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Jim Sinur on Intelligent Business Operations


I got to hear Jim Sinur (@jimsinur)talk about intelligent business operations – what he sees as the future of business process and business rules at Building Business Capability 2012. Jim sees two critical trends – a focus on incremental transformation and a new business/IT gap driven by the business’ focus on business process and IT’s focus on “shiny objects” like Big Data, cloud or mobile. He addressed three topics:

  • What are the opportunities for intelligent resources
  • How will operations change with the advent of real-time
  • What kind of technology will it take
Some of his thoughts:
  • Dumb processes he said are dangerous – processes without analytics, without rules, without decision management are inflexible, slow to respond as businesses move, poor supports for the business.
  • There are a number of challenges in determining how much speed your processes and decisions need – determining the real need for speed, deciding fast enough with the mounds of information available and proactively locating potential landmines.
  • Revenue per hour worked is the new metric, he said.
  • It is no longer enough to cut costs, must use processes to generate revenue or innovation.
  • Conventional processes lack
    • Situational awareness
    • Decision management
    • Process management
  • Real-time visibility and simulation drives results, especially when combined with predictive analytics and dynamic routing/scheduling
  • Integrated analytics add value by allowing the improvement of individual processes in flight
  • Business value degrades with longer time to decide, with more and more processes moving to minutes, seconds, milliseconds
  • Processes need to leverage big data (to make little decisions, presumably)
  • You can use data mining to guide process and decision development as well as execution to develop “better” practices
  • Events, social media, new transactions and markets, video and audio and more are going to drive ever more serious data challenges for people (Current Big Data trend is just the beginning)
  • You need to adopt a Seek, Model, Adapt mindset (or use something like the Observe-Orient-Decide-Act or OODA loop that I discuss in Decision Management Systems)
  • From a technology perspective he sees more flexible business process management and case management tools; more decision management and use of rules, analytics, optimization; more extensive use of event process
  • Jim mapped this to the OODA loop:
    • Observe with data assimilation
    • Orient with event process
    • Decide with decision management
    • Act with process management
  • Jim also re-iterated that different combinations of event management, decision management, process management are available as traditional BPM tools, as decision management tools, as “intelligent BPM suites” and so on.

He wrapped up by pointing out that conventional business operations cannot satisfy the escalating demands on the business and that iBPMS, the combination of dynamic process management + event management + decision management can support the emerging demand for intelligent business operations. So:

  • Immediately bring operational intelligence (decision management) to all your processes
  • In next 90 days look at your software infrastructure and train your Business Analysts in these techniques (especially, IMO, decision discovery and modeling)
  • In next 12 months get pilots out there