PegaWORLD’s Sonic Boom - a Q/A with BPM Expert Jim Sinur

Russell Keziere, Sr. Director of Corporate Marketing for Pega, sat down with former Gartner analyst and consultant Jim Sinur, just days after Sinur called PegaWORLD 2013 a “Sonic Boom”.  His comment came due to the significant noise made (via rapid rise in customer BPM maturity and success) at our user conference, which drew 2,500 attendees. Excerpts from the Q/A are below; the full interview can be heard here.

Russell Keziere: Everybody listening to this podcast and anyone who follows BPM will know your name and know you’ve been working for many years at Gartner, and promoting the cause for BPM. Can you catch us up on what’s new in your career?

Jim Sinur: Sure. As it turns out, a lot of the lessons I’ve learned on the job applied very well for Gartner. I spent 20 years at Gartner trying to push the market into areas where it would be productive. BPM is one of them, and intelligent BPM is a whole new journey. I left Gartner to be an independent consultant and an artist at same time, so that I can pursue both my loves.

Russell: Recently you did us a great favor of coming to PegaWORLD, and you’ve been to every single BPM conference that’s known to man, including the very first Gartner BPM Summit. What were your impressions of PegaWORLD 2013?

Jim: I have to say I was a bit blown away, and here’s why: One of the issues around BPM is clients have not matured to go across organizational stove pipes. They have not embraced the intelligent processes in a large way. We have evidence that people are doing innovation with processes, and I’ve written a lot of blogs on those cases, but what I saw at PegaWORLD was a wholesale movement toward higher maturity in BPM, a movement towards leveraging intelligence and agility to do incremental transformations for large-scale organizations, while at the same time raising new revenues.  That was a bit astounding to me.

Russell: While at PegaWORLD, you described something of a sonic boom in your blog, which we thought was very appropriate.

Jim: Yes. The size of the organizations on the main stage and what they were attempting [was impressive]. I can see where you could do that for one day, with a couple customers, but you had four very large companies [AIG, Bank of America, Cisco, Lloyds Banking Group] doing very important transformations incrementally in a big way, with proven benefits right away. In fact, one, Cisco, had just had your technology for a quarter, and they’ve already implemented two major processes.  They’re reaping benefits already. To me, that was a sonic boom. …It was rather impressive for me. When you’re sitting in Gartner, you get a taste of what people are doing, and this was a very sweet taste, compared to the normal conversations I’ve had.

Russell: K.C. Wu from Cisco commented (during her keynote) on Annette Barnes from Lloyd’s Banking the day before how they had embarked on 200 projects with Pega, and how K.C. wanted to catch up to where Lloyds Banking Group was. You love it when large organizations get competitive about transformation.

Jim: I spent my last eight months when I was at Gartner trying to find these transformation stories …and your stage was loaded with them. I was pretty impressed.

Russell: In some of the workshops we had Sunday at PegaWORLD, it was reported that the average maturity level of the client increased several points from the previous year. That’s another indicator supporting your impression.

Jim: I’m trying to gather these kinds of stories on my blog (Jimsinur.blogpost.com), and rating them on a common scale for intelligence. I think applying intelligence to processes is going to be the next wave of differentiation for companies. Obviously, they have to surround their existing systems, but that level of differentiation and innovation needs to be measured. We’re pretty diligently coming up with a way of measuring intelligence in processes and starting to document those stories.

Russell: You actually have a formal name for it – the CPIQ – the cumulative process intelligence quotient. Can you tell us a bit more about your thinking behind that?

Jim: The intelligent BPM movement had a lot of features in the iBPMS. But how to measure one process vs. another was really an unknown. So I realized there needs some kind of common way of finding the intelligence of a process. Just like people, there are certain aspects that make them intelligent. You can have a really great raw IQ as a person, but be social inept. So your EQ is low and your IQ is high. And vice-versa: You can have great social interactions and not be the brightest bulb. The same thing applies to processes. There’s raw intelligence that goes from being able to recognize events and patterns to applying poly-analytics in a machine learning environment to give direction. On the social side, this means moving from simple collaboration to identifying different and better practices as people interact, either in a social or non-social environment. This includes evolving better patterns, rather than best practices that are fossilized.

Also a key part of five measures that I have for IQ is agility. This is the ability to have goal-seeking processes that have milestones that they’re looking for, and are able to rebalance using some of that raw intelligence. Visualizing it, which is another vector, and being able to make decisions on its own at some point, or at least reporting to management that change needs to happen, and suggesting maybe an alternative. I have a five-legged spider diagram that I’m able to measure the intelligence of organizations.  I’ve started on my blog with smart examples on the use of smart BPM for surgical centers, airports, retail, green environments, new forms of agriculture, and I plan on publishing quite frequently because this is a passion of mine.

Russell: …We certainly look forward to following your research. But you’re not going to just about BPM, you're also doing some of your own artwork, correct?

Jim: Yes, I’ve embarked on oil painting, airbrushing, water coolers, and digital art. I’m doing all kinds of art. I have a web site that has two major trails – traditional and digital arts – and both are doing quite well so far in terms of traffic.

Russell: Do you find that making art…puts you in a good frame of mind when going back to the business world and looking at business process?

Jim:  There are a lot of common themes, like visualization and being able to make sure people are collaborating. There’s a certain amount of peace about art, and trying to have processes that engender that peace, and the way they operate. I’m sure you’ve all dealt with processes that create an un-peaceful environment. We’re trying to eradicate that. We want customers to be delighted. Processes can do that, just like art does. Customer delight is going to be the new currency.