3 ways to effectively prepare for process improvements in your digital journey

In our journey to transform our ways of working, our focus on our customers wishes and our plans to pivot to a digital business there is always a need for process improvement.

While the transformation to a digital business can encompass many aspects that are new to your organization, there are always existing investments in technologies and processes that need to be evaluated.

Some can be modernized and migrated on to the new infrastructure that will support the digital business and others end up remaining in place as legacy systems of record.

One thing is for sure, evaluating existing business processes and looking to improve their effectiveness is going to be a necessary step. With that in mind, here are three ways to effectively prepare for process improvements in your digital journey.

1. Effective BPM theory

The first step in any journey is to plan effectively and gather as much information from the experts as you can. For this step you have many options, but the following example previews the open technology and tooling that will ensure you are ready to tackle process improvements.

2. Inventory existing processes

Identifying the list of existing processes in a business, both automated and non-automated processes will be the next step on the journey.

Businesses have processes in place that might be automated in some form, but showing signs of age or lack of effective execution. Others might have partial automation and exhibit a need for further automation at the time of evaluation. Finally, there can potentially be processes in your business that are crying out for automation and are hindering other processes with their lack of automation.

Collect all this information for evaluation without regard for size, level of automation or making decisions on priority for the next step.

3. Short list processes

Now that you’re able to browse all processes in your organization, identifying the short list where quick wins on process improvements is critical to the project’s success.
Everyone wants to see gains and building momentum with processes that can be improved both quickly and effectively builds confidence. Identify processes that have impact, are visible and can be effectively improved without having major impacts to the existing architecture or business process owner perceptions. This will be different for every organization, but crucial to building success and ensuring a smoother transition on your digital journey.
Armed with these three guidelines you’re ready to effectively prepare for process improvements in your digital journey.

Build competitive advantage with business process automation

Transparency is one of those words that can mean anything or nothing. Within agile development, an objective definition of transparency, according to the Scrum Alliance, is related to respect in communication: understanding technical issues, bringing in different team members for prioritization, communicating clearly when there are project changes, bad news, or new priorities. Transparent communication between business and IT teams creates an environment that is more agile, better grounded in business priorities, and more effective. But the question is … how do you get your business and IT teams together to begin with?

Today’s business environment presents an increasing number of challenges in consistently maintaining an organization’s business processes efficiently. You may be facing challenges to grow your business and stay competitive:

  1. No visibility into the automated systems to understand how, where, and when decisions are being made.
  2. Existing systems which don’t allow you to make changes quickly, yet introducing new products and services requires changing rules and processes.
  3. Lack of consistency in making critical decisions. Sometimes, decisions are left to chance.

Business process management (BPM) provides a way to tackle these challenges by enabling collaboration between business and IT users to bring transparency, agility and consistency to the organization’s workflow.

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Open Source… Driverless Cars?

If you follow this blog, you may have figured out that I spend a massively disproportionate amount of my time trawling various business related media sources with the reckless abandon of a rabid monkey hopped up on caffeine. Most people have hobbies like skiing, or mountain biking, but reading stuff is mine. I’m a nerd, and that’s how it works. Recently, I’ve made a habit of listening to various Motley Fool Podcasts in the morning. One of these podcasts is called Industry Focus, a podcast which drills into cool happenings in different industries every episode. A couple of days ago, I was listening to an Industry Focus Podcast that talked about the technology industry as it appeared at South by Southwest (SXSW).

On this podcast was a focus on comma.ai. comma.ai touts themselves as being “Ghost riding for the masses,” and the company makes an open source module which can be installed on pre-existing cars for $1,000 or less. As if that wasn’t intriguing enough, the podcast contained an extended interview with George Hotz, the man behind comma.ai. Hotz first rose from anonymity by being the first person to hack an iPhone. This guy tells it straight; as evidence, Hotz is quoted on his former feud with Elon Musk of Tesla in The Virge as saying, “I’m an Elon Musk fan. He jerked me around, I jerked him around, we’re even.”

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Five Links: Fun and Games Edition

Happy Friday, everyone.

As we kick off spring break season, let’s look at something a little lighter and happier: the gaming side of technology. Consumer design can be a huge driver even for enterprise technology; the simple UX of Apple products is now influencing design and experience expectations for backend systems. From nostalgia games to astronomical artwork, there is a lot of interesting stuff going on in the world. One of my favorite lines from Graceland (seriously, Paul Simon rocks, people): “These are the days of miracles and wonder.”

Continue reading “Five Links: Fun and Games Edition”

Five Links: Band of Brothers Edition

Happy Friday, everyone.

Red Hat has a lot of corporate blogs (worth reading!), but a huge part of our culture as a company is collaboration and meritocracy. As in … letting our opinions be known. There’s a reason we actually made a t-shirt to commemorate our corporation-wide mailing list.

happy-friday

From Pinterest

A lot of Red Hatters have personal blogs (or active LinkedIn postings) precisely because of the value that we as a group place on transparency, defending ideas, and innovation.

