>Business Process Management and Enterprise Architecture

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Modeling business processes, information flows, and the systems that serve up that information is core to developing enterprise architecture

DM Review Magazine, February 2008 reports that Business Process Management (BPM) changes the game for business performance through process innovation, creating a process-managed enterprise that is able to respond to changing market, customer, and regulatory demands faster than its competitors.”

How does BPM enable enterprise efficiency?

“It acts as the glue that ties together and optimizes existing attempts at employee collaboration, workflow, and integration. It drives efforts in quality improvement, cost reductions, efficiencies, and bottom-line revenue growth.”

BPM drives “the ability to design, manage, and optimize critical business processes.”

Essentially the decomposition of functions into processes, tasks, and activities along with linkages to the information required to perform those and the systems that provide the information enable the enterprise architect to identify gaps, redundancies, inefficiencies, and opportunities for business process improvement, reengineering, and the introduction of new technologies.

Business, data, and systems models are an important tool for architects to integrate and streamline operations.

How effective is BPM?

The Aberdeen Group reports “more than 50% of companies surveyed were expected to turn to BPM in 2007 to get the process right at the line-of-business level without having to throw out their expensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) or custom back-end applications investments.”

Similarly, Gartner reports that “organizations deploying BPM initiatives have seen more than 90 percent success rates on those projects.”

What are some critical success factors in BPM?

  1. Usability—“intuitive and flexible user interfaces.”
  2. Process analysis—“knowledge management, analytics, reporting, and integration functionality.”
  3. Collaborative—“portals, attached discussion threads, document management capabilities, and configurable task views.”
  4. Self-optimization—“ability to ‘self-optimize’ the process.”
  5. Focus on high-value areas first—“initial BPM project should include areas of medium-to-high business value combined with low process complexity…choose processes or business areas that have high visibility.”

From a User-centric EA perspective, modeling business, data, and systems is a key element at the segment and solutions architectures. These models enable the development of business requirements, information flows, and technology needs that help determine the ultimate solution design and line of business projects. These in turn feed the enterprise architecture target architecture and transition plan. So the food chain often starts with core modeling initiatives.

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