How Gluu supports you to rethink processes with Søren Pommer from Gluu

How Gluu supports you to rethink processes with Søren Pommer from Gluu

#027: Søren and I are talking about the BPM tool “Gluu” and how it helps with its clear design involving the employees.

In this episode, I’m talking to Søren Pommer, CEO and Founder of “Gluu”. As it is already an established platform by helping more than one hundred businesses and thousands of users in almost 60 countries, I wanted to have a closer look how it can help involving the people in the process into the work on the process. How does modeling a process map really work and how can Gluu help you to get a transparency which supports trusting into the process? Let’s find out..

Today’s Guest

Søren Pommer

Søren is Founder of the Copenhagen-based company Gluu.

Before founding Gluu he was founder, partner, and board member of a number of digital agencies, and he also worked as Director and Manager for Philips International in the Netherlands.

He started by visualizing processes with PowerPoint, which of course had its limitations, still had the advantages of clarity for everyone. This motivated him to develop a model with which everyone can work easily – to help more than to confuse. This is how Gluu was born in 2011. Its still sticking to a really clear and modern design and focusses on a permanent feedback process.

You’ll learn

  • What the underlying philosophy of Gluu is
  • How to model processes in Gluu
  • How employees retrieve their processes in Gluu
  • How Gluu supports you to involve the people in the process into the work on the process
  • How Gluu supports you to trust the people working in and on the process
  • What developments of the BPM tool market Søren sees
  • What Gluu has on its development roadmap
  • What Gluu costs and how you can test it


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Please note that the transcript was generated automatically and only slightly adjusted. It does not claim to be a perfect transcription.


Welcome to episode 27 of the new Process podcast. Today we’re going to explore how Gluu supports you to rethink processes. Therefore, I’m talking to Søren Pommer. Søren is CEO and founder of Gluu. Before founding Gluu, he was founder, partner, and board member of a number of digital agencies, and he also worked as director and manager for Phillips International in the Netherlands. Søren likes skiing and has a cabin in Norway with his Norwegian wife, Astrid. Gluu was founded in 2011 in the city of Copenhagen, Denmark. Today, Gluu’s platform helps more than 100 businesses and thousands of users in almost 60 countries to collaborate around business processes. So what can you learn in today’s episode? We’re going to talk about the underlying philosophy of Gluu, as always. So it’s a very structured procedure.

In all the tool interviews I’m doing, we’ll explore how to model processes in Gluu and how to retrieve them. Zurin will explain how Gluu supports you to involve the people in the process into the work on the process, which is quite interesting there. And he also talks about how Gluu supports you to trust the people working in and on the process. We’ll also deep dive into an outlook of the BPM tool market, so all the development sees there, as well as what’s on the development roadmap for Gluu itself. I’ll also ask him about the cost and how you can test it, and you’ll learn much more about Gluu. So enjoy the interview with Søren Pommer.

Yeah. Welcome to the new process, Podcast. Søren I’m super excited to learn more about Gluu today. So welcome, Søren.

Søren 00:02:10

Thank you, Mirko. I’m so happy to be here and looking forward to an exciting conversation.

Mirko 00:02:14

Yeah, me too.

Søren 00:02:16

Common area of interest.

Mirko 00:02:18

Absolutely. That’s cool. Yeah. Then let’s start right in. And let’s start with a check in. So what do you prefer in an aircraft aisle or window seat?

Søren 00:02:26

I would probably say window seat because typically I would be reading, and I like to be a little bit on the side and be able to concentrate.

Mirko 00:02:35

Okay, that’s good. And what is your favorite airport?

Søren 00:02:38

Yeah, I thought about that. I would probably have to say Copenhagen, because it’s the one I’m most used to. I like its wooden floors, and it has a lot of nice shops and restaurants, so that would be my choice. But of course, I’m biased. I’m from Copenhagen.

Mirko 00:02:51

Yeah, sure. I’ve never been there, but I’m super interested in that. I think I had a guest a few episodes before who also said that Copenhagen was one of his favorite airports because he got there into a creativity flow mode, and that was so cool being there. So I have to go there as well.

Søren 00:03:08

They have some nice craft beers while they’re so that’s another reason maybe you will appreciate that, right?

Mirko 00:03:16

Exactly. I would definitely. Okay, cool. So let’s continue with the check in. What was the best process you have ever experienced, you think?

Søren 00:03:26

In an airport?

Mirko 00:03:27

No, it could be anything.

Søren 00:03:29

The funny thing, I think that’s a great question. I think the best process I’ve ever experienced. I probably didn’t see it as a process, but some of the I’m sure I’ve had some customer experiences where I have been part of a process without knowing it.

