Reenvisioning How Organizations Define and Automate Work

July 29, 2021
Hosted by William Ulrich

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Episode Description

This episode of The North Star challenges what has been a long-held assumption by business professionals around the world – that formally defined, automated business process models increase efficiency, effectiveness, and resiliency. Fifty years ago, computer programs were based on flowcharts, step-by-step decision structures that programmers turned into software. That software, much of which still runs today, could not adapt to conditions not considered in the original flowchart, which forced programmers to build more software. Decades later, organizations are collectively stuck with billions of lines of redundant, bloated software systems that are less adaptable than ever. Fast forward to the 1990s, where the concept of business process modeling first emerged and was ultimately adopted by thousands of organizations. Business process models are essentially flowcharts that business analysts define to optimize work and communicate automation requirements to software developers. Those developers then use these process models to design even more inflexible software, stifling agility further in an increasingly unpredictable world. This episode of The North Star will explore the challenges organizations face when they define, manage, and automate work using models that software developers abandoned decades ago. William Ulrich and his guests, Keith Swenson and Dana Khoyi, will examine these challenges and what organizations can do to reverse a trend that has until now been largely unquestioned. Swenson and Khoyi have led efforts to create multiple work management-related standards, patents, and software tools. They have also authored multiple books, such as Mastering the Unpredictable, that reimagine how organizations should define and manage work to increase ecosystem-wide agility while streamlining software solutions. Tune in to this episode of The North Star and learn if everything you know about defining and managing work may be misplaced.

The North Star

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The North Star takes a deep dive into the topic of strategy execution, often challenging conventional wisdom for achieving an organization’s strategic vision. The host and thought leaders from multiple fields explore concepts that include rethinking innovation, increasing enterprise agility, transitioning to the circular economy, managing enterprise risk and becoming a cognitive enterprise. Setting sights on one’s “north star” is only half the story. Decades of experience point to the headwinds organizations have faced in pursuit of their strategic vision. To that end, the North Star examines how organizations can more effectively deliver on critical business strategies in these uncertain times. The show tackles intractable challenges that many organizations have historically sidestepped, such as optimizing major program investments and untangling high risk technology deployments. While the show often points toward the road less traveled, that road that can make all the difference.

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William Ulrich

William Ulrich is President of Tactical Strategy Group, Inc., Cofounder of Business Architecture Associates, President and Cofounder of the Business Architecture Guild and Cutter Consortium Fellow. As a management consultant for more than 40 years, Mr. Ulrich continues to serve as advisor, mentor and workshop leader to corporations and governments worldwide. He is a thought leader in strategy execution, business transformation, business architecture and transformation oversight. Mr. Ulrich has the unique ability to engage executives and practitioners across business and IT boundaries to facilitate and streamline ecosystem-wide transformation. His transformation workshops and lectures have been widely attended by organizations worldwide. Mr. Ulrich blends his IT transformation expertise with his extensive business architecture and business transformation experience to deliver end-to-end solutions that are fully aligned to business strategy. He has authored or coauthored multiple books and transformation methodologies and was an originating contributor to “A Guide to the Business Architecture Body of Knowledge.” Prior to founding Tactical Strategy Group in 1990, Mr. Ulrich served as management consultant, spending the bulk of the 1980s with KPMG where he helped mature its software reengineering practice. His latest writings focus on the cognitive enterprise, transitioning to the circular economy and business-driven IT architecture transformation.

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