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May 9, 2022

E014 Miguel Valdes Faura: CEO & Co-Founder @ Bonitasoft

Digital Transformation & Process Automation Allow Greater Visibility, Insights, Optimization and Maintainability Of Your Business Processes.

Miguel Valdes Faura is is the CEO and co-founder of Bonitasoft, a global provider of BPM, Low-Code and Digital Transformation solutions. Miguel leads the charge in Bonitasoft’s mission: help innovative companies worldwide reinvent, automate and gain deep visibility into their business processes.
Miguel is a recognized thought-leader in the BPM and Digital Transformation fields and is passionate about open source community building. He is a regular speaker at international conferences such O’Reilly, Global Expansion Summit or WebSummit and has also been featured in major publications such Forbes, CNN and Mashable. Miguel received one of the prestigious CEO World Awards in 2014.
His LinkedIn: /in/miguel-valdes-faura/
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Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 0:07
Once upon a time, there were millions of businesses struggling. Every day they wasted time, effort and money on repetitive tasks that added no value one day, the better automation podcast by process CEO came to help them find a way. Because of this, these businesses save time, reduce costs, innovate and make better decisions. Because of that. These businesses grow, prosper, scale, and use human creativity to change this world. Hello, my name is Aziz and I'm your host today at better automation podcast by process here where I interview the world's top experts and share their very best ideas on how to improve automation in your business, processes, and life. My guest today is Miguel Valdes Faura. Miguel is a recognized thought leader in the business process management and digital transformation fields. And he is passionate about open source community building. Miguel is a regular speaker at international conferences, such as O'Reilly global expansion Summit, or Web Summit, and he has been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNN, and Mashable, Miguel received one of the prestigious CEO World Awards in 2014, which is a great, great thing. How are you today?

Miguel Valdes Faura 1:45
I'm really good. I'm super excited to be here.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 1:47
I'm privileged. I'm excited. I'm honored. And I'm very curious about your perspective, advice and insights you can share about what do you feel or believe is important about digital transformation? today?

Miguel Valdes Faura 2:04
I think for me, that's a good question. By the way, the for me that the important thing is, we will see a lot of companies and organizations that try to make a better alignment between, you know, the business strategy that is important for running the day to day business, and what they call the modernization of it, you know, so basically how business people in ADP, Paul and Ben are gonna be working together to find that alignment, no, and not create additional frustration about how people are working and organization and delivering innovation. So that for me the key topic in which we're going to spend more and more time, all the vendors working on Process Automation.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 2:41
Thank you, that's really interesting. And if I understood you correctly, there is somehow a riff, or somehow have a big, big distance between the needs, the thoughts, and day to day experience of people who are creating processes, executing processes, doing them in that way, and the people who deal with the technology who think from technical perspective on how to make those happen. And we need alignment, where both understand each other, communicate better and create things that truly make a difference in the day to day experience and add real value rather than maybe are buzzwords or are technically like the thing that should be done. But in reality, they either make the experience bloated or slow, or something like that. Did I understand? Right?

Miguel Valdes Faura 3:33
Yeah, that's, that's correct. And, you know, I think it's also a matter of people collaborating better and more efficient in the organization. And that's particularly now more important with, you know, having people working remote and are they the workspace that is now becoming a hybrid workspace. So that's even more important to make sure people at the end are happy working together and delivering more value for customers.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 3:57
Thank you, what are currently the problems that are not allowing for the full cooperation, especially in a hybrid world, and what to do in order to make it better.

Miguel Valdes Faura 4:09
So I think for me that there are different topics there. So first of all, is that the tooling of course or the or the software that that is not easy to build software that can be used by different personas will with people with different skills? Second, I think that until recently, the tools were not understanding each other meaning like the business people had potentially different idea they had a really good overview and understanding of the business and they wanted to make some changes really fast. And on the other side, on the other side, it was not easy to then discuss collaborate and assured that that we start with the IT and the IT guys of course, they were a little bit scared about leaving some room to the business guys to jump in into a word with them in the projects. So I think that, you know, that's changing because there is more and more collaboration because people boiler now more use specially the last two years to work together remotely to use software to improve collaboration. And I think that's a better atmosphere and a better ground now for automation tools, you know, to come to them to that space and to say, okay, yeah, you are really used to discuss together usually used to discuss about business issues. And now you want to think stronger about how you can automate your business. So this is how you can do it. No. So it was a matter of, you know, people were not ready, probably maturity, and also technology.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 5:34
Thank you. I love this, I love your idea of using personas. Usually, it's something that marketers or people in business and marketing using use it about their niche segmenting the market, or maybe a little bit communicators when they're creating presentations in order to segment the audience and think, who are the personas that we should communicate with? So how can people who are doing digital transformation or managers who are interested in change management use personas in order to make their initiatives successful?

