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From Kris Verlaenen's blog on bpmNEXT, Clay Richardson said: "75% of the current BPM programs nowadays won't survive the shift to digital." What do you think?
Jim Sinur
Blog Writer
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
BPM programs will likely get renamed something else, but the process functionality will still remain a key contributor to digital. As processes become more just in time, custom and dynamic, the meaning of process will shift. Process may mostly become the audit trail of what happened rather than the plan for work flowing. Maybe work management is a better name for the long run. My two cents
Comment
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 year ago
  3. #3813
"Work management" over "business process" -- this is a big question for sure!
RE "Maybe work management is a better name for the long run" Do we have "work management" already for last 4000+ years?
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 1
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My goodness, that is such a loaded question :) . I think you'd have to define what is meant by Digital. You also have to realize Clay Richardson has a business which is dependent on companies believing they need a whole new approach to how they approach processes. Personally, I really don't think what Clay defines as Digital and what is being done in the Process world necessarily intersect that much. Clay's definition of Digital, at least according to some of the presentations I have seen, is very focused on doing Design Thinking, with a strong focus on Innovation. In fact, much of his approach seems to be borrowed from Lean Startup approaches. That is all good and well so far as it goes. Innovation and start-up type activities, even as a mini-organization within a larger company, do not necessarily lend themselves to doing BPM programs. However, once your innovation is mature and there is demand and you have to have repeatable processes, you will still need BPM and thus you will still need BPM programs.

Having said all of that, it is very difficult to swim against the tide. Digital is the all-encompassing hot word these days. It reminds me a bit of SOA back in 2006-2009, at least as far as the rush to how important it is. It reminds me of "The King is Dead, Long Live the King." Same as it ever was. But... the mass of companies thinking Digital and BPM don't mix could create a situation in current BPM programs don't survive. That does not mean they won't come back, or even that they resurrect themselves under a different name. However, many current programs may find themselves caught in the tide and be washed away if you will.

BPM stands for Business Process Management. I think people are starting to forget the business part of it, and think it is Digital Process Management. I am the CEO of a small company. I can tell you when I think about how to make our company run better, I think in terms of business, not Digital. Now, when I am looking at our processes and figuring out how to do things, I am always considering how technology (Digital) can help, but I can state unequivocally that I do not run a "Digital", I run a Business. Somewhere along the line, people have gotten confused on this. However, that does not mean Clay isn't right. As John Maynard Keynes once said "The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent." So, we will probably start relabeling things Digital and tweak our methodologies a bit, but in my opinion not much will have changed.
Comment
  1. Kay Winkler
  2. 1 year ago
  3. #3812
Completely agree.
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 year ago
  3. #3814
How many fun references and turns of phrase can be packed into one posting? As for "startups" versus "maturity and repeatability", this distinction is terrific.
+1 on "completely agree," way to go new guy.
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 1 year ago
  3. #3818
Yep.
Good comment Brian. I can see that our side chat at bpmNEXT helped.
@Clay Richardson - Yes, the side conversation helped greatly. Thanks!
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 2
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A BPM program...? Let's remember BPM is a discipline a way to think so why would digital make any difference. Indeed digital should enhance this outside in thinking putting people first? Sure the old component coding complexity supporting BPM will surely not survive as new no low code platforms emerge which will deliver digital and the back office orchestration.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 3
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Not much new here, it seems.

I did a search on "digital' across 350 articles at this Forum, and got 140 hits
"
One of the early Forum posts (2013/11/19) referred to an article "C-Suite Execs Resist the Digital Transformation" that is still linkable.

http://www.baselinemag.com/it-management/slideshows/c-suite-execs-resist-the-digital-transformation.html
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 4
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Even if we take "Digital" and "Digital Transformation" in BPM as terms that reflect the aspiration of creating processes that seamlessly span more departments and systems, get the company closer to the customer, deliver better products and services faster, I still think it can be done, building on top of your existing BPMS more often than not.
I dedicated an entire chapter on that, called "BPM Farming – growing your benefits by fostering your existing platforms" in the book "Digital Transformation with BPM" (I will put the link below), where we basically look features that may contribute to "Digital" and whether that's something one can get from an existing BPM implementation.
In short, my take would be "no" - in most cases you wouldn't need to fear the death of a current BPM, while shifting to "Digital".
As a personal side note, I always thought that the term "Digital BPM/ECM/XYZ" and also "Digital Transformation" may be not the best choice for describing the next "technology/methodology wave of things". It's not that we currently run analoge BPM and all of a sudden we go...digital... :D
References
  1. https://bpm-books.com/collections/print-edition-books/products/digital-transformation-with-bpm
NSI Soluciones - ABPMP PTY
Comment
@Kay.. Re . . . "I still think it can be done, building on top of your existing BPMS more often than not"

A number of contributors to this Forum very recently weighed in on the topic of adaptability of BPMs ("What are the 'Must Have' Features for any Case Management Platform") so anyone worrying about any shift to digital now has a checklist they can consult.

