Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Generation Mobile: A new breed of workers or unnecessary label?

Perhaps more than how seemingly clueless they are toward politics and economics, Millennials are often characterized by how much they live on their smartphones. What’s more, a growing number of Millennials and the general population are increasingly mixing work and play on smartphones and other mobile devices — at a rate that’s, arguably, enough to warrant shining the spotlight on them as a new, emerging demographic, called Generation Mobile, or Generation M.
MobileIron, a mobile device management provider, surveyed 3,400 full- and part-time professionals in six countries, including the U.S., who use a mobile device for work, and discovered that the group it calls Generation M is best represented by men ages 18 to 34 and people with children ages 18 and under in their households. The study found that this demographic is more reliant on mobile technology in general to mix their work and personal activities: For example, 60% of Gen M check or send personal emails at least once a day during work hours, and 51% check or send work emails at least once a day during personal hours.
smartphone, mobile device, mobile
Source: Wikimedia
The study further found that 42% of Gen M plan to either own or buy a wearable device such as the Apple Watch, and the overwhelming majority of that group (95%) plan to use it for work as well as personal tasks.
Why is it so important to home in on Gen M’s mobile habits, and more particularly their attitude toward wearables? Because, said Bob Tinker, MobileIron’s CEO, the new devices “will increase our connectedness and, possibly, our guilt about mixing our work and personal lives.” The MobileIron survey found that 58% of Gen M workers suffer from “mobile guilt” when receiving personal messages during work hours (compared with 46% of non-Gen M workers); moreover, 61% of Gen M workers feel guilty when receiving work communication during personal hours (compared with 47% of non-Gen M workers).
But one mobile expert, Ken Dulaney, begs to differ — first on whether the label Generation M itself is necessary.
Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner, said it’s hard to argue the obvious – Millennials are already a mobile generation. “Sure, they are mobile. … Many of them were given phones at age 7 or so,” he wrote in an email. But, he added, this group also has varying tastes when it comes to art, fashion, music, movies and more — just like any generation before the Millennials. “Aligning them with one aspect of culture doesn’t mean that much to me,” he said. “You could just as easily brand them the ‘Old Navy generation.'”
Second, Dulaney said it’s hardly surprising that a large proportion of Gen M uses their devices for work. “We bring who we are to work,” he said. What isnoteworthy about consumerization in the enterprise, he added, is how unprepared the IT department was and how “it took them a number of years” to accommodate both enterprise and consumer needs. “Hopefully, future changes won’t be so cathartic,” he said.
How about the guilt MobileIron measured among mobile workers?
Not a thing, at least not in the U.S., according to Dulaney.
“Maybe it’s a European thing, but I don’t see many guilty employees, and use of personal technology does nothing but increase,” he said.
Instead, he said that what enterprises should focus on is how to embrace the bring your own apps phenomenon so that employees remain satisfied and motivated.

Are customer experience analytics just the flavor of the month?

Today, companies talk a great deal about customer experience. That makes sense. In the age of the customer, they need to focus more on customer preferences and less on their own agendas. But understanding the voice of the customer requires companies to be able to measure that customer's voice.
Historically, companies have used various tools to measure quality of service, including somewhat-outmoded techniques, such as fishbone diagrams, and quality monitoring forms. Today, companies focus on mining customer feedback to evaluate internal processes and quality. They need more insight into the customer perspective – and in real time.
At the same time, the focus on customer experience can usher in new tactics that are trendy rather than helpful. Companies can easily get caught up in new initiatives that bill themselves as a cure-all for business woes. Some of these efforts have long-term potential, while others are fleeting. Customer experience -- and measuring that experience through customer experience analytics -- represents the latest trend. But is this initiative just another "flavor of the month," or is it here to stay?
Let's look at some past initiatives, and then consider the potential of new efforts, such as customer experience analytics:

Total quality management (TQM)

Total quality management (TQM), which had its heyday during the late 1980s, is a management philosophy focused on broad efforts across the organization to continuously improve quality of products and services offered to customers. The focus was ensuring that internal quality requirements were fulfilled. It originated in manufacturing and has since been adapted for other industries. TQM never used intelligence to close key customer service quality gaps that could have been identified via the voice of customer feedback.
TQM is a noble effort, but it's also a no-brainer: Quality in all aspects of the business is something every employee should focus on every day. Methods that should be common practice hardly need a special label.


