Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Connecting Dots between Business Architecture and BPM

Both BA and BPM design and deployment are not for their own sake, but for understanding, managing and governing organization better for achieving business agility.

Business Architecture is strategic in that it gives direction to the business while BPM designs, manages and controls processes in the business towards achieving the target state of the business. There is certainly a connection between BA and BPM.

  • Business Architecture is "what" is in business, and BPM drives "How" it can be managed, "Who" needs to manage, "When" it needs to be managed, "Where" it needs to be managed and overall keeping the tab on "Why" it needs to be managed. Enterprise Architecture and BPM need to work closely to be successful. As BPM and EA tools are refined, they are merging into a complete suite that encapsulates the five dimensions (What, How, Who, When and Where). The learning process is more fluid when thinking and doing are executed at the same time. This synchronicity needs agility which is provided by tools as we find them more and more in BPM. 
  • So for an effective Business Process Management, business architecture and BPM co-exist. The interactions of the business processes across multiple business units or departments are what create the Process Architecture of an organization. The process architecture, in turn, leads to the business architecture. BPM is a methodology and BA is a picture of a certain organization. BPM is related to the analysis, understanding, design, development, test, and improvement of business processes, ensuring the alignment between strategy and culture. Business Architecture is the visualization of the organization strategy, competences and operation layers and how they fit together. It’s the roadmap how an organization execute their strategy (top-down approach). In other words: BPM is the process and BA is a potential output of the process. One can not do BPM without producing in some shape or form a piece of Business Architecture. 
  • BPM addresses the process aspects of business architecture, leading to all-encompassing enterprise architecture: The relationships of business processes in the context of the rest of the enterprise systems (data architecture, organizational structure, strategies, etc.) create greater capabilities when analyzing and planning enterprise changes. The graphical representation of business process information has proven effective for presenting it to business stakeholders, including business analysts and system developers. Visual modeling languages used to represent business processes include Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) 
  • Some define BPM as a business management philosophy; a holistic management practice: It requires senior management understanding and involvement (strategic), process-aware information systems, well-defined accountability and a culture receptive to business processes and its changes. Business process-driven management/governance at the senior level is based on a high-level "architecture" of the business process -the component of business architecture, which captures the interrelationships between key business processes together with enabling support processes and their alignment with the strategies, goals, and policies for an organization. Many different capabilities are required to achieve enterprise-wide BPM with connections to BA. The most obvious is the link of enterprise process architecture (standards and models),  there are many more links that can be drawn from other BPM capabilities like the development of the business process planning and strategies translated from the business objectives, Strategy and Process Capability Linkages, Process Management Decision Making and Roles and Responsibilities etc.  
  • A good business architect should also at least understand BPM and vice versa. As a Business Architect analyzes the business to make decisions or create business cases, feasibility studies, similarly while creating or modeling business processes, the business is analyzed,  requirements are collected and processes are drafted. The key skills of the business architects are to analyze the business and design changes to make it operate better. The decisions taken by a Business Architect are based on the Business processes itself. BPM is, therefore, a key competency too. A collection of questions upon EA & BPM below can further help deploy the connection point between EA, BA and BPM::
1). What EA (BA) methodology are you applying to?
2). What BPMS are you using?
3). What is the objective of your BPM?
4). What is the objective of your EA (BA)?
5). How does your BPMS integrate with your EA Tool?
6). Do you understand what your BPMS is being used for?
7). What is your organizational strategy on BPM?
8). Does your organization have an EA COE?
9). Is your BPM executable - or are you just mapping processes for the sake of it?

Both BA and BPM design and deployment are not for their own sake, but for understanding, managing and governing organization better for achieving business agility, those common purposes make them hyper-connected and interdependent than ever.


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