The more missing 'must haves', the lower the chances of building "on top of [their] existing BPMS"
  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 5
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I am a jury member in an Architecture Awards contest 2017. So far, I saw enterprise-wide projects from 7 big companies (USA and Canada region). Practically, all of these projects are about digital transformation, no one was mentioned BPM programs so far, but 5 projects I would “label” as BPM-centric solutions because processes are the essential part of those projects.

It seems that
1) Jim’s “renaming” has actually happened;
2) BPM becomes being a “really useful” enterprise tool;
3) BPM potentials are not fully used yet (e.g. one of those projects uses BPM only for exception handling), and
4) modern enterprise automation problems can’t be addressed by modern monolith BPM-suite tools.

Thanks,
AS
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 6
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BPM is not a program. BPM is daily work.

And that will be influenced by digital.

Processes stay processes, but the way they are executed, managed and improved will change because of the switch to more digitalization.
Sharing my adventures in Process World via Procesje.nl
Comment
What perplexes me is "digitization" started at least in the early 1960's, so has there been a recent uptick in the rate of the use of computing technology within organizations that merits special attention being given to "digitation"?

i..e we went thru mainframes, mini-computers and for the past while we have been simultaneously working on desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, wearables.
RE "BPM is daily work." Hmmm. Having processes in a company and manage a company by processes are not the same. Cn we say that a fool with a process is still a fool?
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 1 year ago
  3. #3827
Alexander, I understand your point and I know you are right. But I always like to bring things in a little extreme to make people aware that, like you said, every company has processes.



And yes, they might not be so good at manage by them yet.



That could easily lead to consultancy toys like maturity models. But tgat scares people away from mbp, I'm afraid.



Same like saying that BPM is something special you can put on top of your daily business.



No, managing by process is daily business. And we are here to help companies to do that a little better each day. We're not here to scare them away from managing by processes,



We love processes, spread that love!
Do corporations "manage by process"? I think not.

Having processes, and using these to improve operational outcomes, on the other hand, is a discipline worth pursuing.

Seems to me many organizations still "manage by objectives" (circa 1954). This presumes in place methods for setting objectives and to get this right, organizations should, long ago, have embraced Resource Based View (RBV) except that RBV has only recently become practicable(i.e. if you can't view your resources, how can you expect to allocate/prioritize their use?)

Russel Ackhoff made some very important contributions to management science - in his book "A concept of corporate planning" (1970), he pointed out that there were (and still are) three types of planning:
1. satisficing
2. optimizing
3. adaptivizing

He concluded as follows " At the present time satisficing planning is the only one of the three approaches to which we can usually adhere completely. We cannot completely optimize and can only begin to adaptivize a plan"

From the time graphic free-form search Kbases became a reality, I maintain we had the means to use RBV at the strategy level and ACM/BPM at the operational level to practice adaptivizing planning.
  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 7
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Okay, the troublemaker here.

Yes, I made the prediction that 75% of BPM programs won't survive the shift to digital transformation. Over the last 17 years I've seen the BPM industry go through its highs and lows. And I've seen BPM from all sides - from the software vendor perspective at HandySoft, from a consulting perspective at Project Performance Corp, and as an analyst at Forrester Research.

When I joined Forrester back in 2008, BPM was at a high point. A lot of companies were adopting the methodology, the buzz around BPM was strong, BPM had a good reputation, and the Great Recession helped propel BPM to new heights.

I think part of the confusion around BPM has always been whether it is a discipline or a technology. I have always viewed BPM as a discipline supported by a technology. By this definition, the discipline of BPM gained a negative reputation over the last four years, because it was inwardly focused - the methodology was not suited to customer-centered projects nor was the technology. So in my last few years at Forrester, I saw a steady decline in the number of companies using BPM. I saw many programs floundering, and teams completely abandoning BPM, the discipline. The discipline was just too much of heavy lift for business leaders.