Mirko 00:03:44


Søren 00:03:44

And to me that is the best way of doing it. Take like an employee onboarding process. If you feel like an employee that it is so programmatic and now somebody’s reading from a script, then it doesn’t really work that well. It has to be coming across as authentic and genuine. And I think that is one of the tricks that the process seeks to guide. Some of it, but not everything, because we should also leave something to people thinking and being spontaneous and acting within the confinements, within the constraints of the process. Right?

Mirko 00:04:20

Yeah, that’s true. Yeah, that’s good. Nice. Very cool. So we already touched the topic of processes. How would you describe your relationship to processes?

Søren 00:04:28

I’m a longtime process nerd. I can tell you that my experience with business processes started when I was working for Phillips in Amsterdam. I had a global role and we were actually, at the time, digitalizing the company. And there we had a lot of systems, we had roles, we had everything. And I realized, hey, we need processes. So I started drawing processes in PowerPoint slides, keeping them very simple, using no real conventions. The only yardstick was that my colleagues could understand the processes. But I got a lot of praise for those processes because it made it very clear for everybody to communicate. And I think that’s where my relationship with processes started because then this every time I saw some of the big tool vendors and other parts of the business describing processes, usually they were so complex that I think they were confusing people rather than making life easier. And that has also been the idea behind Gluu, really, to make, as you are saying, to rethink processes, to use what is so powerful about processes in a different way than much practice currently, a lot of times processes are mostly made for it, I think, not for people.

Mirko 00:05:50

Yeah. You already mentioned Gluu, the company or the tool you founded and developed. So could you explore a little bit more on that? What is the underlying philosophy of the tool?

Søren 00:06:02

Yeah, so let me continue the anecdote of my work with Phillips. So in Phillips, we had to raise the digital level of the company. And at the time we actually hired a lot of people that, believe it or not, we called them Internet managers. It sounds so dated, and it was a long time ago now, but we created job descriptions like different levels depending on the countryside size. We made brand guidelines for websites, for ecommerce. We made common tooling, common hosting. All of these things were decentralized at this point. But if we wanted to have a common brand, we needed to centralize all of this. And from the perspective of the company, we succeeded very well in making a very uniform, standardized way of working across the company. And it became a bit of a model for how to do marketing. At the time, the company was not so well versed in marketing. But then I got a bit of an epiphany, I would say, because I got a job as a CEO in a digital agency in Copenhagen. I went back to Copenhagen and we were about 50 people and we were going to be I was implementing an ERP system and sort of streamlining operations there. And I’m not sure if you’re familiar with it, but creative people and processes that’s a bit like herding cats or mixing oil and water. It’s very difficult because we started conversations like, is there even such a thing, like a project standard? Can we even run all our projects the same way? All our discussions started at such a basic level. So I suddenly realized that, wow, I’m wondering how much success we actually had in Phillips. Because let’s imagine we have a process that consists of 25 activities and maybe five activities or ten activities are interfacing with systems there. Of course, we can measure if the process is being done the way we intend, but what happens with all the other activities where we can’t they are not tied to a system. We don’t know if people are doing it out in the countries. And then I suddenly realized that I wonder if they have just been doing what headquarters told them and then keeping doing work the always. And I realized that you will not succeed with processes unless you are able to include people, to bring people in and to co create processes. So it cannot be at the time. And our approach, to be honest, at Phyllis was too top down. And I think that’s what I have seen a lot in the process field, very top down thinking where in my mind the hierarchy has to be controlled, top down, the framework, the tools. But when you design the processes, you should be aiming for more of a bottom up approach because that’s when you’re going to get the ownership. And it was this realization, this insight, that led us to develop Gluu. So we said, how can we include both process mapping but also work instruction, communications and make it much more iterative much more like something that can change continuously and reflect. When people learn, then if we can build a digital tool that can do this and make it simpler, then we have a chance of bringing people on board. And then I think processes will realize their full potential. And I think processes have a huge potential. So that was the underlying philosophy of Gluu. We say that it’s about making it easier to work the right way than the wrong way. Because if you come to work and you’re busy sometimes you are going to be so enthusiastic that you are over delivering. Sometimes you have a bad day, you’re under delivering. There is no consistency. So it’s all based on the day to day shape of the person coming to work. And processes can help us standardize in the way that we have a consistent level of service in certain areas. And it can be a little bit of a guide that helps us when we have a bad day, really. So if the starting point is our need for a guidance to all those repeatable activities in the company, then there is a common ground, then there’s a chance to do something valuable for coworkers and for colleagues. That’s very much what we believe in at Gluu. That then we get beyond the adoption problem because we are putting our coworker at the center and it’s for him or her that we are really working. Because everybody has a need for they want to do it the right way, they just don’t know how. Because there are so much complexity, so many systems. I’m sometimes inspired a little bit by McDonald’s. When you go into McDonald’s, McDonald’s, you get a very consistent food quality and experience. And they have an ability to take people that can hardly read and write many times and put them into a system where they become hugely productive and they actually get a lot of pleasure many times from the work. Because people do like working in a place where there’s a clear role description, a clear job boundary, and where you are well trained in what you do. Some of us, like maybe you and me, we like to think about processes for others. But 95% or perhaps a little less of people out there, they prefer to work in a well oiled machine and that’s what processes can do for us, I think.

