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Articles on this Page
- 09/18/18--06:15: _Everything I needed...
- 09/20/18--06:01: _Which Came First &n...
- 09/26/18--06:51: _The Critical Role o...
- 09/27/18--09:00: _What Project Manage...
- 10/03/18--09:12: _Podcast Review: A M...
- 10/04/18--05:28: _Straightening the Road
- 10/09/18--05:44: _BPM Club Meeting in...
- 10/11/18--06:19: _The Transformation ...
- 10/16/18--06:37: _Intelligent Automat...
- 10/18/18--09:51: _Webinar: Automation...
- 09/20/18--06:01: Which Came First – the People or the Tech?
- 09/26/18--06:51: The Critical Role of Process in Digital Transformation
- 09/27/18--09:00: What Project Management and Pinball Games Have in Common
- 10/03/18--09:12: Podcast Review: A Massive Integrated Process Collaboration Platform
- 10/04/18--05:28: Straightening the Road
- 10/09/18--05:44: BPM Club Meeting in Berlin: Process Management at Panasonic
- Strategy Formulation
- Operating Model Development
- Operational Control and Feedback
- 10/16/18--06:37: Intelligent Automation: What Does the Future Hold?
Well, maybe not everything, but quite a bit. And not exactly the Pinewood Derby, per se, but the “Pixelwood Derby,” which is a grownup version held annually in Austin, TX. Like the Cub Scout inspired merit badge event, the Pixelwood requires competitors to craft their own vehicles to a tight design spec using a small block of wood, four aluminum nails (axels), and four plastic wheels. Where it likely differs is with the fancy, electronically timed racetrack, a perfect replica of the Back To The Future Delorean off to the side, at least five folks walking around in movie quality storm trooper outfits, and a welcome stream of Tito’s vodka and Stash IPA.
When Grant Chambers, the CEO of Workhorse, a key marketing partner of ours at iGrafx, asked us to participate in this charity event I agreed. I mean, it’s for a great cause (The Settlement Home for Children), and it offers a chance to network with some really cool Austin-based companies, like Indeed, Phunware, Yeti, Grande Communications, Offers.com, ShipEngine, etc. Plus, I was fairly confident that I could find someone at iGrafx to pawn the actual car building off on, so what did I have to lose?
Well, it turns out that the whole pawning-off thing backfired and I became the designer, builder and race car handler. And given that my nights and weekends are pretty full, it wasn’t like I had big chunks of spare time screaming out for wooden cars to build. So, that was life lesson #1: if you’ve got something important to do, be prepared to do it yourself. Lead by example. Fall on the grenade for your team. Something like that.
Lesson number two was that if you need to learn anything, no matter how arcane, there’s a YouTube video for it. I could’ve watched videos on the scientific approaches to constructing Pinewood Derby racers for days if I hadn’t peeled myself away from the computer and headed out to the garage. Seriously. People have spent A LOT of time analyzing, quantifying and pontificating about little wooden Cub Scout cars.
Lesson #3 was a reminder that if you own a compound miter saw and a table saw, they will be used as places in the garage to pile years-worth of clutter, making their extrication a project in and of itself. Sigh.
After finally getting the power tools out, my plan was to make a very simple design, but a very fast car. All the YouTubing had me convinced that I held the secrets to speed, and that iGrax would be a shoe-in for the fastest car award. So, after making a few cuts, doing some sanding, painting, polishing, bending, cursing, weighting, aligning and graphiting, lesson #4 materialized – have the right tools for the job. Turns out that the vast, underground world of Pinewood Derbying has a dark web network of places to buy everything from precision axel benders to custom aerodynamic weights. And I had none of that stuff. My best laid strategic plans left a bit to be desired in final execution.
Still, lesson #5 was pretty fantastic, and it came to me when my 15-year-old, high school sophomore son actually volunteered to help me with the project. Simply, if you want to find a way to get your elusive, exceptionally cool, very rarely around son to spend some time away from his friends (and Fortnite), and hang out with you at home, start building a little wooden car in your garage!