During the 1990s, re-engineering became a trend and focused on re-inventing an entire business process to improve key measures such as cost, service and speed. Re-engineering was supposed to be radical, prompting companies to discard the old rules.

In practice, however, re-engineering became a cost reduction exercise for many organizations. Re-engineering could also create more pain points, as it often drove centralization of work processes that in some cases improved speed, but in other cases built in an additional bureaucracy. Tools such as business analytics were not yet available to understand how changes in one area of the business affected others. As a result, organizations, in their effort to promote efficiency and cut costs, did not fully understand how the changes they made affected customer experience.

Customer satisfaction

merging during the 2000s, customer satisfaction measures how products and services meet customer expectations. Customer satisfaction enlists thevoice of the customer to help companies address areas for improvement and indicate problems.
While measuring customer satisfaction can be valuable, is it a true indicator of future customer behavior? Customer satisfaction surveys require customers to recall their interactions, but other activities may slant a customer's survey responses. Finally, customer satisfaction surveys often measure a focused area, such as a customer's interaction with a contact center, while sometimes missing the issue that prompted a customer to reach out to the contact center in the first place.
Customer experience requires a high-level of self-reflection.
If companies aim to use customer satisfaction surveys as forecasters for future customer behavior, survey questions need to be more holistic, provide real-time feedback and address the entire customer journey -- not just examine service-level interactions.

Customer experience

Since 2010, companies have strived to bolster efforts to improve the customer experience. Today, they try to evaluate all the steps in the customer journey -- from prospect to full-fledged customer -- that characterize the customer-company relationship. Customer experience starts with the customer's awareness of what a company sells, continues through the purchase phase and includes follow-up interactions, typically through a contact center, a company website or social media platforms.
Analyzing the customer experience through tools such as speech analytics, customer journey mapping and business intelligence forces an organization to view itself in real time from a customer's perspective. Gathering feedback directly from customers helps companies gauge the effectiveness of products and services and gives them cues as to which initiatives are doing well and which ones need improvement.

Measuring customer experience

Interpreting customer experience requires a high-level of self-reflection. Individual business units cannot be evaluated in isolation; instead, companies need to analyze different areas of the organization and how they affect one another. While the aforementioned initiatives similarly aimed to improve quality and reduce cost, customer experience differs in that it is focused on an external, rather than an internal perspective.
Let's consider some tools that are being used to understand customer experience:
Speech analyticsSpeech analytics software focuses on the "voice of the customer." Recorded phone calls between customer service representatives and customers can be analyzed for key words to identify problems, either in products or in the effectiveness of service. Speech analytics gives companies a window on customer sentiment and satisfaction instantly rather than having to wait for them to complete and return surveys. When combined with agent training, speech analytics can improve first-call resolution and reduce wait times, saving the company money. It can also be used to gauge agent performance to further assist in training and coaching of employees.
For example, if a group of calls contain the same words or phrases -- such as "I want to cancel" -- companies can address the root cause of the issue with those customers. If companies can determine the causes of common problems, they can fix them more rapidly and save themselves the headache -- not to mention money -- incurred by future customer complaints.
Customer journey mapping: Customer journey mapping enables organizations to analyze where pain points occur in a customer-company relationship as customers move through the sales or service funnel. Maps or diagrams illustrate the various points at which customers engage with a company. These maps have large-scale ranges, evaluating every customer touchpoint; from not being aware of the company or product to purchasing it, sharing their experiences and, hopefully, becoming a repeat buyer. Other journey maps can focus on a particular customer-company interaction.
Companies strive to quickly identify and fix problems that emerge throughout the customer journey so that they don't escalate and weigh contact centers down with call traffic. By determining which common problems pop up in which stages of the customer journey, companies hope to catch problems before they become embarrassing issues that can damage the brand.
Business intelligence (BI)Business intelligence allows organizations to analyze and understand how one unit may influence customer behavior and impact other areas. Companies employing BI can, through various applications, tools and methodologies, gather internal and external information and present it to executives and managers to help them make data-driven decisions.
BI, for example, can link information such as the location where a customer purchased a product with where customers are when they call contact centers. In this way, an organization can determine how effective physical stores are at educating customers about products and services.
If managed properly, customer experience won't be another fleeting business initiative but will instead become a regular way of doing business and a key forecaster of customer behavior that can drive customer loyalty.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

