Calling time on the BPM Conferences

It’s fair to say that the conference circuit is a lucrative industry. Delegates pay around $1,000 or more to attend, Vendors pay up to $15,000+  for sponsorship packages and some speakers (depending on your gravitas) walk away with a little in their pocket too.

But now it seems this time is over. In the last 6 months there’s a growing trend towards offering massive discounting or 2-for-1 deals (is this a professional meeting or a team huddle at Walmart ?!!) to try and attract the numbers. And it’s not working.

Lombardi pulled its famous Driven events from being physically located to purely Online now following a call from its members stating they could no longer warrant traveling and the expenses that incurred. Rumblings from the recent Spring Gartner BPM conference suggested that there was nothing new to warrant actually going. And more worryingly, a recent european conference had only 20 attendees….including the speakers ! It would seem the majority attending came from the Middle East and they understood a little about BPM and process initiatives but did they need to come all that way to learn ?

So what does this mean ?

(a) BPM doesn’t cut it as a subject anymore ?

(b) BPM still is little understood outside the professional circle

(c) There’s no new messages or content coming out anymore

(d) Middle East is the last untapped resource (pun) for BPM

(e) No-one has the budget in this economic climate for a 3 day jolly out of the office

It would seem a combination of all of the above.  For years conference organisers have used the same speakers time and again, the same companies to showcase their success stories. How many times can hearing about a Six Sigma success told in a different style be a crowd-pleaser before people start to get weary and slope away. There is no innovation from event organisers and it’s actually killing the messages and real showstopping stories from getting out.

What’s more, given the large number from the Middle East it would appear this explains the reason why so many BPM practitioners are moving outside of the US and European circuit because there’s still oil to be found there and they have the desire (and money) to learn.

Isn’t it time the conference organisers woke up and realised that CONTENT is king and not the turnstiles ?

Can’t we as a profession stand up and help them understand this, help them get our message out there, help them come up with a new pragmatic format which meets today’s demanding conditions ?

Or will we remain at their disposal and just sit on the sidelines listening to stories of old around the campfire….

Over to you.

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When going Green equals Fail

Recently I’ve come across a growing number of disgruntled people who are all falling into the same trap.

Banks, credit card companies, energy suppliers, telephone operators and the like all now like you as a customer to opt for an online statement as it is bost cost effective (to them) and also helps reduce the environmental impact of printing.

However, the world of credit scoring has yet to catch onto this fact and still demand 3 months of X, Y and Z as proof you exist and are worthy of the business service you’re requesting.

And here lies the dilemma: how can you do this when you don’t receive any paper statements anymore ? Copies from the internet are not widely accepted, asking various companies for a copy of a bill can be problematic and time consuming and defeats the purpose of not requesting them in the first place.

Is this a time to the archaic credit scoring system to embrace a more digital age and look at the available information in the domain held by other companies ?

If Insurance companies can hook into car registration and police databases for fraudulent activities before allowing insurance on a car, can’t the financial system do the same and check with utility providers etc on a customer’s status ?

Any in the banking/ financial sector care to come forward and give their views ?

Join the discussion at bpmnexus.ning.com with nearly 500 process professionals in the only open forum community for BPM

Digital Cortex: Local. Global. Social.

I’m proud to launch Digital Cortex, a premier Social Media Marketing and Customer Experience Management agency.

Digital Cortex are the leading social media marketing agency. We help Business understand the power of having a marketing and communication presence through the Social medium.

We manage messages and content through these communication channels in which to target potential opportunities, clients and partnerships and monitor your brand presence and reputation.

We also advise on using Social Media as first-line customer experience and support channels.

Whether you are a small business looking to grow your market presence or large global organisation wanting to monitor your brand reputation in the industry Digital Cortex can manage and deliver this for you.

Through intelligence, experience and collaboration we can be your Business partner in an ever growing Social world.

Already we’re servicing a global software client in the first week of launch and are looking for more business. Whether you’re in Banking, Insurance, Broker, Recruitment, Vendor, Consultancy, Customer Service, we can help.

Think Local. Think Global. Think Social.

BPM Nexus endorses IIR Telecoms BPM Event

Really proud of this one.