When the paint dried, even without the high-tech derby car tools, I was fairly pleased with the way everything had come together, and honestly thought that we’d have a chance at winning the fastest car contest at the event. Seriously, how many of the other corporate competitors would take the time to watch the videos and implement all of the sciency tips and tricks? Turns out, lots of them. Lesson #6, YouTube is available to everyone, and lesson #7, there are a lot of folks in Austin who take this stuff incredibly seriously! Our car wasn’t bad, and typically ran second or third in each of our many heats. But that wasn’t enough to get us first place, or even in the top 8 out of 20! Two tenths of a second is an eternity on a Pinewood Derby track… And don’t get me started on the cars that looked cooler than ours AND were faster! Form and function. Poetry in motion. Copious time on people’s hands… ;)
Lesson #8, and the one that ties back to iGrafx, is that I wish I’d had the ability to use our own collaborative mapping, modeling, simulation and performance management software to create the car. I could’ve quantified and controlled risks and automated workflows to ensure that I closed the gap between strategy and execution. Elon Musk would’ve been jealous. It was a perfect case of the cobbler’s kids lack of shoes.
In the end, though, it’s all about lesson #9. And that is, win or lose, racing little wooden cars down a track is fun and perplexingly addictive. I’m already planning for the iGrafx tour de force in 2019!
Thanks again to Workhorse for making it happen.
It’s true in every industry, we want to implement faster, feel more secure, and be more efficient. I have a great idea. Let’s buy a tool or some technology for that. Technology will make it all better, Right? Wrong! This is however the unfortunate situation that many organizations face time and time again. It is also a conversation that plays itself out repeatedly at many conferences.
Last week I attended ABS Technologies Fall Tech Fest in Roanoke, VA, and it got me thinking about this again. The event was great, and pulled in speakers from Cisco, Global Knowledge Training, and Schneider Electric, who shared some interesting perspectives and advice. Unfortunately, though, the conversations were almost solely about throwing technology at problems. Yes, I get it, the event name “Tech Fest” does tell you that there is obviously going to be a focus on Technology, but this neglects some very important factors that really should be considered before thinking about any technology.
The day started with a great presentation from Dave Buster who traced back the Target security breach of 2013. You all remember how big an issue it was, impacting over 60 million customers. Chances are you were probably one of them. This sent people clambering to find an IT solution to close the vulnerability. But as you listen to the story, it all traces back to human error driven by poor IT and data security policies at a 3rd party vendor. Here is the thing though, technology won’t solve that problem. If you don’t know what those systems are connected to, who has access, or why they are used, it is very difficult to define an effective policy. It also nearly impossible to ensure you are implementing the right technology.
We have all seen the PPT triangle, or some variation of it, that represents People, Process, & Technology.
Do you notice what comes last in the list? I’m sorry to my IT brethren, but it’s Technology. There is a reason for that. You can not deploy technology without competent people, supporting processes, and an overall understanding of your strategy. Well, you can if you aren’t concerned with ROI…
There were other sessions at the event on IoT and Capabilities Mapping that would have benefited by connecting the dots between the three. One even started by showing the PPT triangle and saying that we were mainly going to focus on people & process, but unfortunately that was the last time people or process were mentioned as the presenter only talked about technology.
I would love for this conference to have taken a broader approach. There was so much potential to really open-up the discussions and provide true perspective and guidance, that technology is only a tool. And like all tools (technology), if they are in the hands of someone (people) who does not know how to use it (process), they can be dangerous and the results catastrophic (See what I did there with Technology before People and Process). In the case of Target, that was $18.5m, 47 state lawsuit, AND a $10m class action settlement.
iGrafx has been connecting the dots of People, Process, and Technology for over 25 years. We have a Proven Process that captures and aligns your strategy, people, process, and technology to unite your entire organization. Contact us to find out how we can help you.
