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Rebooting the Human Mindset – The Invisible Challenge July 12, 2011

Posted by Sanooj Kutty in Business Process Management, Enterprise Content Management, Others.
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1 comment so far

Google + brings about a renewed wave of energy in the Social Networking scene. 30% of my Twitter (another Social Networking phenomenon) now buzzes with Google + and related hash tags. With Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook himself checking it out, how could I be left behind?

Dan O’Leary was kind enough to invite me and as I joined in, my initial excitement was vanquished by my inability to adapt to Google + easily. Perhaps, the lingering experience of Facebook was prompting me to find a Facebook in Google +. I created my account, click a couple of circles and I was out of there. It took me a lot of intention to come back 2 days later! And when I returned I had to reboot my mindset to explore and adopt Google +, a task not as easy as our favorite 3-finger salute; CTRL+ALT+DEL.

It’s been 4 days now and Google + has not connected me to anyone new; instead it’s synergized a selection of my Facebook contacts and Twitter followers into one. Only time will tell whether I enjoy this cohesion or not.

As an ECM-BPM cohesion advocate, this small experience was a reflection of the invisible challenge I have faced on a daily basis during the course of my humble career. As a non-technical resource in the information management world, it’s a difficult journey to meet the expectations of the business without upsetting the ability of the techies to deliver with the tools at their disposal.

Be it a Document Management System or a Records Management System or a Collaboration System or the conventional BPM or Social BPM or Adaptive Case Management or Dynamic Case Management, they are all a change to the business user from their interactions and experiences with their current systems and processes.

In spite of all these innovative solutions, why do we still see the email as the most prominent unstructured information communication and collaboration medium? It’s simple; the email did not change the behavior of communication; it merely changed the medium of communication. The snail mail approach was merely adapted to a digital medium.  The new solutions require the human to UNLEARN while emails kept it down to an acceptable minimum.

However, the completely anarchic nature of the E-mail began to pose other challenges to an enterprise in terms of security, storage and retrieval. The processes that were probably better controlled albeit at a much slower pace through a paper trail was now run through the chaotic freedom of emails.

Naturally, the world began to search for alternatives to control their content and processes resulting in a whole new gamut of information management solutions. However, the innovators in their excitement to lead the brat pack forgot that the human mind is not as excited to adopt changes as they desire to. A slow and steady release would have allowed the Average Joe to visualize, experiment, experience and then execute these solutions.

Today, within 4 days, as I start to crib about the unavailability of Google + on Blackberry, I must also be honest that I may not have appreciated too much features from Google + in one go. Just as I started on Facebook when it was not as feature rich as it is now, I had a natural growth into it.

As an ECM-BPM consultant, I take great efforts to restrain my excitement at releasing a plethora of features to the business user. The challenge of rebooting their mindset to unlearn the current and re-learn the future is more daunting that delivering exciting new features.

Unless, one gauges the organizational or departmental psyche towards unlearning, it is best advised to feed them one biscuit at a time and not the whole pack. The Invisible Challenge must be made visible before any ECM-BPM program is launched and to crack this code, I’m off to reading that greatest lesson ever – “Aesop’s The Hare and The Tortoise”.

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Customer Experience – The Holy Trinity of Information, Communication and Ambition June 16, 2011

Posted by Sanooj Kutty in Business Process Management, Others, Service Oriented Architecture.
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1 comment so far

Recent buzz around Customer Experience, Business Process Management and Business Architecture got me thinking. Can we ever architect our customer experience? Would we know if we change any existing service or introduce a new one, what objectives, media and interfaces will they impact? And I reckoned, why not give it a wild shot?

And what better way than to be inspired by the principles of Business Process Management and Business Architecture to create what I call my Customer Experience Model. A Model driven by the invisible Holy Trinity of any organization’s customer management – Information, Communication and Ambition.

So here we go, check out the below image.

Nothing significant about the model though. A mere simplistic attempt at a sample model of a bank’s credit card services.

As you can see from the Customer Experience Model sample, it is driven by a 4 layer architecture, namely, Business Service, Objective, Media and the Interface.

