Extreme connectivity is coming to the enterprise
This year at Process Mining camp 2013, during a workshop I lead, the attendees were discussing about the access, usage, transfer and reuse of knowledge. The context in a part of the discussion was about IT development and implementation. Some told that not every bit of information flowing among the development team deserved attention. The question was not where the information was stored or how it was transmitted. What determined the importance of information was the relevance for the duties in the context of the project. This meant that the development team was always filtering, analysing pieces of code, patterns, working solutions, seeking parallel developments, retrieving information from linked projects autonomously to make impact analysis (something that I also learned in a previous challenge as the Master Project Officer told me that such thing like linked work packages, project dependencies, simply does not exist as we think as a concept).
Real time enterprise
Two months ago I had a chat with a person that will be one of the speakers of the forthcoming edition of the BPM Conference Portugal. He is responsible of everything about customer support. That means that his team is responsible to update and change IT to support constant business evolving requirements and particularly to monitor multiple process instances like complains, connection requests, whatever. They rely on a divided brain to make it happen. Enterprise systems to enter into the addictive loop and out of the box tools like Github to share information among team members and make changes happen. Change in this context (Telecom) means you need to deliver new services every month and prevent customer churn on real time without waiting for next month outdated business intelligent reports. The challenge here is twofold: monitoring and intervene on operations and support business change.
The externalization of knowledge contributes to knowledge diffusion
One month ago I was talking with a manager of an utilities company that also confirmed the need of operational online addiction. Regulation it’s tightening and the company does not want to throw money out of the window because they missed slas to provide an answer about a customer complain, about start billing earlier energy, about finding hidden bottlenecks on operations. At this company some of the real time inspiration came from Lean discussion forums about the ones that are responsible for monitoring on real time energy distribution and the status of the infrastructure using Scada systems. These people are used to control energy flow, transmission lines disruption, maintenance operations on continuous mode. For them they “do not understand” why their colleagues do not embrace a similar attitude, and as such, they played an important role translating abstract knowledge necessary to embrace the always on journey into proper codification that could be used by their peers.
The role of Enterprise Architecture
Enterprise Architecture under a system thinking approach can make a difference when designing the transformational step of entering in real time mode:
- What are the horizontal barriers to be monitored? For each process domain is being monitored it’s necessary to identify the stakeholders that touches the process, that would be one of the main source of variety. Note that the idea is not figure out in process design if a particular stakeholder do something and pointing the measurement channels to those points. It’s identifying the stakeholders and absorb the information flowing in the context of process execution (that is a huge difference).
- What are the vertical barriers to be monitored? What are the processes in the value chain that are related and a truly end-to-end vision must be setup? For example, in an Utilities environment a Complain Handling process should not be connected with Meter Reading? and with Billing and with Churn Management?
- The Algedonic Channel – what in Cybernetics is defined with the objective to transmit alert signals concerning any event or circumstance that could seriously put the organization in a critical situation: failure of delivering services; an hike in customer churn; a flop on revenue, sales, etc. This is one aspect that is very neglected by managers, because they rely on the organizational structure to communicate alerts and supervening facts and sometimes it’s to late to intervene.
We are in a brink of another major change
There is a lot of discussion since last year about the concept of “intelligent BPMS”. For me, intelligent means the system is able to “think” and “reason” by it self, without falling into the cognitive illusion abyss (that leads to the question what the System should “think” about ?). Hence, there is no question that enterprises that want to customer centric, anticipate errors, predict churn, must have to equip with technology to monitor the business continuously and in real time (like it happen in the movie the Matrix, when people were looking to the screens watching the code trickle), if is “intelligent” or not I leave that discussion to analysts. But more important than that, it’s necessary that companies have highly skilled people, team workers, used to work under agile principles to make it happen. Without that it’s difficult to make the change. Are you as a manager up to job?