My Presentation and Interview from Cloud Camp

June 16, 2009

My blogging has been a bit anemic lately.  We had our big Blueprint launch in the middle of last month accompanied by the post launch clean up of all the stuff I had designated as “get to it after the launch.”  And then there was strep throat and visiting relatives…blah…blah..blah.

So here I am back in the saddle and finally getting around to posting my slides from Cloud Camp Austin where Lombardi Blueprint was a gold sponsor.  You’ll notice in the transfer to slideshare, some of the formatting is off and in slide 6 you don’t get to see the great build where the poor person collecting the process data gets buried under a mound of random documents – but you’ll get the idea.

To get some of the narrative behind this and more, check out the interview Redmonk’s Michale Cote did with me at the event.

But wait, there’s more…

For those brave enough to go beyond the last slide you’ll get a special bonus slide of all the cheesy 80′s bands used as code names for Blueprint’s releases right up to the the most recent, “Survivor.”

Pau for now…


Got 3 minutes? See what Blueprint’s all about

June 1, 2009

A little over two weeks ago the latest Blueprint update, the Spring ’09 release, was loosed upon the world.   We took the opportunity of the launch, which included launches for our other products and services, to overhaul our web pages.  In the specific case of Blueprint we created new pages for Overview, Features, Resources and Success Stories.

You gotta see it to believe it

For the top of the Overview and Features pages we created the following video that presents a 3 minute and 18 second overview of Blueprint. (I recommend you click the full screen button so you can see the details).  Check it out and let me know what you think :)

Pau for now…


Production, Operations Mgt and BPM at Texas State

May 28, 2009

Dave Angelow, adjunct professor at Texas State University just finished teaching a semester long course in Production and Operations Management.  The course, which focuses on the supply chain and value chain as well as some production methods, is a core requirement in the school of management.

I talked with Dave to hear how the course went and how BPM fit into the syllabus.

>>My talk with Dave (5:12): Take a Listen

Prof. Dave Angelow of Texas State

Prof. Dave Angelow of Texas State in action.

Some of the topics Dave tackles:

  • How a fair number of students also have day jobs (the course is taught at night) and how this allows them to directly apply what they’ve learned.
  • How BPM, both Business Process Management and Modeling, fit under the quality management section
  • BPM as a means of compressing cycle time and extracting more value for customers.
  • Using Blueprint for a hands on modeling exercise and value the students saw in the tool.

Blueprint Educational Program

Lombardi provides free Blueprint subscriptions for educational use.  If you are teaching or taking a course where you think Blueprint would be appropriate, please contact us at blueprint@lombardi.com to learn more.

Pau for now…


Call Center outsourcer uses Process Mapping to help it emerge from Chapter 11

May 5, 2009

pman-headset

PRC, based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, manages 14 domestic call centers and a handful of centers offshore.  In January of last year this 25-year-old company declared bankruptcy.  Six months later, after a massive restructuring they emerged from Chapter 11.

One of the efforts that helped in this restructuring and which continues today is an effort to document, standardize and communicate all of the company’s processes.

Rachel Pace-Maron, Director of Operations Support Service was asked to lead this effort with a shoe-string budget.  Last week I chatted with Rachel to learn more about her effort.

My conversation with Rachel (11:19)  Listen

Some of the topics Rachel tackles:

  • The goal with mapping PRC’s processes was to find out how they could do things better and faster and why things take so long.  They weren’t able to answer why a process took so long because no one person knew every step.  This is what lead them to process mapping.
  • One of the first processes they mapped was “agent time,” how much time do agents spend on break and what is the management process for keeping them on the phone efficiently and within break parameters.
  • They found each call center had a different process and none were doing it efficiently.
  • By standardizing on a process for all centers and bringing them into metric, they had a bottom line impact on revenue.
  • Before adopting Lombardi Blueprint for process mapping, groups had been using, Visio, Exel and Power Point.
  • PRC has a group of people who are visually oriented and a group who are narrative oriented. As Rachel explains, “Blueprint’s ability to marry picture to narrative has been fantastic and, I’m not going to say life altering, but certainly business altering.”
  • Her excitement over the latest Blueprint release and how the addition of participants will help PRC break down silos and take their process initiative to the next level.

Pau for now…


Pics and Prose from Cloud Camp Austin ’09

April 27, 2009

Michael Cote of Redmonk welcomes us all. (credit Dave Nielsen)

Michael Cote of Redmonk welcomes us all. (credit Dave Nielsen)

This past Saturday, Cloud Camp Austin was held down on the UT campus.  There was a very healthy turnout and a lot of great discussions were generated.

Sequence of Events

After opening salutations, camp got underway with a series of six five-minute lightening talks delivered by the camp’s gold sponsors.

My lightening talk: Mapping Processes in the Cloud (credit: Dave Nielsen)

My lightening talk: Mapping Processes in the Cloud (credit: Dave Nielsen)

The Main Event

From there, Dave Nielsen, the man who originally developed the cloud camp format (and who took most of the pictures in this post — see them all), guided us through the process of coming up with topics for session discussions.  That process, appropriately enough given that this was an unconference, began with an “unpanel.”

