I hope you enjoyed my last April Fools’ blog. I really enjoyed the “BPM theme park” April Fool’s blog post that came out on the same day. No bad jokes in this blog post I promise. We had some good news recently that one of the world’s leading Oil and Gas companies had selected Cordys to provide a solution to put their operational “big data” in the hands of business people. I feel a bit nervous calling it “big data” as I’m always a healthy sceptic when it comes to using the latest “buzzword”. Where does “big data” begin and end? Business Intelligence? Data Warehousing? Reporting? In-memory analytics? All of these?
The Oil and Gas company in question has adopted Cordys Operations Intelligence. This is a new product from Cordys so it is great to launch it with a big household name customer. In summary, Cordys Operations Intelligence allows end users (in this case Field Engineers) to create real time operational intelligence dashboards and applications on top of the huge amounts of real-time data. This data is coming straight from thousands of assets such as, pumps, valves, compressors, rigs, etc in refineries and plants. The honest, best example of how it is used is that a field engineer can:
- Open the graphical application modeler in the browser
- Define the trigger for the application to run which could be a timer or an event
- Navigate through and select the data from the thousands of data sources available globally
- If required, define the calculations and manipulations on the data he/she wants to see
- Decide how they want to visualize it in a dashboard
- If required, define business rules for notifications / tasks to address issues
- Click the “go” button and see the real time operational data in a portal like Sharepoint.
A field engineer can create such a “smart” solution in less than twenty minutes after minimal training giving the company an incredibly easy to use way of modelling operational intelligence from “big data”. The dependency on scarce IT resources is completely eliminated, whilst at the same time, governance and transparency on what the end users do is guaranteed.
It is difficult to categorize where this fits in the “big data” story but I think it fits best into the category of “what are you using your big data for” and “how do I put this big data easily in the hands of the people that need it”. If you want to, you can find some more information here.
This got me thinking about something we’ve been doing in Cordys for a while but we haven’t really spoken about as much as perhaps we should have done. Many of our customers have been using Cordys to approach BPM from a “data first” approach. What we’re seeing is the Cordys platform being used to pull together different kinds of data from all kinds of different sources and put it together in different ways. This single view gives someone the information they need, that they can drill down on in order to make a decision. We typically pull data together in a few different ways:
- Data integration – pulling different systems together and integrating data in the traditional way
- MDM – creative a single view of customer, product, risk etc
- BAM – intelligence & data about how processes are performing
- Analytics to drive business decisions – hooking into data warehouses, reporting etc.
We typically pull this data together into a business user dashboard presented in a browser.
That in itself isn’t groundbreaking. Where the Cordys platform really comes into its own is when you want to make that data “actionable”. When you’ve seen the trend, the risk, the opportunity or the action that you need to do – what next? Do you do what we’ve always done by emailing someone, ringing them up, sending them a fax? Where the sweet spot of data and process comes into play is by making the data actionable. When I’ve seen the information that helps me make a decision on a composite dashboard – I want to be able to fire off the business process to execute the decision I’ve made. Maybe I want to escalate the data I’ve seen and pass it on to another team to investigate using Case Management. Maybe I need to evolve my actionable dashboard to “mash up” internal analytics with data from the cloud (maybe a map, Salesforce, etc).
More and more, we’re seeing customers taking a “data first” approach to BPM. It is difficult to put it into a neat box. Just a few selected examples include:
- Reinsurance Counterparty Management – a real time data, actionable view of position
- Remote Service Platform – service management across wide range of IP connected assets also known as the “internet of things”
- Operations Intelligence – as previously described using “big data” from real-time data sources.
A pretty wide ranging set of use cases across a number of different industries. There are a lot of others that we’re seeing start to emerge. They all use different parts of the single Cordys platform but they all have one thing in common – making large amounts of data actionable.
There is quite a bit of commentary from the analysts about “big process” meeting “big data”. We all know about top down, bottom up, middle out, rules driven BPM.
Can I suggest we add one more – data driven BPM?
NB: There is one bad joke: