Beware of the Frankenstack & Frankencloud! Do you mix software/vendors in your approach to Digital Business Automation (DBA)?

Beware of the Frankenstack & Frankencloud! Do you mix software/vendors in your approach to Digital Business Automation (DBA)?

 

Frankenstack

If your DBA stack is a ghoulish mish-mash of software, the performance effects on your business could be frightening.

In the classic 1931 film Frankenstein, the brilliant young Dr. Henry Frankenstein, accompanied by his hunchbacked assistant Fritz, cries at the moment of creation of his monster, “It’s alive!” Dr. Frankenstein had spent countless hours working in his castle-tower laboratory assembling body parts to bring to life the monster. After the monster destroys everybody Dr. Frankenstein loves, he laments “Remorse extinguished every hope.”

While we generally do not refer to “DBA Platform creation” as a castle-tower laboratory (though some C-suite executives may beg to differ), it’s true that some scary manifestations of technology have been known to emerge from the depths of organizations’ siloed projects and decisions. We call it a “Frankenstack.”

You have a Frankenstack

The Frankenstack Within

What is a DBA Frankenstack? Much like the monster in the movie, a DBA Frankenstack is the piecing together of DBA platform components in your organization’s enterprise to achieve a higher level of digital business automation maturity. Even if you select best of breed Modeling, RPA, Workflow, Low Code, Case Management, AI and ECM and then attempt to integrate it all with the latest API Management and iPaaS platforms, they’re not optimized to work together efficiently and this mish-mash of software components hampers operational excellence, threatens GRC and can block your path to dramatic improvement in worker productivity.

  • Operational excellence: You are in a bind. You need to deliver operational excellence, but you are being asked to do more with the same or less. A Digital Business Automation Platform can help. Digital Business Automation capabilities now streamline functions that not too long ago seemed impossible to automate, but you can’t just perform automation without making sure your processes can function well with automation. After all, making a bad process execute faster only gets you to a bad result that much sooner.
  • Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC): Every unconnected component in your Frankenstack DBA leaves you exposed to new GRC requirements. For example, do you truly have an enterprise view of your Risk? You’ll need to integrate these DBA silos, and this increases complexity and downtime—another set of risks no business can afford. Based on a recent report by research firm The Ponemon Institute and security company GlobalScape, the annual cost of non-compliance to businesses now runs an average of $14.8 million, a 45% increase since 2011. The range can be anywhere from $2.2 million to $39.2 million.
  •  Path to productivity: With all these Frankenstack DBA silo’s, you will suffer trying to become more efficient (how fast a result occurs), without being effective (getting the desired result). You can be effective without being efficient. Productivity combines effectiveness and efficiency. Being productive means, you maximize output for your total input. Therefore, you need to be both effective and efficient in order to be productive.

The Frankenstack Reversal

DBA Frankenstacks can even disguise themselves as friendly spirits such as extended CRM Platforms, BPM Suites or classic BPM vendors who are doing M&A and/or partnering in order to deliver DBA Platform value. While deciding to work with a whole host of DBA software vendors or “stretch your CRM beyond its limits” may seem like a reasonable way to transform your business, it presents its own challenges. Different environments (on premise, cloud, hybrid), data models, management models, and service models only serve to recreate the complexity of a BYO technology stack—a Frankencloud horror show you can’t afford to revisit.

Sid Nag, research director at Gartner, reminds us that organizations need to be cautious about IaaS providers potentially gaining unchecked influence over customers and the market. He says that in response to multi-cloud adoption trends, “Organizations will increasingly demand a simpler way to move workloads, applications and data across cloud providers’ IaaS offerings without penalties.”

While cloud computing was initially intended to simplify IT through standardization, consolidation and centralization, today’s enterprises are operating in a more fragmented IT landscape that must integrate both on-premises resources and a variety of private and public cloud environments.

For the past 5+ years, looking at the Gartner MQ’s and Forrester Waves having anything to do with DBA, the top three vendors have consistently been IBM, Pega and Appian. For years, while IBM was making several M&A’s in this space, both Appian and Pega held firm – claiming they were “the only unified platform”, all R&D was organic, and they would never need to do an M&A or partner. All the while making fun of IBM, using FUD tactics to scare buyers and asking, “who really pays for all that integration?”

