Wrapping up the search for a human-centric BPM tool with Martin Holling
#034 Let’s wrap up all of the tool interviews to find the best human-centric BPM tool!
In this episode, I summarize all the findings from the tool interviews on my journey to find a human-centric BPM tool. I will not be doing this wrap-up alone, but I have invited a special guest: Martin Holling.
We’re going to look at each and every tool according to our own list of criteria.
Did we find one in the end? You’ll find out in this episode.
Martin is one of the New Process Podcast listeners who have listened to every single episode and he is a real BPM enthusiast. He has been working for Siemens in various Process Management positions in Siemens’ Energy sector for nearly 20 years. During that time, he developed and implemented a BPM framework that covered a lot of the New Process Principles.
After leaving Siemens, he worked as a Senior BPM Consultant for four years. Today, he is Head of Process Management at KEMNA BAU, one of the largest road construction companies and street infrastructure providers in Germany.
In parallel, he is offering his experience as a self-employed management consultant at living-processes.de
As much as time besides work and his family – he is married and has three daughters – allows, he is singing in a local choir and restoring a classic car together with his brother.
- What the results of all the tool interviews I conducted throughout the last your to find a human-centric BPM tool are
- What criteria can be applied in the search for a human-centric BPM tool
- What Martin’s recommendations are to rethink processes
- Martin’s LinkedIn Profile
- Tool Interview: Skore
- Tool Interview: ARIS
- Tool Interview: aiio
- AI Video aiio
- Tool Interview: Q.wiki
- Tool Interview: EPC
- Tool Interview: BIC
- Tool Interview: Comm’ant
- Tool Interview: Gluu
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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.
Yeah, welcome to episode 34 of the New Process Podcast. Today we’re going to wrap up all the learnings from the tool interviews on my journey to find a human-centric BPM tool. But did I really find one? We’ll find out in this episode, and I will not be doing this wrap up alone, but I have invited a special guest Today. Martin Holling is going to join me. Martin is one of the New Process Podcast listeners who have listened to every single episode and is a real BPM enthusiast.
Martin has been working for Siemens in various process management positions in Siemens energy sector for nearly 20 years. During that time, he developed and implemented a BPM framework that covered a lot of the new process principles, but without even knowing it. After leaving Siemens, he worked as a senior BPM consultant for four years. Today he is head of process management at Chemnabau, one of the largest road construction companies and street infrastructure providers in Germany. In parallel, he is offering his experience as a self-employed management consultant at livingprocessesde as much as time. Besides work and his family, he is married and has three daughters. He is singing in a local choir and restoring a classic car together with his brother. In this episode, you’ll learn about the results of all the tool interviews I conducted throughout the last year to find a human-centric BPM tool. But did I really find one? Let’s find out. Enjoy the interview with Martin Holling.
Yeah, welcome, martin, to the new process podcast. I’m super curious what today’s episode will bring, because we are reviewing the many tool interviews I did during the last year together. So you are one of the power listeners of the new process podcast. I’m so excited to have you here. Thank you very much. Welcome, martin.
Thank you, it’s great to be here.
Yeah, and I’m super curious, and you know the procedure, we’re always starting with a check-in. So the first question there is what do you prefer in an aircraft? I’ll all window seat, Well for sure this is depending on the process.
Yeah, actually, I really prefer the window seat when I am on the longer flight and like to take a view outside, and do not like to be on the longer flight, do not like to be disturbed so much during the flight. But on a short flight, or mainly when I’m on interconnecting flights and the stopover is kind of in a tight schedule, I prefer the L seat because I’m one of those persons that really is then squeezing itself himself out of the plane when I have had some terrible stopovers, so that was not really fun. So that came to the idea of using the L seat on stopover flights, on short flights.
Yeah, me too Okay. And what is your favorite airport?
Yeah, also this is not really a process, but mainly my own heart-feeding thing. So I do not have a favorite airport for business flights, but when I’m not a frequent flyer, but when I’m doing a flight, then I like the airport. That comes together with positive emotions, with positive rememberings, and so that’s then for me the Tenerife Sur main, a Sofia airport, because, this is for sure, an airport named after a beautiful queen is always nice. But this is an airport where I have the best memories of living there for some years and Tenerife still is my home of my heart and I use that airport a lot. But it’s small. It does have everything you need, but you don’t need to use ground transportation and it’s nice.
But then again, for business, it’s always the bad experiences that come to my mind, and the most horrible airport I know is Chicago. Here that’s the stopover airport of the northern US states and it’s so horrible because I got lost there several times, my luggage got lost there several times. It never went well on the stopovers there. Once I even was rushed from one flight to another by people from the airline on a private car on the airfield Because they never manage anything and it’s too big and it’s really ugly and horrible.
Okay then, what was the best process you have ever experienced?
Yeah, I was thinking about this quite some and, being a process guy, I think the best process is always the process that you do not experience, that you are in the process. So it’s hard, I can’t tell, because the best process I was in I definitely was in some really good processes but as I didn’t recognize them, it’s because they were so good. But there is something like a meta phase of this meta experience I had on good process and that was being a process expert, bpm expert. I was called into a meeting of all the EHS experts and representatives of the Siemens energy sector and they were suffering from lucky for Siemens. They were not suffering from fatalities in the construction sites, the big construction sites for Siemens, but some of the contractors or you couldn’t put it on the contractors itself. But when there were fatalities and there were regularly one or two fatalities per year in this big business, unfortunately, but those then were with the contractors and so they were looking for a contractor management process for EHS and they had a one week workshop session about this, only this one topic, and they were discussing already for the second day and then they asked me come in and help us. We need some process expert to help us to get to this process.
