Archive | June, 2007


I read an article this morning by Chris Graham on Multichannel Marketing which I thought was a great framework for several marketing related items I have been thinking about.  He talks about the following:

If you don’t know what all these mean, it doesn’t surprise me, but I think MOM is the key.  Chris describes it as MCM in a box.  I think it is the key of how direct marketing processes operate.  You need to understand the customer.  You have to know what channel they respond to.  You have to know how to effect their behavior.  You need to have proven messaging (DAM) that you can pull from.  And, this needs to be part of a process so that it is not simply a one-time ping of that customer. 

From Chris’ article…”So let’s look at an MCM scenario: The customer makes an enquiry through his digital satellite TV remote in response to an advertisement; immediately an email is sent back to them, a personalized MMS confirms the dispatch of a personalized printed document specific to their geographical area, a call center flags a “to do” for seven days time, from which a personalized micro Web site is automatically generated with the latest product literature specifically for the products they want to look at.”

Medical Devices and the 10 Faces of Innovation

Today, I unsuccessfully searched for a smart consumer device that would link process and medical monitoring.  I am sure it is out there, but I couldn’t find it.  The opportunities are numerous.

Imagine having a device that monitored your blood sugar levels and sent off messages based on your current levels.  The messages could be to home to make something different for dinner.  It could be a note to yourself to remember to snack earlier in the day.  It could be a note to your physician keeping them aware of your situation.  I think that the opportunities for consumer centric medical devices that have embedded intelligence and plug into some type of BPM or process centric model are great.

Art_of_innovation This made me think of one of my favorite companies – IDEO.  If you don’t know them, you should.  They have been involved in all types of innovation and product design.  The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley is a great book about their process.  You should also read the article about the different types of innovators in Fast Company.

This article categorizes them into Learning, Organizing, and Building personas.  Which are you?  I am either a Cross-Pollinator or a Collaborator (in my mind anyways).

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CDHC – Success or Failure

It is probably too early to make any decisions here around Consumer Driven Healthcare (CDHC), but I enjoyed an entry on Matt Winn’s blog Punctuative about this (see entry).  A quote I especially like is:

If I were a product manager in any other industry and saw scores this low in customer satisfaction and understanding, I’d be thinking of pulling that product from the shelves or retooling it,” says David Guilmette, managing director of Towers Perrin’s health-care consulting practice.

I believe a big issue here is communications.  Patients suffer from too many healthcare communications and too much healthcare information which is delivered to them in ineffective mediums (e.g., letters that happen two weeks (or more) after the event) using confusing language and ask them to jump through hoops.  CDHC (and healthcare in general) will be much more successful when companies embrace a CPG (consumer packaged goods) approach to driving behavior.  I am working with a client right now that has had some great successes in this area and which has some great idea.  It is worth your time to look at them if you operate in this space as an HR director, a managed care company, a pharmacy benefit manager, or even a healthcare provider.  The company is Silverlink.

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Wellness Incentives

Last year, I had a chance to do some consulting for my previous employer (Express Scripts).  One of the areas that I helped them with was CDHC (consumer driven healthcare).  I worked on competitive intelligence, framing the opportunity, and creating the strategy pitch including evaluating a technology investment.  Recently, I have ended up in a few conversations about this topic so I thought I would spend a minute on it.

Incenting people to get serious about health and wellness is an interesting challenge.  You have a handful of questions to answer:

  1. What behaviors do you want to encourage?
  2. How can you shift behavior?  (And who are you – employer, insurance company, disease management, marketing company?)  This has to take into account messaging, channel, timing, value proposition, demographics, etc.
  3. Is there a return for your money?
  4. Will consumers allow you to step in in a big brother type role to tell them what to do?

There are some interesting players out there.  I was always fascinated when I saw that Humana (who is progressive in many things) was working with Virgin to offer airline points for working out at a gym (for example).

Now, there are several companies focusing specifically on creating wellness incentives (IncentiveLogic, Hallmark Insights, Healthpoints).  There is even a Wellness Council of America.  I found an article on their site that provides a good overview – click here.

Some related information:

I could go on.  It is an interesting topic.  As the focus grows, you will see your consumer experts begin to focus on this problem.  It is not unlike the move from defined retirement to 401K.  With CDHC and other programs, the consumer is becoming more important in making healthcare decisions.  With that, an understanding of the health consumer is important.  This is not done well at most companies today especially with any of the typical marketing rigor that you would expect – segmentation models, campaign management, database analytics, etc.

