The Internet of Things and Process: Process Must Step Up the Awareness Factor
While the Internet of Things (IoT) promises more process participation, processes are not being designed with enough awareness to step up to the coming demands. Processes need to step up their cognition another level — beyond simply responding to being called or just being triggered when needed. I see a need for processes to have the ability to have the following three kinds of increased awareness.
1. Through Pre-planned Signals and Patterns
Processes do well when they respond to planned stimulation (through data, triggers, or beckoned response). Analysts, designers, and programmers know how to get this done, but they do not understand the amount of trigger points (external or internally-generated) that are going to emerge with fury as the relation of process and IoT grows. This may become overwhelming at some point as unknowns become visible and understood as something to respond to in the future. This may become explosive in nature as organizations learn to deal with the volume generated by the IoT and agents.
2. Through Reactive Unknown Signals and Patterns
How many times are business professionals, analysts, and developers taken by surprise signals and patterns that need attention? This is going to happen and accelerate over time, so those organizations that can transform the unknowns to knowns the fastest will out-perform those that don't. Processes need to be equipped to catch unknown signals and patterns and inform the process managers and participants who need to consider measured responses.
3. Through Proactive Context Scans for Signals and Patterns
Another approach to awareness is to have processes check context for new and unusual patterns and to have those patterns match against expected and unexpected threats or opportunities. Organizations that do scenario planning, both likely and unlikely, will have an advantage to seek out patterns that represent scenarios of interest. This will allow organizations to turn way from reactive approaches only.
The best approach is to employ all three of these methods of building awareness in the proper balance for a point in time. But any increase in process awareness is a good thing. As we head into a very interactive world, rife with M2M, H2M, M2H, and H2H interactions, the awareness to identify better alternative practices will become important.
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