A Blackstone Technology Group Enterprise BPM Consulting Services Point of Viewby Clay Almy, Directory of Enterprise Integration, Blackstone Technology Group.

It remains true that the most valuable aspect of the Business Process Management (BPM) discipline is its ability to help an organization govern rather than just manage, but this ability requires a comprehensive view of the technologies and methods that truly make up enterprise class BPM. It also requires real time, collaborative information sharing from both the governance and participant perspectives. Executing to such a view can help deliver IT Governance Process Integration benefits, in real time.  

Blackstone Business Process Management and AutomationBPM proponents often focus on the benefits of process modeling and workflow, but in order to be truly successful, organizations must recognize that workflow and automation solutions provide only a small fraction of the benefit that can be derived from BPM. In order for an organization to reap greater benefit from BPM, it must define and automate the processes (Business Process Automation, or BPA), establish real-time monitoring using business activity monitoring (BAM) techniques, and actively push this information to real time Business Intelligence (BI) aggregation and reporting artifacts. Further, a group’s ability to streamline the activities related to improving the process through process simulation and agile methods will provide an additional layer of flexibility and value to the overall organization. In order to achieve the real time Business Intelligence driven by BPM and BAM, a commitment to both technical and organizational focus is required.

On the technical front, a healthy SOA based foundation is necessary to provide a standardized base on which to overlay the organization’s processes and service requirements, but more importantly is the understanding that the wealth of data flowing through this foundation is truly the game changer. Recognizing the importance of timing, content, and context of data flowing through and across the services layer will help a group define the most comprehensive set of requirements to support customers needs across multiple levels of the enterprise.

Once the SOA and BPM layers have been addressed, the appropriate business activity monitoring (BAM) may be overlaid for real time Business Intelligence insight and decision making at the process participant, manager, and  executive levels. The organization is now able to govern their business with accurate and timely information rather than just manage a series of workflow tasks.

On the organizational front, organizations would be wise to adopt more rapid, collaborative approaches to prototyping and more iterative approaches to technical delivery. Adopting an agile method, however, cannot be limited to just the development teams. New expectations must be set at all levels from operations up to senior management. Iterations must be expected, 70% solutions must be the new standard for iterative review, and managers and executives should require that a clearer vision be articulated from the lines of business and engineering in order to support and streamline the more fluid and flexible nature of this approach. Articulating, sharing and engaging stakeholders in the vision, from the development iterations through to post-implementation monitoring and management, is made all that much more effective utilizing “Enterprise 2.0” collaborative techniques.

Additionally, Software Development Lifecycles (SDLC) should be evaluated to ensure that the development processes have the right level of support. Operations, testing, and architectural teams should be assessed to uncover bottlenecks in information-sharing.  SDLC automation techniques like continuous integration that provide automated code management, testing, and environment setup and tear down should be the baseline – and more often than not delivered to the team via dynamic “cloud computing” mechanisms.

If organizations can get these technical and organizational approaches to BPM established, the chances of successfully transforming BPM from a management and workflow technique into a real time enterprise governance strategy are far greater. The benefits of this achievement are competitiveness, cost savings, flexibility, and insight into critical information that could be the defining factor in your organization’s success.

To learn more about Enterprise Business Process Management (BPM), Business Process Automation (BPA), Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), and Business Intelligence (BI) solutions implemented using Collaborative Governance Process Integration strategies – contact us at Blackstone Technology Group.