Time arrived to make it happen the 2014 edition of the BPM Conference Portugal. This year the themes were around the technological disruption of Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data and Mobile and the impact it have in the way a business is envisioned and how operations are run. As Conference Chair I felt that despite these themes have been discussed for a while, they are quite new to the point that some managers, still do not understand the threats and opportunities they bring. The most important one that I would like to point is the fact that today we observe new business models and new market entrants that are not constrained anymore by equity access to bake a new business and enter in the market fighting against well established companies. Also these forces, when combined, allow to create new innovative and products and services that take time to react for the companies that are already in the market, due to the fact they were born in a different design paradigm and do not understand or do not have knowledge to seize the same advantage.
I will like to express my gratitude to the speakers. They are the rebels that make the vision I draw last year to become a reality.
This what I kept form the sessions I attended.
Chris Potts – Enterprise Architecture & Processes In the Era of Consumerisation Plus Cloud
One of the aspects that I liked from Chris’s presentation was the fact that he demystified or even deconstructed the idea of what enterprise architecture should not be: a collection of layered viewpoints full of boxes and arrows or the panacea about abstract civil architecture that it is not translated into nothing palpable.
Chris presented a very valid guideline that most of the times is forgotten by people who do enterprise architecture. That doing real enterprise architecture should be the reflection of the customer experience, back to back from the customer to the suppliers and partners.
Thierry de Baillon – A Tale of Three Worlds
Thierry structured his presentation around the three different visions how we understand the world and how each perspective affects how processes are designed. According to his point of view, companies have the perception that the world is secure and optimized and as such, processes were designed to operate smoothly and normalized (an idea that is still on most peoples heads according to the informal assessment that I did during session intervals). According to the workers point of view, business processes are not black or white and reality is were the color turns into grey where reality exists. Still, work is ambiguous and when knowledge crystallises there is a risk of how to deal with unpredictability once they do not know how to perform. Ultimately, the world according to consumers is a trust network. Information that comes from their own network is more important than the one provided by companies.
Again, the same touch point was brought to the discussion (making the bridge with Chris presentation), that today companies are still reluctant to design business processes around customer interactions that occur during the customer experience journey. Some companies design the customer journey contrary to the expectations of the customers or even worse, don’t even consider that there is a journey that must be sooth as silk and enjoyable. Hence entering in service design mode is deeply needed (as I also pointed out in the 2014 teaser).
Theo Priestley – Panel – Why BPM projects fail
Theo railed across the key points about BPM failure. I am proud of the results Theo achived, because it is rare to attend a panel with meaning. Some of the key ideas that were brought to the discussion were:
- BPM is perceived as an IT initiative and how it is pushed against people;
- Technology lays down a shadow that shapes enterprise culture;
- People wants to start to big and sometimes it is not a vendors fault. Start small.
- The problem about change initiatives is the lack of purpose. People do not understand the meaning of the change initiative and turn their back to it;
- If you don’t have a goal, you don’t have a purpose and people don’t know what they are working towards;
- BPM should be a way to getting everything around a same purpose, that people understand it not to let down;
- One of the reasons of failure is using waterfall methodology like in software development (that brought a huge laugh among the attendees once someone told the approach should be “wateragile”).
- If the purpose of BPM is to control people, it is not going to result, because it should support work, there is not a shared responsibility;
- Some people downloads free tools to collaborate and managers goes berzerk because it was not approved, but in the end, when managers see the value, they endorse the idea;
- When projects are about company results and not about workers it is not going to work.
David Carr – Social Collaboration
David went trough the different types of social technology and how it supports workers collaboration. The main takeaway from my point of view was the case study about EDP Renewables in the US (actually is a Portuguese company) on the adoption of social technology.
The business context was asset maintenance. The challenge was how to support maintenance operations, because despite there is a maintenance plan that is somewhat structured, the nature of the work is highly knowledge intensive and collaborative that is difficult to support suing common BPM technology. This particular industry sector is young, where practices are still being defined, dealing with issues that haven’t come up before. In this context, the company had a very rough idea what the process should look like, knowledge “warehouse” was still being built, and hence there are results to be attained that will constitute work guidelines. Intensive collaboration is key and due to this fact, social tools are the best choice.
Paulo Carvalho – Did self organized teams killed BPM?
Paulo works at Vodafone and he is responsible for IT delivery. Based on his experience, he came up with an intriguing fact that is teams that work under agile methodology in IT application development / maintenance it is possible everyday release features that are critical to support business functions based on empowerment and simple rules. The examples presented were based in FOSS (Free Open Source Software). Hence the question was “why this kind of approach it is not possible in all the other operations?” He meant why managers enforce workers control in layered hierarchies, when it should be about a real democracy. He pointed the example about Openstack is a good example of governance complexity, creating a sense of community, engagement and responsibility. Decisions are part of the history, externalizing knowledge about decisions that were taken and are part of the learning process (for everyone that is part of the team) and are available to the community. Delivery is about commitment. Trust is also a function of commitment. Workers assume responsibility and accountability for results.
The question I raised in a side discussion with Paulo after his presentation was “is this a cultural issue”. Probably yes, he replied. Because in “normal” operations people tend to manage differently and self organized teams are perceived as anarchy.
Peter Fingar – Innovation and Business Transformation
Peter relied his exquisite presentation under the moto “Will you be the doer, or the one done in?”. He skimmed across a timeline of the impact of each of the conference forces, more based on a historical perspective rather than headed in future. For those that had the opportunity to read The Second Machine Age or the New Digital Age books understand how the presentation was delivered.
What about the others?
I really enjoyed the presence of Sandy Kemsley (more women are needed in BPM) and Neil Ward-Dutton. Due concurrent sessions, I was unable to attend their sessions. Neil posted his point of view here.
Interested in 2013 edition? Click here.