Business Leaders and Camunda

Let’s say I’m a leader on the business side, although not directly involved in IT operations. However, I do collaborate with the IT department. Why should I care about whether they use Camunda or another technology? Shouldn’t the tech stack be invisible to me?

One could argue that as the driver of a car, you don’t need to know the specifics of the spark plugs or the motor’s color. However, the answer is yes, you should know. If the car has the right spark plugs, appropriate fuel, and well-designed internal engines to support you, you would want to be aware of it.

The same applies to workflow tools like Camunda. When you can see the sequence of steps, how exceptions and escalations are handled, and how the IT side aligns with your requirements, it enables you to ensure they are fulfilling your expectations.

Collaboration and connection between the business and IT are essential. You should encourage discussions about specific technology choices and how they contribute to improved performance, efficiency, and innovation. An executable diagram provides consensus on what is happening, who is involved, duration of tasks, and how exceptions, timeouts, and escalations are managed.

If the IT side presents you with stacks of code, making it difficult to comprehend, it’s understandable that you may feel overwhelmed. In such cases, you may realize that you should be on the IT side of things. However, if they present a clear diagram that you can trust, demonstrating their current activities, it becomes a powerful tool. This addresses the notion that the tech stack should be invisible, as it highlights the potential benefits of different technologies and how they support your objectives.

How can the utilization of Camunda or other technologies in the IT stack impact overall business operations and outcomes?

Camunda, specifically, and BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation) in general, are scientific in nature, derived from the scientific process we learned in fifth grade. You have a hypothesis, measure the results, and potentially adjust the experiment accordingly.

When you utilize a tool like Camunda, it reveals valuable information. For instance, you can observe that the loan application is first processed by the first-tier loan officers, typically sitting in their queue for 12 hours before they start working on it, sometimes requiring additional interactions. This information tells you that you need to reduce the application’s waiting time or improve the clarity of the questions asked. It helps you identify areas for improvement, prioritize efforts, and enhance overall outcomes.

We must remember that the goal is to improve the overall outcome, while BPM and other tools are merely tactical means to achieve that. By using the right tool, you can keep your focus on the big picture of the business problem you are solving. Tools like Camunda provide visibility into the process, allowing you to apply your expertise and efforts where they will have the most impact.

As a business leader, what specific advantages can I gain by being informed about the technology choices made within the IT department?

If you are aware, for example, that the IT department can securely and efficiently interact with a particular database, completing tasks in a specific timeframe, you can understand their challenges. When they request budget for improving performance, you can comprehend how it will affect the bottom line. Otherwise, it may seem like a guessing game, with them requesting funds and providing technical jargon that doesn’t make sense to you. Understanding their choices and how they align with return on investment and key process indicators empowers you to make informed decisions.

Can you provide examples or insights into situations where the choice of technology like Camunda has directly impacted business outcomes or processes, either positively or negatively?

Certainly. Let me share a couple of examples. In a large retailer, we built a new hire onboarding process. Initially, we had applicants fill out an application and simultaneously conducted background checks for criminal history while sending them a voucher for a drug screen. However, it turned out that the drug screen vouchers were expensive. The business intervened and recommended that the drug screen should only be conducted if the background check passed. This adjustment saved significant costs without compromising efficiency.

In another case, we developed a system for monitoring refrigeration units in retail stores. If a unit failed, the system would assess the inventory and coordinate appropriate technicians based on the nature of the problem. By involving the business and showing them the system’s capabilities and business rules, they provided valuable insights. For instance, they highlighted the need to consider specific factors, such as holidays, when scheduling repairs in different locations. This collaboration allowed us to prioritize efforts and focus on problems that mattered most to the business.

Overall, it’s crucial to understand how technology choices impact business outcomes and processes. Camunda, along with BPMN, enables transparency and collaboration between the business and IT departments, facilitating better decision-making and driving positive results.