So I was listening in on the second day more or less the whole day, listening in, not saying your work, taking my notes Directly, modeling the process and our modeling software next to them, discussing. And then at the end of the day, just at the end, I said, can I have 10 minutes? And I presented them what I have modeled over the day and it was eyeopening. So the people were, they were not coming to any conclusion throughout the whole day and then I presented them and in five minutes I presented them the process that they were discussing. Then in the end it was the process that they put in into the system for EHS contractor management. And in the evening event afterwards they came to me saying without you we would have been discussed for more weeks, more, and we never found that it was so eyeopening. So just there, the process. So that was kind of a good process experience. But on the metaphase, yeah, cool, no, no.
It’s super cool and I think I already have an idea, but how would you describe your personal relationship to processes?
Well, actually it’s a little bit like. All time I can remember of my life, I was always drawn towards and between efficiency and effectiveness. And just during my academic career, during my academic studies, I learned that this is kind of the DNA of process management. So that was for me, it was clear when I was 12 years old I want to become industrial engineers, I want to combine commercial things and technical things in my work life and work for efficiency and effectiveness. Then for sure, 25 years ago, I was writing my diploma thesis on process management.
That was not really in everyone’s minds at that time, in the end of the 90s already, and since then I’ve always been working in that area, mainly focusing on the improvement of processes, on the connection of people and processes, and this is also why it all came into the direction of what you are also promoting, this human centric process management, so engaging people with process. And I came, or I always was, looking into this more from the quality management point of view than from the IT point of view. So this is the focus that most tool providers have. They always looking on IT, on automation, on digitization. This is important, but the people are more important for me and the quality management side is more looking into the people of the processes. So this is kind of my personal recognition process.
So I’d say yeah, I love it. I would like for this episode to review the tool interviews. Yeah, maybe that’s why you choose me right? Yeah, exactly, and you told me you listen to all podcast episodes. Is that true? Did you really listen to all new process podcast episodes?
When I was starting my new work the company I was starting work for the beginning of this year I was looking on, okay, how can I bring process management best towards a company that does not have a process management maturity yet? And I was looking into the link to just see get a know, okay, what’s out there, especially what other tools that are there, since I was dealing with a lot of different tools in my consulting area before and I was just looking for information about process management and found you and found you process lab in LinkedIn and the first episode was like the tool exploration about the EPC, this tool from Interface, and I listened into that podcast and immediately found a lot of my ideas visible there or audible, and I just saw all those ideas that I had about process management were reflected in the podcast. So I stepped back and I went back to episode one and started listening from episode one in sequence through all the whole podcast.
So, yeah, and this is more or less how we got in contact because I started commenting and we started to chat outside LinkedIn and the comments and all this kind of stuff.
So that’s how we got in touch, yeah super cool and now you’re part of the podcast. You’re in the podcast. You’re a guest.
Yeah, I hope I can transfer a little bit of my expertise into this, because what I like about the podcast is that there is such a high density of knowledge, of experience and of good ideas towards this human centric process management approach. That is also has been covered. My whole work life on process management, all these ideas all the time, and I was always looking for something like this. I never and I realized by being in contact with you and looking and listening to the podcast, I realized that, oh yes, this is kind of the methodology, this is kind of the strategy of process management that I was always following for the last 25 years without having a clear structure methodology name for it. Yeah, and I think you have developed now with the new process lab.
Yeah, super cool, and which was your favorite episode up to now?
That’s hard because it’s such a high quality and very consistent podcast series that’s really hard to think about. The good thing is, the most interesting episode for me were those that were really focusing on the collaboration, on the communication, so bringing the people in there and collaborating and communicating the process. So the community episode, yeah, with Miikka Leinonen yeah, this was really really great. And also then the about the how to communicate a process. So it was in the middle, so I never yeah, Ole Tillman, how to pitch a process.
Yeah, this one also. Yeah, guide with Ole Tillman how to pitch a process, For sure, immediately bought the book.
It’s still here, yeah, right, right.
The only book next to my desk.
Yeah, I have it on my desk in my office. Yeah, good, because, because that’s where I have to pitch a lot right now. Because people are not really understanding not yet all of them are understanding what I’m up for. They always say, okay, what’s, what’s, what do you want to do here? Yeah, for them it’s everything new and for me it’s like come on, you did this for years, you just don’t have a structure for it.
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Oh man, super cool, yeah, then let’s dive into the tool topic. Just a disclaimer before we are going to talk about the tools and this is also valid for the other episodes, so I’m not in this case. We are not getting paid for this discussion, right? It’s our pure interest to understand the tools and to share our findings with the community, so there is no money flowing to our accounts.
Right, and actually the use, the view or the lookout for the tool. I’m searching because we do not have a tool yet and I’m searching for the tool that I really want to implement there. So this is what brought me in contact with a lot of those tool providers as well, and this is why I was also listening in and really checking all those ideas that came out of your podcast.
Yeah, very good.
It’s not that anybody is going here and wants to promote his tool through us, but actually it’s more like I’m on the search for a tool for our company and let’s see.
Yeah, perfect. So then, what are the, I would say, three main criteria for your tool selection process?