A Little Bit of Collaboration Culture Goes a Long Way

Feeding the squirrel
One of July's themes at CMSWire is
"Keys to Successful Enterprise Collaboration." Allow me to recommend
a thought-provoking article by Sam
Marshall: "Why Collaboration Works for Others, But Not for You." Here I’d like
to offer our readership a different and,
I think, more basic approach than Sam’s.
I want to look at some very basic
frameworks — the "people-process-technology" triangle and the “W5H”
— and see how we can apply them to enterprise-wide collaboration. OK, you may
ask, beyond going back to these basic levels, where do I depart from the redoubtable
Mr. Marshall? Well, let’s get this out there up front: Culture.
Sam quite rightly states he is a bit fed up with people who trot out the overly simplistic statement that to be able to collaborate (or frankly, to do anything) you have to have
the right culture. Applied specifically to the collaboration scenario, he feels it’s not
quite right to embark on massive culture change across an organization just in order
to enable better collaboration.
In many respects, I agree with his statement:
"My own belief is that it is hard enough to change people’s ways of working, so
matching the approach to the current collaboration culture is the best approach. If
there is a really strong organization-wide push to change culture, then yes,
collaboration tools may support that, but they won’t drive that change on their own."

While I do agree that particular tools will only ever support culture change and can
never drive it, I disagree that you need to match your approach to collaboration to
the current culture. I think a little bit of culture change can go a very long way —
and you do not have to tackle the entire organizational culture or its myriad of
potential sub-cultures. You should not shy away from small, incremental changes
that can potentially make a big difference.

People, Process and Technology

If we look at the three sides of this triangle, giving equal weight to each (as the
model is normally presented), we can consider culture to be an intrinsic element
of the people and process dimensions. In the enterprise collaboration use case,
I believe that culture is far more important than the technology deployed, and this
is why I think a little highly targeted effort at cultural change, in whatever form it
might need to take, is worth the effort.
Sam quite rightly points out that for various reasons some tools work just fine in
some organizations, but the same ones gain no traction at all in others. Interestingly,
there was a lot of discussion on social collaboration at the recent J. Boye
Philadelphia 15 Conference. Many presenters suggested they did not like their
present technology, be it SharePoint, Yammer, Chatter, Tibbr or Jive, but that in the current fiscal situation they were not going to be able to swap to another one. Those
that were the most successful appeared to be the ones doing a little focused culture change in order to fit the tool into their process as best they could. For an organization
to be able to say "This is not the perfect tool, but it’s what I have got, so I am going to
lever the heck out of it" requires a little cultural remodeling.
Yes, I know the technological particularities of your specific platform can have an
impact, but I am ex-Army, and I know that when an EMP burst has taken down your satellite communications, data links, networks and laptops, you can still plan operations using paper maps, pencils and notebooks — it's all about that collaborative culture!


So lets examine a really basic model in the collaboration context: What, Who, Why, Where, When and How (or five W's and an H).

What Are Your Collaboration Goals?

Collaboration means people working together to achieve a common goal. So what is
your common goal? Is it clear, is it understood by all involved? This will become more important the bigger the collaborating group is and the more complex the environment
– for example, spread across the globe or in different operating units. Don't lose sight
of the goal: Collaborative work is for a reason. Broad-based information sharing can
be useful, but it is not the same as deliberative collaboration.

Who Is Collaborating?

Is this about a small team that often (or always) works together, or a large, global,
virtual team spread across time zones, with different perspectives because they come from different operating divisions? The small team, say, fewer than 10 people on the
same floor, are likely to already have a common culture. The complex global team
may not, and they are more likely to benefit from a framework of simple behavioral guidelines to help them form their own collaborative micro-culture.

Why Are You Collaborating to Achieve This Goal?

What exactly are the outcomes your collaboration is intended to achieve? Does the context have a potential impact on the development of collaborative culture across the organization or on the micro-culture applicable to each team? Is this team working together by choice, or have they been forced together by process? Is this collaborative effort planned or ad hoc, because that will have an impact on the support mechanism
and potentially even the technology tool use.