Value Based Insurance Design

Now here is a name written by either an academic or someone from finance – “value based insurance design”.  Try selling this to the masses.  But, regardless of the name, the concept is very interesting.  At the core, most of what I have seen revolves around companies (e.g., Marriott) reducing the copayments on certain drugs for patients that are compliant with other actions (i.e., taking other medications, participating in disease management programs).  I had provided clients with some advice on these programs 2-3 years ago before it had a name.  Now, we even have an Center for Value Based Insurance Design at my alma mater – University of Michigan.

The key challenge here is plan design and how to create incentives that motivate people to take the right actions.  Here are some of the questions that I remember struggling with a few years back:

  1. Do you reduce the price of all drugs (or some drugs or just generics) for patients that comply with recommended actions?  How much is meaningful?  If you make them free, does that change their perception of the costs and value of prescription drugs?
  2. What type of patient profile (e.g., tenure, age) will this work for?
  3. How do you track compliance?  Just because they register doesn’t mean they comply?
  4. How does this tie back in to broader health initiatives?  Are there other incentives that aren’t prescription based?
  5. How do you get this information into the hands of the patient in a timely fashion?

A lot of these questions play into the broader field of CDHC (consumer driven healthcare).

If you are interested in this topic, you should visit the Center and Activehealth.  Activehealth was acquired by Aetna and is clearly the leader in this space.

So…linking this back to BPM is pretty easy.  VBID takes a process (which is the patient’s healthcare) and establishes a series of rules (e.g., if they do X, lower their copayments on Y).  They systems need to connect a series of companies / databases to share information (think SOA).  Subsequently, the company investing in this type of solution needs a dashboard and reporting to understand their results and how their investment is paying off.  Finally (and ideally), the company needs to have some ability to do simulation and understand how changes to the rules might impact future results.

Is Marketing a Process?

Is marketing a process or really a bunch of sub-processes that are part of other end-to-end processes?  I was looking at how to automate the different marketing functions (new product development, product management, pricing, research, marketing communications, and voice of the customer) and realized that most of these are simply part of a bigger process.

The process that consumes most of these is the lifecycle from idea through sales through billing.

Here is a quick picture I came up with to describe the marketing function from a subprocess view.

Marketing_overviewPerhaps you wonder why this matters?  Architecturally, it matters if you are building a system and want to connect processes.

Technology-wise, it matters if you want to focus on a SOA (service oriented architecture) approach where you can re-use components.

Organizationally, it matters to understand how data and tasks flow and how to optimize your investment.

Process-wise, it matters to understand best practices.

As I have talked about several times, the fear with any improvement is sub-optimization which often happens when you focus on a subsection of the entire process.

Here is a article to read on sub-processes (a little technical for some of you)

WSJ on SEO (aka CPO)

I found it interesting that the WSJ ran an article about the Strategic Execution Officer (SEO) and described it like I would describe a Chief Process Officer (CPO).  Below are a few quotes, but I think it does a great job of explaining the role.  It is difficult.  It blends technology and business.  Execution is critical.  You become a change agent.  You have to understand process and what is important.  In other words, it is a difficult spot to fill.

“The SEO is an executive put in charge of building, and managing, a platform of digitized processes and data that serve key companywide purposes.”

“Not only must they be well-versed in IT, but they also must have the authority to redefine roles and incentives for relevant managers and workers. SEOs and their staff have a personal stake in the outcome of such systems, and can move people out of the way if they are resistant to change.

CIOs frequently bring to this role not only technological expertise but an awareness of how companywide business processes make new kinds of employee behaviors possible, and how the processes require greater coordination across units.”

Source: Ross, Jeanne and Weill, Peter, All Roads Lead to the SEO, WSJ, 6/16/07, pg. R9

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BPI Example

I often get asked the question of what I mean by BPI or Business Process Innovation.  I often talk about how process can create a competitive differentiator for companies.  There is technical innovation, product innovation, cultural innovation, etc.

Here is a quick example.  I am a die-hard Quicken user.  Every time I get gas, I print my receipt, carry it around for a day, and then enter it in the computer.  To Amoco, Mobil, BP, I am someone what “invisible” as a customer.  They don’t have a relationship with me.

Why don’t they think about their role in the process.  It wouldn’t be too hard to get me to register my cards with them in return for them sending me an e-mail with a digital receipt.  They could even send me a file that I could launch which would place the transaction in Quicken for me.