Miguel Valdes Faura 6:11
Yeah, that's a tough question. You know, I think that the it depends of the definition of the persona. First of all, that you you think about some people define persona, and they associate that, you know, I really, they do, basically profiling knows, like, they try to categorize how different people should fit in one of those personas. That's good. But my point of view is more of that, you know, we're all different. So, you know, maybe, you know, I started as a developer, so probably some time ago was fitting into our developer, Java developer persona. And now I'm the CEO of a company. So probably I'm not, I don't have those skills anymore. But I'm more, I'm more one of those persons that feels like persona should be like, a different combination of different skills. It's not like you are a developer, you are a head of sales is more like, based on all your experience. Maybe today, I'm the CEO. But I also still have a strong technical background. So I can be a persona that I still have some technical, technical skills to use a product in which this technical skill is required. No. So yes, I think the persona is important, I feel the persona notion is evolving, to think a little more about the skills that you can have, or you should have to use one particular technology. And from there, then you can see about okay, yeah, depending of those skills, should that be the one using that product should be the one that is use at some point, making some Synchro point synchronization point, what the milestone first milestone of the project is executed. So that's what that for me is going to be changing. No,

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 7:49
thank you. If I understood you correctly, and it seems to be it's very similar to like business strategy, and analyzing the skills and the competitive advantages of a business in terms of what skills do we have? What competitive abilities do we have that other people don't have? Where do we fit in the market because of that, and therefore, each person or group of people things, what are our skills? What are our strength, and which skills, those skills, and every moment based on the need? What do they require of us to do and therefore we become that persona, or that youthful kind of contributor in a way that is not stagnant. Or

Miguel Valdes Faura 8:31
maybe to make it also easier to illustrate with a concrete example, you know, when when you are developing or involved in an automation project, probably you're going to be using an agile methodology, probably you will, at some point, you're going to define the specification at some point, you're going to be doing some prototyping at some other point where you're gonna start growing the process, then you're going to start adding some additional semantic or logic like connecting to other systems. Maybe you can define also, which technical skills or requirements, you need that in each one of those steps. So to then say, okay, yeah, depending on how many people your organization wants to participate, try to see based on your skills, or you can participate in each one of those moments. No. So that's, yeah, that's, that's just a way to illustrate No, maybe based on the way you develop projects and mythology that you are using and the skills that are required, then you do a map, a mapping between people participating from different departments, the skills that require it, and the technologies depending of the skills that are needed.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 9:32
Thank you. And I love what you're saying, but I will play the devil's advocate a little bit. There are people who think, okay, you have to design the ultimate or the ideal process, and that's what business process management or design is all about. And then you fit the skills into it, etc. But many say and even some systems thinkers found out they gave up on trying to change the system. too much because status quo and the homeostasis will be too strong, trying to bring everybody to what exists. They say, Look, don't try to design an ideal business process, find out what are the processes that are already existing, try to reduce the waste or improve them in a Kaizen where you 1% at a time, and therefore, instead of thinking, Yes, let me design the ultimate thing that has no waste in it. What is working right now and improve that bit by bit? And not rather than trying to create something that will be on top of what already exists? And there will be a fight or a conflict between both? Do you agree with this? Do you feel these are two different and separate perspectives? Or it's just theory? And the way you spoke about it the correct way?

Miguel Valdes Faura 10:51
So I will say it depends. It depends. On one time, I agree what you were saying about, okay, yeah, let's start focusing on an existing pain to use another word, it's like, Okay, we have something existing, probably, you are really feeling that can be improved. So that can be a pain, let's try to see if that pain can bring that if we fix that pain can bring a lot of value to the organization, whatever it is, reducing cost or augmenting, revenue, whatever. So I agree with that. So that's, that's a really pragmatic way to to change people life in a concrete way. However, when you were saying, like, undo a small improvements, then be careful about the technologies, you know, of course, I'm up and running a company that is doing process automation, and not joining a company that is doing RPA. And sometimes there'll be a scene like this technology, it can help you to do those minor improvements. And in a lot of situations, that's perfect. And that's enough. But in some other situations, you cannot just do small improvements, you need to rethink the process to make these global improvements. So, so yes to number one, like it's better to start with a use case that already exists. Second, be careful about use, selecting the right technology for the right use case, sometimes the process needs to be rethink. And in that case, you need to use potentially process automation solution and BPM solution. And you cannot just do a small updates or fixes like usually, you do with RPA.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 12:17
Thank you that's really, really wise. And to ask you even more, since you rephrase to a pain, what seems to be the common pains, that companies that come to you for help, whether it's automation, digital transformation, or alignment between IT and business or whatever. What are sticking point constraints pains, or needs that seem to be the real drivers are the things that come to you because they need help?