I’m embarrassed to admit that BP3’s Driven event took place a solid month ago and I’m just getting around to watching all of the excellent video resources that were created there. The first one that caught my eye was a conversation between BP3’s VP Marketing, Krista White, and Forrester’s VP & Principal Analyst, Rob Koplowitz, talking about “the critical role of process in digital transformation.” Holy cow, this is important information for any business leader thinking about “digital transformation,” or “automation,” or any of the related derivatives and acronyms.
In a nutshell, what you’ll see in this short (2:09) video is Rob explaining that you can’t really automate until you understand the processes you’re trying to improve, and you shouldn’t really think of customer journey mapping as anything other than process mapping. The “art of the possible” lies in cogently tying all of this together. And with 83% of organizations (per Rob) looking to significantly increase their use of customer journey mapping, it would sure behoove said organizations to understand this bigger picture before throwing dollars at technology. “Rules before tools” as the cool kids say.
How does iGrafx fit into this you ask? And why are we posting BP3’s videos? Well, as we’ve mentioned before, we’re proud partners with BP3. They’re fellow Austin, TX technology providers and really smart folks, and together we’re a classic “complementary offering” story. Do any of you who remember back to the ‘70s and ‘80s, when “you got your peanut butter on my chocolate,” and we simultaneously realized how delicious the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup was that we’d created. It was kind of like that, only a bit less accidental, because it was clear that the transformation services, support and best practices that BP3 offers would align perfectly with the transformation software solutions that iGrafx provides. We knew we had a 1+1=3 scenario for our joint customers right away.
Thanks to Rob, Krista and BP3 for this excellent content. We’ll be sharing more in the Transformation Weekly later this year.
In the following article I want to reflect a few of my project management experiences. Attention: could be a bit exaggerated and sarcastic, but there is a lot of truth!
Before you can play pinball, you have to throw in some money. It’s the same with projects. Most of the time, you need to budget for the project before it begins. This usually comes from the technical budget managers or management. And means the people who have initiated the project also have a high interest in the success of the project. So far so good!
Money is in and the first ball is released. Pull once - maybe pull through completely, maybe only up to a certain point, and off you go. The ball picks up speed and rolls rapidly towards the pitch. In projects, this is the so-called kick off. There, the project manager takes on the task of getting the ball rolling. For new projects, the enthusiasm is usually still quite high; everyone is highly motivated, everyone wants to do their best.
The Ball Starts Rolling
The thing about pinball is that the ball picks up speed, but you actually have no idea where it will land or what happens next. Sure, the more experience you have, the more often you play pinball, the more likely you are to guess the track and landing points. But it’s just a guess, because on the way there are many unpredictable factors. If the ball bounces the wrong way, it’s over and done with. No one knows, or can predict, which course the silver bullet will take. That’s why a pinball player will never plan anything except a reasonably focused start. Then he waits to see what happens.
This is a little bit different in project management. Despite the introduction of agile methods, projects are usually planned and done in a very classic way according to the good old waterfall method. Which means, I determine at the start what has happened, when it’s happened and where it’s happened. Once a phase is complete (with the result set), I then move on to the next phase. And so on and so forth, across different milestones, right up to the end of the project. So that’s a little bit like pinballing - planning exactly where and when the ball bounces, how many points are scored (= milestones), and what the order is until the ball eventually goes out.
Act and React
The pinball player is waiting to see what happens. He knows that the ball does not take a predictable path and is always ready to react accordingly. Does the ball fly back and forth between the bumpers? You don’t stop; you hold on and take the small success quickly. Does the ball unexpectedly jump towards one of the flippers? React quickly and bring the ball back into play. In an emergency, tug on the pinball machine and push to nuance the direction of the ball. Just don’t tilt!
Business projects are very often geared to the very big goals and results. You often want to break the record on the pinball machine and do it as fast as possible. The small scores are not satisfying. But it is precisely the small successes that decide on the overall score in the end.
Long-term project planning also loses many opportunities to act quickly and flexibly. In waterfall projects this means considerable effort for new planning. Not to mention that you would have to admit mistakes in the planning in the first place.
