Competitive dynamics, business models, and customer preferences are changing at an ever increasing rate. This leads to frequent changes in the business strategy and organizational structure in order to exploit market opportunities and stay ahead of the competition. At the same time, IT infrastructure used to support business operations just can’t keep pace. We refer to this misalignment of business needs and supporting IT technology the Business/IT Chasm.
The problem is that the technology can’t change fast enough to accommodate the rapid business cycle changes required to respond to market demands. This is where Interstage BOP comes in. Our platform helps close the chasm between business demands and IT capabilities Read more…
We are happy to announce a new addition to our Fujitsu Interstage family of products — Interstage Business Operations Platform (BOP). It is the next generation business solution and integration platform designed to truly support the way businesses operate, finally bringing the worlds of business and IT together. Unlike other products that were stitched together from fragments of technologies past, Interstage BOP is built on standards-based, modern architecture designed from the beginning to be the cornerstone a robust and agile enterprise.
Interstage BOP is the only fully integrated platform that combines the worlds of SOA-based integration, Business Process Management, and Composite Application Development.
- Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) – connect disparate legacy systems, add new functionality and flexibility to existing IT infrastructure, and continuously improve operations in response to changing business needs.
- Business Process Management Suite (BPMS) – powerful, next-generation BPM capabilities to enable organizations to improve business operations in a controlled and agile manner, allowing them to respond to market pressures, compliance demands and new competitive dynamics.
- Composite Applications – the Composition Application Framework (CAF) layer enables creation of rich composite applications based on the latest web technologies with a rich user experience.
Sandy Kemsley and Keith Swenson presented a webcast on the subject of “Crossing the Next Frontier of Business Process Management: Introducing Process Intelligence.” Sandy’s part includes a clear and accurate description of how process mining works. It also touched on Fujitsu’s new Interstage Process Analytics product. Access the webcast and related things at the BPM For Agile Enterprise site.
This image (click on it for larger view) helps to represent the problems that traditional manual process discovery runs up against. When a consultant interviews people on what the process is, each person has their own view of the process, which may not in fact be accurate. Then there is what I call the “bicycle riding problem”: The person may in fact have the ability to accurately perform the process, but can not explain how they do it. Many work behaviors are like this where people operate on tacit knowledge that they can not put into words. Finally, the person may have an accurate understanding of their part of the process, but they may not be willing to say exactly what it is. They may feel that the process as it is performed is broken, and so they will report instead what they thinks that the process should be. All of this gets in the way of discovering the real process. Process mining cuts through all this by analyzing the real evidence behind the process, and giving you an ego-free picture of the process as it really is.
The webinar was coordinated with a white paper that Sandy wrote on the topic of process intelligence: “Enabling Process Intelligence Through Process Mining & Analytics” which can be downloaded from that link after registering.
Also this week, Vance McCarthy published an article at Integration Developer News on the product: “Fujitsu Interstage BPM Unites Automation, Analytics, SOA Loose-Coupling.”
We have just announced the general availability of Fujitsu Interstage Process Analytics v12. The new release combines groundbreaking Automated Process Discovery technology developed by Fujitsu Labs with with real-time process monitoring, alerting and sophisticated analytics to cost-effectively deliver exceptional levels of process visibility and intelligence.
To be successful in today’s increasingly competitive and uncertain business world, best-in-class organizations focus on process improvement to gain sustainable competitive advantage. Until now, achieving this goal have required considerable manual effort for process investigation, and companies have been unable to effectively visualize key processes across the enterprise silos. Combining automated process mining and discovery with process analytics delivers the next generation of Process Intelligence necessary to gain the insight required to achieve the break-through business performance. The Automated Process Discovery has been used by the Fujitsu services group to provide more than 70 global companies with the visibility they require to improve their processes and achieve significantly improved business results.
The IEEE Task Force on Process Mining has released the Process Mining Manifesto. This the single best, most concise description of what process mining is, and what this revolutionary new technology might bring about.
