The ISIS Papyrus ACM Vision Statement

The subject of an enhanced form of case management is gaining momentum. So the effort of Keith Swenson and all contributors put into our book ‘Mastering the Unpredictable’ about Adaptive Case Management seems to be paying off.

Forrester Research has produced: ‘Dynamic Case Management- An old-idea catches fire.’ He does teleconferences with AIIM on ‘Support Your Information Workers by Understanding and Implementing Case Management’ or Forresters own TCs as well. Forrester lists ActionBase, Appian, Cordys, EMC, Global 360, IBM, Pallas Athena, Pegasystems, Singularity and … whoa … even CRM maven Sword Ciboodle as their entrants for the next DCM Wave. The likes of Fujitsu, HandySoft, Ideate, OpenText, and Oracle (!!!) will only make it into the ‘Ripple’. Us and Whitestein Technologies are also listed in that second group, but we are the only ones who actually provide GOAL-oriented processes! There are vendors with products that have to be integrated, others who are simple application tools, email-collaborators, but hardly anyone who does embedded content. But then OpenText is jumping now on the ACM bandwagon and promotes ECM as case management. Virtually every BPM vendor now wants a piece of this DCM market especially as the frustration about hyped-up benefits claims of BPM sets in. Read about Dr. Rashid Khan’s assessment of BPM Simulation and Optimization that is a perfect add-on to my own perspective on the problems with flowcharts.

Gartner Group has another, long-term view to offer that includes Social Media and how work will change in the next ten years. I covered it in this post about ‘The De-routinization of Work.’ Makes you wonder why anyone still bothers with BPM in the first place.

So BPM claims to be agile and now case management claims to be dynamic, goal-oriented, adaptive and more! How can a normal IT person figure out what to do? The best way is to actually do a proof of concept installation. The focus must be on how flexible a system is in terms of integration into your environment and how the business users can work with the solution to create proceses and case work with all resources (data, content, rules, tasks, GUI) themselves! That is the whole trick!

I need to point out that what Forrester defines as DYNAMIC case management is by far not yet ADAPTIVE. Forrester  defines dynamic case management to be semi-structured and collaborative, dynamic, human-centered, information-intensive processes undertaken around a given context, while being driven by events, requiring incremental and progressive responses. So what is different about ADAPTIVE Case Management? The key point is not just runtime dynamic changes, but Just-In-Time creation of the process and resources WITH embedded learning, which means that knowledge of a previous case can be autmatically used by people in a later case or process! As a further point Forrester does not use the term knowledge worker but rather (information-) I-worker, which is anyone who uses a computer at his job. I see ACM mostly for knowledge workers who apply their specific skill for case resolution or process execution. Craig also now points to the link between business architecture, strategic objectives and operational metrics that I have been talking about for some time.

Maybe the follwoing video will make the difference between dynamic and ADAPTIVE clearer:

I also propose that ACM has to deal not only with goals but with complex, captured content, dynamic embedded content, user definable business rules and is mostly event driven, but these are  Complex Business Events. I recently posted my view on how BPMN and rules relate to CBE.

Verify if BPM or case management product supports unpredictable  (semi-structured) processes with complex events in an ADAPTIVE manner by means of the following:

  • Does the system enable the definition or reuse of a business and process architecture to provide the base infrastructure for business driven process creation based on strategic objectives and operational metrics?
  • Does the modeling capability allow direct linkage of objectives, metrics to the process goals and business data in the process/case and therefore embedded verification of goal fulfillement?
  • Can properly authorized business users assemble the process/case from data objects, inbound and outbound business (with mapped data) content, user-defined rules, and GUI components (widgets?) without needing to be BPMN or flowchart experts and execute and modify at will?
  • Can unexpected events or data be handled by means of new tasks, rules, performers and goals being added to the existing process to handle them without causing disruptive exceptions ?
  • Can the signatures of unexpected events be auto-discovered and linked to the context patterns?
  • Does the CBE capability identify fuzzy patterns of similarity between events and suggests goals, tasks or actions to handle them?
  • Are business user decisions related to events fed back into the CBE pattern matching mechanism?
  • Can new performers be added into the case/process at any time and existing or newly defined tasks with associated resources be assigned to them in a social media like, but fully secure collaboration?
  • Can ‘expert’ case participants be selected manually from a skills profile or will the system recommend exeperts based on an automatic match between case and skill or due to past selection by other participants?
  • Can goals, milestones, SLA values and rules be embedded by the business user to verify compliance, efficiency and cost and take direct influence on the execution/routing/modification of the process?
  • Can the business user created processes, goals or milestones be saved at the end of the execution as new templates into the repository (with all resource templates)?
  • Can business users write rules in natural language (no technical syntax) with automatic verification of rule syntax and validity by data object and content mapping based on the business architecture?
  • Are all resources for content (capture and creation), process, rule and GUI are version controlled through a single dev/test/deploy/suspend mechanism? Does this ensure that the maintenance meta-processes for resource templates are decoupled from execution?