Yeah, actually, important for me is for sure, as I’m very much focused on people is the possibility of collaboration. So people should really have a very simple to use tool so that they do not have to go study for weeks to understand how to use the tool. But really it should be intuitive. They should go in there and say, well, yeah, okay, now let’s just bring my process into the tool, or adept information or amend or whatever, discuss feedback. This should all be very intuitive, Very important.
Now the thing really the collaboration, as I said, getting feedback from the users, discussing this with the experts, making sure that this will be incorporated in the next better process implementation, so to say, for that process. That’s very important and although right now for the company I work for it’s not important, but for me as a process expert, it’s important that the tool should somehow be future proof, meaning that the future ideas of automation, digitalization, process, mining process, simulation that should be possible with that tool so that you could go forward. And I have some ideas in mind of why not having a digital process. You walk through in augmented reality, virtual reality, and do your work while you’re walking through the process. This is kind of very futuristic, but maybe.
Yes, super cool. I like it Very good. And which tools have you been using in the past as information to our listeners?
Yeah, actually the most and broadest experience with using others from my Siemens units because when I was in Siemens and part of the BPM community there in Siemens, responsible for the business process management for the Siemens energy sector, we were using ours in excess. It’s hard for the users, good for the experts how to say that? We tried to come up because at that time there wasn’t even a front end for the users. For ours it was a true IT tool and we were trying to come up with a visualization front end For ours. We used GB Tech in the very early beginning years so we created a visualization front end that was kind of one of the predecessors, I would say, for the actual big platform from GB Tech. So I have kind of understanding of that tool by having used a predecessor of it and also very deeply.
And then in my consulting times when I was doing business process management consulting for some years in different companies all over, from small ones to really big ones, I was using always the tool that the company, the client, wanted to use or had in use already. So that was like a signal of your commando it was Adonis, it was Zimbio also and Pisaghi. So from small, simple tools to big, real, sophisticated tools even ours I was using at one point or so. So I was always very tool open and this is also what I brought into the new position. Right now I’m very open and want to find the best possible use for a tool in our company.
Okay, quite some similarities, I’d say so with regards to my experience. I also started actually I started with casewise, using casewise at Lufthansa Cargo in 2002, I’d say. And then, when I switched to Lufthansa Technic, we introduced Aris as the back end and we had same problems that there was no user friendly front end. And then we started to develop our own front end. In between, we also used parts of Givitech which they were offering there and in the end we had our own process, excellence Pro X tool within the Lufthansa group, which we developed and operated on our own.
In addition to that, I had some context to Givitech in some consulting activities as well. So that’s basically what I had before I started my search for a tool, and since I’m doing a lot of consulting now and also doing tool selection process with customers, I had the chance to look at a number of different tools. So, in addition to the interviews I had a look on to Consents, adonis, enes, nintex or Anintex I’m still not sure how to pronounce this tool and some more, so way more than just the ones that were in the podcast. Yeah, that was super interesting.
Yeah, for me also from the podcast. There are some tools that I didn’t know before, Some tools I had known before, and I have other tools also where I’m in contact with that I was also using. But they don’t open the podcast yet.
Yeah, okay. So my main criteria or my main purpose for the tool I’m looking for is basically to create a common picture of a process. So I already said, for me it’s some kind of an art to map the process, this procedure to have people sitting together to create this common picture of a process and then use this picture of the process throughout the different phases of the new process lifecycle. So from process purpose to think about process strategy, put it into design and then use the map process to communicate the process to the people. So it’s always human focus there. It’s not about automation, even with automation, for sure, it’s part of what I’m exploring in the podcast and all the new process labcom activities on the higher maturity levels. But my focus there is always on the people. They should use the tool to understand how to execute a process in trainings and so on. So that’s the main purpose and therefore my main criteria are first, the tool should have a simple and modern and easy to use interface, so designed with the employees in mind, not the experts. That’s often the problem, I’d say.
The second criteria is that the two should support simplified modeling notation. So BPMN 2.0, for sure, is standard in most of the two words, but for me that’s way too complex for normal employees, way too complex to understand, so I just focus on the roles, the activities, decisions, hopefully in a simple template, to have always the same framework we are looking at, to make it easy for the people to understand. And I’m also looking for and that’s my third criteria features to involve and to excite the people, to excite the employees with different features, like a role assignment, feedback, to be able to like processes, gamification aspects. That’s what I’m looking for. And also to make the people visible, so, for example, showing to the users who is the architect of this process, to have a person to talk to with regards to feedback, and so on.
Right, right, actually, I really can understand this and I can follow with this ideas and a lot of this is really more or less the same ideas that I have in the simple to use notation. It’s not one thing that I also think about. Yeah, it’s important because this is going with the intuitive and the usability of the processes for the users, and that’s the one and also this is where the maturity comes into play, and I have been in my career. I have been doing a lot of process maturity assessments on different organizations and with the maturity of the organization and process management rising, the people start asking for higher sophisticated functions in the tool. So once they have reached the process maturity that’s high enough that they think of okay, now why not try to optimize part of this? So they want to do this.
So in the end, for me, the BPMN or other high sophisticated notation is only to go the step once the maturity is high enough for the people that they want to make use of such functionality, and that should be kind of at least in the add-ons on the tool or whatsoever that you can make use of it and in the end, thinking about how it could be actually also integrating AI into process tools. It could very easily be that you can document a process in whatever way and a high sophisticated notation enabling the process to be automated or digitized or whatsoever process mind or whatsoever can be kind of automatically produced in the background, not by the people, but the tool itself. So this is where it comes to those ideas and also what you said with the features for the people, and that’s what I said when I was thinking about why not walking through your process in a virtual reality, being inside your process. This is features for the people that they really can feel the process, so to say.