Now in 2019 the tables have turned. IBM is the only one with a truly unified DBA platform solution and now all that M&A is fully integrated, while Pega and Appian have no ECM or iPaaS/API Management capability.

Luckily, your story doesn’t have to end with a monstrous Frankenstack or Frankencloud bringing down the enterprise. IBM offers an alternative: an integrated and unified technology stack in which the components are purpose-built to work together. It is pre-built, pre-tuned and optimized, so that you don’t have to waste time and resources building the stack yourself and so that you won’t risk building a monster.

A Less Scary Model: IBM Digital Business Automation Platform

Automate business operations at speed and scale with an integrated automation platform designed for business users.

At the heart of the IBM DBA Platform are five core competencies:

Tasks - Record and automate repetitive human tasks to automate mundane work, eliminate copy-and-paste and data entry errors, and free employee time to do higher-value work.

Workflow - Model, automate, change, monitor and optimize core business processes to improve consistency across tasks and processes, increase productivity and increase straight-through processing.

Decisions - Capture, automate and manage business rules to encourage rapid adaptation to change, increase the consistency and auditability of decisions and detect problem situations in real time.

Content - Provide highly secure and compliant management of most types of content, support instant access to content, connect content to digital business applications and help assure governance and compliance.

Capture - Digitize business documents so you can classify those documents and extract important data from them, reduce or eliminate manual entry and errors, increase efficiency and productivity, and automate the extraction of insights from unstructured data.

IBM DBA Platform

These are book-ended by two key capabilities:

Modeling - Blueworks Live is cloud-based software that gives you a dedicated, collaborative environment to build and improve business processes through process mapping. Business analysts, subject matter experts and any other designated editors or contributors can easily work together through an intuitive web interface, documenting and analyzing processes to make them more productive. And, because it’s in the cloud, there’s nothing to download, it is accessible anywhere and you have a single location for all business processes to live.

Governance - A well-designed Risk and Governance function is key to ensuring that DBA is designed and implemented to effectively guide and inform overall automation program strategy, delivery and operations.

The governance function needs to influence what the strategy for automation will be, including deciding what platforms will be chosen for automation, functional stakeholders who will steer the program and what use cases will be approved and how will they be prioritized.

Once that’s defined, the organization needs to determine how to deliver the automated solutions. Governance and risk come into play by providing training and tools to enable automation developers, whether as a central function or in different functional groups.

Controls integration must be considered early in the process. Depending on what the automation is designed to do, segregation of duties, identity and access management, edit checks, logging and monitoring, approval requirements and notifications will need to be fully vetted out and considered.

Supporting the platform is ONE UNIFIED INTERFACE and LOW CODE CAPABILITY across all 5 core competencies as well as the IBM Watson-based capability for Operational Intelligence. Using IBM Business Automation Intelligence with Watson — a learning system designed for business managers — you can move beyond one-off AI experiments to systematically apply AI to business operations.

You can deploy and run the automation platform in your cloud, the IBM Cloud™, on premises or any combination of the three.

DBA deployment options

Why choose the IBM Automation Platform for Digital Business?

Interoperability

The platforms API Management and iPaaS capabilities are deeply integrated, so you get more value when you use multiple components.

Consistent user experience

The platform provides a common, consistent user experience across operations and supports reusable skills and assets that users can share among capabilities.

Capture, visualize and act on operational data

IBM Business Automation Insights lets you capture all events generated by the platform’s operational systems, aggregate them into business-relevant KPIs and present a meaningful, real-time view of business operations.

The ability to start and buy solutions more easily

You can start small with one capability, then mix and match capabilities as business needs evolve. You also have the flexibility to deploy the platform on premise or in the cloud, either the IBM Cloud or another cloud you manage.

But don’t take our word for it. Look at these companies who have avoided the Frankenstack and Frankencloud experience:

Typical Outcomes

And finally, look at the results from this major USA Bank who had DBA component solutions from multiple vendors across the enterprise. They decided to use IBM DBA on over 50 processes, including mission-critical loan processing.

ROI IBM DBAROI DBA 2

You can read the full report here.

To learn more about how Salient Process can help you optimize your investment in IBM DBA, please contact me at mjohnson@salientprocess.com.