Process mining is the scanning historical records of activity in order to determine the process that had been used. A process is simply a sequence of actions. Process mining uses recorded evidence of many such sequences to give you a picture of the typical path and exceptional paths as well.
Research on this field started in the mid 1990’s. This means it is still a relatively young field, it has come surprisingly far in a decade and a half, and can be used successfully in business situations today.
Fujitsu launched process mining as a service offering three years ago, called Interstage Automated Process Discovery. I have been involved in the launch and evangelism of this new approach for understanding and optimizing business. See this 9 minute demo and this podcast on Integration Developer News. My most recent webinar last month to ASQ was on how process mining can be used to support Lean and Six Sigma methodologies.
Why a Manifesto?
I have personal experience with using the approach, and the results are dramatic. A simple, two week consulting engagement can give a medium to large organization a number of tips that will certainly save that organization millions of dollars.
I recently attended a presentation to a fortune 50 company where some Fujitsu consultants had spent a few days analyzing some of their order fulfillment history records. Focusing on operations in two countries, we were able to pin point individual products which had handled incorrectly. We were able to show how sales progressed differently in the two countries. We could break this out by specific product line, and could tell them, for example, how long different models were typical delayed in customs or other processing. I remember particularly the enthusiastic response of one IT executive saying “This is witchcraft!”
It is not unusual for people who hear about the approach without experiencing it, to believe that it is too good to be true. They have a hard time believing that it really works, and it is pretty amazing. Other members of the IEEE Task Force have run into the same thing: there is not enough known about process mining, and it seems too good to be believed.
This drove the need for a Process Mining Manifesto to clearly define process mining and to help people understand the real promise of this new technology. It was written largely by Wil van der Aalst and his colleagues at the Technical University of Eindhoven, but also with representation from a broad range of contributors across industry and academia. It is now being translated into a dozen languages.
If you are not already familiar with process mining, the manifesto is probably the best way to come up to speed quickly. If you have a high level understanding, the manifesto will give you a solid base to understand in detail when you might want to make use of this approach.
Relevance to Interstage APD
Fujitsu’s Interstage Automated Process Discovery is process mining. Fujitsu has participated with development of this manifesto (and are helping to translate it to Japanese) because we believe that the more people know about process mining, the better the market place will become, and this will enable more use of the technology.
APD is process mining that is built into the Interstage BPM Analytics, and so it is always on, always available to give you a view of how the processes have really been running.
See my post about “Flipping the Process Life Cycle” to see how process mining might be incorporated into everyday agile BPM.
In a recent Q&A session with BPM consultant Anatoly Belychook, Peter Schooff of ebizQ discussed trends and best practices for process discovery and modeling. It was an interesting discussion and the point about the best way of getting the “as-is” view of the processes in particular caught my attention. Rapid process prototyping with short cycle that includes modeling and execution was advocated as a way to discover the process. This approach works reasonably well, but still leaves a fair amount of uncertainty in the process definition that need be “wringed out” through iterative prototyping phases.
Automated Process Discovery
Interstage BPM offers a different approach that helps to improve and accelerate the rapid process discovery and prototyping — Automated Process Discovery (APD). This is a unique technology originally developed at Fujitsu Labs that uses evidence-based approach, which relies on systems log data to trace the process and render the process flow. Read more…
We have just presented a live webcast, The ROI of BPM Suites in Addressing Regulatory Compliance, featuring Clay Richardson of Forrester and Keith Swenson from Fujitsu. Clay shared his new research on quantifying the benefits of ROI in addressing compliance mandates. Keith discussed the advantages of Agile BPM and presented customer case studies (UBS, EPCOR, and SEC) where Interstage BPM was used to address the compliance mandates. The presentations were very informative, insightful, and engaging – close to 90% of the attendees staying on until the end of Q&A session. You can view the webcast recording on-demand.
Holistic Approach is required
The new regulatory measures are impacting a diverse set of industries and are pushing companies to adopt an integrated approach to mitigating risk. Clay pointed out that compliance must be addressed at three levels:
- Efficiency – streamline risk and compliance efforts
- Prevention – mitigate costly incidents
- Strategy – make better decisions.