That’s a good idea. I remember I have a contact from the past who is working on virtual reality topics. Maybe that’s another interesting guest to explore that more detail, why not? That’s cool, yeah, but now let’s review the interviews. So what we’re going to do now is just go through interview by interview, in the order how the interviews had happened. So, starting with score, which was the first one, and I think it’s best if we just talk about the highlights that we remember of these episodes or of the tools. So it could be different for the different tools, but hopefully entertaining for the users here, for the listeners here.
I hope it’s different, because we do have different perspectives and if I was a listener and you were kind of part of the interview, so it should be a different experience than that.
Okay, yeah, cool. So the first interview was with Craig Willis. He’s co-founder of Skore and that’s also the name of the tool. Skore is a UPN process management tool, I’d say so. They are focusing using UPN. Craig is one of the co-inventors of UPN. To be honest, I’m not so familiar with UPN. Right now I’m planning an interview with Walter Brüll. He’s one of the other co-inventors. Right?
I had a very interesting discussion with him. That was really good because, for sure, due to this link in bubble we are in, he contacted me and we were discussing pros and cons of different rotations in any I don’t know which post it was in Lincoln, but we were discussing in the comments and then he said let’s have a chat. That was really, really interesting. So it’s good to talk to him because he has a very clear view on UPN and a clear view on what really is important to have as a notation for processes. He also was in the what’s your Baseline podcast. That was a very, very interesting episode as well.
Okay, yeah, let’s see. So recording is still open, but I’m looking forward to that. But with regards to Score, what I really like about the tool is this lean and clean design approach, so a lot of white space. It’s very structured, easy to use, even if I’m still missing the swim lanes and the modeling but that’s a UPN topic, I’d say but the tool itself is super lean and clean. That’s what I really love about that.
What about you? Actually, I’m with you on the missing swim lanes. For me it’s the same. Actually I’m not a huge fan of UPN, but maybe because I’m too much a kind of process nerd, so to say, because for me the UPN is hiding the roles too much and thinking about a human focus process. The roles are so important and it’s so hard to visualize them, and in UPN they are hidden too much inside the activities for me. So that doesn’t criticize the tool, but it’s more or less a criticism on the notation that I do have.
So I also think that it’s a very simple to use tool to just map a process, because you do not have a lot of functionality to put in there.
You just note down what you’re doing, so to say what you’re using for it, who’s doing it and whatsoever, Then this is really nice and I like it’s clean. But also, for me, the navigation through a landscape coming from this is the whole company towards this is the end-to-end process, one of them, and then going into there, going into the process, until you are in the specific process, step or activity of a process. This is for me something very important for the users to keep an overview, because process management should have a big stake in breaking up the silos of the organizations, and you need to have this navigation. There is also when you’re focusing too much on simple documentation of a single process. Then, for sure, sometimes the navigation part and the overview part is lacking a little bit. This is also what I’m missing a little bit in Score, but maybe it’s because I’m not 100% familiar with it. I just got to look into the details as far as I could so far.
Yeah, actually, a former colleague of mine who was very much used to the swimline methodology which we were using was in the Lufthansa group. He listened to the interview in autumn last year and he immediately tried out Skore and he fell in love with the tool, even if they are on the swimlines, and I talked to him and he was super excited about Skore. So you definitely should have a look at that if you are looking for a tool and want to see something different compared to all the other swimline options out there. Cool, okay. Then the next interview was about ARIS, and there I talked to Casper Jans and J-M Erlendson – a nice combination. That was the most funny interview I’ve ever had until now.
I enjoyed the podcast as well, actually here.
Yeah, there, as I already said, I have been using ARIS I’m not sure which version number it was, for sure 7.2 or something like that Somewhere 2005, 6, 7, 8 around that and then we migrated to Ares 9, I think, before we switched over to our own tool completely. And in the podcast I learned that they are now having Ares 10, which looks completely different and it has really great interface improvement. So it looks beautiful and I’d say and as J-M gave this example that Ares is like a duck, so beautiful on the surface and I can remember a power plant under the water. Yeah, it’s just fighting and doing like an engine there.
I’m still waiting for Ares 11 now, but if you ever used ARIS before ARIS 10, I think you definitely have to give ARIS a second chance, because the interface looks very beautiful, that’s true, and it’s powerful for sure, with all the features.
I only had a very, very small glance at the interface but, as you, we had a very, very huge experience with ARIS 7 and the lacking front end. But still, ares was and is very powerful, very, I would even say heavy tool that you really should think about if you need it Right. Actually, at that time when I was in Siemens, even of ARIS 7, we were maybe using 20, 25% of the functionality that ARIS provided, not more. And it is a powerful tool for sure at its cost, and you should really think about AK. If you really want to go up and beyond in process, then this is something that you can do with Ares for sure and with a good front end with a good interface. It’s even better, for sure, for the purpose that I have in my smaller, mid-sized company with a very low process maturity. This is the overkill.
But still, as being very, very process minded and I was focusing on ARIS a lot and I didn’t dislike it, I was kind of saying trying to really sell it to the people, saying, look, it has all the possibilities, you can do whatever you want and you can do it and we can present ARIS processes in a way that people understand and use it. We did develop not only the front end, but we also made a modeling convention for ARIS where we said, okay, let’s model the processes in a way that the users have the most benefit of looking at it and using them. And it works also with ARIS. But still, as I said, it is a very, very, very strong tool and it does give you lots and lots of possibilities, and you should think about if you really need them or not.