The Right Hits
Even though every hit scores points, every pinball player knows exactly where to get the highest score. He tries to hit it every time. Why does he know this? He knows the pinball machine. He sees the structure, knows traps, paths, and points of individual hit contacts. Like a golfer who checks the green for bumps every time he putts. For the pinball player, the game is completely transparent.
Process Transparency and Agility
Projects in companies, especially when it comes to changes in processes, usually start without having this transparency. Project leader and team go on a path, which they do not know, and also cannot control. A common reason for the failure of projects is that the effort to analyze actual situations is not made at all, or not scheduled but must be made later which takes time and budget. This often means that projects go off in a silo instead of going hand in hand with business process management, which can provide the necessary transparency and a sound basis for the project.
The Next Ball Please
Yes, at some point the first ball rolls out. For most pinball games this is not a big deal, because you have several balls per game. So, shoot the next ball. Unfortunately, this is not a luxury project managers usually have. When the budget is exhausted, there is usually no room to really keep the project alive. The project dies or you must live with the results achieved so far. No one is really satisfied.
As is required with pinball, businesses should be a bit more agile with their projects. The right funding is necessary, and everyone should start the game knowing that there will be setbacks along the way. This requires quick reflexes in order to get fast, visible results that motivate and lead the project team toward the big picture. Last but not least: without business processes, transparency and a solid foundation, it will always be difficult to set the high score and achieve project time, budget and quality goals.
I recently listened to this great podcast from Just-In-Time Café at goleansixsigma.com. The episode was titled “The Journey from Plastics & Axles to Shingo Prize Featuring Tracey & Ernie Richardson.” You can listen to the whole episode here. It highlights the story of a couple who started their work life at the first Toyota Plant in North America and then wrote a book about it. It’s a very interesting and entertaining story.
We wanted to thank the podcast team for their shout out to iGrafx in their introduction. They recently reviewed our software and decided that it could “probably simulate your bowling game.” That’s high praise! Among other things, they discussed how powerful our software is, allowing for a fully integrated platform that allows organizations to visualize all processes and manage them in one place. They talk about the ability to allow collaboration and to add measurements of performance that feed into the company’s processes. Other praise included the ability to methodically document and track performance of all processes, the ability to see all interactions and to experiment with simulation to understand the impact of changes. They also mentioned how easy it is to share and organize everything – it’s real time information meaning users will see the most current data and understand how it’s used and shared. They mentioned that iGrafx promotes web based visible transparency with flexible access, while also automatically organizing historical process documentation to see exactly what changed between versions. Essentially, they suggested that if you put the work in to build out your processes using our integrated process collaboration platform, the results are incredible control and the ability to manage all of your process.
Again, we must thank the folks at goleansixsigma.com for such kind words! Take a listen to their entire podcast here.
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As an avid outdoorsman, I’ve spent much of my free time exploring and enjoying the beautiful land and wildlife that central Texas has to offer. On most weekends, you’ll find me loading up my truck and heading out in search of the next off-road adventure with family and friends.
At least once on any giving outing, one of our group members will inevitably get lost or separated from the rest of us attempting to navigate the narrow and winding paths on some type of 4x4 vehicle. Throw a rapidly setting sun and unfamiliar territory into the equation, and you’ve got a recipe for an all-night tour of the countryside. Fortunately, our wandering group members always seem to find their way back and are met with a collective sigh of relief (along with a healthy dose of ridicule and finger pointing).
I’ll regretfully admit that I’ve been in the same situation myself. On a particular trip about two years ago, I hopped in my truck to begin making my way back to our camp after a ride out to get some firewood. Within minutes of bouncing my way down the rocky terrain in front of me, I realized that many of the trails looked the same and that the low light conditions were going to make it even more difficult to navigate my way back. To make matters worse, my limited cell phone service prevented me from finishing a call with a friend, instructing me on where I should meet him and the description of how to get there. Without the necessary information and a good plan, I picked a trail and put the pedal down. To say it was a long night would be an understatement.
