details and an operator may add some images (worked even without a permanent Internet connectivity!)
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 4 months ago
The point about the BPM supporting software AKS is it must support all eventualities including these points. Time is important as is flexibility to recognise multiple choices as each task completed. Such "rules" should be readily incorporated and if required escalation option if set time expires. Likewise delays can be recognised maybe waiting for an event; nothing should be off the agenda! In addition all activity shouldbe capable of review by manager who can ready re allocate tasks as required in real time. This should address the issues raised in your concerns?
  1. David Chassels
  2. 4 months ago
Good example (event venue) which sounds like a classical Critical Path Method once-through project where MS Project or equivalent is the environment of choice for both mapping, operations control and predicting outcomes.

No reason, of course, why one could not build a flowgraph in a BPM mapping environment, attach timings to arcs, export the node/arc configuration to a CPM tool where the CPM tool would do the ES-EF-LS-LF (early start - early finish - late start - late finish) plus "float" calcs and ship back to the BPM environment time projections for activities.

The big problem with trying to do this is you have to assume all sub-pathways will be engaged/completed but facts are in b2b that many get dropped. This causes wild gyrations in "float".

In a purely deterministic flowgraph you are likely to see 12-10-8-6-4-2 over say a six week timeslice whereas with a flowgraph that contains branching decision boxes the float might read 12-10-8-20-18-16 if the sub-path that gets dropped was on "the critical path".
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 4 months ago
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  3. # 13
Amit Kothari Accepted Answer

I agree with some of the views above about basically just helping people with their problem and not getting hung up on the term.


We are beginning to think about "service design" as something that might be better suited to any service. More in the link on our blog cited within this post.


This makes more sense in the world of "anything as a service" - since a service outcome should be predictable and reliable. We are just saying that instead of a cloud service, this is a human-delivered service.
References
  1. https://tallyfy.com/service-design-software/
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