This benefits me (simpler, no risk of losing the receipt).  And, it benefits the gas companies because they now have a relationship with me.  They could include a coupon for goods inside the store or a car wash with the receipt.  Next time I go in, they can now cross-sell me.

This is what I mean by BPI.  Thinking about the process differently and looking at how you can impact the process in a novel way to capture more value and add value to the constituents.

Picture is worth a thousand words (at least)

As a former architect, I am a big believer that pictures have significant value in the business world.  I have been asked dozens of times to take complex ideas and simplify them down to a single-frame image that people can post in their cube or use in a meeting.  These images can be powerful.

At Express Scripts, we choose to take on the battle of moving market share from Lipitor to Zocor a few years ago.  This was set up to save clients and patients billions of dollars as the Zocor patent expired.  We had a list of 50 ideas which we paired down to 30.  The challenge was how to get people to think about and rally around the 30.  I came up with what was initially called the “bubble chart” which showed the 30 ideas in swim lanes and then time-mapped horizontally against key milestones.  This became used everywhere and even presented to the street.

This is important to BPM in several ways:

  1. If BPM is to be transformational, you need a future state vision that can be captured and disseminated across the company.
  2. If process mapping is part of your communication strategy, a simple to understand process map is critical.

I started thinking about this when I received an e-mail newsletter from BentonsEdge which is a company that helps you frame out your value proposition.  I have met with Dan Davison, the CEO, several times.  He seems to have a great process and good understanding of helping clients get to a simple story about their value proposition.

One example is below.  It is a little busy, but it captures all the complexities of raising capital in a one-page slide which is amazing.


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BPM Lessons Learned

So…many of you thought I was going to offer some BPM lessons learned the other day.  Here they are:

  1. If you jump right to technology, you will go backwards and have to do process mapping and/or reengineering.  Additionally, your project will take longer because you don’t understand your metrics and the business side.
  2. BPM done right will cause organizational pushback.  Your adoption strategy is important.  This is traditionally overlooked in most technology implementations but here (whether you do this on paper or in a system) you are telling people how to do things that may have been fairly unstructured before.  You need to think through this.
  3. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.  What I mean by this is don’t abandon what has worked for you in the past.  If you have application development, project management, release management, or change management practices that work, don’t ignore them just because BPM is new.
  4. Real-time ongoing JAD doesn’t work.  I have seen a few companies try to do real-time application development where the users are looking over the shoulders of the developers and trying to make changes.  Just because you can do this – don’t.
  5. Take action and divide your objectives into bite-size chunks of work.  Don’t take on an end-to-end process that spans the globe and touches 5,000 people.  Understand the big picture and fix the key pain points in the process.
  6. BPM technology will make you think about SOA (Service Oriented Architecture).  And, having SOA will make BPM easier.
  7. Just because there is a better way is not a reason to change.  Focus on the business case…document the current state…and capture the actual results.
  8. Find an internal evangelist at a high enough level to support your efforts.  (always a good thing)
  9. No one (vendor or consultant) can provide everything you need.
  10. Simulation doesn’t exist (that I have seen demonstrated to show value).

Misc Articles to Read

I have been trying to keep up with my reading and falling behind.  There are a lot of articles that I skim and take something from, but that I hoped to synthesize and share.  Rather than get too far in the hole, I am going to share a few here.

Two sources I would recommend for reading are Align Journal (new magazine) and BPTrends.  They both have great process related articles.

  1. McKinsey on applying lean to application development
  2. McKinsey survey on IT Strategy
  3. Several McKinsey articles on pricing
  4. Good overview of DFSS (Design for Six Sigma)
  5. Article on the book Payback and Innovation
  6. Article on Experience Mapping in Healthcare
  7. Article on Business Process Innovation (BPI) at TransUnion
  8. Top 10 Technology Projects
  9. Article on whether to fix before you outsource
  10. Creating a process centered organization
  11. Creating a business process approach to management
  12. ITIL and Six Sigma
  13. What is TRIZ
  14. Compliance and BPM
  15. Lean for Service Processes
  16. Sub-processes
  17. Value mapping vs. detailed process mapping
  18. Skills of a business process expert

Blog Inspiration – CEO’s Secret Handbook

I often get asked why I blog and how I make the time for it.  (Other than the obvious – person and corporate branding)

Blogging for me is a good outlet for thinking through ideas.  I put my thoughts here for numerous reasons.  Two particular things stick out to me as I think about getting inspired daily to put thoughts down.