Mirko 00:11:58

Yeah, that’s super interesting approach and I love that. And I think it’s unfortunately, most of the tools out there are expert tools and they are developed for experts. And you did it different here. That’s very good and I love to learn more. So how does the tool look like? How does the interface look and feel?

Søren 00:12:19

Yeah, this is one of those areas where we said, okay, you know what, we are introducing an abstraction of how people work because that is what a process is. So it has to be very simple, very non intimidating for people. So we started out by saying that we will adopt Microsoft’s design system. We are using Microsoft design principles. They have a whole design system because if it looks like your Outlook inbox and all those tools we all use every day, then it’s going to be less of, oh my God, it’s something new I have to learn. We are basing it on the standards that people already accept. So that’s one part of it. And then we spend a lot of time building in learning tools. Like we have a guide that takes you from start to finish in creating a process. So we’re even trying to explain the taxonomy or the terminology. What is a good process name? Why do you use an active way of expressing it? Why do you express it in a way that your colleagues express it? Because then they can search for it, they can find it. So that’s how we try to really remove any obstacles that are in the way of people expressing themselves through processes. And we are also trying to champion the fact that it’s better to get started and to do something that the first shot will be imperfect. But let’s open up the debate, the discussion, because that is a big part of it all that when you’re discussing with your coworkers, you’re really creating value and you should not be waiting until it’s perfect before you release it to everybody. I mean, I know in some large companies that is a little bit the reality, but the more you can open up the process and engage people, the more they want to participate and add value and really engage themselves. And that’s when you get to much better processes. That’s another part that we’re seeing, that we are trying to see processes as a current state of learning that you continuously evolve over time.

Mirko 00:14:25

Okay, that’s a cool approach. Very good. So how do you map processes in Gluu? Is there a specific architecture? Which notation are you using and so on?

Søren 00:14:35

Well, we have looked through a lot of as you know, there are many notation languages and one of the ones that we centered on, which we found was most widely used, was partly inspired by the ISO standards. Approach to processes are very simple, where you have roles, you have activities, you have input output relationships. And then we looked at BPMN Two where we think the full notation language is too powerful for most users with your 55 different stencils and so on. But the basics seem to be a common best practice. Like you have your activities, you have your events, you have your decision gates and you have some connectors. This is what we build in as the standard in the tool. So we are now offering simplified BPMN Two and then also an option in certain cases to make use of the full BPMN Two notation language if you are doing an ERP implementation or something like that. Right?

Mirko 00:15:41

Yeah. Okay.

Søren 00:15:42

And what we have also adopted, I should mention, is we do believe that of course there is a process hierarchy. But in our system, you hyperlink, so you can link everything up. But visually, you confine a little bit. More to the standard, like from APQC and these type of standards where you have your classic five levels. Because it’s simply what I see with most larger companies out there. So we are trying to align with standards, but trying to rethink some of it without trying to create our completely own standards, which is also not necessarily a feasible approach. When it comes to process maps. We decided on horizontal swim lanes, but I do see the good case and we will be expanding with more options, for instance, avoiding swim lanes altogether at some point. I saw that on your you mentioned that on LinkedIn recently. I know there are other standards out there, which I fully also really like. I see that a swim lane can be a little bit restrictive and difficult to map in sometimes, but it does train your eye to focus on some things.

Mirko 00:16:54

Exactly. Yeah, I love the structure of having swim lanes in the process, so then you at least know, okay, these are the roles and these are the activities. If you don’t have that, it’s not clear on the first view to understand who is doing what in the process.

Søren 00:17:09

So that’s why I really agree with you, because I see too many process maps that are too detailed and too complex and then people get lost in the detail. In our approach. I see the process map as answering the question, who does what? For me, it’s all about roles and responsibilities, because that’s the big problem that companies cannot get right. As you know from Deming and some of those big thinkers out there, I think they say that 85% of the errors are systemic. They are not due to individuals. We as people are pretty good at using a very specific system that we are trained to use. The problem in a large organization, or even a medium sized organization, or just anything beyond 20 people, is that collaboration between people? That is the big question. So it’s the handovers, it’s the roles, responsibility. And that’s, for me, what our process map should clarify. And then in our software, you click the box and then you open like a guide, the work instruction, the description, and this is where you have that detailed. SOP procedural work where I can tell you the benefit of doing it this way, is also that we can expose that procedure to an app on a mobile phone, where a process map is just too much sometimes. Right?

