Business Process Management (2)

Worldwide Interoperability Demonstration of ASAP & WfXML 2.0

Presented by The Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC)

Demonstration of interoperability among three vendors and two open source initiatives (Fujitsu, Staffware, a client, Handysoft, and another)

ASAP = the Asynchronous Standard Access Protocol. Enter the URLs and the metadata hooks up automatically.

We're watching an interchange of activities on a live flowchart. Then we check the XML code and find that indeed the transaction made its way through the various organizations. Untouched by human hands. This is a virtual replay of pounding in the golden spike.

ASAP can be used today to link systems easily. Next step is to go through OASIS Process, but this is ready to go now.

WfMC is looking to design tool vendors to demo ability to upload and download process definitions using Wf-XML 2.0 in January 2005. Wf-XML 3.0 has "containers" which hold "factories." The URL of the factory automatically calls the details for the "instance" which includes the "activity." The activity contains two blocks of XML Schema: the data and the … The SOAP protocol carries this.

John Pike from Staffware, chair of the WfMC, points out how significant is the demo we have just seen. This was a historic moment.

Panel: Business Process Innovation

Tom Dwyer, Principal, Beagle Research Group, and a panel

Things in process are getting less visible, which is a sign of maturity - when things don't get in the way. The business used to be measuring, monitoring, and improving inefficient processes. The new objective is to use processes for innovation.

1. Innovation = application of an invention (something new) that brings benefit.

2. Two key elements are collaboration and knowledge flow.

3. Process innovation = requires a structured approach of experimentation, education....

Some of the panelists offer all-in-one, others focus on only rules or analysis. It's like assembling cars.

"Process Management Tools should be on the desk of every business user" (says Proforma).

Where is the demand for innovation coming from?

" Need a champion of processes and rules together (says a guy who sells both).
" Demand comes from the business that wants improvement in a process.
" Innovation is overwhelmingly making an existing process better rather than creating processes de novo (Fair Isaac)
" Next processes instead of best practices - things that haven't been automated before (SAP)
" No, most of it's new applications (ProForma, which covers only the analysis and planning end of things)

Where is motivating the demand for process innovation? (Jay.) Okay, I asked a bit more.

I've worked in a number of new industries, and every one had the implementation advice you guys just gave:

  • Get executive sponsorship
  • Start small, score a quick win
  • Talk up the payback
  • People matter, include all the stakeholders
  • Avoid analysis paralysis
What really motivates process innovation?

New paradigm. Higher level, where orgs think of process and rules as assets. Build for change.

Supply side business. We build it and then figure out what to do with it. We back into it.

Fair Isaac actually answered the question.

" Stay out of jail - compliance
" Profitability - cost cuts
" IT - infrastructure cost to high

Bottom up, top down, general awareness…it's pervasive. People are buying into it at different levels.

" Next practices. (says SAP)
" Ad hoc workflow vs. workflow in the silo.
" Seeking competitive advantage (buy, buy, buy says the vendor)

[Uh-oh. The vendors on the panel as jostling for position, only presenting examples that tout the value of their own solutions.]

Tom Dwyer observed that in high tech, we often invent something and later find the use for it. BPM is there. We're reverse-engineering the benefits from the invention.

I can imagine another back-formation from process centricism. When a business manager is confronted with the profit contribution of one way of doing things versus another, won't she want to take the option that's best economically? Will the long-term benefits of lasting processes get American business leaders to think more than one quarter ahead? Eventually, if corporations become truly transparent, market analysts could rate companies not only on earnings but also on whether they're focused on the long term or the short.

Doug Engelbart's name is reverberating in my head. Improve the process. Improve the process of improving the process.

BRP is the logic of business laid bare. No fluff. No politics. Just here's how it happens. It's a roadmap people can understand. Like a mural of a meeting, it enables people to talk about what works and what doesn't without getting personal about it. The map is agnostic. Everyone's goal is to make it better. Furthermore, thanks to smart software, the value of choosing this option instead of that is automatically generated and explicitly stated.

The Process-Centric Company & Business Process Frameworks

by Paul Harmon, Editor, BP Trends

Business process is hot. At least as hot as BPR in '93-'94 but this time the interest is broader, which means it will have more staying power.

Customer focus. The Internet has had an impact on the awareness of executives. How quick can I get through the seller's website?

Better control
Reduce costs

Process-Centric Company = A company that is organized, structured, measured and managed in terms of business processes. (Most companies are still function-centric.) This is more in the talking stage than the reality.

Electrocomponents plc, 743 million pounds
Download Annual Report
Chief Process Officer: Richard Butler

Lots of work on alignment in the 90s was horizontal, integrations from supplier to customer. New alignment is vertical: integrated measures, managers, and resources. The vertical lets management conceptualize the business and therefore to change

SEI CMM Process Maturity Levels, used to assess software by DoD but is a good touchstone for assessing process maturity. From ad hoc to process improvement. Most companies are only at about 2.5. They don't have measures that tie to strategic goals.