The BPM Nexus is now working collaboratively with IIR Events and will both endorse the IIR BPM for Telecoms event in May but also will be appearing to give a presentation on what the Nexus is doing and how it can benefit the Telecoms sector (as well as all of the BPM community at large)

You can view the event here:

http://www.iir-events.com/IIR-conf/Telecoms/EventView.aspx?EventID=2167

iPhone in the Enterprise

Great news is that I’m now a Senior Editor to iPhoneCTO, the leading resource for iPhone in the enterprise.

It was Founded in 2008 by a forward thinking chap called Yves Neidlinger and its singular (or should that be cingular LOL) purpose is to report on iPhone’s evolution from a consumer to enterprise device.  It covers the latest news, application reviews and resources to administer and manage iPhones in a corporate environment.

If it’s about iPhone and relevant to the enterprise, you’ll find it here and I’m happy to join Yves’ editorial crew and contribute.

If you’re a developer with an enterprise or business app and you’d like it to be reviewed, give me a shout.

And if you use the iPhone in your business, let me know and I’d love to interview you.

When real change scares people

I started a legitimate discussion over at the ABPMP LinkedIn group around their CBOK and how only a true community feedback and approach could create a “common” reference document for BPM. Things were going well, and I received support from members within the ABPMP, and I was willing to join our community effort if they could embrace the same principles and give everyone a voice.

However, it seems change, being the “only constant”, is also something to fear and the discussions have been buried to a little visited Jobs section within the Group.

It’s a shame that this desperate action sends out the wrong messages for both the ABPMP’s mission and the BPM profession at large.

It would appear that those who claim to practice and teach change are the very ones afraid to embrace and evolve as change approaches them.

Meanwhile the BPM Nexus has grown over 50 members within 24 hours, and some from the ABPMP itself.

An achievement and testament that a true open and free community to grow and evolve BPM is really the only option and the tired model of a paid membership and access to knowledge has finally died.

UPDATE: The discussion thread was resurrected after a couple of additional posts. However someone has decided to move it back into the Jobs section again. Does anyone have a (A)BPM Maturity matrix handy ?…..

Top Down vs. Bottom Up

Recently I’ve been reading a fascinating book called On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins, the father of the Palm Pilot.

One section described how the brain and intelligence can be viewed via a hierarchy structure and it became immediately apparent that this could be translated to one of BPM’s age old questions:

Do we begin with a Top Down or Bottom Up approach when starting with BPM ?

I’ve attempted to paraphrase the book’s entry here with a BPM slant which reads quite well given it’s a purely technical slant, but I urge you to read the book itself as it’s truly enlightening.

There’s no right and wrong answer, there’s a mix involved and it really depends on the situation which is why BPM needs to be a flexible discipline going forward.

Trying to figure out how BPM works is like solving a giant jigsaw puzzle. You can approach it in one of two ways. Using the “top down” approach (EWPM) , you start with the image of what the solved puzzle should look like, and use this to decide which pieces to ignore and which pieces to search for. The other approach is “bottom up” (Six Sigma), where you focus on the individual pieces themselves. You study them for unusual features and look for close matches with other puzzle pieces. If you don’t have a picture of the puzzle’s solution, the “bottom up” method is sometimes the only way to proceed. Lacking a good framework for understanding processes, organisations have been forced to stick with the “bottom up” approach. This tasks is Herculean if not impossible, with a puzzle as complex as an organisational structure.

Imagine a jigsaw puzzle with several thousand pieces. Many of the pieces can be interpreted multiple ways, as if each had an image on both sides but only one of them is right. All the pieces are poorly shaped so you can’t be certain if two pieces fit together or not. Many of them will not be used in the ultimate solution, but you don’t know which ones or how many. Every month new pieces arrive in the post. Some of these new pieces replace older ones, as if the puzzle maker was saying, “I know you’ve been working with these old puzzle pieces for a few years, but they turned out to be wrong. Sorry! Use the new ones instead until further notice.” Unfortunately, you have no idea what the end result will look like; worse, you may have some ideas but they are wrong.

The puzzle analogy is a pretty good description of the difficulty we face in BPM. The puzzle pieces are process information and data that an organisation has been collecting for years. Each month, new statistical information, data or process is collected and analysed, creating additional puzzle pieces. Sometimes the data collected will contradict the data from another source, and because it can be interpreted in different ways there will always be disagreement.

Without a “top down” framework, there is no consensus on what pieces to look for, which pieces are more important, or how to interpret the overall solution. Our understanding of BPM has been stuck in the “bottom up” approach.

What we need is a “top down” framework.