Mirko 00:18:42


Søren 00:18:43

So this brings me a little bit to the point that you have to separate who does what with what is done, what is the work that you need to do. And the first part is a little bit more for the managers, the specialists, the designers, a little bit the abstract fingers that are working with processes. But the other part is where most people feel comfortable. And that’s where you are kind of working inside a process. You’re not necessarily understanding the full complexities of the process because you don’t need to, I mean, without making a comparison to people’s work. But if you go back to that example of McDonald’s, maybe you don’t understand the full McDonald’s value chain, but you may work well in what is the French fry station. Exactly that type of thing. And that’s what we should, as process designers, take very seriously. How can we make that task for that person the easiest possible? That’s the job we have with our SOP with our procedure. And for us, it is part of the process work. It also means that when we are helping clients to adopt process methodologies, it’s a lot easier to map a process if it’s a little bit more focused on who does what, rather than every little email. Because then it’s better done as one person mapping out rather than in a collaborative setting with a group of people. Right?

Mirko 00:20:13

Absolutely. Yeah.

Søren 00:20:14

I would really say that for me, processes are the missing language of how we do business. And I still think we are far away from having realized the potential of this language. It’s still a bit of a niche discipline. And I think there is a huge potential that people like you and me and others that probably are listening today need to realize that potential has there is no common language for how we speak in a business. And that is so crazy for some reason, right. That you start off in a new business and if you ask them how do we work? And they say, okay, well, you stick around for three years and maybe you learn gradually. Yeah.

Mirko 00:21:00

You’Re speaking from my heart. That’s exactly the way I’m thinking. That’s super cool. Let’s imagine I’m now a process modeler and I want to map a process in Gluu. How do I PROCEED? I know it’s hard to explain that only verbally, but give it a try.

Søren 00:21:14

Yeah. First of all, I would say that your central team would have taken care of the process architecture. So I would say they would have given you a process to map because you want to make sure you have clear boundaries, what starts the process, what ends the process, and that’s the architecture that is still centralized. This cannot be free for all, for sure. So there is still a role for the Process Excellence team. But with this in mind, then you would start off by mapping your process with a clear understanding of what started and what ends it. So maybe it’s another process that started or an event that started. And then you are mapping what’s in between. And the way you do it is maybe you are engaging different business stakeholders in an online meeting, a bit like here and now, because people work across locations and everything. And then you would start by answering the question to deliver this output, this outcome, what has to happen, who has to do what? And then we would be first mapping the activities to swim lanes. But first we would be agreeing who’s actually involved in this? That can be a big discussion on its own.

Mirko 00:22:29

Yeah, absolutely.

Søren 00:22:29

As you know. Right. And then you would say so where does it all start? Does something happen before this? Yes. And then you start slowly map your activities in there, you move them around different swim lanes and you try to build some kind of consensus. Because what I believe is that you had to start with as is, because that’s the common ground. Just everybody has always a more advanced idea of how reality is. And reality is often very mundane and basic. The reality of how a company delivers its services is often so basic that executives don’t like to see it because it’s not as advanced as they think.

Mirko 00:23:09

I heard about that. Yeah.

Søren 00:23:11

So if you start by mapping as is and you ask the question now that you say this thing, do we always do that? No, we don’t. We rarely do it. Okay, let’s exclude that one for now. Then you have a very basic process and then when everybody’s good with it, then you put up the flow. Maybe you add some decision gates, maybe you have another path in the process. But when you have a clear understanding of who does what within that scope, then you are there. And for me, it has to be quick to get to a first draft. Ideally, depending on the complexity, maybe an hour, 2 hours, ideally something like that, nothing more at this level. So first you model who does what and then you can do that in our tool, you can do it in the same work session, but you will come across a lot of procedural things, a lot of how to how we then doing this. And you make notes of all these things as you are focusing on the big picture because you will need them later on. And it’s a way for me to park people’s thoughts. So, as I see, sometimes the challenge is not to get too bogged into too much detail quickly because then you start losing people, especially if you have some senior people at the meeting. They have no patience for every little detail in a process. So for them it’s also an interesting conversation about roles and responsibilities. What I mean is that when somebody say oh, we have to remember to bring in this system. Okay, let’s make a note of that in that relevant activities, work, instruction and when we in a later work session, we’ll describe how we do this, specifically setting up the new customer, whatever it is, we will remember to bring in that system.

Mirko 00:24:55

Yeah, that’s cool. That perfectly fits to how I PROCEED doing that or mapping process. I’ve already thought about writing an article about the art of process modeling with all these different aspects on how you proceed, how do you get the information, how you create this common picture, common understanding. Because for me, it’s a little bit like artwork, like famous painter, you’re doing your Kunstwag. What is kunswag in English? I don’t know.

