Saturday, November 26, 2005

Hear me speak!

I found Irving Wladawsky-Berger's recent post very interesting. He talks about (and links to discussions of) various schools of thought around the value of process in business.

It was interesting on several levels. Firstly, this is the area in which I work (I spend a lot of time consulting on how to effectively model and automate business processes with software) - and I regularly worry about how to best advise my clients on getting the right balance between automating / optimising their current processes and ensuring they build in enough flexibilty to innovate (or simply to react to the innovations of others).

I think the key point - that we can all agree on - is that it would be madness to automate the execution of a business process in a manner that inhibited future changes. One of the very promises of the technology would have been cruelly broken.

Coincidentally, I specialise in worrying about this problem of "dynamicity" on projects that use WebSphere Process Server. If we're going to deploy a solution that helps us manage a business process (e.g. a mortgage application process), how do we make sure it can be changed easily if regulation changes? What if a competitor changes the game and we need to respond? What if we change our offering? What if a third-party we depend on (credit scoring?) goes out of business?

These problems and more are ones a business should be considering anyway - but it gets pressing if you start to formally document - and enforce - the process.

I recorded a brief PodCast about this last month and it is now on IBM developerWorks. This was my first PodCast and I've learned a few lessons from it (namely, say less, say it more slowly and don't jump around!). However, I think it gives a good overview of some of the problems we need to think about when working on these sorts of business process management projects.

The download page is here:
The MP3 is here:

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