Trend #7: Methodology, Competency and Real-Time Continuous Improvement for Digital Enterprises

Gazing into the Crystal Ball:
Top 10 Trends for 2014

PegaWORLD 2014 was amazing! We enjoyed incredible keynotes and breakout sessions with great customer success stories. Among all, it was also a lot of fun! One of the keynote speakers, Jeffery Kuhn, who is the Executive Vice President & Co-Head of Client Service Delivery at BNY Mellon, had a notable statement worth quoting: “BPM is at the intersection of technology and continuous process improvement.” Think of “technology” as the digitization trend. Pega CEO Alan Trefler called it SMAC’T: for Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and Things (aka Internet of Things or Internet of Everything). Equally important, one must think of “Methodology” for real-time continuous improvement.

Even as the euphoria and hype of digitization and digital enterprises increases, we need to be grounded in continuous process improvement methodologies and governed competencies for robust agile solutions through digitized processes. Process improvement empowered with execution is essential for the success of digital enterprise initiatives. Methodologies that capture best practices and adapt are indispensable. In 2014, continuously leaning and improving approaches such as Real-Time Lean and Six Sigma will increasingly combine with agile and iterative digital process implementation methodologies. These approaches have been around for some time at different levels of maturity. However, the coalescence of continuous improvement methodologies with digitization is significant for 2014.

Centers Of Excellence (CoEs), or Competency Centers, will become the key enablers of a continuous improvement lifecycle, combining improvement methodologies with process innovation driven by the intelligent business process management (iBPM) engine.

CoEs have several key responsibilities. First, at the heart of the iBPM continuous improvement lifecycle lies the enterprise repository of reusable assets including process flows, different types of business rules, such as decisioning rules, constraints, expressions, event rules and dynamic case types, as well as integration and user interfaces. Given the simplification and modernization trends we identied as the third key trend for 2014, an essential requirement for the CoE is to determine how to optimize the reuse and customization of these assets.

Second, the CoE needs to implement an agile methodology (such as scrum), adapted for use with digital enterprise continuous improvement methdologies. The focus will be on digitized process execution but with objectives that sometimes change. When optimizing business objectives, the digitization iBPM platform allows organizations to rapidly adapt to change while keeping the business objective measurements in control. Enhancements to agile methodologies need to reflect this flexibility as well as the more unstructured, social, collaborative and innovative nature of workers and their work.

The CoE is also responsible for the modern business architecture—rationalizing the application repertoire of the enterprise; determining the applications that need to be built as digital enterprise solutions; and identifying the incumbent applications that need to be wrapped, and those that need to be deprecated.

CoEs use agile methodologies to start with the business case and identify a best-choice opportunity for improvement. As agile digital enterprise platform adoption matures, three types of iterations mesh and support continuous improvement: iteration of the next “slivers” or phases in a large project; agile methodology iterations while building digitial enterprise solutions; and finally the continuous improvement (Real-Time Lean Six Sigma) iterations to keep digital processes in control in real-time. All these iterations align with three powers: the power to change - the continuous improvement and iterations for more digitization; the power to simplify - with rationalized, modernized, and faster iterations; and the power to engage - especially the customers for increased effectiveness and customer experience transformations through end-to-end digitial enterprise solutions.