Appian World 2012 Keynote: Taming Big Process – Clay Richardson

Welcome to Day 2 of Appian World 2012! Yesterday we had some fantastic presentations, ranging from the basics of social BPM to the nuances of expanding your BPM implementation. Today’s presentations include a preview of Appian 7, keynotes from Forrester and MWD Advisors, and numerous customer panels. We’ll be live-blogging again, so be sure to check back throughout the day or follow our Twitter feed.

Today got off to a great start with a keynote presentation from Clay Richardson of Forrester, discussing “Taming Big Process.”

In simpler times, “process” meant one thing. The future of “process” looks much more splintered — comparable to a complex maze of exits and on-ramps on a highway.

Richardson stated that Big Process Thinking occurs when business and technology leaders shift BPM from isolated process improvement projects to a sustainable enterprise-wide business transformation program. Big Process is the collection of methods and techniques that provide a more holistic approach to process improvement and process transformation initiatives.

The four C’s of big process are Customer, Chaos, Context, and Cloud.

Big process transforms the customer experience. Very few companies deliver an outstanding customer experience — 35% are just rated “OK” according to Forrester. The difference between high and low performance can be worth millions of dollars. Wireless carriers, for example, have over $1 billion in missed opportunities. Great customer experience requires a focus on transforming underlying processes.

Begin with the mobile customer experience to identify process transformation opportunities. Richardson used an airline as an example — customers use mobile devices to book reservations, check departure times, etc. These mobile tasks tap into the core business processes across the enterprise. Mobile is the new face of engagement.

The next C of Big Process: Chaos. Many companies have extremely complex, convoluted processes. Dynamic case management embraces the chaos. Social BPM provides “just-in-time” guidance. Use social media for process discovery and analytics for process optimization.

Companies are deluged with data. It takes a significant effort to mine and contextualize operational data, and companies only get a fuzzy, single channel picture of operational performance. Richardson’s vision is that by 2020, big data feeds will connect to a value stream view of the big process. This will result in faster time to pinpoint and respond to emerging issues across channels.

Context is extremely important in big process. For globalization, companies need to get the right skill-set at the right cost, and knowledge workers are a “must have” in the process. For localization, companies must configure processes to meet local regulatory issues, and accommodate regional and cultural process variations.

The final C of big process is Cloud. Accelerate delivery and minimize risk in the cloud. Richardson believes that process-as-a-service hybrid models will become mainstream by 2017. In the Big Process Ecosystem, processes will be split up between on-premise, partner BPO, and SaaS deployments.

Richardson presented a case example from Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Their Enterprise Rideshare program, which we heard about in yesterday’s Mobile, Cloud and Social BPM panel, takes a Big Process approach. Enterprise coordinates a geographically diverse user base across many different roles, uses social BPM to provide a landing page for multi-role users, and uses mobile BPM to keep the business moving forward while in the field.

Archstone was another case example of big process. Their challenge was “making Archstone the easiest company to work with.” Archstone’s big process approach focused on customer service and efficiency. They improved the user experience on their associate portal, providing greater context across properties and operational issues, and transformed customer engagement by mobile-enabling key business processes.

Richardson encouraged companies to embrace big process methods and techniques. These include value stream & value chain analysis, and business capability maps. Very few companies use these methodologies at the moment — it’s time to change that, and build new skills that connect process and data.