Miguel Valdes Faura 12:45
Well, usually, I mean, I will say two of them, depending of if we're talking about a specific use case or more globally about the strategy. But so one could be the number one, it's always visibility, like Miguel I'm lacking, I'm a bank, I'm an insurer, I'm a government agency, I'm missing visibility on what's going on when somebody is making a request, and somebody else is validating. So that's the number one and usually is like, okay, yeah, and the reason why is because you're using a legacy system, and it was done that way. But you know, things are changing. And, you know, sometimes you could you could tell to the customer to wait one week, and now you need to provide information and updates every week and every day, and we're not able to do that. So number one is visibility. And number two is maintainability. Usually people has already some system in place to come back to the previous point, like the majority of the use cases that are now automated with BPM technologies are really use cases for which you already have a service in place or some applications. But some of them are legacy applications, some of them are not connecting really well with your new application. Some of them are at the end of 15 years of maintenance. So you are suffering. So those will be the two main things. So the first one is more from the business side. And the single one is more from the technical side. So depending on who you're talking with,

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 14:02
thank you. And I'm curious about you as a person. What's the most fascinating or interesting part for you when it comes to automation, digital transformation? Like why is it personally something that you have passion for because otherwise you wouldn't work so hard? You won't think about it so deeply? If it were just a job or an obligation?

Miguel Valdes Faura 14:22
Yeah, especially it has been involved in that market for the last 20 years. So So yeah, for me, it's, you know, working with people at the end so in, in projects that are changing their life, even if it's a small contribution, and of course, and you know, of course we love work and a personal like be involved in a customer projects in different marketers or segments or industries but my favorites are always working with government agencies, for example, how to mine a customer and a government agency in Spain, but it's also a scam that you know, they are using In Process automation to the safe life they are doing, they're using process automation to improve the way colon cancer can be detected. And so, you know, if you are able to detect that sooner than later, you can potentially apply some, some additional treatment that is going to improve a lot the chances to recover. So, you know, when you are working on those particular use cases, and at the end of the day, you say, like, Okay, I did my small contribution not only to improve, improve your review scores, but to save people life. Well, I mean, what better, you know, feeling than that work in or participate are involved in those kind of projects.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 15:38
Thank you. I love that because stereotypically people will not think that someone so passionate about technology is doing it because he loves people. So much. So it's, you know, you symbolizes the people processes technology, but it's all processes are about people technology is to enable and help people whether as the end result of it or if the process itself, I want to return to something you mentioned, which is people, or companies or corporations or governments visibility into their processes. What I understood at first is getting like, reporting on where there is a constraint, the data, like the percentages that are wise of the effort, or whatever it is, but is it that? Or is it more understanding what's happening, actually, what people are doing? Good, I remember this was funny. But a while ago, there was in a journal, someone who mystery shop for dental offices, I think, and he called, and his company, 500 of them, to see whether if someone calls when he something they, for example, will get their details to email them to keep in touch to see whether they will follow the procedure, that was the best practice. And he found that 80% of the time, the person who answered the phone did nothing. And then 20% of the time, they will tell the person like Oh, go check on our website, thank you goodbye. And it was only 1% of the time that they took like it was I think after that around five or 10%, they took the email but did nothing with it never followed up. And it was only 1% that they followed the whole process. So visibility into knowing well, I have this beautifully designed and drawn out business process, but nobody's following it. So is that the visibility that is happening? Or visibility in terms of knowing, okay, each like trying to find the what's working in terms of ROI in each part, small segment or part of department or?

Miguel Valdes Faura 17:48
Yeah, so it's a mix of different things. I will say like a part of the visibility's, as you were mentioning reporting, that is a more traditional way to get at least a first feeling was what's going on a second part of the visit, visibility is more about are we working in an efficient way, meaning that, for example, if you are managing, we are defining a process to manage loans in the bank, is that normal that 50% of the loans are still at the pending for approval estate for the last six days. While we initially decided that to approve or reject the loans in two days, so this kind of information that is usually hard to find, if you are using a process automation solution, or you don't have a process, define it in really precisely, it's something that I was referring to. And a third category will be everything that is now about making predictions, meaning that based on all the loans that has been requested, in that, in that example, maybe you can make some predictions of what's gonna happen in new loan requests now. So this new category is more about correlating real time data of the process execution with historical data. So first category of visibility reporting, second category is more about being more efficient, thanks to the process, execution, and the number. And the third category is more about using all the data to make predictions about what's going to happen in the future and anticipator submissions.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 19:19
I love that. And it makes me think since so many things happened in this world, whether COVID or any black swan event, when you use historical data in order to predict the future, how do you account for the possibility that the unexpected or the unknown unknowns or whatever it is, take part in it? Is it that the best we can do as human beings is use the past and extrapolated into the future? Or is there anything that you think about since you're someone who's a thought leader in the domain about how to not get caught?

