Adios to Google Wave! RIP!

For those not plugged into the news continuum that is the Internet, it may be news to some that last week Google has announced that it is to stop its collaborative tool Google Wave.

According to this Google post they had the following to say…

We have always pursued innovative projects because we want to drive breakthroughs in computer science that dramatically improve our users’ lives. Last year at Google I/O, when we launched our developer preview of Google Wave, a web app for real time communication and collaboration, it set a high bar for what was possible in a web browser.

They go on to say that ….

We were equally jazzed about Google Wave internally, even though we weren’t quite sure how users would respond to this radically different kind of communication…

…But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects like Buzz.

As a early adoptor I found it interesting and very innovative. However, early on it became apparent that it was a very technical and feature rich application that only techies really knew what to do with. If anything Wave was too far ahead of its time and perhaps had too many features that confused users.

In short, it can be described as ‘a solution waiting for a problem’. Just think if it was as good at predicting the future as keeping track of the past….

Many times innovation and failure is not a bad thing. It usually provides the impetus to spawn other ideas and solutions that find a greater and more fertile audience in other areas. Any ideas on what they plan on coming up with next?

eClarus – Roundtripping Business Process and SOA Modeling

I recently had an opportunity to review the eClarus Business Process Modeler from eClarus Software. I found it to be an intuitive, very feature rich and versatile tool mainly targeted to business analysts and developers who are designing and developing SOA solutions.

The product suite is positioned as a tool that is standards based and enables roundtrip business process and SOA modelling. eClarus is available is targeted at two categories of user:

  • Business Analysts
  • SOA Architects

The product has some interesting capabilities that can definitely be useful to individual users and small teams. The integration with other products e.g. Eclipse  (using a plugin) is especially useful, even though it tends to be  focused at development teams and the related tools sets used for configuration management etc.

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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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Making the Complex Simple – How best to streamline and automate business processes

I work with various organisations and in my experience, they are typically in various states of maturity in terms of their understanding and adoption of BPM. The one thing I do tend to find  is that they all seem to share common problems.

In this post I have listed some of the ones that I come across and also explain an approach that can be adopted to help move them from a reactive business to one that is more proactive and dynamic in making better decisions.

Organisations are inherently composite and complex ecosystems in which business processes are pervasive. This complexity generally manifests itself in various ways and can include the following:

  • Management and employees have difficulty in making correct decisions due to not having accurate and timely information.
  • Information is of devoid of business context (not seen in as part of a business process) and therefore may lead inconsistent decisions.
  • Planning is often difficult due to ‘broken’ processes, poor working practices and inconsistent information.
  • IT systems that support the various business processes act as inhibiters rather than enablers as they are typically designed deployed and managed as information islands or stove pipes.
  • Enforcing business rules, policies and procedures is an arduous task due to poor process visibility, accurate real time information and no integrated or consistent auditing.

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How BPM can help drive down IT Operational costs

Foreword: Recently I was doing some research into IT operational cost management and specifically how discretionary spend can be increased for use in new and innovative projects across an organisation. I came across some interesting data and have summarised some of my thoughts from a white paper I was writing on how a BPMS can support this type of initiative.

Organisations are continually under pressure to do ‘more with less’ and this is especially true in organisations where IT departments are seen by the business as being unresponsive and a cost centre, rather than ensuring innovation. This may be further exacerbated by external pressures such as competitors encroaching on existing markets and global economic challenges.

Research has shown that CIOs continually have to ensure that business demands are aligned with available IT resources and budget constraints. It is generally accepted that at least 80% of IT resources and budgets are spent on ongoing maintenance. This creates a dilemma for CIOs and IT departments who have to find ways of reducing operational costs, and designing and delivering solutions more effectively.

“78% of large enterprise budgets are swallowed in existing maintenance–keeping the lights on”
“40% of enterprise scale companies are seeing IT budgets reducing in real terms”
Source: The Bathwick Group, Driving business value from IT, Dec 2007

 

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