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Business Agility Now!


Nancy Pearson, who I interviewed recently, discussed IBM’s new Business Agility Now! initiative. IBM launched Smarter Planet about a year ago, focusing on the instrumented, interconnected and intelligent organization. The initiative is being driven by the massive increase in instrumentation (with smaller things being instrumented as well as the natural world), how interconnected organizations have become both within their firewalls and between organizations and the increasing intelligence of things with more computing power in more places. One of the focus areas is that of Smart Work and this is where the Business Agility Now initiative has an impact.

Nancy went on to give an example – an insurance carrier. The modern carrier has a much more complex business network, with more external players, and a much more changeable one with partners coming and going. Within this individuals have their own network – the people they work with across this business ecosystem. Making such a dynamic business network is hard with few executives feeling that they are done – only 3% for instance think they have achieved process excellence (perhaps they need advanced decisioning as I discussed this morning). The opportunity, however, is real with companies that have managed this transitions achieving great results like a 60% reduction in redundant tasks, 50% reduction in partner integration time etc (the folks from Gartner had some great examples yesterday also).

IBM sees a layer cake – a Service-Oriented Architecture underpinning a Business Process Management layer (that includes advanced decisioning and business rules) and a Business Strategy that takes advantage of both.

Organizations want to:

  • Discover insights that enable innovation
    For instance having immediate access to information about interactions across internal and external processes and being able to use these insights to drive BPM change and continuous improvement. Personalized dashboards, real-time process analytics, BPM.
  • Maximize the value of business interactions
    For instance track customer interactions across channels and various legacy systems using SOA to hook together lots of different information sources. Event management critical for this one.
  • Optimize productivity and resources
    For instance make the claims payment process efficient and driving out costs. This is the classic decisioning scenario with rules-based claims processing eliminating manual decisions and analytics being used to identify the low risk claims. Rules, analytics, BPM.

IBM has announced its new product line – Version 7. This includes new in-flight change management capabilities (to add to the ability to use business rules to do this), better UI for designing processes, better governance tools and improved performance.

More on this later.


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