Where Is the Collaboration Taking Place?

Is this collaboration taking place in a single room, or is it technologically mediated
across the globe? Even if all the people are in one building, the corporate culture may
well mean that a virtual team thrown together to quickly achieve a specific goal will
work as an electronic team levering various collaboration technologies – the difference being, a global team would not be able to claim a meeting space as their "war room"
and fill it with computers and white boards!

When Is the Collaboration Taking Place?

Is this ad hoc collaboration, with a deadline? Or is it part of the standard execution of a major business process that will iterate again and again as part of your normal working practices? If you’re supporting a constant generation of tactical problem solving teams, then your collaborative culture will be different from that baked in to collaborative
business processes, but to Sam Marshall's point, you may have both within a single organization. The even more basic view of "when" is business hours: If this is a global team, will components of it in effect be collaborating 24/7 across time zones?

How Are You Enabling Collaboration?

Even this question does not talk exclusively to technology. How are you enabling
high-quality collaborative work through your cultural efforts? HR policy and procedure, guidelines and training provisions, communications and clarity of purpose? And yes,
what collaboration tools do you make available, from telephones and whiteboards to global deployments of SharePoint, Yammer and Jive (yes, all of them, plus more)?
In conclusion, I would reiterate that culture is more important than technology when looking to build high-performance, collaborative working environments. If you have
a good grasp of this “collaboration culture” then you can actually succeed, no matter
the technology. However, culture change to enable enhanced collaboration does
not have to comprise enterprise-level, complex and expensive change management programs.
You can collaborate effectively without the greatest technology platform of all time.
Some technologies will fit better with your existing culture, your existing ways of
working, and if you can implement a tool that complements your environment, then adoption should be higher and efficient collaboration may result.
As ever, we are all different and your mileage may vary.

What if leaders fail to navigate cultural complexities?

Monday, 28 December 2015

Mobile payments come of age: A brief history lesson

Once again we have confused the business of technology (the stuff that defines the IT industry) with the technology of business (the stuff that defines everything else). Remember when the world was about "e-this" and "e-that" (early 1990's)? A few years later, people tired of "e-everything" and switched the buzz to "i-this" and "i-that". Doesn't seem all that creative a switch, but the "i" seems to have staying power, perhaps thanks to Apple.
It does seem that anything that is described as "mobile" these days sells. In addition to mobile payment solutions, we have mobile wallets (would you really want a wallet that was stationary?), mobile devices, mobile phones (really a mobile device), mobile videos, mobile businesses (catch-all for anything sold out of the back of a truck), mobile sculpture (thanks Calder) and, my all-time favorite, Mobile, Alabama (dating back to the early 1700's), to name just a few. Try my GoTo popularity test: An Internet search for "mobile," which yields 5.3 billion results, versus my popularity test benchmark -- "Barack Obama" -- that returns 198 million. Need I say more?

Mobile payments: Déjà vu all over again

Payments have always been mobile:
As early as 9000 BC both grain and cattle were used as money or as barter. The first grain remains found, considered to be evidence of pre-agricultural [currency] practice, date to 17,000 BC. In the earliest instances of trade with money, the things with the greatest utility and reliability in terms of re-use and re-trading of these things (their marketability), determined the nature of the object or thing chosen to exchange.
Source: Wikipedia
Later on, coins and precious metals replaced cattle and grain, interestingly, more mobile and much more convenient by their nature. Banknotes first appeared in 7th century China and spread west across Europe throughout the Middle Ages. Again, paper bills provided much more convenience for issuers, buyers and sellers. And bills were/are certainly more mobile than sacks of coins.
Credit cards (plastics) were introduced in the 1940's –1950's with the development of Charg-It and Diners Club cards. The first association-based card was issued in 1966 by the Bank of America, originally called the BankAmericard and then renamed Visa. A plastic card was, again, much easier to deal with than wads of bills. Are we seeing a pattern emerging? Let's recap: Cattle → grain → shells → metal coins → paper bills → plastic cards -- that's a 19,000-year-march towards increased convenience backed by universal trust … and all of these forms of payment were always mobile!

