Why You Should Build Your Own Process Management Solutions

It is crucial for knowledge workers to build their own process management solutions.
The health, competitive power, and even survival of an enterprise largely depends on its ability to understand and harness the power of knowledge workers who are enabled to take responsibility for providing automatic solutions to meet many of their business needs.
– IBM System Journal, SOA Meets Situational Applications: Examples and Lessons Learned
The speed and efficiency of a responsive organization can only occur if people think for themselves and control their own actions. The notion that some central person can do all the thinking for everyone is a quaint idea from the days of the industrial revolution, when we lived in a slower, simpler and more predictable world.
– Michael Hugos, Business Agility: Sustainable prosperity in a relentlessly competitive world
 
Knowledge workers are required to make decisions and judgments based on their knowledge.
Process Management Solutions
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Automating Workflows – The shortage of scalable tools

For decades, many IT organizations have been dealing with developers outside of the IT department as if they were insurgents – their weapons were Excel and Access.
Mike Rollings (Gartner), Citizen Development: Reinventing the Shadows of IT
Knowledge workers need to use multiple systems to get their work done, often with a combination of enterprise process applications, other data sources, and end-user computing tools such as spreadsheets. They frequently have to work around the predefined process in some way, especially for collaboration and customer communication. The systems may be augmented or integrated in an ad hoc, unsupported manner in an attempt to improve the functionality and information context, which is why automating workflows is so important.
Few organizations, until now, have actively supported the efforts of their knowledge workers to solve problems themselves.
But this doesn’t mean that knowledge workers have simply accepted this. They have gone off and found whatever tools they could to help them get their jobs done.
The tools knowledge workers use today to help them achieve their objectives are like the land of mutant toys.
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BPM versus Situational Process Management

Learn more about BPM versus Situational Process Management.
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
-Henry Ford
In this period of profound change, many of the current orthodoxies about business opportunity, business models and the technology tools used to run enterprises are under significant stress.
Cognizant Center for the Future of Work
BPM versus Situational
BPM software is designed for flow-centric processes – there is a predefined sequence of activities that must be followed, and coordinating the flow of the activities is as automated as possible.
But there is a whole set of processes that are not easy to map, streamline, or automate
Situational Process Management (SPM) is focused on supporting business activities that are:
 
  1. People-intensive
  2. Highly variable
  3. Loosely structured
  4. Subject to frequent change
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The real-world basis for situational process management

Situational process management is an important part of workflows.
It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.
W. Edwards Deming
 
situational process management Flocking birds are an example of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS). There is no lead bird micro-managing the other birds and telling them all where to fly. The individual birds self-organize by adhering to a few simple rules.
One of the key advantages of Xpeditor is having situational process management.
Xpeditor works well because it is grounded in the way that knowledge workers actually work, rather than the way we think they should work. We always try to make things run like clockwork, but they rarely do. Instead of trying to make the clock work better, we need a more realistic way of looking at the way things really happen.
The self-organization leads to unpredictable results; you cannot predict the specific patterns that will emerge, but the behavior is adaptive and highly robust. Continue reading “The real-world basis for situational process management”

Smart workflows – A complexity shield for your organization

You need to build smart workflows.

 
In order to truly become a customer company, you need a customer platform – a platform in which sales, service, marketing and applications, even products can leverage shared customer data and processes.  
–Salesforce ebook
Cloud computing makes it possible to create new “business operations platforms” that will allow companies to change their business models and collaborate in powerful new ways with their customers, suppliers and trading partners – stuff that simply could not be done before.
-Peter Fingar, Dot.Cloud: The 21st Century Business Platform
No matter how good your user development tools are, it’s going to be exceedingly difficult to build smart workflows that are stable, coherent, efficient and effective software solutions for your organization when your system environment looks like this to business users:
  Build smart workflows
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Eliminate Silos – The power of a self-service database

A self-service database can help you eliminate silos.
Most user-developed solutions are at the mercy of their underlying data sources. The data layer makes “businessperson-friendly” data sources and related services available. The data layer simplifies the interface to keep users from getting in over their heads. It is critical for the success of process management.
Making data easily available to users will make them much less likely to access data sources in ways that are less secure and less accurate.
The data layer brings together, in a single repository, the information needed to build cross-functional solutions. The database reflects the entire extended organization, rather a particular application. It is the anti-silo.
 

