Is a good BPM strategy like building a house ?

I was pointed to an interesting analogy a few weeks back from a controversial blog site. The site went down and the owners disappeared so it took a while to get permission to quote it as long as no names were mentioned. The entry talked about how BPM as an enterprise wide strategy was likened to building and maintaining a house.

When I read it I had to agree that, as I’ve stated before, BPM is the ‘glue’ between a lot of disciplines. In fact, real BPM is almost a symbiotic enabler between people, systems and process. The idea that a framework can be a living entity is somewhat absurd in a way but when you think about it, people, processes and systems grow and evolve over time and BPM has to flex and evolve with it to keep them all together in
harmony.

Read the excerpt and Tweet what you think 🙂

“Entangled in processes are controls, risk and compliance measures, regulation, continuity plans, collaboration with business units, service management, people, change…the list is exhaustive. If a strategy is effective and robust enough you can certainly try to manage as many disparate frameworks or methods under a single house.

The trouble is who gets to rule this roost ?

It no longer becomes solely a process discipline or does it ?

If I build a house I need a foundation, bricks, cement, timber frames, steel rods yadda yadda. Everything pretty much plays its part in ensuring that the house is stable and robust, and so your enterprise is stable if we translate that into a real process strategy. If you build a house without cement then it’s not safe. If you create a process without controls or compliance it’s not safe. Similarly if you materially change the house, knock a wall in or extend it for example you’re going to need planning and understanding of how that change will affect every part of the house. And there’s the crux of the argument. With so many processes intertwined to create the fabric of a business entity if you change one without a proper management or planning strategy in place do you know the impact of that alteration across the organisation ?

Now we get to IT. It’s the plumbing system, the heating system, the electrical wiring of the house. It’s another level entirely but still integral. Rip out a wall and where do all the pipes go, the wiring extend to ?

Then there are the occupants of the house, what happens to them, how are
they affected ? Build a new room and the occupants have something new to explore and
utilise. They expand to compliment the new surroundings until both are in harmony.

Still no solution in the shape of a BPM Suite yet. We’re still talking about a management framework here. Process simulation and workflow is nowhere near sophisticated to even try to understand complex scenarios like this. But that’s what’s really happening here, a business is a complex organism, a customer even more complex not a set of defined If
and But statements.”

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One response to “Is a good BPM strategy like building a house ?

  1. TheoWith all respect, this analogy drives to wrong direction I’m afraid. One cannot imagine replacing the house walls without affecting the roof and foundation but this is what we should implement within management-BPM-IT. Ideally these should be semi-independent layers: interfacing with each other but not interwired with each other like the house walls are interwired with electrical network for example.BPM layer in particular should be able to implement at the process level whatever business methodology is the most attractive for the company whether it’s Lean, Six Sigma or O/I. The reality is different: BPM often embeds parts of business methodology. This is as bad as embedding BPM into ERP: not an absolute evil but not the best way to go either. (More in the recent posts at my blog.)Kind regardsAnatoly

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