  1. When I graduated business school, one of my teachers (Mahendra Gupta) who is now Dean of Washington University in St. Louis told me that I should try to put down my thoughts every day so that I could capture my lessons learned.  I have tried different mediums over the years, but they were difficult to maintain and impossible to search.
  2. The other thing is an article that Business 2.0 published about the CEO’s Secret Handbook in 2005.  I started pulling together all my key documents that I had amassed over the years.  I then started a book where I pasted things in there with some comments.  It has been a living document, but I am going to put everything here.  Again, it is easier to search…more dynamic…and accessible from anywhere.

The handbook is summarized below thanks to Career Communication’s Group –  Bill Swanson’s ’25 Unwritten Rules of Management’:

  1. Learn to say, “I don’t know.” If used when appropriate, it will be often.
  2. It is easier to get into something than it is to get out of it.
  3. If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.
  4. Look for what is missing. Many know how to improve what’s there, but few can see what isn’t there.
  5. Viewgraph rule: When something appears on a viewgraph (an overhead transparency), assume the world knows about it, and deal with it accordingly.
  6. Work for a boss with whom you are comfortable telling it like it is. Remember that you can’t pick your relatives, but you can pick your boss.
  7. Constantly review developments to make sure that the actual benefits are what they are supposed to be. Avoid Newton’s Law.
  8. However menial and trivial your early assignments may appear, give them your best efforts.
  9. Persistence or tenacity is the disposition to persevere in spite of difficulties, discouragement, or indifference. Don’t be known as a good starter but a poor finisher.
  10. In completing a project, don’t wait for others; go after them, and make sure it gets done.
  11. Confirm your instructions and the commitments of others in writing. Don’t assume it will get done!
  12. Don’t be timid; speak up. Express yourself, and promote your ideas.
  13. Practice shows that those who speak the most knowingly and confidently often end up with the assignment to get it done.
  14. Strive for brevity and clarity in oral and written reports.
  15. Be extremely careful of the accuracy of your statements.
  16. Don’t overlook the fact that you are working for a boss.  Keep him or her informed. Avoid surprises!  Whatever the boss wants takes top priority.
  17. Promises, schedules, and estimates are important instruments in a well-ordered business.
  18. You must make promises. Don’t lean on the often-used phrase, “I can’t estimate it because it depends upon many uncertain factors.”
  19. Never direct a complaint to the top. A serious offense is to “cc” a person’s boss.
  20. When dealing with outsiders, remember that you represent the company. Be careful of your commitments.
  21. Cultivate the habit of “boiling matters down” to the simplest terms. An elevator speech is the best way.
  22. Don’t get excited in engineering emergencies. Keep your feet on the ground.
  23. Cultivate the habit of making quick, clean-cut decisions.
  24. When making decisions, the pros are much easier to deal with than the cons. Your boss wants to see the cons also.
  25. Don’t ever lose your sense of humor.
  26. Have fun at what you do. It will reflect in your work. No one likes a grump except another grump.

BPR vs BPM: What’s Different?

I had the opportunity last week to debrief Michelle Cantara (VP at Gartner) about Talisen. We had met at the Gartner BPM conference, and she was intrigued by our offerings around BPM which include several fixed fee projects. In talking with her about BPM and sharing with her our methodology and typical sales pitch, I was flattered when she saw the table below and suggested that she might re-use it.This shows the difference between BPR (Business Process Reengineering) and BPM (Business Process Management). Bpr_vs_bpm_2

Asking a 90-year Old to Use E-mail

You can use business rules in many ways.  I think one of the most important areas is in customer segmentation.  There is initial segmentation around which customers to target with which offering (e.g., cross-selling, multi-variate analysis).  There is secondary segmentation around which message will compel them to act on an offering (e.g., campaign management).  Additionally, there is segmentation around which channel they are likely to respond to (i.e., e-mail, text message, letter, call, web, TV, radio).

My 90-year old grandmother who does Masters swimming called earlier this week because she had a letter asking her to send in some information to them via e-mail.  She can barely use a phone without silver dollar size numbers so asking her to respond using e-mail is ridiculous.

As you design processes that spawn communications or create messaging, thinking through the multiple levels of segmentation and the supporting rules is critical.  Ideally, some type of “artificial intelligence” by which the rules are automatically updated as the system learns is ideal.  Linking success (i.e., outcomes) to the logic used allows you to refine and improve your communications and marketing over time.

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