Yeah, that’s true and I think ARIS strongly influenced the development of BPM throughout all the at 20, 25 years. I’m not sure.
At that time when we were using ARIS, ares was more or less nick-nackling BPMN. So it was hard. You were stuck to the EPC notation and all around you they were starting to use BPMN and ARIS was saying but I think with ARIS 9, they opened up a little bit and with ARIS 10, now they are in BPMN as well. And this is what I like. A tool should be kind of notation open, so it doesn’t matter which kind of notation you use. The tool should provide the process, not the notation. The notation can be switched from one to the other. This is possible. I think in IT today that you say okay, I want to see my process as an EPC, I want to see it as a BPMN or a UPN process flow, whatever.
Yeah, yeah, that’s quite good. So, coming from one of the dinosaurs of the BPM tool, ARIS jumping to the next interview, which was Aiio. Aiio is quite a young tool. They started the development about a year ago, I think one and a half years now. First version, I think, was published in May 2022. If I’m not completely wrong, at that time it was still basic, but they are making great progress there. As the name already says, aiio this includes AI. And.
I think I remember the IOS for input output there. So artificial intelligence input output that’s part of the name there. And a few weeks ago I recorded a video with David Lange he is head of product at aiio where he introduced or he showcased the chat GPT integration there, which was super interesting. So they are doing what the name promises. They have already in interface there to transfer process descriptions to chat GPT and to get, for example, ideas for process improvement, which were quite good. So there is a video out there. We put that in the show notes as well, if you haven’t seen that to now. So I’m quite impressed there. What about you?
Actually Jupps van Hijnse, the co-CEO of aiio. He also got in contact with me and asked if I wanted to get a preview of this AI function. It’s already some weeks ago and that was really a fun session that we had, where they really showed me. You just give the AI by the hit of the button. You give the AI the chance to comment on the process and to give suggestions. It’s really interesting and works. It’s a good thing.
I like also the AI interface in there, because I think this is also the future. You can use AI as a co-pilot to improve your processes, and that’s really good. And what I also like is that it’s really lean and small, this tool, and has a 100% Microsoft 365 integration. So I like it because a lot of companies are already using Microsoft 365. So it’s just kind of an add-on to a standard software they are already having in place and it makes use of all the functionalities of MS 365 that is anyhow there already. So it is a really really lean approach to adding a tool to your business. That’s what I like. Also, it has a nice intuitive user interface so the users are very easy to be integrated and designed.
It fits to the Microsoft design concept.
Actually, if you’re used to the Microsoft design, then for sure you will directly find yourself in this. So that’s what I like. It’s really good for small business, I would say, because it’s a lean and a small tool. Maybe it has a limited functionality compared to, for example, ours, but you should really think about what you need and what you want.
Yeah, that’s true. They are developing quite fast, so it definitely makes sense to talk to JoopStore or Roesther If you are interested in tools like this. Yeah, super fascinating. Then the next interview was with Vincent Fischer from Modell Aachen. Their tool is called Q.wiki and the name already says it. It’s coming from quality management. It’s a wiki part, so there is a lot of text documentation of the processes. You can also add process models if you like to, but you don’t have to. It’s really the Viki approach there and I completely fell in love with their Viking. So this little help character it’s like this customer service button you might know from the different internet pages that’s part of the tool and the Viking welcomes the user and provides help. I talked to their founder, karsten Birns, a few weeks ago and I asked them wouldn’t it be a good idea to connect that Viking with chat GBT so that you can interact with that person more individually there? They already thought about that, so that was super funny. I love this gamification aspect there. So that’s what I have in mind.
This personal connection to the guy or girl in front of the screen is really good. In the very first it reminded me a little bit about this Windows paperclip feature that they had in Windows 98, 95, something like this it’s really old, but that was also something that was.
They got rid of it because it’s kind of I don’t know if it was a very early work of AI, but it was getting annoying when most of the people just hit that functionality in Windows. But if you do it in the right amount and really give a benefit to the user, then it’s a good feature. I like the very honest inclusion of the regulations, of the normative and compliance all these normative part of processes in there. The table views they’re having is good for people that are really text bound. I’m a more optically focused guy so I like to have visualizations and flows. For sure possibilities is there, but again, for me probably it is. I would put the flows and the navigation more into the foreground for this one, but still a good approach Coming from the quality management side of the process management for sure, as this is also coming from the management system, quality management part of the business to bring this into processes. This is one of the things that I really also support.
Yeah definitely a tool you have to have a look at as a comparison there Cool. Then next was interfacing Interview with Scott Armstrong. Their tool is called EPC Enterprise Process Center. It’s a super powerful tool, also a company with quite long history was already founded, I think, in the 90s. I hope I’m wrong.
I’m not wrong here, no, it’s a pretty old company, but Scott was just. He took over this company not so long ago Exactly. He brought in new ideas and new power into the company.
That’s a quite mature tool with a lot of functionality, a lot of features in the quality management area, also with modules for audit and training management, if I’m not wrong. What I like about the process management aspect there most is their object oriented approach. All the objects you are using role, inactivity, process regulation they can have their own life cycle. That was super interesting, especially with regards to the methodology I’m using. Having also life cycle for roles, for example, is something which is quite helpful to have a owner there. That’s interesting. I’m now curious have you had a look at it already?