The Unpannel: Splunk representative, not sure, Cote, Dustin from Canonical, myself (credit Dave Nielsen)

The Unpannel: Michael Wilde of Splunk, (not sure), Dustin from Canonical, Cote, myself (credit Dave Nielsen)

All Together Now

The way it worked was the room first brainstormed a list of topics they were interested in discussing/learning more about.  Anyone who thought they were an expert on one or more of these topics got to get up from their seats and form a five person panel at the front of the room.   Each member of the panel then answered two questions from the board and as the question was answered the audience was asked if the topic had been covered by the answer or if it warranted further discussion in an afternoon session

(L->R) Dave Nielsen leads us through our unconference set up.  Canonical's Dustin Kirkland and hero-for-hire John West lend a hand.

(L->R) Dave Nielsen leads us through our unconference set up. Canonical's Dustin Kirkland and hero-for-hire John West lend a hand.

A Schedule is Born

After the panel, as a group we all decided what the final sessions would be and who would lead them.  To lead a session you could either be knowledgeable in the area or completely clueless but wanted to learn about it.

The completed schedule:  three sessions ran at a time and there were three time slots (credit Dave Nielsen)

The completed schedule: three sessions ran at a time and there were three time slots (credit Dave Nielsen)

Coming Soon

While at camp I did a couple of video interviews, one with Dustin Kirkland of Canonical and one with Todd Morey of Mosso/Rackspace.  I should be posting those in the next few days.  I also found myself on the other end of the microphone being interviewed by Mr. Cote.  That should be appearing in the near distant future on his blog.

Update:

Pau for now…


Symantec, process improvement and Blueprint

April 21, 2009

Devin Rickard is a Senior Director of Business Process Improvement at Symantec, the company best known for its Norton line of security products.  The team that Devin belongs to acts as internal process consultants at the company and they’ve adopted Lombardi Blueprint as the common process modeling tool for the group.  What they found however is that Blueprint has a wide appeal beyond their group.

I caught up with Devin to learn about process improvement at Symantec and how his team was using Blueprint.

>>My talk with Devin (11:53): Take a Listen

Devin Rickard of Symantec's Business Process Improvement team

Devin Rickard of Symantec's Business Process Improvement team

Some of the topics Devin tackles:

  • Symantec has grown through rapid organic growth as well as acquisition.  This has led to processes being executed in islands. Devin’s group works with the islands to try and “pull them together into a single continent.”
  • The team practices “stealth six sigma.”  They have adapted the processes and tools from Six Sigma so that they fit the Symantec corporate culture.
  • What started as a nice tool for the practitioners has ended up becoming the core catalyst that brings together individuals and helps them to visualize what they are trying to improve upon for Symantec customers and partners.
  • As business owners or process managers become engaged they are becoming aggressive adopters of Blueprint.  They find it gets them a picture of their business that they’ve never had before and they want to find the areas within their own processes that they can make improvements to.
  • The interest/involvement of the business has noticeably shortened the time to improvements.
  • Some of the projects Devin and team have used Blueprint for: transforming the quote to cash process and the procure to pay process (Blueprint helped to cut the time to pay employee expense reports from 3-5 weeks to 2-3 days) as well as working on ways to make the process of integrating acquisitions smoother.

Pau for now…


IBM leverages Web 2.0 for Knowledge Sharing

April 14, 2009

Next month I’ll be heading over to Houston to attend APQC’s knowledge management conference.  One of the talks I’m interested in checking out will be given by Bryant Clevenger, the global leader for IBM GBS’s knowledge sharing strategy.

On the KMedge blog, Bryant explains what they’ve been up to:

At IBM, leveraging knowledge has always been an important part of our business.  Last year, we undertook a massive overhaul of the technology and approach we use for knowledge management, moving from a centrally managed, linear, taxonomy- and repository-based system to one that leverages the best of Web 2.0, including social software, user participation, and key market-driven concepts like sponsored links.

As a promo for his talk, Bryant put together the following video, complete with a rockin’ BTO instrumental soundtrack :).

Some of the topics the video addresses:

  • How do you harness the expertise and leverage the knowledge that is spread across 387,000 people located in 170 countries?
  • 1 in 4 workers has been with their current employer for less than 12 months.
  • People are using web 2.0 in their daily lives, they expect the same tools in the workplace.
  • The IBM employee knowledge portal allows users to
    • Search across multiple content repositories
    • Create social tags, peer ratings and tag content
    • Locate experts and contact them.
  • The portal surfaces: 1) the highest rated internal content, 2) Leadership priorities and 3 external competitor info.
  • Bryant’s “modest” vision for the portal: Unprecedented access to content and experts will shorten the sales cycle and will expand the reach of information…removing country and organization barriers and enabling the globally integrated enterprise.

Goodness for any size

Whether this project actually leads to the “enabling of the globally integrated enterprise” or not I think this effort will create considerable value.  I also believe that you don’t have to be a huge multinational like IBM to benefit from the availability of Web 2.0-based tools in the workplace.  Web 2.0 tools are built around the principles of linking, sharing, participation and collaboration — valuable elements for a company of any size.

Don’t touch that dial

BTW, If you are interested increasing linking, sharing, participation and collaboration in your organization you’ll want to check out our next Blueprint release, coming soon to a browser near you.  Stay tuned :)

Pau for now…


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