Business Service

This is nothing but the service or the product that the organization wishes to deliver to the customer. In this case, Credit Card Services. Be careful to separate them if you have multiple service grades, say, a Classic and a Platinum. They must be considered as different services as they will cater to different customer experiences; which is why we’re on this page 😉

Objective

The objective may vary from organization to organization depending on the campaign at hand. It may be an awareness campaign to inform the customer. It could also be a sales campaign driven by the sales channel. yet again, it may be a promotion campaign (one of those fine-printed ones that every credit card firm uses to hoodwink the customer and make the same amount of money ;))

Media

Now that we do have a direction for our ambition having identified our services and our objectives, it is time we managed communication and the key to that is medium through which we will communicate to our audience. My image is only a shallow example and realistic models can have the media defined by being specific or being generic. For example, you may mark it as Social Media or as Facebook/Twitter etc. I would actually recommend the Facebook/Twitter approach. And even your Partners and your Sales Force are a form of Media that communicates to your customer.

Interface

Having the media alone is not enough. The media must have information to carry and for that you need your carriers of information or as I call it – the Interface to the customer. The Interface does not necessarily need to be customer facing like Training material for the Sales Force. The Interface is that artifact which will carry the information that needs to be delivered to the customer, directly or indirectly.

Now, imagine yourself undergoing a re-branding exercise. The challenge of identifying and structuring everything that needs to be re-branded can be a daunting and demanding task. This model may make life just that much easier. Trust me, you’ll probably learn of your own organization and its process gaps without even having drawn a process flow diagram yet 🙂

For tools to architect this, while I used the Process Landscape template of Aris Express (because I haven’t got Visio), you may use any drawing tool including PowerPoint or even a Mind Mapping tool.

The cost of implementing this Model is also ZERO as I would not be charging for this. However, if you are willing to donate in Good Samaritan spirits for using this Model or would like to call on my part-time services to support you, do email me on sanooj.kutty@gmail.com and we can talk 🙂

Architecture & Governance II – There’s something about BPM… February 27, 2011

Posted by Sanooj Kutty in Business Process Management, Others, Service Oriented Architecture.
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4 comments

There’s something about BPM… that’s missing…

This post is definitely not my “eureka moment”. No such great discovery coming from me yet.

After all I am neither in my bath nor am I running around naked.

But, I have tried to define processes. Modeled them in EPC and BPMN and yet somewhere I face the frustration of not having got it just right. There is always some cross-link missing or some exception not managed. Arguments have advised me to focus on the 80% of Pareto’s law. However, if we are to run a 100 million dollar business, that 20% is a whopping 20 million dollars! For sure, I do not want to be the one losing that 20 million.

This is where your Business Architecture or also known in some corners as Business Process Architecture kicks in to help you structure your processes. Conventional Architectures start from the top and they tend to start with a Service. As some call it a Service, others have gone on to call them Process Landscapes, Process Areas or Scenarios. Ultimately and fundamentally they are on the same page and a typical such architecture is shown below.

However, I disagree with this model because this starts from what we want to serve our customer and not vice versa.

This is where it happened to me. It happens to all of us. We learn many things during our academic and vocational journeys that we leave behind and then suddenly it pops up out of the blue and knocks us so hard that we wonder why didn’t we think of it before.

My moment came to me during a recent marketing workshop where some of the marketing jargon lead me back to the basics of marketing. It’s all about the needs and wants of a customer. If we only have to cater to what the customer needs, great. If the competition also caters to the customer’s needs, then we have to give them what they want.

This was missing from the above architecture. It starts with a “sales orientation” by aiming to deliver what we have to serve them. What we must put in place is definitely a “market orientation“.

One must move from a “push to customer” architectural principle to a “pushed or pulled by customer” principle. Thus, our business architecture starts from the customers needs or wants as defined by the diagram below:

I believe a business always starts with the customer and if the customer wishes, it can always be brought to an end. Hence, applying the basics learnt from our marketing classes in our business architecture, we go closer to the customer and the closer we are to our customer, the closer we are to our objectives.

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