New Book – Microsoft Visio 2010 Business Process Diagramming and Validation

For those interested in Process Design and Implementation using Visio 2010, David Parker’s new book Microsoft Visio 2010 Business Process Diagramming and Validation explains Visio diagram validation, the APIs behind it, and shows how to to build tools to make it all much easier!

The target audience for this book is the .Net developer community, Office users and technical folks but may still be of interest to those who wish to understand the depth and breadth of  features available in the new version of Visio.

As to be expected, the book is tutorial in structure and many demonstrations for creating Validation Rules, writing ShapeSheet formulae etc. The example code for these are all included and therefore is great for those who ‘learn by doing’ making the practical and immediately deployable examples very useful.

  • Download a free copy of Chapter 2 – Understanding the Microsoft Visio Object Model
  • Watch Visio 2010 Video

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Information Worker – Application Design Guidance

User Experience Design is a concept that is fundamental to how we experience information and services in an electonic age.

window-to-the-world

User experience is a term used to describe the overall experience and satisfaction a user has when using a product or system. It most commonly refers to a combination of software and business topics, such as selling over the web, but it applies to any result of interaction design – Wikipedia

I will not attempt to explain all the facets of this concept but further information can be found at:

What I did want to share was a very informative resource I found that focuses on helping product teams who are creating new or iteratively improving applications for thinking work.

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Overview of 12 Different Approaches to Business Process Modeling

An informative post describing the various ways to model business processes can be found at Active Knowledge Modeling.

In addition to the common transformational process models, this post discusses block structured languages, storytelling, and process modeling languages that are hierarchical, flow-oriented, role-oriented, communication-oriented, declarative, goal-oriented, timelines, product and document state machines etc.

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eTOM and ITIL Resources – Process Map Templates

For those of you interested in understanding and adopting Frameworks as part of organisational transformation, this will be of interest.

Both ITIL and eTOM have become more than industry specific reference frameworks. ITIL has been widely adopted across may industries. eTOM has its roots in the Telecommunications industry but is quickly evolving into a more generic reference model that can be selectively be applied to other industries.

I have to state at the outset that this is not a  “plug” for the associated TaskMap product and I have no experience of using it. That said, here are some links to ITIL and eTOM sample templates and online process maps.

This presentation explains the synergies and gaps that exist between eTOM and ITIL.

ITIL Resources

eTOM Resources

Feel free to let me know of any others that can be shared.

How Business Leaders can Help IT Deliver ‘Real Value’ to the Business

Foreword: I have written various posts in the past that discuss the typical problems that can be solved for the business by using a BPMS and process automation. I thought it was about time to consider the challenges IT have to manage when not using a process centric approach.

Organisations need to change their focus from being functionally driven to being process driven to be really successful in their adoption of BPM. This is not always as hard as it first sounds.

Most of the organisational and technical building blocks almost surely already exist within the organisation in some form or other. The challenge is to align them together in a consistent and continuous way i.e. using business processes, a BPMS  and ensuring that cultural and human behavioural changes are well managed.

Paraphrasing Gartner, the typical characteristics of functional driven organisations include the following:

  • Organisational roles and responsibilities are functionaly aligned
  • Managers have visibility that is limited to their functional areas
  • Business is very dependant on IT to schedule application changes
  • Functional tasks and process hand offs are implied causing fragmentation
  • Costs are managed by functional area
  • Risk management is done using gut feel and relies greatly on experience with limited numeric evidenece due to lack of integrated and trusted reporting information

The organisational characteristics for a process centric organisation typically include:

  • Roles and responsibilities are aligned to process acitivities
  • Management visibility is based on an end to end business process understanding
  • Business is less dependant on IT for small changes to business rules and process tasks
  • Functional tasks and process hand offs are explicit, therefore reducing the occuraence if inefficient and broken processes
  • Risk management is done using operational metrics and simulation ensusing a proactive approach rather than reactive

 

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Information Overload! – Making a case for Dynamic BPM

Foreword: Have you ever had one of those days where you have been out of the office and returned to an email inbox that is creaking at the seams? I am probably lucky in that I can manage my inbox proactively by using my PDA. Some would argue I have sold my soul to the ‘always-on’  personal time vampire, but that is tale for another day…..

In a world where email is commonly accepted as the primary electronic corporate communication mechanism, employees often find themselves having to filter through huge amounts of irrelevant emails to find those that are really intended for them. Assimilating the various pieces of information we deal with every day, prioritising the results and making decisions as to which to action, is a natural and logical process, one that we all do as a matter of course.
A problem however arises when the occurrence of these pieces of structured and unstructured information exceeds a threshold that is not always manageable by the individual. The resulting information overload can create an unintentional human bottleneck that may impede the normal workings of the organisation. On an individual basis this may seem like a manageable a problem but, consider multiplying this scenario by 50% of employees in an organisation on any given working day of the week.

This problem is validated by research from The Radicati Group into Information Overload and Corporate Email.

“In 2006, the average corporate e-mail user received 126 e-mail messages per day, an increase of 55% since 2003.

If users spend an average of one minute to read and respond to each message, this flood of e-mail traffic will consume more than a quarter of the typical eight hour work day – with no guarantee that users actually read the messages that are most important.

Additionally, if e-mail traffic continues to increase at this rate, the average corporate e-mail user will spend 41% of the workday managing e-mail messages in 2009.”

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Green BPM, How well understood is the ROI?

I came across an article in which the author raised some interesting points about how process automation can contribute to ‘Green IT’ initiatives.

The author suggests that Goverments should mandate the use of workflow for these initiatives and identifies these potential benefits:

  • Reduced paper use
  • Collaborating and efficiency gains (by improving processes)
  • Carbon footprint reduction

I agree that there is great potential in automation for these type of initiatives but as a pragmatist I would suggest that organisations do not always fully understand how and when to address automation and the the Green IT agenda to ensure quantifiable business benefits.

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