The irony is that business leaders still loved the technology - the ability to quickly automate and connect core business systems to new customer-facing apps and interactions. But the methodology of modeling out business processes, doing lean and six sigma analysis, and process mining required too much investment and time, and took too long.

So, when I say that BPM dead, I am saying that BPM is not a growing discipline. Companies are jumping ship from the discipline, but in some cases keeping the underlying technology and repurposing it to support their digital transformation projects. This is why I jumped ship at Forrester, because I could see that the the concept of "BPM the discipline" was in decline. I felt compelled to leave Forrester to get back in the trenches and work with BPM customers to make the transition to using their existing platforms to drive digital transformation.

During my 17 years in the BPM industry, I have seen the industry - us pundits, the vendors, customers - ask this question over and over again: "Is BPM Dead? What's next?" I guess I'm done pretending and hanging on to some notion that the BPM market - the discipline and the traditional technology - is somehow still as relevant as it was 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago. Talk to any CIO, and s/he will tell you that s/he is focused on digital transformation. And not just, "let's digitize this piece of paper." Most CIOs, and other executives, are focused on transforming to become digital businesses that can compete against the Amazons, Googles, Ubers, etc. Executives have seen too many examples of how not being digital - or moving to slowly on digital transformation - can drive a company to extinction. I don't need to trot out the usual suspects here do I? Blockbuster, Borders, taxi companies, etc. You get the drift.

Will BPM ever truly die? Probably not. But will it ever see its glory days of 2007 - 2010? My bet: No. And I'm willing to wager anyone that believes otherwise. We can start a pot - a betting pool - and wager something. Doesn't have to be money, we can wager donating time or volunteering somewhere.

My prediction is that over the next few years the BPM discipline will become about as relevant as the business process re-engineering discipline. Design thinking, business model canvas, customer-centered design will all take the place of the BPM discipline. Traditional BPM technology and software vendors will morph into digital transformation platforms - or something along those lines. Why? Because that's what CEOs and CIOs are willing to pay for.

Anyways, that's my two cents. Well, maybe a bit more than two cents, but needed to get it out.
Comment
Great stuff Clay! Good points on the way the discipline will need to change (i.e. Design Thinking, customer-centered design, etc.).
Hmm...and where have the analyst been to do research on real new software technologies which can dramatically cut the cost to deliver the supporting outside in BPM thinking..... If end users had been educated what has been evolving over past 20 years then it would have changed the game putting BPM as the enterprise driver. Big vendors have too much to lose..as have the big analysts but it will happen....."I have a plan"......!
@Clay . . . Thank you for sharing...

The benefits of BPM (improved staff efficiency, improved throughput, decreased errors and improved compliance with internal and external rules and regulations) can be pitched to any receptive audience without mentioning the word BPM.

It seems that references to BPM bring to the foreground languages/notations & rigidity that make manage-by-process "too much of a heavy lift".

If an organization gets its workflow/workload management architecture right, "inwardly focused"/ "not suited to customer-centered projects" goes away.

My takeaway from your post is " ..the ability to quickly automate and connect core business systems to new customer-facing apps and interactions" - seems to me this is what "solutions" vendors and consultants should focus on.
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 1 year ago
  3. #3832
Think I went trough the same path (except from becoming a famous analyst ;-)

It made me conclude that BPM is not a technology nor a Discipline or methodology. It's just what organizations do. (Although some don't agree with me that BPM is daily business ;-)

It's also the reason that I didn't name my company "BPM-something" but "Procesje". That means "Little process" in Dutch and so has the undertone of "Processes is just what you have, let's make the best out of it"

And that's how I've always seen it. Organizations try to solve their customer's problems. They have processes for that. Since a billion years.

And how those processes are designed, executed, managed and improved can change every day. Every day new methods and technologies are invented to support all process aspects.

Processes are just there. Unfortunately the term BPM hijacked them and gave them a negative tone. Which is weird as it is what companies do for their customers and results in making some money.

So is BPM dead? I think it was never born.

Happy processing!