If you want to know how ACM can put your organization on the track to business innovation then contact us for a demonstration in which we will build the processes that are relevant to you as we demo.

Encounters of The Third Kind – Analysts!

I am traveling the US North-East right now on my way to Orlando, where ISIS will be participating in the Forrester Forum.

You know from my speaking and my writing that my stance towards analysts is not overall positive. I have to admit however that especially two people have impressed me substantially – Mike Gualtieri and Mike Gilpin at Forrester Research. While I am unhappy that it costs me a lot of money to be allowed to speak to them in person, I do feel that they actually understand how and why we created a unique DBA Dynamic Business Application platform. More on my ‚Real World Blog‘.

Well, you might think, Max is now trying to flatter those guys to get good ratings in their reports. Nothing could be more wrong. I am very well known within Forrester for my outspoken opposition to some concepts and a number of report findings. I go with Nobel Laureate Robert B. Laughlin ‚I rather be true to myself and disliked than a popular coward.‘ There are other people at Forrester where to respectfully agree to disagree is the only option.

I also had a meeting with Forrester‘s Craig LeClair who had spoken at our US OpenHouse and who is working on another DOM Wave. Phew, we are going to be in it, finally. Will it be good or bad? I have no idea. The research subject of DOM seems to become broader and more complex to judge. We definitely have the broadest functionality in DOM and the strongest link to ECM but will that be seen and weighted as positive? I have seen different.

We were excluded from some Forrester reports because they did not want to ‚confuse readers by introducing new vendors‘. Hey guys, I think that the readers can handle this. They don‘t get confused by a new name! I think it was rather a case of: ‚OOPS, let‘s not admit that we missed something.‘ Good and gutsy people are not afraid of learning something new!

I met with Pete Basiliere of Gartner Group who was the first person ever there to take enough time to listen to what I had to say. Fortunately a very competent man. I am looking forward to their ADF report to come out later this year. He pointed me towards two possible misunderstandings people have about our business. He first thought that we also offer custom development, when I was referring to standard product enhancements on customer request. A substantial difference. He also wondered what we meant by ‚machine learning for process management‘ and whether that would make us eligible for an inclusion in the ADF study. I hope I was able to explain that our technology offers incredible flexibility that no one else can match. I will need to put a ‚machine learning‘ article onto Wikipedia. Apart from great guys like Pete, Gartner in my mind needs to shape up substantially and loose their stuck-up nose.

We have also been included in the upcoming Madison Advisors report on Transpromo. Madison finally put in a lot more effort and went a lot deeper than it did in previous reports. So my not so pleasant conversations with Kemal Carr about the lack of depth in previous research seem to have paid off. It is a very technical report with lots of detail but less product rating and positioning. That is the safe way to go for the analysts because it avoids a potential misrating.

That we do get misrated is nothing new. Years ago we were rated by Harvey Spencer Associates as ‚the company who wants to merge scanning and printing and no one knows why.‘  They propose that our problem (that I don‘t see)  is self-inflicted because our Inbound/Outbound Strategy makes people believe that we are just for certain turnaround documents. Hey guys, there are ONLY turnaround processes! Capture is a fragment YOU created! We are not interested in a price-war in the dying standalone Capture market but want to offer the business a much broader opportunity for process integration. To therefore exclude us from a Capture rating is no more than ignorance. Now that EMC, Oracle and other copy our idea the analysts don‘t admit that they were wrong and we were the first ones.

One analyst to really mess up was Celent. For an unknown reason they felt that they needed to rate technology in their American Insurance market study, when there is no one at Celent to even look at and in my mind understand technology. The rated our technology the lowest and in difference our application range very high and gave NO INDICATION as to why and refused to comment when asked to explain. No surprise they were recently sold off.

Fortunately European IT people do still spend time to look at products themselves to see if they fit. We will however also be in a Strategy Partners Study in Europe soon I hope. They too put in a lot of effort to look at the product, so I am hoping for a good positioning there and that some of it will rub-off on the US.

So those were my encounters with the ALIENS. Some friendly, some fiendish but in the end they are all human and prone to errors. They neither possess a crystal ball nor do they see things your way. Does all the effort that I put into the analysts pay off for the customer … hmm? It is a little bit like reading about a car in a magazine before you buy. That is fine as long as you go and try for yourself! There were a lot of negative reports on the BMW bikes compared to the Japanese for example, but when I went to test drive them – the new BMW-K1200R was the one for me, regardless.