Here are some notes from this years BPM & Case Management Summit in Washington DC.
Wow, what a conference! This is the first major summit that includes case management. The location was excellent, and so was the venue: The Ritz. A number of new vendors there, particularly in the case management space: Frame Solutions, AINS eCase, Emerge Adapt Case Blocks. It was great to see so many old friends, as well as some new ones as well. It was nice to see Connie Moore who was awarded the Marvin L. Manheim Award For Significant Contributions in the Field of Workflow.
The first keynote was given by Jim Sinur, who said that Adaptive Case Management is the on-ramp for intelligent business processes. It was a good overview of the current situation in process management: old style automation is doing well, but the current challenges are newer, more flexible, less structured, and more knowledge worker oriented processes.
He presented the spectrum of process types, as well as his process IQ five-axis spider chart. He challenged us to ask the question of what will process be like when we have the equivalent of 1000 Watsons available in the cloud to research answers to questions for us? Reinforced that we will have ‘personal assistants’ to help us run our processes.
It was quite an honor to see two people from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA). I have written about this use case before. It is such a important use for the kind of flexibility that case management affords. Most interesting comment came at the end, in response to a question: even though extensive use cases were created to explore and understand what the users needed to be able to do, no modeling was done in BPMN of CMMN. Instead, the text of the use case was taken directly to the ‘Task Template’ which is a simple list of tasks that drives a particular scenario.
Talked about the “internet of things” (IoT). The market is estimated in the trillions of dollars. Big data today is nothing compared to what we will have when all these things start chatting with each other. “The largest and most durable wearable computer will be the car.” The process of everything.
Used the acronym Social Mobile Analytic Cloud Things: SMACT
Where is the knowledge? You might have policy and procedure manage, however you still need access to experts. Sometimes it is all written down, but only certain people know how to understand and interpret what is written. Applications are developed, but then changed and the design artifacts no longer match. Knowledge is sometimes represented in the code. Also in the patterns of interactions. You can extract this (process mining) and the results is often surprising.
He presented a spectrum of work along these lines:
- system, very structured work – flow charts, very popular, useful
- clerical worker
- knowledge assisted worker. This is the majority of white collar workers. Get assistence from various types of intelligence in the BPM environment.
- knowledge worker, Unstructured, dynamic, Knowledge workers do not like to be told what to do.
On problem with self driving cars is if they get hacked. Can we really assume that this will be taken care of?
Device directed warranty scenario: Imagine there is a sensor that determines that the CO2 level in a car is too high. It sends a message to the manufacturer, brought this together with product info, customer info, warranty info into a CASE. Then it is determined that service is required, and the right people are notified. Then a sub case for service order, and a sub-case of a warranty claim. This is idea of the kind of thing that might be possible today with the IoT.
Presentation of the Living Systems Process Suite where goals drive everything. Governance goal describes how something should be achieved in order to be optimized. Layered process scoping: strategic goals over multiple instances, tactical goals for a particular item or case. then process activities. When you get down to the process they use BPMN. These layered goals give them the ACM capability.
They call them “agents” because they act independent process evaluators: the current situation is compared against the conditions you set to bring the system in line with the goals. If current state is found, later, to be wrong, the agent can kill that process, and start another. Agents are intelligent enough to start, stop, and modify running processes. Can insert ad-hoc tasks (issue request, performing query, acting on results).
A question was asked: what about conflicting goals? Goals are in a hierarchy, and that helps prioritize the agents, but you need to take care when designing the goals to avoid a dead lock situation.
First keynote on the second day, excellent as well, about “design thinking.” He sees BPM systems moving from holistic to specific, from linkages to context, from logic to empathy, and from deductive logic to abductive logic.
One of the keys is empathy. Not empathy with the system, but empathy with the customer. We migth see a transition from process models to journey maps, from capability maps to personas, and from target operating model (TOM) to storytelling (of how the customer engages). He feels there are two camps: transaction BPM and engagement BPM.
He cited an example of a Domino’s Pizza app: it shows where the pizza is in the process: tossing it, in the oven, on the way, or delivery person knocking on the door. This more than just the minimal to buy a pizza, it really represents the desires of the customer to know what is happening now.
Instead of focus on cost efficiency, we should focus on revenue growth. Reconnect to customer journey and customer experience.
Roger Baker, Chief Strategy Officer, Agilex
Gave an excellent talk on agile methodology and why it is needed. Agile method is defined as 2 week sprints, small teams, requirements discovery, constant prioritization, continuous testing, frequent small releases, and communications, communications, communications. About 1/3 of what is in a requirements document are things the writers wish they had but will never use. He said these are like the “froth on the beer” — you want to see it but otherwise not useful. Agile development is a full contact approach, from execs to workers. Strict adherence to schedule. The hardest is “truth telling” — people don’t want to tell you they are having a problem, but if not they can explode. Raise a problem when you see it, and get help. If you have a problem and stay quiet, then we will find someone else to do the job.
He shifted the VA around to agile approach, and were delivering, so congress passed a new law in Jan 2011 which changed all the rules. The VA delivered on 83% of milestones. You have to plan on some failures, and if so, fail fast.
- detailed requirements are clear from the beginning of the project
- Assumes they don’t change
- progress can be measured by documents produced
- assumes that mega programs are manageable by normal humans
- it systems are it responsibility
- Detailed requirements are NOT clear. They will knowit when they see it
- Requirements and priorities will change
- produced software is the only measure
- users and management need constant reassurance
- everyone must be involved
Only the business knows the process. Business must take ownership of the process.
Talking about organizations, and value formation. People do tasks. They don’t necessarily do processes. They have to relate to customers, authorities, partners, and in a constant flux of change.
How is coordination of value production achieves? Email? Heresay? Sharepoint? Proposition: should have an integrated task management system. When a task spins off another task, you have an emergent task management system.
Step details: mandatory, repeatable, pre-condition, include-condition, post-condition.
To design tasks, use “knowledge editor” Not a graphical tool, but instead text based, and saved in XML.
Rudy Montoya – CIO, Texas Attorney General
Keynote speaker on the third day. He was involved in creating some case management systems for things like crime victims compensation & legal case management
As an example of the explosion in West, Texas. When it went off, they had to respond at a time when they had no idea if this was a crime, or whether it was terrorism. The old system required that all information had to be together before they created the case. They needed to verify that a crime occurred before starting the case. There is a lot of work necessary to get to that point. Case management starts with the data that exists, and builds forward to the classification of the case and particulars.
They solved this in about 12 months implemented in 3 Phases:
1) eliminated legacy doc mgmt system
2) replace mainframe
3) implement a web portal
Very interesting presentation on how Emerge Adapt have implemented a real adaptive case management system. Great slide on the difference between an adaptive approach and a traditional approach:
Key elements defined were data structures. Then buckets. The process was very simple. Could create new buckets on the fly. New tasks could be created. Buckets are related to work queues. Could move from any state to any other state, but after a while certain moves were locked out by constraints in the process model.
I presented to the following slides:
And, as evidence, Charles Webster took this photo of me:
Sorry everyone who gave talks and I was not able to see them. There were simply too many to see them all!
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