Archive for the ‘Business Process’ Category

Enterprise 2.0 – is missing something?

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

I really like the idea of bringing the concepts of Web 2.0 into the enterprise.  Giving this the badge of Enterprise 2.0 may be helpful (although most people I know who work on the business side of the enterprise would not understand the term Web 2.0 so maybe it’s only helpful to the IT community).

Anyway, Ross Mayfield has an interesting transcription from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference which leads on collaboration (via wikis, social networks, blogs etc) as the big idea replacing the concept us old hacks might call Knowledge Management (KM).

All the talk I have seen from the conference is about harnessing corporate knowledge and combining the efforts of human beings.  In the Web 2.0 world, collaboration via wikis, blogs, RSS, social networking tools, bookmarking etc, have been great for individuals. But I think the enterprise is more complex than a group of social individuals in control of their own destiny. 

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More on enterprise mashups

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

Following my last post on enterprise mash-ups where I looked at some of the companies integrating enterprise apps to automate business processes, I was thinking a bit more and doing a bit of Googling and came across a few more companies of interest.

You may recall I highlighted Blue Prism, Openspan, Seagull and Jacada as using mashup type integration to automate business processes.

But my traditional view of composite apps was that they were more about data aggregation, a sort of Google Mashup Editor creating a Google Home Page for enterprise data, allowing users (or user roles) to access and manipulate a personalised set of data sources relevant to the needs of their job.

Weaving in my last post on IBM’s view of the links between SOA and BPM where the business side of the enterprise is seen as people, processes and information, perhaps the different types of mashup tools are defined by how they link those three elements.  So if Blue Prism et al primarily extract data and turn this into information to execute business processes without human intervention, here are a few companies that seem to be good at turning data into information for human beings via the UI.

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Jeux Sans Frontières from IBM

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

According to Wikipedia, Jeux Sans Frontières was a game devised by Général Charles de Gaulle to encourage better relations between French and German youths.  In the 1960s there was still presumably a slight legacy of post-war frostiness between the occupier and the occupied country but at the same time a renewed optimism about European Union having signed the Treaty of Rome in 1957,

Following the Enterprise Software wars of the 1990’s and 2000’s a frostiness and lack of understanding developed between the Business and IT.  So in the post war optimism of the Software Optimised for Agreement (SOA) era, can IBM help repair the damage with their new Innov8 game?

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No More BIG BANGS

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

No matter what type of change you are responsible for in your organisation, business processes, training, IT, M & A, R & D, HR, you will have seen a big bang project go wrong.  The most spectacular ones are always IT of course and, as an ex-IT Project Manager, I have to own up to a couple of dropped ones…

I have long thought that big bang projects are inappropriate for the enterprise.  They always end up costing more than planned, delivering less than planned, and causing more disruption than planned.  They also take so long to deliver that there is a very serious risk that by the time they are implemented, the results are no longer relevant or useful.

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Offshoring Business Processes

Friday, April 20th, 2007

Last year Blue Prism sponsored some research into off-shoring business processes, front office processes – contact centres.

The shocking (not) conclusion was that Young People Don’t Trust Offshoring.

Blue Prism cartoon

It’s very clear that customers do not like off-shored services so why do it?

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Another Fallout Between Business and IT?

Monday, April 9th, 2007

My second comment on Bill Barr’s most interesting blog concerns his post Applied IT vs. Computer Science/Technology.

Wow – where to start – this post covers so much ground!

I hope he is not living up to his claim to be putting out ideas 5 years ahead of their time when he describes the “ever widening gap between the Business and IT” and “the miserable job the majority of IT has done with respect to delivering value to the business”.  I thought the gap was closing and that enterprise IT people these days are much more business focussed.

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Let’s Legitimise Rogue Behaviour.

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

In my short time in the blogosphere I’ve noticed a common theme around CIOs, IT Architects and others in the IT community concerned with “Rogue” behaviour.

I say rogue behaviour because some posts refer to rogue users, others to rogue solutions, rogue IT etc.

The common point is that if the IT function does not serve the business with what it needs, then you can absolutely guarantee that some rogue behaviour will emanate from the business.  Usually the IT function doesn’t even know about it, until the rogue solution falls over and the business calls in the IT guys who are suddenly landed with a mission critical “system” to mend and support.

So how do we square the circle here?

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SOA and ROI

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

Back in 1998, I was doing a Masters degree at Leeds University.  An IT Module on my course posed a question something like “What is the case for transactional websites in UK retail banking?”

Do you remember 1998?  It was the year Netscape announced they were going open source.  Home broadband did not exist in the UK. The vast majority of people did not have a home internet connection of any type and probably almost no-one over the age of 25 regularly used the internet or had a personal email ID.  There was not one single UK bank offering meaningful transactional capabilities on their website.  The internet (or should I say Web 0.1) was only just taking off.

Polls at that time were concluding that only about a third of the British public expected to have online retail banking within 5 years with some really tech savvy people (13% of the population) wanting it within 2 years!  Wow!

About 3,000 words (on paper) later I concluded that there was no current short term ROI case for fully transactional internet banking but it was blatantly obvious that it would take off and any bank that didn’t take the leap of faith and invest, would get left behind both in customer service and cost per transaction.

This unremarkable conclusion somehow managed to get me a good mark for that paper – it seems even more unremarkable today.

So is SOA in the same boat then today, being blatantly obvious but needing a leap of faith?  I don’t think so.

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Rules Engines – Power to the Users!

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

I was reading Business Rules the Software Reuse Debate by Rajgo.  I bow to his technical knowledge which is far superior to mine, but I want to take the business end of his argument and see if I can violently agree with him.

In my world, business rules enable loose coupling of enterprise applications and services.  So a typical enterprise application might be the CRM system and a typical service (in a retail bank for example) might be to select a customer using the customer reference and return the portfolio of products held by that customer with the bank.

A number of services can be linked to form a business process, but a business process must follow rules.  These rules can be hard-coded or configurable by the user community using some sort of rules engine.

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Is Enterprise Wide SOA Just Too Challenging?

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

The hype amongst suppliers with a vested interest in Service Oriented Architecture grows daily.

Intuitively its a great idea.  Turn your organisation into a set of services that can be used and stitched together to form business processes which in turn are exposed to front and back office staff, business partners, agents, customers via direct channels etc etc.  These services are loosely coupled to the existing IT applications so can be maintained independently.  Users only effectively see one simple system.  Brilliant!

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