Søren 00:25:28

I fully agree with you. And for me, there’s a classic trade off or dilemma between the real experts out there that know the full BPMN two notation language by heart. They can express themselves super clearly. The problem is that it’s such a close language that most people out there are going to be misunderstanding it anyway because they don’t know all the little symbols inside the decision gate or whatever it is. So for me, I have always trying to say that we can only bring in complexity in our diagrams as long as we have our colleagues in the game. As soon as you can see it in their eyes, if they sort of tune off, that’s when people like you and me and others, maybe we have gone too far.

Mirko 00:26:17

Yeah, that’s true. So true. Okay, cool. Now we know how to map the process, I guess afterwards is approved by the process owner and then published. And how do the employees then access the processes? How do they retrieve a specific process they are looking for?

Søren 00:26:34

In our philosophy, in our platform, there are different ways. The first one is if you have a role in the process, then you should be able to find the activities that are related to this role. So you should be able to find all the work instructions related to this. So if we take that McDonald’s example, if I’m always working by the Friar, I’m the one who needs the very detailed video instruction of how to operate the Friar and so on. Right, but I may not need to know how to do the books of that McDonald’s. Right. That’s another role. So first is the personalization through roles. The second thing is to maybe show me the activities where I have tasks first. Sometimes I could have 100 different work instructions and I need to focus on the ones that are most relevant right now. Another element is that you search. This is where, like Internet search, if you can enrich your process descriptions with as many words that people use in the company as possible, that’s when you’re going to have a big chance of having a match. When people search. It’s a bit like search engine optimization. We recommend using the vocabulary that your colleagues use. You can also include synonymous and all the different words that are being used. But if the better you do that job, the easier they will find it when they are searching. And that’s what we want them to. So maybe you end up in a work instruction and you just want to find out, how do I set up a new customer in the system? And you have a video guide. You have step by step instruction, but then you can go one step back or deep up, and you can understand the flow of the process. Maybe another step back where you understand the end to end process depending on the context you need. But it is very much about searching, about personalization and of course also the taxonomy can also be one way of going into your process. So these would be the different ways that we try to make it easy to access for employees. But I think the real thing is that you can take up your app when you’re out in the field or on the factory floor and you can look up something, maybe also scan a QR code and get the right work instruction. It’s all about getting it in the hands of people where they are working with it because it is a big challenge to get processes and work instructions properly distributed.

Mirko 00:29:00

Yeah, okay, cool. I’d love to see the tool. I saw some pictures on the website, but maybe you can also provide a video of how to manage.

Søren 00:29:10

Yeah, absolutely retreat. I would be happy to do that for sure. Definitely.

Mirko 00:29:15

That’s cool. So we are going to link the video in the show notes so you.

Søren 00:29:18

Can easily yeah, I didn’t give you a virtual showcase. Would you like me to give you one or do you think it’s already been covered?

Mirko 00:29:26

I think that’s good how we covered it here and maybe we can pick it up afterwards on LinkedIn to deep dive into special aspects there. That’s cool. Okay, great. Now we know a little bit about the tool, how to map process, how to retrieve with regards to the new process principles. How does Gluu support to involve the people who are working in the processes into the work on the process?

Søren 00:29:52

I think that’s a great question because going back to the insight that made me found Gluu originally was the fact that to be honest, at some point I was very top down. Me and the experts, we knew better. I came to realize that you will only get people on board if you’re kind of co creating with them. And this is an important part that there are two pillars of this. First of all, we try to bring the lean philosophy into the process thinking also. And there it has, as you know, one of the pillars is the belief that the people that are closest to the work, they know a lot about it and they need to be brought on board. They are the ones to pick up the problems, to learn what works and what does not work. So we have to bring the frontline employees into the process design. And the way we do it with Gluu is that every process, every activity has a common option. You can always ask a question or challenge the process. Because imagine that I have made a nice work instruction about how to create a set up a customer in our news, in our system. And I forgot a couple of steps. If I don’t allow people to challenge that, to ask these questions, then I will not get the feedback fast enough to update it. So that an hour after this it’s updated and then everybody else will say, you know what, it’s not working, it’s not out, it’s not reflecting. So it has to be a way of getting feedback all the time and challenging your process even though it’s hard, so that it evolves over time to reflect the actual practice of people. And if people see their comments coming back very shortly after in a new version, that’s when they really feel it’s rewarding to give input. And that’s when you are starting to get into a stage of co creation of the processes. That’s one pillar. Feedback and input, both questions, but also improvement suggestions. Another element I would say is delegation. Some of our customers have been successful at delegating process ownership to more than 100 people. Actually where you look throughout, let’s say, a company of 4000 people, there you can easily find people who actually in the company own certain areas and they should also be owning the processes. And maybe you need facilitators like modelers to help them make the first version. And maybe you need people to help if they’re very senior up, maybe they don’t want to go in and edit the process themselves or maybe they need an editor team. But they should be visible as owners and they should take charge and they should be held accountable for the process. And this accountability and this delegation of ownership is for me also super important because then you know how your classic organization, everybody knows the hierarchy, but nobody knows the processes that go across and they are the ones that are actually creating value or should be creating value. So why don’t we make the process owners visible and we see that it can be a great role, that can be an alternative to becoming a department manager. So you can even put it like a career path in certain organizations where you give them as much mandate as you can and you let them focus on getting the process throughput time shortened, removing bottlenecks, all the classic process improvement disciplines, right? So for me, feedback and quick iterations and delegation in combination, those are the two very important ways of involving people.

