Peter Schooff:How important is the cloud to digital transformation?
Keith Swenson: It's satisfying after struggling for a decade with trying to get people to move to the cloud. It's satisfying to see that people are no longer worried about the cloud. It's perfectly accessible. A lot of our services run in the cloud. We have figured out that when it comes to security breaches, it's better to have your IT system. You know, you have your data centers run by people who do nothing else. That's all they do, run data centers. That way, all the proper procedures are taken care of.
So from that aspect, I'm seeing people accepting the cloud a tremendous amount. Now, still when it comes to digital transformation, I think ... you can do that with data centers and in-house. You can do it out of house. I don't think that should be a barrier. I don't think you'd want to go to a pure cloud-only solution because then you kind of become trapped. Also you wouldn't want to invest in something that only runs in-house. You'd want to have that flexibility. I think if you're looking forward, you need to consider agility and the ability to move quickly back and forth between your on-premise and cloud. And make them work together in a true hybrid approach. That's the safest approach for anybody.
Peter Schooff: That's great. We've touched on a lot of things. What would you say are the one or two key takeaways you think people should remember from this podcast?
Keith Swenson: Okay, there's one thing I can throw out there. Process is no longer the center of this thing. For many, many years, we've been preaching, let's look at business process. And why we were looking at business process is because we wanted to take the focus off of functional programming. In other words, I've got an accounting department, and I handle accounts receivable. So I'm gonna optimize accounts receivable on its own. But accounts receivable is only one part of a longer process, and it's more important that you look at the whole thing holistically and you identify what your goals are.
So that's why we moved to a process-oriented view on designing IT systems. But when I say that process is no longer the center of it, what I'm saying is that we still want that goal. We still want the long-term goal, but what's happening is that we often can't identify the process before we start. We can identify the goal from the beginning, so we want to be goal-centered, and that's where case management comes in. You can assign a goal to a case. That's where you're gonna go. And then the process becomes auxiliary. It's off on the side. And when you can say, "Oh okay, fine, to get to the goal, I could use this process," you'll bring in that process and use it. And you'll bring in a bunch of different processes and combine them. But there may be aspects of your case that simply ... you haven't had the process for that, but you still have the goal.
So I mean everything ... We've unseated process as the center of the whole system. I mentioned earlier that sharing is easy, but controlling the sharing is difficult and challenging, so usability around security, access control. Making it natural, making it like a conversation. When you involve somebody in a conversation, they somehow automatically get the appropriate rights to the artifacts that they need to carry on the conversation. We're still challenged in trying to find how to make that really work.
Same thing with the constant change we see in our organizations. Say you've got a case that's got 20 to 30 tasks assigned to people. And then a new person joins the organization. Now you have to go back and reassign all the tasks. There needs to be a better way to allow this stuff to just flow.
You mentioned robotic process automation. That's a very important integration technique. There's another thing. Everybody, of course, knows about deep learning and analytics. That's gonna be huge in digital transformation. In other words, we're going to implement the systems. I said move quickly, deploy, but you also need to watch what you're doing. And that's where ... they call them real-time analytics. They're not strictly real-time, but anyway, analytics that are fairly current allows you to see how things are going and keep tabs on it. That's incredibly important.
And what is really needed is integrative platforms that bring all of these pieces together. Opensource or proprietary or whatever it is, having them pre-fit into a platform that's known to work together, giving you all those capability, that's gonna be a key aspect of your ... a central part of your digital transformation plan.
Get Keith's new book - When Thinking Matters in the Workplace: How Executives and Leaders of Knowledge Work Teams Can Innovate with Case Management - available at Amazon.