So what's all the fuss about?

I am going out on a limb here and assuming if you are reading this post that you have at least heard of, if not already used, products such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Wallet, Softcard (AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile), PayPal(eBay) or CurrentC (Sears, Target, Wal-Mart and many others). Note that the combined market capitalization of just those companies mentioned here is approximately $2 trillion.

Not enough to make a fuss about? How about a few more sobering metrics for your consideration? As of this writing, there are 1,135 companies worldwide involved in mobile payments startups with an average valuation of $4.3 million (total of approximately $5 billion), backed by 41,923 investors and supported by 171,826 social media followers.

'That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.'

-- William Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet", II, ii, 1-2
What's in a name? Based upon the briefest of historical perspectives presented above, it seems that "mobile" is not new; "payments" is not new; "mobile payments" is not new; so why are some of the largest enterprises on the planet investing billions in this space? Because as we have seen, mobile device technology-enabled payments are new and growing fast. This space is the logical extension of the progression from cattle → grain → shells → metal coins → paper bills → plastic cards → mobile device technology enabled payments.
Now reflect upon the characteristics that underpinned and continue to enable currency to work at scale: utility; reliability; trust (nowhere more evident than "In God We Trust" on US currency); and convenience.
Now reflect upon the technologies that are being developed and brought to market that underpin mobile device technology-enabled payments:
It is likely that many other new technologies are being developed by the 1,135mobile payments startup companies referenced above. Not surprisingly, what all of these technologies have in common is that individually and in combination, they make mobile device technology-enabled payments more useful, reliable, trustworthy and convenient.

The CIO imperatives…

As CIOs and IT executives, it is clearly time to embrace these technologies whether they are embedded in payments-related applications or others more relevant to your enterprise and/or industry. Most of these technologies have reached critical mass, and some are even mainstream at this point. The more we as an IT community understand the capabilities and constraints of these mobile payments technologies, the more effectively we can integrate them and the more useful, reliable, trustworthy and convenient mobile device technology-enabled payments will become.

What is Business Process Automation?

business process automation graphicWhat is business process automation (BPA) software? What kinds of business processes can be automated? Can BPA software perform routine office tasks?
These are just a few common questions people have about BPA software. Here is a simple, concise explanation of BPA, which will answer all these questions and more.

What is business process automation?

Business process automation comes in many forms, from literal assembly lines in the auto industry to self-service gas station pumps. Laserfiche focuses on document-based process automation. Basically, anything that is done on paper can be done digitally with Laserfiche.
But this isn’t just about replacing your stacks of files with PDFs—automation aims to make the entire process more cost-efficient, streamlined, error-proof and accessible. Automation is the administrator that knows what every department needs, produces every document as it’s needed and never takes a vacation.
Now let’s see some examples. Below are three common business practices and how they are performed with and without automation.

Accounts Payable

Example: Pebble Limited Partnership, a mining company based in Alaska
Without automation:
accounts payable iconThe company processed 150 to 200 invoices every week. Each invoice had to be printed and hand-delivered to employee after employee. Some invoices required up to seven signatures and took 22 days to become finalized. It was easy for work to get stalled, and difficult to monitor the status of each invoice in the approval process.
With automation:
Paper invoices get scanned into an enterprise content management (ECM) system; after that, they are handled electronically. A Windows-style folder structure houses the invoices, which get designated to different employees for review. Each time an invoice advances in the review process, the approver receives an email that the invoice is ready, along with a handy shortcut to the invoice.
Every step of the process is recorded so approvers can see the history of each invoice, and managers can see how long each step takes. Fewer errors are made because the system automatically populates several fields of information; it can also tell when a mistake has been made and sends the error to an AP technician for correction.
Pebble Limited Partnership now processes its invoices significantly faster and saves $8,300 a year on paper-related costs.
Click here to get the complete guide to accounts payable automation.