Strategy and Goals
Business Process Architecture
Implementation: Employees/Systems
Six sigma/OMG model-driver architecture
Business Process Outsourcing = how to focus on core
Outsourcers are good prospects for BPM

Different groups want to discuss different pieces of the triangle.

Business Process Frameworks
Aka Reference Models, Templates
High level descriptions of a set of processes, measures, best practices
Provide a package that allows an analyst to treat a given process as an instance of a class of similar processes (they characterize processes at a high level)


1. Supply Chain Council (SCOR). 700 companies. How to link up processes at a high level and how to measure them. (Check their layers of modeling) This is essentially meta-processing mapping. Plan ' Source 'Make ' Deliver. At a one-day meeting, a dozen people from many companies spend the morning learning the terminology and notation; in the afternoon they create and agree upon a global, interoperable supply chain. An independent auditing agency provides benchmark data to other in an industry. The Benchmark enables you to assess your level of profitability if your performance were average. Management Plan and HR Best Practices are part of SCOR.

2. TeleManagement Forum eTOM, implemented in IT as NGOSS, their expanded architecture.

3. HPs Extended SCOR Architecture. In the Compaq merger, they modeled both the HP and the Compaq supply chain where each company had a similar process. Which process provides the best profit opportunity? Instead of a list of software apps, the supply chain guys presented a blueprint and financials. Now HP has taken this to marketing, sales, and manufacturing. It works great at HP, but since it's proprietary, it doesn't facilitate conversing with partners. (Two newly established councils are working on taking this to marketing and sales functions.) See
for the latest; this only happened last week.

BP Frameworks are a major opportunity for companies to significantly improve their business process practices. Nothing else offers BP practitioners the speed.

Gary Chan, IT manager, City of Walnut Creek

Gary Chan explained how the City of Walnut Creek implemented BPM, the results received, and the City's vision of the future. This was the first time I've heard the details of a far-ranging deployment that involved all employees and will eventually link all customers (residents) in City projects. Plus, they brought the entire project home for under $100,000 and in less than six months.

BPM is the execution of software, measures, and processes than enable rapid, more accurate, decision making. It makes for fiscal responsibility.

Had a manual system. Nothing real-time. Two-week old reports. Monitor project progress.

Implementation of Metastorm, from signing the contract to generating reports, took place in 5 ½ months. Six weeks for training. Now installing web version. The City no longer uses any other project management software.

Creating paperless environment. Little training required: they pick it up at the push of a button. On-demand reports. Tracks all project communications. Automated processes for approval and to escalate multi-level project changes. Let's public service employees who don't work 8 to 5 communicate with others.

The total tab for the software and some expert advice from the vendor was $85,000. The hold costs down, Walnut Creek did most of the process design in-house.

Walnut Creek is currently putting the app on the Web. They envision opening up the system to citizens. If you've got a pothole in the street in front of your house, you log it on the system and monitor the trouble ticket from there on.

Futures Panel

Difficulty implementing is that companies are not organized by process. We don't need to control so much as to do the right thing. How are our haphazard processes doing? Then how can we do them better?

This is all about making business more efficient, not about adding infrastructure.

BPM has an overall architecture for management.

What are our PKIs? How are we doing against those indicators? How could we do better? What's that worth?

Janelle: At the enterprise level, all the PKIs I know of are financial. (Should Workflow Institute help develop the intangible PKIs?)

One view: IT will come under the business managers. Contrarian: We've been there before. IT people think all Business people are idiots; the business people think IT people are idiots. Another contrarian view: When more people can make changes without coding than there are coders, things will change. Right now there is one BP analyst to every ten Java coders. It should be the other way around.

One view: IT vs. the business. IT should be the business.

Are there efforts to establish standards at a higher level, e.g. accounts receivable? There's SCOR. There are also semantics being developed for some 300 industries.

"Information Resource Management" covers everything IT should be doing.

Business Intelligence has demonstrated how coding can be delegated to business people. It's time for BPM to get on board.

The assembled crowd sings Happy Birthday to Greg Rock,
panel leader and CEO of Brainstorm Group.

From luncheon conversation:

Who's the #1 thought leader in this space? Geary Rummler.

Who do the vendors sell to? It's sort of like the training market. The natural buyers lack budget and clout. Few firms have a Chief Process Officer, so there's no natural prospect at the top level either.

I plan to summarize these reports and attach my consclusions. Then they'll go on the Workflow Institute site.

Your correspondent

Posted by Jay Cross at June 23, 2004 07:23 PM | TrackBack

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