Sunday, June 2, 2013

EA as Process Conductor

From an EA perspective, a business process is a set of activities that takes inputs and transforms them into outputs, adding value to an organization and its stakeholders.

Everything in the world is represented by a thing with a state or a relationship between things with the state. A process can be defined as anything that modifies a thing with state or anything that forms, breaks, or modifies a relationship between things with the state. In that sense, everything is a process, and a business is simply a chain of processes that gets very complex at times. BPM usually goes hand-in-hand with EA, what is a business process from an EA perspective?

1.  EA without BPM would not yield and vice-versa. Properly defining a process, versus a function, value stream, capability, and building block is one of the key roadblocks for both BPM and EA, which come from different backgrounds and still evolve independently. 

2. From an EA perspective, a business process is a set of activities that takes inputs and transforms them into outputs, adding value to an organization and its stakeholders. The value chain processes produce indeed goods and services and deliver them to the customers. Therefore the value chain process is the flow of activities, which include what managers, employees and IT applications do. Not all processes can be modeled in a finite process engine, but that does not mean they are not processes.

3. Capturing "how" business performs a set of tasks to achieve the desired capability is a business process. EA Line of Business needs to have a set of desired capabilities to achieve business goals. The capability, therefore, represents a higher level of abstraction representing the "what" aspect to achieve. These business capabilities are then prioritized to arrive at future state hypothesis. While doing current state analysis, the business capabilities are shown in heat map or kind of represented in gaps. Further, how to derive (via simulation and with some accuracy) the enterprise phenotype from the enterprise genotype? Imagine:
- All artifacts are explicit and digital
- All artifacts are versionable throughout their lifecycle
- All relationships between these artifacts are modeled explicitly
- All models are made to be executable 

4. EA as Process Conductor: EA should consider things like: Do I have to support both synchronous and asynchronous processing? Do I need a rules engine for what I do? How do I integrate my systems across geographies and languages? Rather than worrying about whether something is a flow or a process or a function, be focused on the capabilities needed to support business processes, and not focused on the business process itself.

5.  EA provides a holistic view of the process with all relevant elements. The business processes often contain specific activities that are automated, in whole or in part, and the manager is ultimately responsible for achieving the desired output of the process. In order to do this, he/she needs to be in charge of all of the elements of the process, including employees, business rules, applications, incentives. etc.  

6.  There are different ways to manage the process; EA can always complement the process view about BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY with adaptability/interoperability. Especially, EA can provide System-wide view as it's critical to account for cross-cutting concerns (master data, governance, value chain integration, etc.) The concepts that define the processes to be executed include:
Top-down: business objectives, value streams
Inside-out: operational targets and process goals
Outside-In: customer perception and experience
Bottom-Up: people knowledge and innovation

7.   Processes are about flows, architectures are about assets.

As a corollary, processes are identified by governing events and should be classified accordingly. Business processes are governed by changes in the relationship between the enterprise and its business environment.
      BPM as a management discipline (using the process to manage business)
BPM as software (BPM suite); 
BPM as a portfolio of the business processes of an enterprise, and the practices and tools for governing the design, execution and evolution of this portfolio (enterprise BPM system)
EA is like a compass to guide through BPM journey, as BPM is not a one-time project, it’s continuous improvement.


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