July 19 2010

In an earlier blog post, I outlined the four areas of a BPM COE:  Governance, Resourcing, Execution, and Reporting and Metrics.  In this particular post, I'm going to provide some additional details on the Governance aspect of the COE.  As I mentioned in the earlier post, Governance can be one of the most difficult components of the COE to build due to the large number of constituents and high level within the organization that needs to be involved.  In organizations where one particular group is leading the BPM charge throughout the organization, obtaining buy-in and consensus on the Governance portion of the BPM COE can be a daunting challenge. 

Within the Governance aspect of the COE, Avio has identified three primary focus areas:  Strategic Alignment, Administration, and Tools and Policies.

Strategic Alignment

In keeping with the theme of threes, each focus area has three key elements.  For the Strategic Alignment focus area, the three key elements are alignment with corporate strategic intent, appointment of Process Champion/Visionary, and a strong and clear commitment for BPM efforts.  In order to ensure consistent funding, support, and growth of a comprehensive BPM strategy, each of these key elements needs to be addressed.  We have found over the last decade that the appointment of a process champion will have the most significant impact on the success or failure of an enterprise wide strategic BPM effort.

Administration

Within the Administration focus area are we have three additional key elements:  project identification and prioritization, enforcement of governance, and project execution guidance.  While a BPM COE most likely will not have direct responsibility for the implementation and delivery of the individual BPM projects, they will have a significant amount of influence on the success or failure of each individual project.  The BPM COE should be responsible for ensuring that only projects that are well suited for implementation within a BPMS and have clear and defined KPIs aligned to specific ROIs are allowed to move forward.  Additionally, the BPM COE should have the overall enforcement responsibility to ensure that architectural and implementation best practices are followed.  Furthermore, the BPM should have highly skilled resources that can provide expert guidance and direction as teams come up against issues or challenges in which their resource pool cannot overcome.  Think of the BPM COE resources as a SWAT team that is able to very quickly resolve a situation and then extract themselves.

Tools and Policies

Inside of the Tools and Policies focus area are the key elements of maintaining project, architecture, and implementation standards, ownership of the overall BPM project methodology, and providing defined tools for both the LOB and IT teams implementing BPMS based projects.  The BPM COE is responsible for ensuring there are clear standards and policies for the teams building BPMs based solutions.  For example, integration standards, process design patterns, and user interface requirements should be driven by the BPM COE in order to ensure a consistent approach by each individual implementation team.  In addition, the implementation methodology utilized by each team should be owned by the BPM COE as well.  This will ensure that projects can be consistently and accurately forecasted and planned.  Finally, the BPM COE should have the responsibility to provide a consistent set of tool for each project team.  This can span everything from the software used for requirement gathering to process design and through to automated testing and deployment tools.  By providing a consistent set of tools, the level of effort required for the organization to efficiently evaluate and manage each project is diminished as additional skills and efficiencies are obtained with each subsequent project.

Next week, I will discuss the Execution component of the BPM COE and outline the three key focus areas a BPM COE should be responsible for as it pertains to the actual execution and delivery of BPMS based projects

About the Author

Brandon Dean

Brandon Dean is Executive Vice President for AVIO and focuses his time on building client relationships and directing sales, marketing, and strategy initiatives for AVIO. Prior to joining AVIO in 2008, Brandon spent time in various positions at Oracle, BEA Systems, and Fuego where he built a reputation as a thought leader in BPM strategy and implementation advisory services. 

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