  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 8
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We can understand BPM as a) management philosophy, b) design methodology or c) set of tools and technologies.

c) When looking the effects of digitalization it changes dramatically the tools and technologies e.g. we can see such as QPR process mining approaches which can automatically create the image of the real process flow. This helps us to understand and improve the process.

b) When designing technical systems such as It-systems, automation, physical products (IOT), digital interfaces with customers or robotics... this the core of digital transformation. We will see a lot of new innovations which will disrupt present process designs and value creation. When designing social processes many things such as rational, emotional, spiritual, relationship building, collaboration or commitment... this remains the same in the core but we get new ways to deal with the issue such facebook, linkedin, healthcare apps, tinder etc.... a lot of business opportunities here and this will change our businesses, lives and societies in radical way.

a) For me the BPM is a management philosophy or mind set enabling to understand how to create value for the customer and improve it. In the longer term there is no other way to survive in the business. All organizational level outcomes are results of collaboration. In small organization or business (may be less 50 people) we may organize the collaboration with out process thinking or BPM. If we have more than 200 people in the organization, business or business network the functionality (units and teams) will disturb the optimal value creation. The challenge of collaboration and how to manage it is always there. The BPM as philosophy is the best way to deal with the issue in big organizations, businesses or business networks. I see the process as collaborative space to create value for customer.

br. Kai
Comment
I like and agree on your use of the term "collaboration" which reflects the modern ways. This contrasts with the "workflow" terminology which became closely associated with BPM. You touch on many of the Informal processes which have to be recognised the trick is ensuring they blend in with the formal ones to achieve that collaboration. We must always remember the need for compliance and accountability where new information is created.
  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 9
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Based on the vagueness of the concepts "BPM programs", "survive", "shift" and "digital", I would like to call out the 75% claim... I think it's going to be more like 63.4%...
CEO, Co-founder, Profluo
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 10
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75%, 63.4, some other number.

See my comment above under Clay Richardson's post re Russel Ackhoff's views (back in 1970) on planning.

I figure most of the organizations who stick with satisficing or optimizing as opposed to adaptivizing planning will fade into the sunset.
Comment
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 year ago
  3. #3833
+1 @Karl a new word: "adaptavising"! Outstanding! Only six hits on Google? And even the alternative spelling (with an "i") gets less than 1,000 hits!
Not new . . .

"A concept of corporate planning, Russell L Ackoff, John Wiley and Sons 1970"

And
Applied General Systems Research: Recent Developments and Trends (1978)

I only wrote about it a couple of times

https://kwkeirstead.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/strategic-planning-revisited/

I tried "adaptivizing" - also less then 1,000 hits
  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 11
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@Clay is very persuasive in his reporting and analysis concerning what is happening in the CSuite where BPM-as-methodology or BPM-as-technology is concerned. However, even accepting as I do that this is a correct description of the situation, consider that the elephant of work is still in the room.

Work is what you find when you drill into process. Concerning work we may have "actions" or "tasks" or slightly different, "labour". And all these things are either atomic work acts or if not differentiated "amounts of work" (rather like the distinction between "fish" singular and "fish" plural). Formerly "work just happened", in the context of rigidly enforced social rules and governance. Then along came the industrial revolution (although in fairness, the management of work has always been around -- cf. "pyramids" or in the Middle Ages, "guilds", etc.). And Adam Smith famously wrote about the division of labour in pin manufacture, which was very much about "process".

Managers and executives earn a return based on organizing work (in the best or worlds; we'll ignore the growing case of rentierism). BPM is the management technology which explicitly concerns the organization of work, by definition. To ignore this formula is ultimately to disconnect from the foundation of business success.
Comment
My view is CSuite (other that CIO) does not care, nor do they want to hear, about BPM.

They know their time is best spent deciding how to allocate scarce resources on the one hand and receiving assurances that they are getting "best bang for their buck" on the other hand.

They basically have two ways to measure the latter - progress reports on ROIs (that hopefully result in Cases that have Case Managers) and progress/projection data on budget performance.

CSuite should not approve funding unless ROI/justification paperwork indicates the extent to which a new initiative contributes to increasing competitive advantage. Clearly, some initiatives are necessary to support more fundamental (no pun intended) initiatives.
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 year ago
  3. #3839
Karl, I agree with you that CSuite execs, mostly, don't want to hear about BPM.
However, can we imagine execs saying "I don't want to hear about accounting"?
I agree that BPM interest is dropping; I'm not convinced that this is a permanent trend. BPM-as-methodology and BPM-as-technology are just the systematic way of engineering the organization and automation of work. This is comparable to how accounting is merely the systematic way of managing money and finances. The fact that accounting is decades (or even centuries) ahead of process and project management is just a fact of history.
Insofar as executives are turning away from "the black box of work", they are abdicating the opportunity for leadership. Value creation, for which executives are rewarded, is ultimately traceable to what happens inside the box of work. Unless of course as I mentioned above, one's business model is only about rentierism.
John.
My take on the difference is that Csuite execs see accounting reports on a regular basis, they have to study these to be able to answer questions on financial performance. The questions give rise to a need for digging, therefore CSuite execs (or at least the director of finance) have to go to the details.

