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If there were only one analytical technique the business process improvement (BPI) team could use, it should be quantitative data—and then I would expand quantitative data to include baseline data, customer data, and analytical data.

Is modeling the as-is current diagram tedious or exciting? It can be either, depending on how you do it, but why make it tedious if you can do it well, and make it fun and thought-provoking for the business process improvement (BPI) team.

Can you recognize the early warning signals that derail a business process improvement project? Many articles have been written about what makes process improvement projects fail and usually they list critical success factors. But the real question is how do you recognize the leading indicators in a process? And once you identify these signals what action should you take to cure the ill and get the process back on track or put a halt to the project altogether?

Let's look at the stages of the BPM Methodology and identify early warning signals and then suggest some countermeasures that are helpful to get things righted again.

wazeI’m at the bpmNEXT 2014 Conference this week. Held annually in the beautiful Asilomar Conference Grounds in Monterey, California, it’s a summit meeting of top industry vendors to share ideas and demonstrate emerging BPM technology.

Last night, Jim Sinur set the tone and painted a futuristic vision in his keynote talk, “My Process is Smarter than Me.” It’s a world of connected, goal-driven intelligent agents that work collaboratively to solve problems—Dynamic Case Management on steroids. Ultimately, he predicts that we’ll see then end of prescriptive process altogether; it will be supplanted by this combination of human and machine intelligence to deliver results.

Theo Priestley, Chief Evangelist for Software AG and frequent contributor to the BPM Forum recently asked me to review the book, The Digital Enterprise: The Moves and Motives of the Digital Leaders, written by Karl-Heinz Streibich, the CEO of Software AG.  The book is avaible at Amazon here.

Immediately, the book kicks off with the quote: Not every business is a digital business, but every business must become digital.

From the vantage point of business process management, I couldn't agree more. A subject that comes up occasionally with BPM (and with any technology older than a year), is the question, Is BPM dead? But I think the real question is, Are the old ways of doing business dead?  The answer: Yes, they are. Every branch of business and IT is undergoing a sea change that is working towards putting the customer front and center.

This book is an excellent primer in how to digitize your company, covering everything from the factory floor to the C-Suite. What I like most about the book is it provides excellent real-world case studies from industires as diverse as aviation, utilities, insurance companies, museums and casinos.

The book begins with a forward from Marc Benief, the CEO of Salesforce, and he sums it up quite well with:

"As any of the leaders of these companies will tell you, becoming a digital company, a connected company, a customer company, is a journey. You need to start as early as possible, and there is no finish line. After all, when it comes to technology, the only constant is change."

I will definitely be returning to this book for the many in-depth examples...so should you.

Last month I received a copy of Dr. Setrag Khoshafian's latest book, "Intelligent BPM: The Next Wave for Customer-centric Business Applications." I had peer-reviewed an early version and offered a jacket quote, but in all sincerity had I come across it any other way I would have bought it immediately. It's quite good.

Dr. Khoshafian is someone I have known for many years, back to the 1990s when he was the head engineer for the company that later became Savvion. He joined Pegasystems in 2003 (from Savvion) where he serves as Chief Evangelist and VP of BPM Technology, but his street cred and contributions to the evolution of BPM transcend any single vendor.