Business Analysis

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Business is the Only "Thing" - Business Semantics and the Internet of Things - V 2.1

Bell Telephone Switchboard Operators, 1943, USA (Courtesy, Wikipedia and US National Archives)

Do you want to enter the business of selling telephone switches?

Probably not. The telephone switch business is super competitive and very low margin.

But the telephone switch business is a pretty good analogy to what your Internet of Things business could be, if you get it wrong.

And you can get your new Internet of Things business model wrong if you think that all you need to do is connect M2M ("machine-to-machine") edge devices to decision makers -- without providing any business value add in the middle.

Without applying your domain knowledge, captured through business analysis, you're at the mercy of a rapidly commoditizing business of selling sensors, wires, wireless and connectivity. And this warning applies to both vendors and business users. The real value of Internet of Things programs is achieved when hard-won domain knowledge enables the addition of value between edge device and centre. Without that "value-add-in-the-middle", again, you've just built a telephone switch. . . . read more

Contingent Workforce Management & BPM Technology - Another Opportunity For Leverage

According to the analysts at Aberdeen Group, on average 26% of world workforce headcount is considered "contingent", including contract and temporary staff.  Clearly contingent labour-force outlays account for a huge portion of total spend.  But Aberdeen asks if this spend is well-managed. 

There are in fact very significant differences between best-in-class and laggard organizations concerning how contingent work is managed.  Best-in-class managers get much better results (over 50% higher reporting program objectives achieved), better contingent workforce cost control and most important, significantly better overall organizational efficiency.  This last benefit gets to the heart of the whole contingent workforce business case. 

Why bother with all the effort and management time to organize contingent workforce scaling if your organization does enjoy overall improved efficiency as a result?

In a world of intense competition, contingent workforce scaling makes intuitive sense, and it's not surprising the Aberdeen Group has identified characteristics of the organizations that "do contingent" better.  But why highlight these insights in this Decision Models forum on business process management technology?

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Accounts Payable & BPM - Aberdeen Group on Best Practices, Governance, Process Capabilities

BPM software advocates need look no further than the regular reports from the analysts at Aberdeen Group for terrific examples of BPM in action.  The latest example, by Analyst William Jan, is AP Invoice Management in a Networked Economy (you can acquire this report without charge for a limited time via the embedded URL; registration is required).

The world of business process is about the processes at the core of any business.  And for this reason unless you are an insider in any given function or vertical market, it's difficult to acquire in-depth knowledge about business processes in real life.  Organizations tend to be reticent about revealing the secrets about how they do business; and as well, in any given function the processes reflect the complexity of corporate life and one is not likely to master that complexity over night. 

So, for these reasons, the work by Aberdeen Group is very welcome.  Their analysis work focuses especially on identifying best practices in various corporate functions, such as sales, accounts payables, inventory management, and so on.  And although Aberdeen Group includes technology in its analyses, their work is refreshingly "business first".

The case of Accounts Payable is a nice example of an end-to-end process analysis of an important corporate function.  Using A/P practices as a measure, and compared to "laggards", best-in-class organizations manage their A/P to deliver much better cash flow, which can have a huge impact on bottom lines. 

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How Many Business Analysts Does It Take . . .

Some of my best friends are BPM-istas!  And evangelists-of-BPM as the second coming of application development.  I say bravo!  But then I have a few questions, such as . . .

1.       How many managers does it take to build a business process in BPM?  

“None.  Managers aren’t allowed to build a process in BPM.” . . . read more

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