Posted by Mike Rollings
Business Process Management (BPM) is a discipline for managing business processes explicitly as strategic assets. Richard Watson states in his Burton Group document “Market Profile: Business Process Management Infrastructure 2009” that the BPM infrastructure market is growing and it appears immune to recessionary forces. The BPM market continues to grow. BPM market growth should be great news for enterprise architecture (EA), but it is not all good news.
EA includes the pursuit of business architecture -- a representation of the collective understanding of the business model, current strategies, business functions, processes and information. Because BPM is married to process and information then BPM should mean good things for EA, right? Surprisingly, no! The way that BPM is happening in some organizations foreshadows a bigger trend for EA and a bifurcation of what we have long thought EA includes.
In organizations pursuing BPM, Business Capabilities and Business Architecture should finally take center stage -- successful examples of BPM show that they do even if they do not use these terms explicitly. The concerning part for EA is that Burton Group’s Contextual Research Study conducted in December 2009 shows that the people responsible for these successful BPM programs do not describe what they are doing as EA. In fact, some even say that they are still figuring out how to connect with the EA group. WOW! One would think that EA teams would be celebrating in these organizations, not disconnected!
The good news is that the business is doing business architecture related activities. The bad news is that EA is beginning to disappear into the business. Why is this happening? I believe it is because the EA community continues to make EA appear "special". EA has become just another thing that the business does not understand and therefore feels "Oh, let IT worry about that". The special language, the pursuit of EA as a profession, and the fact that people still are trying to figure out what EA is, what it does, and what it looks like when it is successful all contribute to the marginalization of EA.
Yet, this can be a good thing for the EA discipline - practitioners just need to come to realize that EA has gone through a fundamental change and EA does not exist solely as an IT competency.
- Embrace this and feel good about it - many already have.
- Learn to describe architecture’s business contribution and value without using EA’s secret language.
- Deliberately avoid a highly theoretical approach to EA in favor of helping produce results.
- Describe what you can do to help versus describing EA.
- Help the broader audience of business and technology professionals use the knowledge of dependencies, implications, and constraints to improve their results.
As I said in my blog post "Is the business result more valuable than 'EA'?", the reason we care at all about the analysis techniques etc. in the EA bucket is because we want to improve business outcomes – not because we care what you call the bucket! When you focus solely on the bucket it leads to ivory towers, ineffective processes, a lack of participation, and low stakeholder commitment. I would rather focus on the value to the business. The foundations of good architecture are disappearing into the business. Go with the flow!
#EA #Gartner #BurtonGroup #BPM