This week, I want to highlight some of the blogs by Red Hatters that I’ve read recently. I’m not even going to call this a “top 5,” because we have a lot of prolific and interesting writers on a million different topics. These are a random sampling of the blogs that I hit periodically.

Continue reading “Five Links: Band of Brothers Edition”

Five Links: Pattern Recognition Edition

Happy Friday, everyone.

When I was a reporter in Livingston, Montana, I wrote a story about a massive infrastructure campaign that was just kicking off — new sewer and water lines across town, changing traffic flows and redesigning streets, new green spaces and public art. I interviewed the primary architect, and he told me that the designs were influenced by A Pattern Language, published in 1977. That book has fascinated me; from the placement of a single window to the layout of an entire central business district, it breaks down the patterns of human behavior and then analyzes design techniques that best reinforce the desired patterns for a given space. It doesn’t say what should be done; it simply uses patterns to say if you want to accomplish Goal A, use Design Technique B.

In a roundabout way, this week’s series of links look at patterns and how they influence behavior.

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APIs Are The New Language of Collaboration

“Survival of the fit,” in Darwinian evolutionary theory, describes the mechanism of natural selection. The biological concept of fitness is defined as reproductive success. But could this also apply to modern business? Sustained growth might be the criterion for fitness in a business context. So why is sustained growth so difficult to achieve? Surprisingly, it is not for the lack of ideas but lack of ability to adapt to change and competition.

The fittest business can quickly innovate and adapt to competition and it can use its core competencies to extend itself in new ways. These organizations are often lean, mean, and learning machines using application programming interfaces (APIs). They are built on a foundation of cloud, mobile, big data analytics and social computing and they are generally connected to the internet of things, to extend and monetize the organization’s core assets for growth and  new value and revenue streams.

Even organizations born in different eras of digital transformation (mobile, internet-based, and client/server) that are successfully using APIs to achieve disruptive growth in their respective industries.

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Architecture, Process, Platform

Digital transformation is a hot topic in enterprises these days, and like any such topic it’s associated with a wide range of use, overuse, and misuse. But the phrase does get at something that we can all sense is really going on, a truly profound change. As different businesses undergo or undertake variants of digital transformation, we see a number of common characteristics of the more digital world:

  • More things happen (or are expected to happen) in real time
  • More different sources and kinds of data are brought together
  • Activities are more decentralized and ad hoc
  • There is a broadening of participation in both the building and the use of I.T.
  • There is a shift from analysis and planning to trial-and-error experimentation

Each of those ideas deserves elaboration–topics for future blogs–but going for the moment with whatever came to mind for those bullets as a rough characterization of digital transformation, let’s explore the interplay of architecture, process, and platform in helping enterprises compete and succeed in this emerging digital world.

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The Shared Economy for your IT

Don’t forget that Red Hat’s JBoss Middleware is part of the Shared Economy, too.

Whether it’s Uber, Airbnb, Waze, Snapchat, or Spotify, the new shared economy is the way of the future, or at least it seems so right now. In 2017, the Shared Economy is going to be a buzzword. What will happen to the Shared Economy under the U.S government’s new administration, what about taking Shared public in the Snapchat IPO, how is the Shared Economy going to deal with regulation issues? Regardless of the specific ponderings of the day, the Shared Economy is more often than not, at the front of most of them – just read the latest copy of Fortune Magazine. According to Investopedia, the definition of the Shared Economy is  “… an economic model in which individuals are able to borrow or rent assets owned by someone else. The sharing economy model is most likely to be used when the price of a particular asset is high.” Huh, that sounds a little like Red Hat’s Open Source approach to Middleware, doesn’t it? I know it’s a big claim to make, but Open Source was one the originals of the Shared Economy, and Red Hat belongs in conversations on the topic. Further, Open Source is needed now more than ever.

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Adding complex business logic to processes with JBoss BPM

In June 2016 the Manning Early Access Program (MEAP) started for the book Effective Business Process Management with JBoss BPM.

What is a MEAP?

The Effective Business Process Management with JBoss BPM MEAP gives you full access to read chapters as they are written, get the finished eBook as soon as it’s ready, and receive the paper book long before it’s in bookstores.

You can also interact with the author, that’s me, on the forums to provided feedback as the book is being written. So come on over and get started today with Effective Business Process Management with JBoss BPM.

The way the MEAP works is that every month or so Manning puts a new chapter online. Lost a bit in the holidays, but chapter 6 was made available and those already in the MEAP will have had access to start reading the chapter.

As mentioned when chapter 5 released, I expected to split out the chapter into a second as the content covered was too expansive. I divided it into the simpler basics of creating business logic with rules and moved on into more advanced topics.

Enjoy topics such as modeling complex domains with domain specific languages (DSL), capturing complex logic in decision tables and leveraging DSLs in your guided rules. All this takes you a step closer to effectively implementing your business logic with JBoss BPM.

To give you an idea of what’s available so far:

You can read this excerpt online before you decide, but I look forward to hearing from you on the content and stay tuned for more.

 

See more by Eric D. Schabell, contact him on Twitter for comments or visit his home site.