Three different things. A process comprises steps, preferably in an optimal order, that leads to a business function being completed. Who owns the business process for ‘enter an order’ or ‘validate a prospect?’ Note: I’m not asking ‘who does the work?’ I’m asking, who decides that the process they are following is good, and is rewarded for it’s goodness?
A solution is a subset of a process that involves automation using one or more applications. For example, a solution may involve adding data to three systems, checking some business rules, and/or sending notifications, seeking approvals, etc. This is an IT-specific construct used to model how the applications interact across one or more specific business processes.
An application is a set of executable components (perhaps) that delivers business functionality. (I have trouble with the definability of an application, for portfolio reasons. See my prior post).
To me, it is clear who owns what, but apparently there is some disagreement about the way it should be. Some technical leadership publications have begun to advocate that processes should be ‘owned’ by the business, but driven by IT. Others feel that the process is less important than the solution, and the solution is owned by IT. In other words, IT gets to change parts of the process at will and the business gets to deal with it.
On the other end of the spectrum, some folks feel that IT doesn’t own any of them. That the business owns the processes, the solutions, and the applications, and that IT is just a service organization that keeps the lights on.
What is your opinion?