How we got here, the journey so far…

So NolijWork is born in the Summer of 2020. As with many things in life, its not just about getting there, rather its about the journeys you embark on, the people who travel that road with you, the experiences you have and the shared emotions, both bad and good.

Fifteen years ago, my personal journey started working in a new area of technology, Business Process Management (BPM). The early customers that I worked with were more concerned with how their “knowledge workers” could be more efficient, rather than their systems. So Business Process Management (BPM) then morphed into Dynamic (Adaptive) Case Management, albeit using the same underlying technologies.

For a number of years, irrespective of the industry (e.g. finance, insurance, public sector) or the application, the customers I met were continuously focused on how knowledge workers could be better supported in their work, and also made more productive.

A stroke of serendipity around 2010 meant that I was fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate on a new OMG standard (CMMN) with some extremely knowledgeable counterparts at other vendor companies. This was to be a new standard to complement BPMN. For me this opportunity was a turning point, I could see that if you want change, then you have to roll up your sleeves and help make it happen.

The standard was born, yet for a long time, I have felt that there is still something not quite achieved, not quite tangible, that puts more productive knowledge work just beyond our reach. Equally such a goal should be available to the masses, not just the mega corporations who have seemingly infinite resources to invest in technology.

Over the recent couple of years, we have started talking about “customer journeys”, “employee journeys”, and indeed Jim Sinur in a recent blog post talked about a “jungle of journeys” Equally in the IT industry we talk about “digital transformation”, CX – “customer experience”, EX – “employee experience”and a few other phrases to boot.

In my opinion, we have invented a new vocabulary for talking about the same thing, yet in slightly different ways. When terms such as process, or case are employed, like Pavlov’s dogs, we automatically match the demand to the relevant technology “bucket”. This approach has resulted in collections of technologies which slot into different “buckets” – each with its own terminology.

Corporate customers, who are trying to make sense of, and facilitate this “jungle of journeys” just need some guidance to see how all of these things can come together. Corporates seek solutions which unite rather than divide, after all we’re all working to the same goal to serve the customer.

McKinsey have been referring to this general phenomenon as “interactions”, and this is nothing new! As far back as the mid-90’s various McKinsey reports have appeared on this topic. For example:

Not only have McKinsey explained the phenomenon, they have also backed it up with data over that time, mapping how Western economies are progressively moving towards a future which is increasingly reliant on these “interactions”. Of course now in hindsight, (as if we had always known), we now refer to this as the “service” economy.

Well if “interactions” is good enough for McKinsey, then here at NolijWork, we’ve also started calling these things “interactions” / “interaction sequences” or “sequences of interactions”, with a fabricated verb of “interaction sequencing”.

I realize this may appear to be some new terminology BUT let me call upon Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland to justify it…

Using such terminology allows us to highlight that that there is something different running through this, without being “pigeon-holed” into some of the other industry phrases and associated technology. So Interaction Sequences are not the same as processes, cases, customer journeys, they are the means by which knowledge workers come together to get work done.

Alternatively, if you prefer, we can just refer to it as “journey mapping“, if you’re more comfortable with that phrase. Note that its NOT pre-fixed with either customer or employee, because they are just participants at different points in journeys that take place.

Anyway, as I said earlier, if you want change, then you have to roll up your sleeves and help make it happen, or as Peter Drucker said “The best way to predict the future is to create it“. So that’s where we’re starting.

We would love to validate our proposition with early customers, to see what “tweaks” might be needed to make it fit for a billion users. After all, we’re all on this journey together…

Finally, please connect with us, follow us on our journey, and lets see where it takes us…

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