Mirko 00:33:49

Okay, that’s good. And this basically leads me to the next question. You talked about delegation and I love the principle of trusting the people. So how does Gluu support to trust the people working in and on the process?

Søren 00:34:04

That’s a great question. I must admit. Working with a lot of international companies, I see how Nordic and now I think Mirko, I want to include you as northern Germany as well, but in the Nordics we have a special, we have societies built on trust and we have people that are typically highly trained and educated. So sometimes it’s better to trust people to do their job the right way. And this has also guided the philosophy of how we approach processes. So what I see is that it is very much designed, our platform with a Nordic sort of management style in mind. But I believe that the reason why managers and executives in many companies and many countries don’t want to trust people is that they don’t have any transparency, they don’t have any understanding of what is happening then to trust someone blindly, that’s a completely different level of trust. That’s something we reserve to our partners maybe, or at home, things like that. But if you want to trust people in your company, well, if I could give you transparency in return, if I could say I will trust you to own this process, but I want to know at any time what does the process in its current state look like? I want to make sure the process is actually running this way. I want to see transparently what people are asking of questions, what ideas they’re coming. I want to see you taking on your role as the steward of this process and if I can get that transparency in a tool, then I will trust you to own the process. With that transparency, I think it should be an easier job to trust. And that’s a little bit how I see our tools supporting trust because these days businesses move fast and I don’t think we can be effective if we don’t trust each other. But we cannot, on the other hand, consider everything black boxes, every department, every function cannot operate in their complete own ways. That’s when you get into all these issues of trust and that’s when you get people hiding facts and working. You know what the interesting part of it? This is also what is the biggest obstacle we have, I think, for, as you say, new process thinking and new ways of working with processes that many people, to be honest, I don’t think they want the transparency that processes entail. They can’t stand up for what is happening in their part of their business. That is one of the big obstacles we have. You will never hear anybody say that, but laying out how you work in a complete sense of transparency, that takes a lot of courage and especially keeping it open to everybody to critique it and to come up with their inputs. It tells everybody that, hey, I’m responsible, but I’m open to everybody’s input. But in the end, I will make the decision that takes a different management style.

Mirko 00:37:18

Yeah, I remember projects being stopped because of an unwanted transparency. That’s hard. And I will be curious what our listeners who are not coming from the Nordics say about or how they feel about this transparency issue. So that would be super interesting to get some feedback there. So if you are from another part of the world, just feel free to send us an email or contact us on LinkedIn to continue the discussion there. That’s super interesting. Zoran thank you so much. Before we have a look into the future, is there anything else you would like to share with our listeners with regards to rethinking processes that our listeners should know about?

Søren 00:37:58

Gluu one important element and now we’re getting a little bit into the future discussion probably as well, is there is so much talk about robotic process automation, process mining, chat, bots of all kinds, and I think people are starting to hope that let’s leave all the processes to all the robots. And there I would really say, and this is also what we see in our roadmap and going forward, is that robots always have to be in the service of people because at least for a long time, most people will still be better at the robots. So for me, the robots are ways to make us productive. But the governance of the processes, the roles and responsibilities, the ownerships still have to be firmly anchored in the organization with people. And process mining, robotic process automation, all these types of robots have to live within this governance, within this scope. And I think that’s a very important thing to keep in mind because I see a lot of people that try to go straight to creating a robot and what they’re effectively doing is they’re automating something that is, they’re automating something that isn’t working in the first place and that is just such a wrong approach. So I think that is for me, that’s a challenge for all of us that are working with processes to position them in relation to these other areas. It’s a bit like process mining will tell you what has happened, but if it does this without any type of structure, it’s not meaningful, it’s complete chaos. I’ve looked a lot of the reports you get out of it and it can be so difficult to derive knowledge from. So it’s a bit like the process showing the intention of something and then maybe combining it with tools to show reality, but also tools to automate things that no individual would want to do.

Mirko 00:40:01

Right, okay, that’s good. With regards to looking into the future, what trends do you see currently on the BPM tool market?

