Building a Business Process Management Center of Excellence

09Apr10

While working on the m3 model over the past year another idea started circulating in my head. That idea matured into a focus on Business Process Management (BPM). In the “process” of learning and applying the Object Management Group (OMG) and Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI) style of modeling business processes – the Business Process Management Notation (BPMN). A couple of additional ideas started seeping into my mind and work.

Aside from the fact that businesses, or any other type of work in general, should be able to address the basic questions of:

  • Why is the business or organization in existence (or pre-existence)?
  • What is the business or purpose of their organization?
  • Who is the business or organization?
  • Where is the business or organization?
  • How is the business or organization going to do its business or achieve its goals (the “what”)?

My great AHA moment came when I realized that most business books, articles, blogs, and other resources focus on one of these primal journalistic questions (omitting the when for now) – OK, I may be slow but I get the point eventually. While thinking about this I immediately started wondering about the links between and among these questions, and I settled on this nested model of organizing and thinking about how to make my own sense of these basic starting point questions:

Thinking about these questions and arranging them in this nested fashion two things stand out. First, the Why question is the all encompassing bath water for a business or an organization. Everything about the entity directly emanates or connects back to the all encompassing reason(s) for being. Think about the ubiquitous mission, vision, or purpose statements proliferated by companies, government agencies, and non-profits over the past twenty years. The Why question should link and unify everything in the business or organization and provide a tether to the outside world (whether that’s the marketplace, citizens, or serving the needs of the community).

Second, the How question stood out as the glue of the questions and the core – in more ways than one. How is the heart of a business or organization. It is the pumping engine that translates Why and What into actions done by Who, Where, and When. I omitted the When question for now, as When is a function of each of the other questions. So, I’m back to the How.

The result of looking at How is a whitepaper posted to SlideShare, Business Process Management Center of Excellence, discussing business process management and a process for implementing BPM as either a core competency or as a center of excellence – best as I can figure the only tangible difference in these is that a core competency is not a staffed functional capability (that is, everyone in the organization is doing or should be able to do it) and a center of excellence has a little more meat on the bones (infrastructure + staffed resources [people]).

Let me know what you think by either posting comments back here to the blog or on the SlideShare site.

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