Nine critical considerations for planning and selling your BPM CoE (Part 3)

Dan Morris

Building the Foundations for a BPM CoE – Part 3

Building the right relationships with the right people in your organization is one of the keys to the success of a BPM CoE, says contributor Dan Morris. So how can you get the right people on board? Here are nine key things you MUST consider when planning and selling your BPM CoE (and why BPM is in the communication business).

In the first column in this series we looked at proving the need for the CoE. You will need a clearly stated mission with clearly stated objectives and a clearly stated scope. Once your BPM CoE is justified at this point and you have a sponsor you will still need to define and sell what you will do, why someone would want you to do it, and who you will do it for. These and other points defining the BPM CoE’s services must be formalized and the results "sold" internally to the different business and IT groups who will work with the BPM CoE.

BPM is in the communication business

Some of the things you will need to consider are:

#1: Most importantly, you need to consider limiting who the CoE will work with (which business and IT managers really want help and want the CoE to succeed)

Note: If you ignore this point, you will fail. I suggest that in the beginning, you work with the business and IT managers who understand that this will take time and who will support you by committing appropriate staff resources to the project.

#2: The objective of the CoE and how you can market and sell it in the company – What will be supported and what will not be supported? (you must be able to list and define each service)

#3: How success will be determined? – What might be the critical success factors, including company culture, backers/distracters?

#4: How will funding be allocated? – How will benefit be determined?

#5: Who (specific people) will the CoE need to interact with – in IT and other business areas? – What will make these people support the CoE?

#6: Who will the head of the CoE report to? – Unless it is high in the organization the CoE will fail.

#7: Will the CoE have the authority to impose governance – and monitor it?

#8: Where will you get the right staff – internal transfer or hire?

#9: What will you need to do to set the foundation for success – ID, list, plan

Your answers must be realistic and reasonable – not wishes. Then you will need to evaluate each commitment and determine if it will be lived up to, and finally, given the obstacles, can the CoE really succeed?

I cannot over-emphasize this evaluation. If you can succeed – why? Build on these points. If you cannot succeed – you will need to define why not? This is critical – you will need to change the playing field so you can succeed.

  1. Who will oppose this and who must be won over?
  2. What will keep you from succeeding?
  3. What must you change to set the stage for success?
  4. Propose a remediation plan to change what must be changed.
  5. Offer a realistic roadmap to the foundation – but deliver benefit along the way.

This is important to the company and to you. Be honest, but also propose a plan that will build what you need to be successful.

Beyond the definition of the BPM CoE, it is strongly recommended that CoE management set the foundation for partnering with the business areas that will be supported. This goes beyond simply responding to a request or a set of requirements. The BPM CoE representative must become a business partner who is focused on the business operation and its problems, opportunities and direction. It involves attending department status meetings, planning meetings, operational performance review meetings, and proactively suggesting improvements that will help resolve problems, improve performance, reduce cost, etc.


Build Collaboration – A CoE is in the Communication Business

As can be seen from the discussion above, the BPM CoE is in the communication business. The head of the CoE will spend a lot of time staying in contact with the business managers and IT managers to keep everyone focused.

One of the first issues that must be addressed is a need to establish close communication (and work) among the different business and technology groups that will be involved in any project. Often Business Architecture is separate from Process Architecture. Both are separate from IT and Enterprise Architecture, