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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Process Silos are Killing Your Productivity

Silos are often heavily guarded fortresses which are protected by impenetrable vines of bureaucracy, entrenched interests and Established Ways of Doing Things.
Process Silos
Silos limit the workers’ access to knowledge about their customers and their opportunities to use that knowledge to better serve the marketplace.
Process Silos
Silos obscure the overall visibility of work being done in the organization as a result of multiple interfaces, disjointed processes, and complex data integration.
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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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Managing workflows in Salesforce – On the frontlines

Start managing workflows in Salesforce!
Value creation is more and more based on intellectual activity rather than manual dexterity or brute strength. But we continue to use the management and organizational structures that worked for the factory and the field. Here success was determined by standardization and efficiency. These in turn demanded adherence to a set procedure. We used people as cogs in a machine when we could not devise a machine to do the job.
Ian James, The Process Consultant
Managing Workflows in Salesforce
 For the past two decades, much of the focus for information technology deployment has been on automating or even eliminating less-skilled jobs. This has been largely effective, and organizations today are able to do far more with fewer people. Workers today spend less of their time on routine tasks than was possible just ten years ago.
These types of automated systems are givens, commodities that can add little additional value to the organization. What are left are the unstructured business processes that have received little attention from management until now.
Harnessing and coordinating these unstructured processes in a way that provides customers with a consistent, cohesive and agile experience is what is needed to become a Customer focused company. How do these unstructured processes manifest themselves in the organization?
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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”

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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Eliminate Process Silos on Salesforce App Cloud

The Business Operations Platform externalizes the control of processes away from individual applications. It makes them equal peers, subjugated to the Business Operations Platform layer that controls the execution of the processes, the provision of services, and the delegation of tasks or activities to the individual applications according to their specific uses and needs.
– Peter Fingar, The Business Process Platform in the Sky
 
Need to eliminate process silos? We can help!
Like a digital nervous system, a platform is much more powerful than the sum of its parts.  The functionality provided by the situational process platform is designed to work together.  So, for example, every application is automatically social-enabled and mobile-enabled, and a single permissions schema is used in all the different functions, including workflow, reporting, and social networking.   This dramatically reduces the time required to build function-rich solutions.
Having just one platform to deal with allows users across the organization to start building solutions immediately and deploy them quickly, globally, and inexpensively.
 
Eliminate Process Silos You could create your own business operations platform by cobbling together disparate social, mobile, process and cloud products. Or you could simply use a comprehensive, integrated, extensible, and ready-to-go platform.
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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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Implementing workflow rules – Making your workflows more efficient

Make your workflows more efficient by implementing workflow rules.

 
There are sometimes things that can’t be changed, like breaking the law by going faster or ignoring other rules of the road.
Xpeditor provides mechanisms to selectively restrict change to flows.  With the potential for serious missteps in the execution of flows, organizations need the balancing capability to lock down certain steps in their flows, ensuring compliance on the one hand, enabling goal-centric behavior on the other.  This provides flexibility while still ensuring control where variations are not permitted.
Many complex systems are based on simple rules. A set of several simple rules leads to complex, intelligent behavior, while a set of complex rules often leads to dumb and primitive behavior. There are many examples of this.
Flocking geese follow a simple set of rules when flying in formation: don’t bump into each other, match up with the speed of the other geese flying by, replace the lead goose when it gets tired, and always remain with the group.
From these few simple rules, a complex and efficient flying pattern emerges.
The point is that workflow rules are used sparingly in Xpeditor compared to what you would find in traditional BPM. There is no attempt to nail down each possible path or every possible exception. This provides the individual participants a large degree of autonomy, while reaching the group’s objective efficiently under many different circumstances.
There are 3 types of workflow rules that can be included:
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