Miguel Valdes Faura 19:54
We were talking just before about the importance of people. You know, there are some situations in which you cannot replace people. And this is one example. I mean, we can do a good job as a vendor about trying to correlate historical data with real time data. But it's something that is not in the models don't have is completely unexpected is happening. This is why you also want to have a human just seeing what's going on getting some information and some predictions from the computer and you making the final choice now, you cannot replace, you cannot replace human and know that sometimes there is a How is a hot topic when you are being processed automation. And people say like, you don't, you know how that relates to, to humans, honestly, is just as you mentioned, a way to improve how people are working in the organization for the field better for they're more efficient. And in those particular use cases, nothing replaces the human.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 20:49
Thank you. And since we're speaking about the future, where do you see the future of business process, bizarre jobs, automation, and all that some people say that actually, we're moving into a world where you need to adapt and be so flexible, that the benefits of automation and using tools that are not so resistant to change, like human beings will get into habit. And all that is that you can frequently every week, every day, every month, or whatever it is totally, almost reinvent or evolve the way you do your work, because you'll be better able to be agile and adaptive to the marketplace. Do you feel this is the future? Do you see any technology that will come and change the way business is done because of automation AI, I don't know, machine learning or whatever you think the future will look like? You know, it's

Miguel Valdes Faura 21:42
always it's always really hard to make some predictions about the future, especially in this market technology market. But uh, you know, I think there are there are different, different topics. One is that I think that we need to, what we're probably gonna want to see is like, a new balance between, you know, all new technology now looks like needs to be an OCO technology, and maybe new companies building new software platforms. But on the other side, there is still like a huge and complex project that requires developers and you know, looks like those days, we're only talking about the number one. And I think that at the end is going to be a little bit more balanced. And we're going to see in the future that is you. So for some use cases, you need no go technologies, for some other use cases, you need local technologies, for some other use cases, you need more code technology, or a mix between those approaches, depending of what you are doing. So I think that's going to evolve, especially based on you know, we're discussing at the beginning, you know, what we're talking about a better alignment between the strategy, and the it, everything is not no code. So, so I think in terms of the approach, because all that for me, I've just approaches to the development, I think, is going to evolve. And we're going to talk a little bit less about only no coat and more about, you know, the different the different ways in which the combinations between No. So that's, that's my, that's my number one. thought then, of course, yeah, we're seeing more and more the trend of artificial intelligence in in terms of the technology space. I'm a automation guy. So of course, I see the big opportunity we have ahead in terms of process automation, and what some people call automation first. And I'm seeing that even when discussing with people that are creating new companies, a lot of people are creating about automations since the beginning of the company, which was not the case before. So I think that's also a trend that we're gonna see more and more and more people thinking about automation and how we can be more efficient from day one.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 23:46
Thank you I love that I love efficiency like because there is nothing worse than wasting human lives and hours and potential and all that and when anything can be automated it means that doesn't require that magical or spiritual or creative thoughts that only human beings can do and to finish can you speak about Bonita soft or yourself or in any way? What do you do, how people can get in touch with you what services or work they can you know, ask for and where to find more.

Miguel Valdes Faura 24:23
So I'm, I'm the CEO and co founder of Bonita Soft I'm wanting to solve is is a vendor of BPM technology. So business process management, we are an open source vendor meaning that you know, the technologies available not only in open source but only but also for free so if you want to test our technology, you can go to our website Bonita and just click on the big download button and you know it's free edition of the solution is open source that is a you will see that there is a dedicated community also available for free in which you can get documentation resources and even interact with the community through forum. This is part of our DNA. So you want you are interested potentially technology, you can do it at your own pace. So you can go there. There's the technology. And if you want to move forward, this is all in that case, contact us.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 25:15
Thank you so much. And before we finish, of course, I have to, you know, share with everyone The great news about processor to processor is the modern low code, no code platform for advanced automation and creating an enterprise grade back end for your software. Any listener or viewer can request a totally free account at processor dot app where they get one hour of execution time, which is equivalent to 100 Human hours totally free. And those who want to upgrade because they have higher needs. There is a 50% of code you can use, which is better 50 of one word capital letters. You can see more in the description. And I'll make sure to write the Bonita soft website and your LinkedIn in the description. This was Miguel, my honor, my privilege, a great, great conversation and thank you for every minute.

Miguel Valdes Faura 26:10
Thank you very much for inviting me it was it was a pleasure. And let's definitely keep in touch. Thank you very much