Søren 00:40:09

Well, I clearly see automation and all these type of related tools playing a bigger and bigger part. I think that’s just to stay with the point I made before, this part of the market is moving much faster than the classic BPM market. But I think many, many companies are getting ahead of themselves because they’re having their It guys going on courses to create robots and they’re spitting out robots left and right, and then they have all these little robots where they become like black boxes inside the organization. Nobody knows how they are really working based on which business rules. And it’s just some It guy who programmed it at some point and now he’s handing it over. He’s not the owner of it. So the lady who was managing a case at some point, if it’s a government organization or something, she may have known the full flow of this, but now she has lost that understanding and it went to him and he built it into a robot. And nobody now knows what’s happening when this robot has to change. And I see a big challenge with this going forward that somehow we have to build a bridge between classic BPM process mapping and robots. And these two have to work together, where one takes care of roles, responsibilities, business rules. And the robot then may be automating some of this, but it has to start with the process and then the updated rules go into the robot and that’s the relationship. So we can use robots to make individuals much more productive, but for the time being at least, I don’t think they should run on their own and they should still be anchored with the normal organization. So for me, that is one of those big developments. Lots of companies going on their own with tons of robots. You see companies like Uipath being the fastest growing software company of all time at some point, I think, right, because it’s so enticing to just automate what is already happening today. But I’m still back in the old days with Michael Hammer where he said don’t automate obliterate. He wrote in one article once about that. And I think that’s the whole point. Even if you’re automating something that shouldn’t be done in the first place, it’s just not a sensible way moving forward.

Mirko 00:42:34

Yeah, so true.

Søren 00:42:35

And this also brings me a little bit to how we see Gluu, the platform developing. We are going to be building more clear connectors to RPA tools. So you can imagine a situation where you are mapping out your flow visually with instructions, so everybody knows, all the people know what is happening. You have a clear governance, you have the owner, and then you can through our API, you can actually export all these different rules to your robots that can then follow your process and execute your process. And then maybe a process can consist of if you have four roles, maybe there could be four robots. Because as you know, one robot can only work like one role. So maybe one robot finishes this job and then an individual does a few things manually and then another robot does another part of the job. So if they could be taken over some of the tedious data entry, all these things that robots do well, but still the process ownership, the clarity, staying firmly in the hands of the owner and the role owners, that’s where we want to get to. So modeling it becomes more a question of actually sending new business rules to robots in some cases, but also acknowledging that certain things will always be done manually. Somebody sending an email because it doesn’t pay off to build a robot for certain things. So seeing a process as a combination of things that are done by robots and things that are done by people and things, that is just an integration where you fill in a form and the data goes into your EP system. But the starting point is more like the process as a human layer for understanding work. Right. And the robot fits into that context. There cannot be these little black holes floating around the organization because nobody’s going to know what happens because robots are going to do a lot of things. I mean, I see it even in our small company when we are doing marketing automation robots, it doesn’t take very long before you have some robot spitting out some email to some people that should not be sent at all. But you have lost track of what does it actually do because maybe you missed the connection to the process. So for me, that is what we want to do is we want to bridge that gap by being the governance layer of meaning and control on top of the robots. And I think for me that is what processes should be doing and continue to do because it’s needed more than ever with all this robotic process automation going on.

Mirko 00:45:25

Yeah, okay, cool. I’m already planning a whole episode on RPA. Oh yeah, that’s absolutely. But with regards to Gluu, what else is on your roadmap for the development of the tool?

Søren 00:45:42

I think very much integrations. One exciting thing we are coming up with shortly is an ability to manage input to processes more consistently, so that instead of having loose comments and then making your changes to the process, we actually allow you to flag. Something as an improvement suggestion and then going through sort of an approval process where you have a discussion about it, you hear out people, and when it’s ready, you mark it as ready for implementation. And when you’re then working in the model and you’re working, then you can say in this work session, I addressed these four improvement suggestions and then it will automatically lock it so that you know the full context of why you did certain.

Mirko 00:46:31

Oh, that’s cool.

Søren 00:46:32

So it’s a little bit like bringing the whole idea creation into the mapping process. That’s something we are coming up with shortly. And I think that would be a very exciting thing because it’s a way of managing potentially hundreds of comments in a more controllable way, right, where you can say this change, this version was done in relation to these four improvement suggestions.

Mirko 00:46:57

Yeah, I love having this history in the processes to be able to explain, okay, this is why we did this and that and that was the person suggesting this improvement. That’s super cool.

Søren 00:47:10

Exactly. I think it’s like an ongoing conversation and you should keep a track of what has happened and maybe even roll it back. But that is part of that transparency thing I was talking about, that if you get that kind of transparency then you are not so afraid of moving fast with updating your process because you can roll it back and you know what’s happening. You are not in violation of any compliance needs. Or maybe there is a very transparent discussion going behind it. Right?