I had a very small glimpse into this. What I really like is they are coming from the idea of the digital twin in the whole company. I really like the idea of the digital twin of the process and then working on this one, it goes into the direction of living inside your process in the virtual reality, whatever you like, and this kind of stuff Going from there. This is a very, very good and, I think, a future proof DNA of the tool to go for that and even improve that more. The object oriented approach is something that I also really like, but I also have experience to go.
There is a lot of work for the people that are really maintaining the process landscape, the process environment. Just having a tool doesn’t mean that all the objects you are working in with this tool really also have their working life cycle, because you have to put in work into life cycle, manage all objects. So it is a wonderful thing when you have the power, the force and the strength to really use it. It comes again to the discussion how much of the tool will be used in daily life?
Yeah, exactly, and that was part of the discussion which I had with Scott and his team up front and also afterwards of the podcast recording to strip it down, to reduce as much as possible of the features so that the end user can simply lock into the tool, click once and access the process which are relevant in a notation which is super easy to understand, and there they are super flexible as well with regards to the notation and how it looks and so on. That’s interesting. It could even look like post-its. You can have BPMN 2.0, it looked like the post-it mapping.
Yeah right, sure, actually that’s just the visualization. It’s always the thing. Yeah, actually strip it down in one direction or take in your colleague AI to help you with managing the life cycles of all the objects. So there is both ways possible, and the perfect situation for that can be depending on the size of the company using it in one or the other direction. For sure, Cool.
And the next tool was Big Business Information Center from GB Tech. I talked to Marc Stromberg. We have shared a long history. Started somewhere at Lufthansa in 2005, something like that.
You were a bit earlier than me. We started with Big in 2007. So not with Big, but with GB Tech. Yeah, with GB Tech. We worked with them to create a visualization that is kind of. I can still see the genes of this visualization tool in the Big platform today.
It’s a part of the functionality of the Big platform. I remember from our we called it Dynamic Process World the visualization we had for our harvest process software.
Yeah, so Big as well, is a tool with long history more than 10, 15 years now. It is super flexible as well. A lot of features there, a lot of customizing possibilities. They have a new user front end, so they redesigned the front end for the users.
I like that because it gets more and more lean and correct and basic and that really thinks about. Okay, the user doesn’t care about how the software works, how the tool works, he wants to see his process and that’s it.
Yeah, For me Big has always been something like a wild card in the past. So if you don’t know which tool to use for sure, have a look at GB Tech, at Big. It will fit your requirements.
Right. So it developed from just being a good front end into being the right mixture, a good mixture between very lean and basic, user friendly and Nevertheless having all the BPM functionality, being kind of a heavy, full blown BPM tool, and it brings it all more or less together. So it’s kind of the linking thing in the middle, so to say, between the very basic, just front and focus tools and the heavy, heavy IT tools like, for example, an RS.
So, yeah, maybe it’s because of the gene that they really started off like we want to create something usable out of ours.
Yeah, that’s an interesting story. Okay then next interview was with David Rütting command, also one of the smaller tools, but also was a quite long history already.
Yeah, actually, yeah, he has quite a long history. I’ve also had a chat with him just recently and it’s interesting. But however, it’s the name of the tool and also the analogy that he brings in, it’s always jiggling me on thinking about all the ants crawling above my body when I’m discussing this tool. But yeah, for sure, it’s a quite different approach to BPM, I think, to the visualization. For sure, what I really like is the Cypoc approach, because Cypoc, for me, was always the basic start of if somebody doesn’t have any idea about process, I go with him and take a Cypoc and say, okay, now let’s just discuss who is delivering you something that you should work with. What is it what he gives to you, what do you do with it, what do you create with this, what is the result of your work and to whom are you delivering this?
So the classic Cypoc. So very, very easy and simple to bring people from outside the process into the process. And they are using this as the backbone of their tool and visualizing it and very much focusing on the inputs and outputs to make sure that an output of one process, so to say, is the input for another process, to make sure that it is really the same thing to overcome interface issues. This is really really a good approach. I like it. Visualization is also very much focusing on the lines, not so much on the elements or on the collections. Very, very interesting different visualization, but yeah, also something to look at.
Yeah, and I remember they also strong with regards to assignment of legal normative requirements. So they are coming from integrated management system world there, which also applies to some of the other tools we already discussed, but I think they have a strong focus on this management system. And then, finally, the last interview was with Sören Palmer from Glue, another interesting tool, and they are also using a very simplified notation which is quite close to what I prefer. So that was super interesting, but I think you had a closer look on to Glue.
Yeah, actually I was recommending Glue to you. Yeah, yeah, that’s true, and it was funny, because the fact is they are representing the Danish philosophy, the Danish mentality of life, so to say. And I lived for some years in Denmark and really was inside this, and I really could find it in the strategy and the philosophy of the tools. Really, one thing is like the tool has to be so simple that it is easier to follow the process than using the shortcut, and that’s typical for Danish mentality, so to say, you have to be as simple as possible and it has to be more rewarding to go the right path than using the shortcut, and that’s the backbone of the philosophy of Glue and that’s what I really like. And then again it comes to the collaboration part. So the users are integrated very well in not only working in but also working on the process.
Again, like with IEO, this is a very lean tool, fully integrated in MS365. So also using all those functionalities, very similar in that respect to IEO as well. And yeah, I discussed, for sure, with Søren a little bit and he was in the beginning he didn’t recognize that I was able to discuss with him in Danish and when I just commented some of his posts in Lincoln Identity. He came back with an open attitude. He said oh, because it’s not a commonly spoken language even in all the Europe.
