The Forbes Mini Main Tent was kicked off by Mike Perlis, CEO of Forbes. Mike focused on how to build a business as strong as the Forbes brand – something with four legs:
- Keep print business on track
- Build the digital business for growth
- Develop brand extensions like conferences and international
- Become a great technology company
This last one is critical as the world moves on and supports all the other goals. More than being a great media company, must also be a great technology company. Forbes has been working on this a long time, with one of the first media sites back in 1998 and has continued with early support for e-commerce, dynamic content and social media to reach the current self-publishing platform supporting 1000s of contributors. From 1917 to 2000 Forbes BOUGHT technology but since then they have been technology OWNERS. They still need a strong authoritative journalism base but integrating this with social media and a strong technology platform is critical. And this technology platform continues to evolve and must be kept current.
Mike Rhodin followed to discuss this general theme of transformation. He emphasized the need for deeper insight to improve business outcomes and more intelligent systems. With more data in more formats and a faster pace of change in this data, technology and business must keep pace. Meanwhile non-technology executives are increasingly buying solutions, exceeding in their IT spend the budgets of many CIOs. They care about solutions and about improving their business results. They see this data and are re-thinking how to use this data. They are increasingly closing the loop, applying insight from analytics back into their day to day operations. And applying analytics to both big, strategic decisions and to smaller, day to day operational decisions. Putting analytics to work in real-time decision making at the front line so that every decision is made using the best intelligence possible. Instrumenting every part of the supply chain and customer interaction to provide data that can be used to improve all these decisions. To do this, organizations need Insight from Analytics, decisions managed using Decision Management and processes managed using BPM. Operational intelligence put to work to transform operations.
Gagan Saxena, CIO of Apple Vacations and a client of Decision Management Solutions, came up next. Rather than beginning with technology and seeing how it can help an organization, a new approach is needed. Apple Vacations has historically worked with travel agents to help millions of consumers go on vacation in the Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii. As consumers got comfortable with the web, Apple Vacations supported more e-commerce. But they found that there was a limit of perhaps 5-10% in online purchases for traditional vacations – people struggle to make the decisions involved to pick a good vacation, struggle to fill out all the forms involved to gather data, can’t organize the data they collect. In the end the complexity of the decision drives almost all of them back to talk to a travel agent. To keep more consumers online, the environment needs to make decisions for consumers. It needs to be a smart system to help consumers but defining what this means is complex – how can all the technology available be applied to produce a smarter system? How do you redesign your organization, your processes to take advantage of all this?
What Gagan and Apple Vacations found was that they needed to focus explicitly on DECISIONS as well as processes, on the use of technology to automate and improve the decisions that drive the business. Begin with the decisions then redesign the processes to take advantage of the ability to automate these decisions. Discovering these decisions (working with Decision Management Solutions and running some decision discovery workshops) makes it clear how to link business strategy to day to day operations. Focusing on these decisions makes it clear where to apply what technology and focuses on the consumer. Apple Vacations experts can inject their expertise to drive the behavior of these decisions. Further, analysis of the results of these decisions can create continuous improvement and drive better decisions. The new website will improve the experience of those shopping for vacations by providing Apple Vacations expertise not just through agents, but through decisions embedded in the operational processes and environments consumers use.
Randall Overby from Bank of NY Mellon came up to share his love of business process management. BNY Mellon Randall always gets the same questions about BPM – how do you make BPM work and how do you get the success you want. He advises teams to:
- Start with the process and with managing it not with the BPMS technology.
- Remember that cultural change is going to be part of most BPM programs
- Stretch “end to end” to include your clients at both ends
- Pick the right tools for your organization, do proof of concepts and pilots as necessary and remember that “tools” include methodologies and approaches not just software
- Include everyone as BPM programs cannot survive in isolation – clients, IT, operations and more.
For BNY Mellon BPM is a holistic management approach that aligns their activities to the needs and wants of their clients. Efficiency, effectiveness, collaboration. For this to work the organization AND the employees need to get something out of BPM projects – it cannot just be about the organization’s efficiency. BPM changes the way the organization works and thinks and BNY Mellon used it to focus on results from a client perspective – focusing on improving results from a client perspective, mutually beneficial changes. In particular they asked those working in the process for ideas and implemented hundreds of them for a 40% permanent reduction in expense while improving client scorecards and reducing staff churn to 2%. The BPM program was a vehicle for becoming partners with their clients, for continuous improvement, agility and empowered individuals.