As you can imagine, it was a stressful evening filled with a variety of questions such as “where am I right now?” “how did I get so lost?” “am I on the right track?” “where is everyone else in relation to me?” and of course, “Why isn’t there a simple and easy way to get to my destination?” Fast forward to a month ago. I’m sitting in a conference room with a potential customer, joined by one of our senior consultants discussing their interest in diving head-first into a full-blown enterprise modeling and business transformation program, complete with RPA and several other advanced technology solutions. My colleague applauded the client’s eagerness to get started and responded simply by saying “Let’s straighten the path before we pave the road.”
Those words brought me back to that night two years ago and helped me realize that the journey to digital and business transformation was much like my own experience. So many companies begin planning for (or starting) their efforts without having the full picture of their organization, the current processes, systems, and strategies that drive it, where they want to be, and how it impacts others within the company.
My colleague continued his analogy by explaining that the “straightening” part had to do with understanding the current state of their org structure and their key processes, followed by an exercise to prioritize and improve these processes and align them with the appropriate people and groups. Only then, he explained, would we begin to align this with company strategy, automate, and “pave the road” into a highway leading directly to their transformation goals.
Whatever your process, organizational performance, or digital transformation initiatives are, there is one universal takeaway. The journey to a more efficient, effective, and successful organization is a set of endlessly curving dirt roads. Focus on making data driven decisions to “straighten” that road and “pave” it into a superhighway leading your organization to industry leadership.
“The entire process portfolio of the organization is unclear or not transparent”, “Compliance is viewed independently of processes”, “Process knowledge remains with individuals”... we hear this and much more from process managers in companies again and again. It is reason enough to deal more intensively with these topics and challenges. That’s why we invited our customer Sylwia Miedza, Manager Process & Project Governance at Panasonic, to the expert dialogue of the BPM Club last week in Berlin, where she shared her own experiences. With 275,000 employees worldwide, including more than 11,000 at Panasonic Europe, and headquarters in 35 countries throughout Europe and the CIS, the Japanese electronics group is a true global player.
At first hand, Sylwia Miedza told the approximately 30 participants about Panasonic’s journey to a process and customer-oriented company in a very structured way: starting with the common problems of process documentation to the organizational requirements of process management up to the successful introduction of the iGrafx BPM platform.
Sylwia Miedza also gave the participants a clear idea of what Panasonic’s process management should look like in the future and what further steps still need to be taken. Many questions from the participants followed, and an exciting and lively discussion began. We are happy that the feedback of the participants was so positive and would like to thank Sylwia Miedza for the successful presentation and the fresh ideas!
The last ten years have shown great promise in operational change with new and different ways of communicating how a business should be structured to deliver value to its stakeholders. Materials have moved away from stuffy journals and methods, often kept under lock and key by transformation consultancies, to bright simple and vibrant books and materials.
However the main themes stay in place - the concept of a strategy to execution journey that follows a series of interlinked phases:
Historically the above steps were presented in a rigid way. One developed a strategy - a set of goals for a journey, then designed a delivery model and then implanted it in a very sequential “waterfall” approach. This often took a long time and no longer reflected market conditions by the time the transformation was completed.
The final phase of control is frequently overlooked; the basic requirement here is ensuring that your operating model stays on course within business as usual activity delivering the strategy. There has in recent times been a strong recognition that, although described as phases or stages, there is fluidity between the phases with some overlap, repetition or iteration; both back and forth across the phases, and up and down in the levels of detail where, as is well known, “that the devil is in the detail”).
A key improvement we have seen are the development of tools and techniques that are readily accessible and simply explained; one approach in particular is the use of “canvasses”.
Business Model Generation
In 2010 Alex Osterwalder published his now well-known book Business Model Generation using the idea of a canvas, a pre-set template to stimulate structured thinking. The book, published in a colourful landscape format was highly visual, low on text and gave numerous examples of how to apply its ideas. The business model canvas became a new “strategy statement” to accompany the more traditional statements of vision, mission and goals. It gave focus to the creation and grounding of a business model as a way of showing how value was created and delivered to stakeholders. It is one way of expressing how value generates revenue and how costs are created by serving that value creation – a business model.
