One challenge that we run into: having a software developer design the business process.  Now, that’s no slam on software developers.  There are some very smart cookies out there writing software… but if you want to develop a business process, you need to make sure that the business likes the process before you write the code.

I believe that the person who develops the business process has to be seperate from the person who writes the basic code.  SOA supports this idea.  In SOA, the compositon is where the business process lives.  The services don’t care what order they are called in.

So if the developer doesn’t write the process… who does?  Is it the IT analyst?  Is it the IT project manager or IT solution owner?  Only if they are trained to create well-designed and efficient processes.  If they are not, then it’s not much better than having the developer do it.

Honestly, the benefits of shared processes in a company can be substantial.  Any process that does not differentiate the business in the marketplace should be considered as a candidate for sharing between lines of business… (as long as those lines of business already share data).  Sharing a process can provide real opportunities for reducing cost and improving efficiency.  Each unique process carries a cost… in training, in tools, in exception procedures…  The fewer, the better.

However, IT projects often do not have Business Process Management figured in.  BPM must be part of the way in which the software is understood, described, and communicated.  If BPM is considered first, then SOA can produce the benefits we want it to produce.  If BPM is not considered first, then you are cutting off many of the benefits of SOA. 

Don’t undercut the value of SOA by failing to manage the processes in your enterprise.  It would be a crying shame if you did.

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

6 thoughts on “Get BPM into IT project funding”
  1. I wrote about my real life story on how we used BPM to get our SOA funds.  That was about 8 months ago.  Now the entire company is transforming moving towards a process centric organization with a department of dedicated process analysts who model the business.  These models are handed over to IT who leverage SOA to connect the business processes to the legacy systems.  This stuff is not hype, it is real, and it is changing our company.

  2. That’s Great, Mike.  

    Love the post.  I’m happy for you, and I’m confident that your company is on the right road.  Gives hope to the rest of us who are still struggling to get that opportunity.

    Your approach is bang-on.  Love it.

    — N

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