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Webcast with Sandy Kemsley Review

March 3, 2012 Leave a comment

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.”

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Taking Process Intelligence to the Next Level – Interstage Process Analytics v12

February 7, 2012 Leave a comment

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.

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Process Mining Manifesto clarifies Market for APD

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

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.

Background

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.

Links

Rapid Process Discovery with Interstage APD

September 12, 2011 Leave a comment

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 Process Discovery - APDabout 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…

Agile BPM Readiness Assessment

April 19, 2011 2 comments

In today’s hyper-competitive business environment, Agile BPM can transform you organization by improving operational efficiencies, creating new business opportunities, and providing real-time insight into your business performance.  Business Agility. Delivered.Traditional BPM solutions have focused primarily on automating long-running, routine and seldom-changing processes.  Today, routine automation is no longer enough.

Enterprises can achieve unsurpassed business responsiveness and success by taking the full advantage of Agile BPM.   But, how do you ensure that you’ll have the capabilities you need to respond to your ever-changing business dynamics?  While helping our customers answer this very challenge, we compiled a list of questions to serve as a Readiness Assessment checklist to help evaluate the agility of BPM solutions.

Agile Readiness Assessment

Here are a few sample questions that we found helpful to ask when evaluating Agile BPM solution:

  • Can you support all forms of work: from routine, repeated processes to collaborative and dynamic processes involving collaboration and teamwork? Read more…

Discover and Visualize Business Processes

Scott Cleveland recently wrote on his blog, BPM from a Business Point of View, about BPM Mistakes that were important to rehash.  He also mentioned a few useful tips to help avoid those mistakes, and one of them is to “document the current process and confirm that it is documented properly”.

Understand Business Processes

We couldn’t agree more!  Understanding your current business processes is fundamental to process improvement efforts, as we’ve seen with many of our customers.  It is also one of the key challenges that many organizations encounter when they embark on business process improvement initiatives.  To help address this challenge, we have developed an automated approach to business process discovery – Automated Process Discovery (APD) service.

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