How to visualize the business-IT alignment gap in BPM initiatives

We have a lot of discussions about the role of business process management (BPM) in enterprise management these days. I believe that BPM has no meaning without a variety of tools, such as process models, rules engines, activity monitors and business analytics. But I also think that BPM initiatives cannot succeed without deliberate governance. Formal governance ensures that BPM focuses on the sustainability of enterprise processes rather than application of individual technologies.

 

Visual management is of particular interest in this context, as the following example shows.  You certainly remember Forrester’s Lean Business Technology maturity for BPM governance matrix. Transformed into as a multi-choice questionnaire the matrix becomes a powerful governance tool.  Business process executives can use this tool to identify the constraints that hamper BPM in the enterprise and determine where to improve next and why.  The following Figure illustrates the results of a real business assessment, where we used the matrix.

   

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Social, Spatial, & Temporal: The Coordinates of Community in the Cloud

Social networks have their foundations in the space-time continuum—you know, the funky coordinate system  that Einstein was so keen about.

Social network analysis is all about looking for patterns of “proximity” among people, considered in their cultural capacities as influencers and followers, innovators and imitators, first-movers and late adopters. Down deep, I consider social network analysis an important new branch of decision support systems as a discipline. The core question is: What unique situational chemistry causes various people, individually or collectively, to make various decisions at various places and times?

That’s where space and time enter the social network analysis equation. It’s not enough that I look up to your shining example and take my lead from what you say and do. It’s just as important that we be in the same city, neighborhood, or room. More than that, it’s important that you and I actually cross paths in order for you to actively influence me to buy that latte, or for you to calm me down and thereby stop me from storming out the door and severing my relationship with a retailer who has ignored my complaints one time too many.

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Developing The Discipline of BPM

As some of you may already be aware, I joined Forrester Research a little over a month ago. Some will wonder why, after many years of plowing the independent field, I decided to join the competition. Well, I don’t feel I have joined the competition.

I know it sounds a little sickly, but I feel like I have finally come home. I got so used to working by myself, I forgot what it was like to have colleagues. I really came here to help build a business that caters for the needs of Business Process Professionals. I have known Connie Moore for about 17 years and we have been erstwhile collaborators throughout that time. Clay and I had been exploring partnership opportunities before he joined Forrester.

My first experience inside Forrester was to attend “Starting Blocks” - a 3-day program where the Executive Team come in one at a time, to meet with all new employees that had joined the organization since the last program. What a fantastic eye-opener that was. Here we had the thinkers and strategists sitting down and engaging in a dialogue - exploring what they were doing and listening to feedback - quite an unusual behavior, and a reflection of the culture of the organization.

Now I work in Connie’s team, bringing my own perspectives and capabilities - complementing the skills already here. My research focus could be summarized as follows:

“I am specializing in the methods, approaches, frameworks, tools, techniques and technologies of Business Process Management (BPM), Business Process Improvement, Business Transformation and Organisational Change; with a special emphasis on an outcome-based, customer-focused approaches.”

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Predictive Processes Demand Unified BAM and BSM Stack

Business processes don’t execute only at the application layer. Just as thought processes aren’t entirely divorced from the synaptic firings of the underlying neurons.

Most business activity monitoring (BAM) tools I’ve come across only operate at the business level. In other words, they are geared to monitoring, tracking, correlating, visualizing, and analyzing those metrics that come from business process management (BPM) platforms, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and other application platforms. That’s essential, but it’s only half the battle of process optimization. To deliver the promised service levels, BAM dashboards should integrate closely with business service management (BSM) dashboards, thereby mapping application services to the underlying server, storage, network, and other infrastructure components. In this way, IT can provide full-stack visibility, provisioning, and control over every component that affects every step of every business process. If you need a deep drilldown on BSM, check out the excellent research by my colleague Peter O’Neill, who specializes in this area.

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Podcast: Business Process Pros Hold the Key To Business Transformation (Parts 1 and 2)

Our latest featured podcasts are Alex Peters' and Connie Moore's "Business Process Pros Hold the Key To Business Transformation".

In this two part podcast, BP&A Principal Analyst Alex Peters and BP&A Research Director Connie Moore discuss what Business Technology transformation is, who drives it inside the organization, and the role of the process pro in Business Technology transformations.

We look forward to your questions and comments.

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