Contract Management

Example: Corporate Commission of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians
Without automation:
contract management iconThe Corporate Commission managed about 500 contracts a year for its 12 businesses that ranged from hotels to gas stations. Deadlines were frequently missed, resulting in 10-15% fee increases. Contracts were printed and distributed via fax, a process that took weeks and sometimes months to complete. Administrative assistants were needed in each department to route the contracts and generate monthly reports on contract activity.
With automation:
Contracts are electronic from start to finish, meaning forms are standardized. As a result, scanning costs are eliminated, illegible faxes are a thing of the past and training time is kept to a minimum. Contract routing is done automatically, so administrative assistants no longer have to photocopy, track, or make reports of contracts.
To support contract automation, approvers use Laserfiche Web Access to remotely view contracts; now the approval process takes three days or less, instead of weeks to months.
The Corporate Commission has realized that office automation software is not just a convenience, but a necessary component of professional and time-sensitive business practice.

HR Onboarding

Example: LaserWorks
Without automation:
human resources iconLaserWorks is a hypothetical company developed by Laserfiche. Like any existing company, it hires employees and must process job applications to do so. Without process automation, onboarding can be as inefficient as handwriting notes and dates on resumes and stuffing them in a file cabinet. At best, a dutiful HR employee tracks the status of every application, a task that becomes more daunting with each additional candidate.
With automation:
Job listings and applications are electronic, meaning HR employees and prospective applicants enjoy a streamlined, paperless experience. Cover letters and resumes can be uploaded to an electronic form, which is routed to the recruiter once submitted. As the application moves through the process, emails are sent automatically to managers for approval.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

How business process management software is changing

Organisations are beginning their digital transformation, rethinking their business models and processes to address customer and constituent expectations.
This is leading to a shift toward using an intelligent business process management suite (iBPMS), according to Gartner.
The latest forecast from Gartner shows worldwide spending on business process management (BPM) software is set to grow 4.4% to reach $2.7 billion in 2015.
Rob Dunie, Gartner research director, says managing business processes effectively is a difficult challenge for today's business leaders, because many of the systems that are used within processes are rigid and difficult to change rapidly.
"An iBPMS supports business responsiveness, often at the 'moment of truth' in a customer interaction," says Dunie.
"The ability to provide more 'joined up' insight into business processes through the use of analytics - combined with support for the people involved in processes, allowing them to take advantage of this insight - is what differentiates today's iBPMS market from earlier BPMS technology markets," he says.
There are four significant trends that Gartner is seeing in the iBPMS market:
1. Focus on business transformation
Gartner says there has been a marked shift from focusing primarily on continuous process improvement to a greater focus on business transformation and addressing the dimensions of big change.
Faced with both externally and internally driven change, organisations have a bigger need to reinvent themselves while also driving improvements in efficiency.
2. Digitalised processes and the Internet of Things (IoT)
Through the integration of various systems, including IoT technology (sensors, smart machines, robots and so on), combined with advanced analytics (such as pattern recognition and predictive analytics), companies are using an iBPMS to power their digitalised processes.
Examples of 'things' in the IoT may include household and business premises lights, smart electric metres, smoke alarms, security cameras, mobile devices, tools, toys, remote patient monitoring nodes, vending machines, parking metres and hotel door locks.
In a digitalised process, IoT 'things' are integrated to the business process in order to ensure that the process can adjust to changing conditions as necessary, Gartner says.
Process innovation can happen more easily when such devices are orchestrated together with all other process participants, according to Gartner.
3. Shift away from transactional processes
While an iBPMS can coordinate short-lived, transactional system-oriented processes, they are best used to manage long-lived business processes that span both people and systems as well as functional boundaries.
While some vendors use similar process execution engines, pure service-oriented architecture (SOA) orchestration is no longer a focus of an iBPMS, says Gartner.
4. The nexus of forces - mobile, social, cloud and analytics
The mobile, social, cloud and analytics features in iBPMSs are more capable and better integrated than they were in 2014, Gartner says. 
Those solutions that balance ease of use and time to solution alongside greater intelligence capabilities are seeing the most success.
Also essential are strong partner networks for business transformation capabilities in addition to traditional implementation services.
According to Gartner, the iBPMS market is the natural evolution of the earlier BPMS market, adding more emphasis on support for greater system and human intelligence within business processes.
However, as with previous evolutions, there are still many other kinds of BPM products that address less comprehensive market needs.
When an organisation faces relatively slow rates of change, has very low BPM maturity, or is focusing mostly on document-centric process automation, an iBPMS product may be overly complex for the task.
Capabilities such as 'what if' process simulation, optimisation and the ability to gain insight into process performance have been included in many BPMS offerings for several years.
iBPMSs have added enhanced support for human collaboration, integration with social media, mobile access to processes, more analytics and real-time decision management.
Vendors in the iBPMS market have originated from several different sources.
'Infrastructure stack' vendors add relevant BPM functionality (often by acquisition), document- and content-centric vendors are moving into the market by extending content workflows to include system integration and human workflows into processes, and newer innovators are focusing more on developing solutions from business-oriented modelling techniques, according to Gartner.