With Salesforce App Cloud:

 
  • Database management requires no technical skills, is automatically tuned and optimized, and is highly scalable. There is no low-level management such as patching, backups, or configuration. Reliable and secure, the database is constantly monitored and administered by dedicated professionals whose only job is to manage the database. Databases are instantly available to anyone who needs them with just a few mouse clicks; there’s no waiting to provision databases.
  • Data security rules are isolated and managed independently from the rest of application business logic. This eliminates the need for applications to have to code, test, and maintain their own complicated security logic. Database sharing rules can be defined by user, profile, role, group, and record level. This protects against inadvertently giving the wrong person access to data.
  • Organizational hierarchy is built into the database. This allows access privileges to be set at different levels of the organization; e.g., a manager can automatically have access to the records of their team members. Yet another complication the solution builder doesn’t have to worry about.
  • New systems can be brought online quickly, because being enabled by Salesforce App Cloud eliminates the steps to acquire, install, and maintain software, and provides immediate access to accurate and complete data in a single location, obviating the need to build new interfaces or cleanse data, or waste effort due to incomplete information or looking for information.
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Creating the organization’s process management playbook

In the future of work, employees must be empowered to operate at their full potential, and this requires a workplace that has freed itself of unnecessary and debilitating boundaries. It is only then that companies can hope to meet the business challenges of the fast-changing global economy.
Cognizant, Future of work enabler: Worker Empowerment
A playbook is like an overall game plan in football. As in any sport, rather than trying to define all the ways the game will be played, you outline the properties and behaviors of the players and systems so they know how to behave when different “plays” come up. Things can be changed on the fly if necessary, and approvals, cooperation and exceptions are built into the process.
process management playbook A playbook spells out the roles, responsibilities, and expectations for every participant, and lays out all the possible activities, paths, and resources.
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Get a competitive edge with unstructured process management

The BPM tools on the market today provide solutions to business people, but are not designed for business people to actually use to solve their problems. BPM is no help with unstructured processes. Nor is classic project management. That too, relies on the ability to plan an outcome. We need a different approach.
-Ian James, The Process Consultant

Looking to gain a competitive edge? Work Relay is here to help with unstructured process management.

Most organizations have spent years automating their business processes with BPM, which means they have already gotten most of the benefits available in this area. Unfortunately, a clear majority of the business processes in your company are probably unstructured, yet these are the hardest to automate with BPM software.
Rote work seldom creates value. Any task that can be reduced to a predictable set of steps can often be done by machine, delegated to less-skilled workers, or outsourced to a lower-cost region.
What is needed now is to tackle processes that can’t easily be mapped, streamlined or automated. Any process that calls for knowledge and judgment is vital to creating competitive advantage. This is the space in which knowledge workers thrive and where real value can be achieved.
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Xpeditor – A unified process management platform

Cloud computing makes it possible to create new “business operations platforms” that will allow companies to change their business models and collaborate in powerful new ways with their customers, suppliers and trading partners – stuff that simply could not be done before.
-Peter Fingar, Dot.Cloud: The 21st Century Business Platform
 
By using a single platform, applications share the same data, social network, and user security. Any application has access to any data, flow or task. Therefore, workflows and business processes can be shared among customers, departments, and external agencies, all without disruption. With everyone using the same platform, there’s no need to reproduce or copy-and-paste data into different systems depending on who is working from where.

Example

Fragmented solutions built on multiple platforms are expensive to maintain in aggregate. Siloed applications are harder to pull into an interconnected ecosystem. Having just one platform supports the move from monolithic applications for groups of users to multiple user-centric applications built on a common platform.
The following example compares the complexity of building and maintaining applications with and without an enabling platform:
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Bridging the Salesforce process gap between users and developers

Ideas for new solutions will spring from half-baked applications created by lay users who may start down the path toward a solution, but may lack the expertise to finish it.
– Andy Mulholland, Chris S. Thomas, and Paul Kurchina, Mashup Corporations: The End of Business as Usual
Looking to bridge the Salesforce process gap?
There are going to be times when users need someone with analyst skills to help them better define a complex application. There are also going to be times when IT or third-party developers will need to be engaged to code some specific functionality for an application.
This is the role of the Salesforce process analyst.
A Salesforce process analyst helps translate a user’s requirements into terms, model the data needed to support the application, and help translate complex business logic. The situational process analyst works with IT on behalf of users to secure access to corporate data as needed, and to work with users to write specifications for custom functionality.
Salesforce process gap – A bridge to IT
It is true that there often will be the need for some coding to complete a robust application. Therefore, the platform does not seek to exclude IT or code – it makes it easy for IT and business developers to work together collaboratively to reach their goals.
 
salesforce process gap The Salesforce App Cloud framework ensures that users don’t hit a wall by providing a bridge to IT.
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