The Business Model Canvas of course has its limitations and isn’t perfect, but one has to say it has been really successful in getting executives to think about how their business “ticks or could tick”.
One point coming out of this was that the left side of the canvas – the cost creating part – was the operating model. Costs constrain the way value is delivered and the two sides have to be in balance. One informs the other and vice versa, therefore presenting a circular repeated piece of thinking that gets more confirmed as different ideas are tried out and tested.
The canvas helps us by suggested “links” and connections. All this prompts thinking which is really helpful for people starting out in this type of skill set. Others have added arrows and action words on lines between boxes on the BMC canvas providing a more explicit and better understanding of the mechanism of delivering value.
Since 2010 the BMC has been modified and added to and has been applied to organisations beyond its original target of the profit centred firm.
For all its advantages, the Business Model Canvas lacks the crucial ‘how to actually do it’ element. The BMC is only at the high level – too high level some critics say – only having the two zones of key activities and key resources to address the operating model; these are not nearly enough from an operational perspective. One does really need more detail to inform whether the operational practicalities fit in to deliver the business case, the cost element, for the proposed business model.
Enter the Operating Model Canvas
The brevity of the two zones and the need for greater focus in the operation led to the Andrew Campbell et al (2016) publication of the same name. A similar style of book, again in landscape, colourful and text light, it uses six themes: Process, Organisation, Location, Information, Suppliers and Management Systems to structure operating model design. The emphasis presented in the book was the flow of value and how each category assisted that flow. It leaves the value to be defined elsewhere; it simply gives focus to how the operation serves that value. The book describes an eclectic mix of thirteen supporting tools without going into details of how to do this work at a practical and ground level.
Just to point out, splitting the operating model into themes or zones is not new. CCPPOLDAT (Customer, Channel, Product/Proposition, Process Organisation, Location, Data Application and Technology) served us well since the early 2000’s and still does as a structure for operating model work. In fact, one could argue that CCPPOLDAT does the job of both the BMC and the operating model canvas. It is an alternative approach and has its merits too.
As contributing authors to Andrew’s book, we have published six companion articles each taking an Operating Model Canvas Zone and looking at how each aspect affects both the cost and value models. These assist the practitioner to “drop down a level” beneath the high level conceptual ideas of how to operate, starting to flesh out the practicalities rather than staying in the “consultancy plane”. In tying back to our original statement that rework and iteration are essential in this sort of work, only once you explore the practicalities and detail of the operation can you be certain that the costs fit with the original business case. Indeed, in many cases the transformation team has to revisit and modify its high level ideas once the real outcomes are understood to some depth.
Although Andrew Campbell presents the Operating Model canvas as “plug in” to replace the Key Activities and Key Resources in the Business Model Canvas, it is not really necessary to have a BMC as a precursor. In fact, just knowing ‘what one wants to achieve’ is often enough to start working on operating model design!
Regarding Implementation and Control & Feedback themes of a transformation journey several models exist, too. But herein lies a problem, in most instances, these too are discreet and stand-alone ‘modules’ not directly connected to phases before or after them. The absence of a clear, logical and easy to understand A to Z approach to transformational activities from strategy to ongoing operational improvement complicates decision making and reduces the chances of success. Importantly for organisations and decision makers, the absence of clear transformation project A to Z roadmap hides the costs, diminishes employee engagement and risks client attrition; it makes fluid ‘agile’ approach to transformation effort impossible.
Both Business Model and Operating Model Canvases are just “jigsaw puzzles” in the overall transformation activity. To succeed, they must have a head (Strategy) and a tail (Implementation), all seamlessly connected into one narrative. Over the course of next months, this is what we will be working on to make things real and practical for our clients and the operating model space in general – so stay tuned!
Written by Guest Blogger, Ian Hawkins, Editor at PEX Network
The way that people are talking, writing and thinking about Intelligent Automation is changing; IA is moving on from being a novelty and starting to become part of everyday reality for businesses of every size, around the world.
But what does the future hold? A new report gives a few hints to the terrain we can expect to be crossing in the near future.