However, funny thing, and I like the lean approach again here on this tool for this and it is focusing on the roles and on the people, so it goes in the direction we are looking at of really being human-centric.
Yes, super interesting. And now comes the question of all questions. And for sure, there will be more tool interviews, so don’t worry about that. Some more are in the pipeline, but for now, which tool is your favorite, martin?
That’s really hard to say. Actually, we discussed a lot of different perspectives on the tools that we already see here and have, and for sure I do also have different perspectives for myself or for the company I work for, looking at it from the BPM expert perspective as a person. For me, I really like those tools that are really kind of giving the possibility to go into high-maturity process environments, like automation, visualization, process mining, process, simulation. This is great, for sure, but this is only the expert view and thinking about OK, in our company with a low-process maturity, we need to have something that is really important. We need to have something that is much more user-focused, that is much more integrating the intuitivity of the people that are working in the process to be able to understand and to use this tool as a support for their work and not as a burden. And then the much simpler and visually very attractive tools are much more interesting for that perspective, for sure that the people are integrated well. So all those tools that really foster the collaboration between the process users and the process experts is really something that we should have in mind. As said, the visualization is something very, very important, and the intuitivity that the people really like to use the tool that they really say, ok, yeah, there’s something there, we have to use it, but it’s just adding more time to my work and I don’t really like that. That’s not helping us, and this is always the danger when the people are looking too much into the expert view of a tool, not into the user and the very basic experience that the user should get. So that’s important and, yeah, actually those tools there, they all have their pros and cons, for sure in both.
By perspective of this, it’s not yet really the tool that fits everything that I have in mind, isn’t it? I did not find yet, so to say so for sure. Looking forward for getting more insight also into other tools through your podcast and also for me. I’m trying to get in contact with people out there and other tool providers with other ideas as well. This is something where I’m always open and really looking forward for even more suggestions.
The good thing is that we are not in a hurry to get a tool Anyhow. We are, in our IT environment, still very basic and not yet fully developed and still discussing how much of Microsoft 365 we are actually using in our company, for example, and this is as we have seen now also already in at least part of the tools that are on the market. Microsoft 365 is a good idea to have in use to a specific extent to really make use of all the functionalities of the tools. So there are some things where I say, okay, lucky me, I can still check the market, look for everything and find new possibilities, because this year we will not get into buying a tool. This is something for the next year probably, when we are more mature in also our environment to integrate a tool into our IT environment.
Yeah, okay, and I can only add to what you just said. For me, it depends. It depends on the requirements of the organization, especially on the maturity level of an organization. What do we want to achieve with the tool? And then you have to pick the right one. And with regards to the tools we just discussed, I think there are a lot of really cool features, like the AI approach of IO or the Viking as gamification approach in Qwiki, or the super cool new interface of RS 10 or I don’t know. It’s not that new, but it looks really lean and clean and combining all these great features in one tool would be the perfect tool for me. So that’s why I can’t say that I have one favorite tool. They’re really cool approach out there and I would recommend to our listeners to have a look onto the tools on their own.
Absolutely. It is important that you take a look at a lot of different possibilities and make your decision depending on the situation your company and you are in and what is the maturity of your process management environment you have and what are the goals, what are the aims you’re going for with implementing these tools. Then, for sure, one or the other tool is more suitable for you than another. So there is no one fits all, that’s for sure. There is no one tool has it all the ideas that we are having, and you always have to find the best fitting match, from your needs, your requirements, to what does the tool offer and how does it present. How does it work out in the tool for you? Does it fit to your culture and your company? Does it fit to your environment that you have? And ask the users, get the buy in from them and show them examples, because they are the ones that in the end have to have to live with it.
Yeah, absolutely, and there you can already apply it. New process principle to involve the people. So ask them what do you like, what do you need and how can you find your process here and there and what do you prefer. So be a role model there, also for your own process of process management in that case. So if you are going to select the tool, involve the people, ask them for their opinion. That’s super cool. That basically leads us to the landing of this episode and because of your long history in process management, what is your, I would say your top recommendation to our listeners? To rethink processes, to get to a more human centric approach, to excite people for processes.
Yeah, actually, as I just said, collaboration ask the people, get the people involved.
This is the most important thing.
Step out of your ivory tower of the expertise, because for sure it can be great for you, it can be great for the expert, it can be great for the IT department over for the QM department, for whoever is driving the process management approach in your company, and go to the people that will live in the processes, that have to work with it, that are daily working in the process.
They also have the best recommendations of what could be done better. They also for sure there’s a lot of whining then there will be a lot of complaining then, but you have to take this in and they are probably complaining because they are living with something that they probably never asked if it fits their work. And this is the first and best thing to really go there and ask the people. Create an atmosphere, an open atmosphere of continual improvement of idea creation of idea implementation of lean ideas to bring the process to a very smart proceeding, and then the people are really seeing there is a benefit on thinking about how do we work, and then they give the input automatically. You get it from them for free. That’s the most important thing, I think Bring the people into the decisions, bring the people into the creation, into the improvement and implementation of the processes.
Yeah, very good, and we talked about tools a lot, but which topic? Method tool expert. Whatever is your recommendation I should have a closer look at to get more ideas on rethinking processes.