When to Use Lean Six Sigma Tools? - PART II

In many scenarios, new lean six sigma practitioners, uncertain about the methodology, tend to get confused on when to use the different lean six sigma tools. This article, the second of a two-part series, gives an overview on when to use different Lean Six Sigma/Change Management tools and in which phases of DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control). 

#13: Production Leveling (Heijunka)
To reduce unnecessary inventory and capital getting locked up as inventory in warehouses. Production Leveling helps with creating "flow" and getting the product/service on time/faster to the customer.
Which phase of DMAIC to use? Analyze/Improve
#14: SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Dies)
To reduce the changeover time on a machine, between systems etc. SMED helps with creating "flow" and reducing batch sizes.
Which phase of DMAIC to use? Analyze/Improve

#15: FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis)
To analyze how each (prioritized) X fails, what are the effects on Primary Y when X fails, Why each X fails, what are the current controls etc. In simple terms to drill down to the root cause of the problem/issue. Ensure the operational definitions of ratings for Severity, Occurences and Detection are agreed upon and the scale is customized if necessary. Ratings should be based on data.
Which phase of DMAIC to use? Analyze/Improve
#16: Control Charts
To determine whether the process is stable and has special or common cause variation. Use the appropriate control charts based on the type of data and pre-requisites. For example I-MR control chart cannot be used if the data is not normally distributed. Refer Minitab Statguide for detailed information.
Which phase of DMAIC to use? Measure/Improve/Control
#17: Capability Analysis
To compare customer's specification limits with process control limits (in simple terms to determine whether the process can meet customer's specifications or not). Ensure the specification limits actually come from the customer and not some hypothetical numbers. Refer Minitab Statguide for detailed information.
Which phase of DMAIC to use? Measure/Improve
#18: Brainstorming techniques (Reverse, Analogy, Six Thinking Hats etc.)
To brainstorm solutions for the root cause(s) or critical Xs. Six Thinking Hats requires the use of an experienced facilitator who is trained and certified in Six Thinking Hats.
Which phase of DMAIC to use? End of Analyze/Improve
#19: Pugh matrix
To select the best solution objectively from among a set of solutions. The Pugh matrix is a much better objective tool compared to other tools which tend to be subjective.
Which phase of DMAIC to use? Improve
#20: Kano model
To determine the needs, wants and desires of customers. Offers insights into the product attributes which are perceived to be important to customers. Supports product specification through better development of team understanding
Which phase of DMAIC to use? Pre-Define/Define

#21: VOC gathering techniques (Surveys, Customer complaints, secret shopper, Structured interviews, Gembas etc.)
To determine and understand the pain areas of a customer(s) and thereby make a case for change (whether a project is required or not). As far as possible, collect VOC by direct interaction with customers rather than surveys to get quality information. VOC is converted to CTQs (Critical to Quality Characteristics) i.e. objective measures which can determine if VOC is met or not.
Which phase of DMAIC to use? Pre-Define/Define

#22: Control Plans
To ensure the gains/improvements made through the project don’t slip back to the original state. Most of the projects fail due to incomplete or no control plans.
Which phase of DMAIC to use? Control

#23: Threat vs. Opportunity matrix
To create a sense of urgency (burning platform) for change. Focus on Threats if we DO make the change as well.
Which phase of DMAIC to use? Pre-Define/Define

#24: Stakeholder analysis/mapping
To determine areas of resistance and support. Ensure the stakeholder rating (such as ++ or --) is based on some data/previous experience with the stakeholders and not just based on heresay or person opinions.
Which phase of DMAIC to use? Define phase; updated through out the phases periodocially