Technology that Listens and Responds to Business Moments

Enterprise Architects faced with the challenge of increasing disruption within Digital Business should consider an iBPMS as the ideal technology to identify and handle Business Moments.

This year Gartner has introduced the concept of the ‘Business Moment’ – disruptive, sometimes unpredictable changes that occur during windows of time within a business ecosystem. Examples could include bad weather that interrupts a business trip, an opportune real estate deal, or a drastic change in a stock or currency. (See ‘Architect Your Business to Sense, Respond and Create Business Moments’ by Betsy Burton, Gartner – 17 April, 2015).

Business Moments, according to Gartner, can have either damaging or positive effects on the business, and Enterprise Architects, especially, must learn to identify them, and develop strategies for handling them in the optimal manner. In particular, EAs must realize that Business Moments affect all types of players within their ecosystem, and not just humans – smart machines and IoT devices as equal stakeholders.

One of the biggest challenges for an EA posed by the Business Moment is to quickly identify when one occurs. Once identified, the next challenge is to handle the moment in an optimal manner. Both of these steps (identifying and responding) require the help of technology – humans alone just aren’t quick enough to do either, although they should be brought in to make difficult decisions, after the technology surfaces the event and its relevant data to them.

So, the question becomes, what type of technology is best equipped to identify and handle Business Moments most effectively? The surprising (or not so surprising) answer – an intelligent BPMS (Business Process Management suite).

What makes an iBPMS the ideal candidate? In two words: Listening and Responding. Let’s take a look at PNMsoft’s SeQuence iBPMS to illustrate this:

One of the keys to identifying change is listening properly for it. There are so many elements of a business ecosystem – how does one know when a disruption has occurred? On the most basic level –  when a significant change occurs. SeQuence includes a very broad set of Listener activities, each of which can be easily configured (via wizards) to listen to changes in a wide site of systems, and whose purpose is to kick off a workflow when something does change. These listeners include:

  • SharePoint Listener
  • Web Service Listener
  • WCF Listener
  • Dynamics CRM Listener
  • Database Listener
  • Email Inbox Listener

…and the list continues.

Integration Activities

In fact, in its latest release, SeQuence includes the capabilities for a Process Designer to quickly set up a Listener activity for virtually any kind of device or system. This is called a ‘Custom Listener’ and is quite easy to set up. Such a listener could listen to a Twitter feed, a Service Bus, a Building Alarm or an Irrigation System – in short, anything!

What this means is that EAs can enable their organization to efficiently identify disruptions in the ecosystem – and that is the first step to managing a Business Moment effectively.

Learn about Case Management Software with BPM

The second step, as mentioned above, is the initiation of an optimal response when a disruption is identified. Here a BPMS suite excels, specifically because of its workflow core. Recently, much ink has been spilled about how BPM suites are more than just workflow, but when it comes down to it, workflow still matters…a lot. What is unique about a workflow is that it defines a set of actions within time, and it can branch and loop using business logic to most effectively reach a goal. Other systems are static – a workflow puts a business in motion – and motion (automated or semi-automated) is what you need most when handing a disruptive event within a limited window of time.

With an intelligent BPM suite, EAs can enable their organization to handle the Business Moment in an optimal, quick, automated or semi-automated manner as the situation requires.

How does this play out?

BPM app designers can create workflows which react different depending on the exact situation, workflows which surface important data to human players and enable them to make informed decisions within the critical window of time provided by the moment. You can even involve any non-human players (systems, smart devices, IoT) in the process, as much or as little as needed, in order to capitalize on the opportunity or mitigate the risk that arises from the business moment. SeQuence iBPMS in particular excels in this regard due to its HotChange® technology, which enables workflow applications to be modified quickly, as the business continues to operate. This enables SeQuence to handle Business Moments with increasing effectiveness over time, based on real-time analytics, human improvements and self-optimization.

In summary, a business ecosystem includes many different players and systems. Enterprise Architects must weigh and consider all components in crafting the optimal path for their organization. But when faced with the challenge and opportunity of the Business Moment, EAs would be well advised to consider an iBPMS as the prime candidate for a technology that can best listen and respond to the unpredictable events of a business in motion.

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