Automation is going to be more common and ubiquitous - and the flexibility of the technology is part of what makes the future difficult to predict: it has the ability to touch and transform so many industries, and respond to so many different problems, that RPA and IA are able to adapt themselves to a business rather than forcing a round problem into a square solution.
And just as the benefits of IA will depend on their specific uses, obstacles to implementation are going to differ according to the individual circumstances of the business concerned. Younger businesses - or those with younger workforces - may find they don’t have the cultural issues that longer-established businesses have, though they may find that established organisations are more robust, able to manage change better and have more resources for things like research and development.
This robustness may prove to be a deciding factor; whilst agility and flexibility are big advantages in a rapidly changing world, the ability to dig deep when a broadside hits is not to be underestimated. And in a discipline that’s developing rapidly, new ideas can mean the obsolescence of the old ones - with potentially devastating speed. Businesses that don’t invest wisely - or with the benefit of a crystal ball - need to be able to cope with a sudden need to upgrade, change tack and make decisions.
What might these changes look like?
The RPA and IA drum is being loudly beaten by traditional Finance and Administrative services, understandably. These areas are both clear candidates for the sorts of easy wins promised by RPA. But like any new technology, when it becomes more quotidian and the price starts dropping, the people using it for one thing may soon wonder if it can be put to work elsewhere, and it begins to creep into other parts of the business.
HR, for example, includes a lot of manual work, and while the non-standard nature of the processes may be an issue now, it’s going to become less and less of a problem as the technology gets smarter. The advantage of automating tasks made complex by legal issues is that robots always obey the rules. This is just one example of how a business might start to use robots for driving down costs and increasing efficiency, and quickly find that they are just as good at mitigating losses and avoiding expensive expert advice when things go wrong - by getting things right the first time.
Businesses are looking for efficiency, effectiveness and cost reduction - and IA is delivering it in unexpected ways. Every organisation seems to be aiming for the same destination, yet each is taking its own route. As with truly disruptive technologies, businesses are no longer entities in themselves; as part of a wider ecosystem, how a company uses automation will depend as much on how their competitors are using it as any other factor.
Any organisation that begins using IA has to understand what they are doing, and how the technology can make a specific difference to them. It’s simply unrealistic to replicate another business’s success exactly, and the future may well belong to those who want to explore, discover and pioneer technology in a way that’s right for them, rather than copy what’s working for somebody else. Not only are we in a situation where one size cannot fit all, the possibility is that what looks like a jacket to one company will be a pair of socks to another.
Many businesses are in the position of exploring new uses for their robot co-workers, and we will quickly find that the future for machines is not confined to number crunching. If wave one of IA has swept in with efficiency gains and cost savings, wave two will include the applications for technology forged in the hot crucible of hands-on real world experience. What will that look like? You will know when you have invented it.
We recently co-hosted a webinar with our partner, BP3, around how to identify, assess and prioritize your automation and RPA (robotic process automation) projects. It was a lively discussion between two industry experts, Aaron Bozeman, Regional VP of Major Accounts, North America at iGrafx, and Lance Gibbs, Founder & Chairman at BP3. You can download the webinar here. The discussion started at the very top – understanding your company’s major initiatives. Whether it’s new capabilities, operational excellence, or digital business transformation & customer experience, RPA can be key.
And as iGrafx CMO, Jamey Heinze, tweeted they also talked about the “Rule of 5” for RPA and automation. Our presenters explained the rule, and discussed why companies should look for tasks with 5 or less decisions, 5 or less applications, and 500 or less clicks.
They continued the discussion with the cycle of improvement, explaining why it’s not a single or continuous loop and why you may start at any point during the cycle. They also took a dive into front end methods, and the actions you can take immediately following the webinar. They included 6 keys areas where you can begin inside your organization, as captured in the tweet below.
Aaron and Lance wrapped up the webinar by drilling down and talking about the process analysis. They provided answers to questions like should you automate a bad process and is there such thing as too much automation? Download the entire webinar to hear their list of recommendations to help you identify, assess and prioritize your next RPA initiative.