But actually for sure. The collaboration is one thing. The culture is important for thinking about it. So, thinking about company culture, thinking about culture changes, thinking about change management because culture is the thing that is the slowest to develop, to change in a company You’re not talking about let’s do it. You’re talking about years, you’re talking about decades of changing culture and people, and this is so much influencing on how the people work, and how the people work is defined by the processes. And so thinking about change management, how to implement change and processes in the company this is something that I think is a good thing about integrating a human-centric process approach. There is not really something where say, okay, this is the person to look at, but there is for sure.
Especially I like Lincoln, because there are so many nice bubbles. I’m part of several different bubbles in Lincoln. I’m part of the QM bubble, I’m part of the change management bubble, I’m part of the lean bubble, I’m part of the process bubble, I’m part of the communication bubble and so on. So this is very interesting to go there and look for experts. They come up there everywhere. Just look about this. So I’ve given you some groups where I’m constantly involved or not involved, but at least looking in or listening in. And this is, for example, the change management group for process management and change management in LinkedIn. That is the lean and continue improvement group in Lincoln. Also very interesting, because processes can only be good when they are lean and we have to get rid of all the waste in your process. And if you start automate or do a digitalized process, you should first think about okay, what can I throw away from this process? Because if you’re digitalizing or automating all the shit that is in your process, like Mr Jicks you know him probably said well, digitalizing a shit process gives you a shitty digital process, nothing else, so it doesn’t help. So this is lean. It’s very important. So lean group is good.
Tool-wise, there’s one thing I think I have given you that the name once or twice. There’s this tool that it goes more or less in the direction of IO and glue. It’s another tool coming from Germany. It’s called Bipanda, b-p-ander, it’s called business processes and automation or something like this. Don’t quote me on the A. It’s from a company called MID. They are located in Nuremberg and it’s also very small and smart and fresh and agile. I would say they have a very big advantage, I think is, when you’re thinking ahead of BPM into enterprise architecture management, they have the next tool linked to it that they can integrate together, so they have the Innovator. That’s an EAM BPM tool. That is really huge and not bad, but for starting with BPM, it’s the Bipanda. That really is a nice thing. So that’s also one thing to look at.
And people wise. I’m coming back to the culture. There is a guy here from Germany as well. He has a channel on YouTube and he’s also active on LinkedIn. It’s at Edward Karnitz and he calls his channel Organizationsinfaltung. It’s in German, yes, but I think no matter. This is very interesting because he is connecting organization processes, culture, improvements, change, all this together, not on a process view, not on an IT view, but more on a cultural and organizational view. Very interesting. So also some input for maybe a future episode on human-centric business process management integrating the people and the culture into the process.
Yeah cool, it’s all written down. So a lot of input for the pipeline of episodes. That’s super cool. Martin, where can all listeners learn more about your activities and how can vendors pitch their tools to you? How can?
they reach you. As we have already noted, most mentioned quite often today is I’m using LinkedIn a lot to also get information or spread information as well. So you can reach me on LinkedIn with my name, martin Holling. I’m there quite active, mainly in the process bubble, so to say, and also I do have, for my already 10 year old, freelancing activities in the process consultancy. I have a landing page that is living-processesde living processesde that you can also use to get in contact with me or also to read a little bit about my ideas about BPM.
Yeah, super interesting. You have to. I put the link into the show notes so it’s easy to access the page afterwards. Great, wow, what a ride. What a flight, super interesting. A little bit bumpy here and there, no yeah, but that part of a good flight experience I’d say yeah for sure. Thank you so much for listening to all the episodes. Thank you so much for taking the time.
It gave me so much input really. Oh, that’s great to hear. Now the final question how would you describe your flight experience here today with just three words?
Yeah, well, funny enough, something very old out of my Siemens career comes into my mind. Actually, the Siemens employee engagement initiative is called 3i. It’s called initiatives, innovations and ideas. Right, that’s right. So right now I would also describe this flight with three words like 3i. It is like inspiring and insightful, and also again, some new ideas really using this podcast also came out and also in the discussion right now. I took out some way from this single recording also some ideas for how to proceed. So inspiring, insightful and new ideas.
Perfect. I also enjoyed our conversation. I’m already looking forward to part two.
Yeah, I think we can definitely have enough topics so that we can discuss one.
Absolutely. But now that’s it for today. So thank you, Martin, so much.
Have a great day. Bye-bye. Thank you very much, it was fun being here. Let’s recap today’s new process inspiration.
Well, I don’t think that the recap of my search for human-centric BPM tool really needs a recap. But to answer the question from the introduction, if I really found human-centric BPM tool, well, as I said, there are some promising tools and they are having great features, but I’d say my search will continue. So there will be more tool interviews coming up In addition to this. Also thanks to Martin, I have a growing list of topics and guests for more new process podcast episodes. But due to the fact that I’m still producing, just in time to stay up to date and catch up the latest news, there will be a short summer break until the end of August, without new episodes. But maybe you can jump back to one of the evergreen episodes with Ole Tillmann, for example, on how to pitch your process that was episode 11. Or with Jasmin Karatas on gamification that’s episode 16. Or with Miikka Leinonen on community building, which was episode 10. But for now, thank you much for listening. Have a great day, enjoy this summertime.
Bye-bye and auf Wiedersehen Before you leave if you enjoyed this episode of the new process podcast, it would be great if you share it with other BPM enthusiasts and, in addition to that, it would be awesome if you leave a review on your favorite podcast platform so that even more people can find this podcast and start rethinking processes. Thank you much. Have a great day. Bye-bye.