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Thought this post from Karl Walter Keirstead was interesting where he writes:
If you are practicing BPM, you could be called out before the game starts if you’re not simultaneously practicing outside-in.
So is there ever a call to use inside-out BPM anymore?
Tuesday, April 29 2014, 09:45 AM
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, April 29 2014, 10:08 AM - #Permalink
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    Pretty self serving post from an engineer. Didn't think anyone practiced inside-out in the first place. And as for the ECM, CRM, ICBM inside your BPM....well I can only point to my most infamous of posts as to how I feel about that. http://bpmredux.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/what-the-fk-is-bpm-two-years-on/ ;)
    • Scott Francis
      more than a month ago
      this BPM is dead stuff has worked out great for me, as a contrarian. since 2012 business has more than doubled for us.
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    Tuesday, April 29 2014, 10:47 AM - #Permalink
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    Saying "BPM should use an outside-in approach" is a kind of tautology. The whole point of BPM is to consider the overall effect of the collection of activities. We know that improving a single step in a process can make the entire process worse. Local optimizations don't always lead to global optimums. The central idea in BPM is that you will evaluate you improvements according to the process as a whole. The definition of a customer is someone who is the recipient of a product or service. There are internal customers and external customers, but they always represent the recipient of the output of an entire process. Therefor, if you are going to measure you improvement in the process according to increases in the overall process, then you must measure according to the effect on the customer. In other words: outside-in. Anyone doing "inside-out" was not doing BPM in the first place.
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    Tuesday, April 29 2014, 11:10 AM - #Permalink
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    No. Designing processes without considering the customer (external and internal) is definitely dead or at the very least doomed to fail. The bigger question is do today's BPMS really have outside in capabilities?
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    Tuesday, April 29 2014, 11:42 AM - #Permalink
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    Was it ever really such? Agree with Keith "Anyone doing "inside-out" was not doing BPM in the first place." ALL your people facing requirements such CRM SCM HRM ACM etc must be "outside in" and adaptive as change is inevitable. And of course automatically "orchestrate" your “processing”, legacy and historic record keeping as required. It really is that "simple"; unlike old "IT" who love the "inside" and guaranteed complexity trying to touch the outside...?
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    Tuesday, April 29 2014, 11:59 AM - #Permalink
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    If you are building a BPM-centric business execution platform then small and agile improvements may be required in different layers – rather like the multiple refinements of a ball trajectory in a pinball machine. Outside-in or inside-out are just generic recommendations. You may use as well “May Break Anything” (MBA) pattern – A person may break any recommendation (this one as well) if he/she knows the reasons behind that recommendation and how they apply to a particular situation. For example, in chess it is recommended to novices that they do not exchange the queen for a pawn, but such an exchange can be part of a combination which leads to checkmate. Thanks, AS
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    Tuesday, April 29 2014, 12:37 PM - #Permalink
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    There is no deads in our the world of information, only ghosts and zombies. What's interesting about them: they never know they are dead.
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    Tuesday, April 29 2014, 12:46 PM - #Permalink
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    If speaking seriously, I believe that OI is more than just a common customer centricity. Who would argue that BPM activities must be focused on the customer? Probable no one. Yet when it comes to practice... How about abandoning the idea of designing the Sales process and thinking about our customer's Purchasing process? It's refreshing for most people, to say the least.
    • Scott Francis
      more than a month ago
      100% agreement. and the fact that it is refreshing tells you that "inside" thinking (not inside out necessarily ;) isn't dead yet. people tend to focus on their own problems, it is up to us to get them to also (first?) think about their customers' perspective to inform the internal review.
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    Tuesday, April 29 2014, 03:55 PM - #Permalink
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    Good BPM has always been outside-in with the big picture being established before the engineering work starts. The only effective inside-out applications would relate to some process redesign ideas based on simulation and such. While the bulk of BPM applications have focused on the outside-in implementation, the real promise of BPM is the idea that you can improve your processes now that they have been orchestrated and automated. Business process simulation capabilities should allow running many 'what-if' scenarios based on real business data applied to business process models. And this would open up a rational basis for continuous process improvement. It is time to deliver the promise of BPM with process redesign using 'inside-out' techniques like process simulation.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, April 29 2014, 04:26 PM - #Permalink
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    Yah boo - we would all say that BPM was Outside-In rather than the other way around ... but let's face it, most BPM projects are usually done to put yet another band aid on an aging creaking existing infrastructure. Very seldom do those in charge of their silo say ... let's optimize for the customer experience. What they want is the quick and dirty solution. As pundits and observers ... we always advise against that. But it is always a struggle. Silos are the problem we are all trying to overcome. Point is that the best way of doing that is working outside-in. Generally speaking, the manager of a silo wants a solution to his/her problem. Optimizing for the end-to-end is usually more expensive and often takes longer. Hence we end up with the inside-out mind-set prevailing.
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  • Accepted Answer