Mirko 00:47:39

Yeah. That’s cool. I love that. Okay, cool. So now we learned a lot about the tool. What I’m also interested in is the price model. So how much does it cost? How does a price model look like? Imagine these two different size of companies having one with about 1000 employees and just a startup with 50 employees. What’s the difference there in the price?

Søren 00:48:05

Yeah, well, I can say that of course. This is a software as a service. So we have a price per user per plan. So you can start off with one user and I think it’s about €10 a month for one user for what we call our startup plan where it’s all about the mapping and the processes and the change control. If you then want to run processes, recurring tasks, so you’re actually getting very productive, then you need our pro plan which is about €20 per month. And then of course we have some quite big volume discounts when you go to larger extent. And we actually have a competition policy that I would say which is about when we are up against another vendor, another platform and we know the customer prefers our tool, then we will actually match the price of comparable vendors because we believe so strongly in our model. And if the customer wants to enable new process thinking, I would say then we don’t want price to stand in the way. So if they bring a recommendation to board of directors and then we know that if we are on par with price it all comes down to picking the right tool. So that’s a competitive principle we have that sometimes means we have to give big discounts. But we think it’s a more viable approach going forward. So we get the right match the right customers, really. Because the more of our tool they can adopt, the better experience we have for everybody.

Mirko 00:49:42

Yeah, okay, that sounds fair. Very good. Cool. Now I learned a lot about the tool, but where can I test it? Where can I go to? Where can our listeners find more about Gluu? Can they test it? Is there a special offer for our listeners?

Søren 00:49:56

Yeah, definitely. If you go to Gluuglu biz, it’s short for Gluing the business. That’s what we’re trying to say. What processes can do then? Right on the homepage you can start a trial. And once you started the trial, you can try out most of the features of the tool. And there’s a little green box, a little green button in the right hand corner. And if you contact our customer service and you mention your name or this podcast or something, then I’ll make sure people get a two month trial period.

Mirko 00:50:31

Oh, cool.

Søren 00:50:31

And also a special introduction by Louisa, who is our Customer success managers, because I’m so interested, of course, in I’m sure the listeners to your podcast are a little bit thinking the same way that you and I are, and we are too small a community out there, so we need to support each other.

Mirko 00:50:52

Yeah, that’s cool. Thank you for that offer. That’s super nice. Yeah. Wow, that was an interesting flight, I would say. But before we leave the aircraft, before we leave the episode, is there anything else you would like to share with our listeners?

Søren 00:51:06

As all your listeners probably know, succeeding with business processes is hard and I think we all need a certain level of tenacity and grit to stay in the game. But I think some of the thinking that you represent miracle and what we are trying to champion as well, I think that is the way to go from maybe you’re a modeler, but if you know you’re modeling as a discipline, then try to step a little bit more into the role of a facilitator and you will find that you have a much more rewarding interaction with your colleagues. I know not all modeler types are also facilitators, but it can be quite enriching and rewarding, I think. I’m sure you’re doing it in your consulting practice as well, right?

Mirko 00:51:47

Absolutely. Yeah, sure. Wow, cool. Very good. Yeah. Thank you so much. Before we leave the aircraft, how would you describe your flight experience with just three words?

Søren 00:51:59

I think it was a great experience, great onboarding and a nice flight. I really enjoyed it. A good conversation. It’s always nice to talk about a topic that you are passionate about, especially when there are people out there that share a lot of the same conclusions and insights.

Mirko 00:52:21


Søren 00:52:22

Thanks so much for inviting me and Mirgle.

Mirko 00:52:25

Yeah. Thank you very much for accepting this challenge and being my guest here on New Process Podcast. As I said, we’re going to put the video as well as other links into the show notes, so it’s easy to find for our listeners. So thank you very much, Søren, for being my guest. Bye bye.

Søren 00:52:41

Thanks Mirko, for inviting me.

Speaker A 00:52:44

Let’s recap today’s new process. Inspiration.

Super interesting to learn more about Gluu and you definitely have to watch the video. So Gluu has a very clean and modern design, and I really like the Process Setup Guide which assists you in setting up a new process. So even after having a look at so many BPM tools right now, I’m still often surprised what cool features the different tools offer. So just have a look at and there you will find the video or just go to the show notes of this episode. For sure there are more tool episodes coming up and I promise to do an intermediate wrap up in the next weeks, but the chances are pretty high that the next episode will not be a tool episode, so I’m still producing just in time and let’s see how. This will work out. So for now, thank you very much for listening. Have a great day.

Bye bye.

Before you leave, as you might know, I’m doing a lot of research on how to rethink processes and how to get people excited about processes. So if you would like to find out more about how to rethink your own process, you can download my free New Process Checklist, which provides a lot of impulses on how to push your process to the next level. To download it, just go to Have a great day. Bye.


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  1. […] How Gluu supports you to rethink processes with Søren Pommer from Gluu […]

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