On one-off construction projects, everyone has a focus on goals/objectives and they typically refer daily to the process map / forward predictions.

ROI progress-tracking curiously is like inspections - there is an initial intensive stage but once the ROI is submitted/approved, it is no uncommon for the things to change at the strategy level, with no tweaking of the scope of the ROI.
  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 12
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Is there anything new under the sun?

"Digitalization" is work-by-another-name. We have always sought technology to help us do more work, whether that work is an atomic, project or process type of work. My question is whether the idea of digitalization adds anything that was not part of automation discourse in previous generations. The current idea is that rates of change, specifically digitalization, and parallel pressures for business transformation are all at unprecedented high rates. and for sure there's lots of evidence for this.

But isn't that what business is all about? Transformation? Bourgeois capitalists were revolutionaries that overthrew the world of feudalism. There is evidence that rates of business change, appearances to the contrary, are no greater today than ever before. Sure business leaders have to be revolutionaries today -- but that's always been the role for positive capital. So embrace change today, but don't consider it anything else than just "doing your job".

Here's Dave Moschella on the topic of rates of change (2015):
The Pace of Technology Change is Not Accelerating
Comment
As stated above - "digitization" started . . . . in the early 1960's

I agree it is nothing more than "work-by-another-name'
  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 13
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Great question prompting some debate great. My 2 cents. BPM Programs are HOW customers shift to digital.
Comment
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 year ago
  3. #3843
Nice. May I suggest an interpretation: Because without a HOW all you have is magical thinking. And BPM is THE how because it's about work.
Any corporation transitioning to "digital" needs to do a SWOT, needs a BA team to set out the required systems architecture. They need to prepare an ROI, they need a CPM timeline, they need "change management", they need project management/control.

Core to any such transition will be various platforms, tools, methods (ACM/BPM, RALB, FOMM, KPIs),
great comment, Ian.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 14
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David raised a good point re collaboration.. . . . " Informal processes [ ] have to be recognized the trick is ensuring they blend in with the formal ones to achieve that collaboration."


Collaboration has always been at the core of some run-time environments hosting BPM process template instances.

1. Steps post to the attention of skill categories instead of individuals such that a step that becomes current posts to the attention of all who have the requisite skills, at a designated location. The 1st to "take" the step is deemed to own it and to either complete the step or indicate what they have done/not done and put the step back into the resource pool.

2. In respect of steps whose duration exceeds a normal shift, "handoffs" become routine with the proviso that the departing resource document the status of each step, at the step, before going off shift.

2. In cases of an emergency, where the performing resource is not available, these protocols (in healthcare specifically) include a "break glass" routine where virtually anyone who detects the emergency can declare themselves to be the performing resource (carrying out the intervention or acting on behalf of another.

Once an organization has transitioned to ACM/BPM, the only limitations on "collaboration" are Case- and Entity-level governance rules. The runtime environments are capable of accommodating any number of ad hoc interventions (in-reach / out-reach). All such interventions should reasonably indicate anchor points to facilitate data analysis/process generation (i..e if two or more steps are current and an ad hoc intervention takes place at the 'same" time, it is much easier to carry out data analysis if the performing resource indicates which step prompted the ad hoc intervention).

Note that in respect of data flowing into a Case at time "t00" via a data exchanger, there is no guarantee that the data became available at time t00, it could very well have become available at time "t00-nn" in either a push or pull data exchange environment

For gatekeeper steps, other time distortions can be introduced by cycle timers/processors looking to "fire" gatekeeper steps. If extensive processing is needed at each cycle, the temptation is to increase the cycle time.

For other than automated process control applications, attempts to track times precisely often end up being overshadowed because of time interruptions caused by workers switching from one case to another (more tasks get suspended resulting in more opportunities for disturbances in workflow).
References
  1. http://www.kwkeirstead.wordpress.com
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  1. more than a month ago
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