    BPM Mentor
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    Tuesday, April 29 2014, 05:16 PM - #Permalink
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    First of all, to bring everybody on the same page: Outside In The Outside In strategy takes customer value as its starting and end point. Companies using this approach are focused on creating and nurturing their customers by providing high customer value. They put themselves in the position of their customers, and view themselves from their perspective. It’s also about having a firm vision that drives you forward; there’s no room here for looking behind your shoulder. Inside Out In contrast, the Inside Out perspective begins with a focus on the company’s own capabilities and strengths. With this approach a business will take account of its resources and look at providing them more efficiently. The problem with this approach is that by nature it’s limiting and demonstrates slowness in adopting changes in the market place. Second, reading all the comments above, it seems that the general impression is that Inside Out is dead. Third, no one defined the customer (although Derek Miers pointed out very well the difference between internal customer - IO and external customers - OI). Last but not least, my thoughts would be that IO and OI cannot exist one without the other! In order to deliver the customized products and services for the King Customer we need to run efficiently the internal business processes. Another mistake is to ask from the organization only a top-down or only a bottom-up approach. It will always be a mix of the two. Only top-down would mean re-engineering and only bottom-up would mean no sense of business strategy at the C-level. Therefore, I would certainly say that IO will never be dead.
    • Keith Swenson
      more than a month ago
      Here is my story about company IO. Customer wants a bunch of red cars. But company IO has a bunch a green paint, and focuses on delivering green paint effectively. Company IO becomes a zombie, and does not know it is dead. End of story.

      Given " a business will take account of its resources and look at providing them more efficiently" is precisely the wrong thing to do -- and we all know it. The only thing that matters is what the customer wants, and any internal capability that does not help the customer is worthless -- regardless of how much was invested in it. We all know this, and BPM method explicitly measures output as an entire process (see http://bpm.com/what-is-bpm.html)

      I am not understanding your conclusion that IO and OI cannot exist without the other.

      I agree with Derek that people will fall into an inside-out approach because of inappropriate shortcuts, and it might be more common than we think, however I do not see any logical rationale that anyone would take an inside-out position on purpose.
    • BPM Mentor
      more than a month ago
      Dear Keith,

      Your example Customer wants a bunch of red cars. But company IO has a bunch a green paint, and focuses on delivering green paint effectively. Company IO is dead, is not relevant for what I initially wrote. I would have said company IO has a bunch of red paint but it takes forever to deliver the cars and this example would fall into the IO approach, the topic of this thread. Your example is demonstrating an extreme case of OI approach (I don't think company IO would ever expect to successfully compete in a market for red cars selling green paint).

      Let me explain you what I meant by IO and OI cannot exist one without the other. Let's take some practical examples:
      Scenario A:
      - company A competes in the sport cars market and delivers as expected by its customers
      - company A decides to buy company B that produces steering wheels. Why? Because it will cost company A less to produce the steering wheel
      - company A and company B must take an IO approach to achieve business process integration
      - as long as the customer will not ask for a better price on the sport car, company A just made a good deal for itself only by using IO

      Scenario B:
      - company A competes in the sport cars market and delivers as expected by its customers
      - company A decides to take an IO approach to add a new fancy accessory and to test market reaction
      - market reaction is good, another successful IO approach
      (I will not argue in this thread the danger of Customer is King mantra)

      Scenario C:
      - company A competes in the sport cars market and delivers as expected by its customers
      - company A decides to start an IO Quality initiative after an analysis proving waste is a major internal problem

      In the meantime, market is always changing so OI is just a constantly concern for a realistic company.

      Therefore, I would again say that IO and OI must co-exist in a smart organization.

      Please feel free to add your thoughts.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, April 30 2014, 02:33 AM - #Permalink
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    A process is just a means, so a good process should start at the end. Or maybe a better question; what do stakeholders want from us and what are the needed characteristics of the process to deliver that? I said stakeholders because when you only do 'lean' things that add value for a 'real' customer, you will be broke and in jail in a week. So outside in should indeed start with what customers want from you, but unfortunately more stakeholders are expecting something from the process or it's result. For example, take Keith's red car. That's what customers want. And maybe they want if fast and cheap. So the process 'Deliver car' has to deliver this promise. But the customer is not the only one: The government wants that the process and car is compliant with a lot of rules on safety, environment etc The factory owner wants a profit margin of 42% on each car The employees want a safe work environment. So, good luck my dear process to fulfill all these wishes. So indeed outside in view is not wrong, but when you only focus on the customer, you might get disappointed in real life when the other stakeholders come in. So I would also take them into consideration. And to me that's what inside out is about: 1. What result does the customer want (who is really paying our bills?) 2. What do we promise about that result (time, costs, quality, etc) 3. What do other stakeholders expect about the process or it's result? 4. What are the needed characteristics of the process to fulfill all these needs?
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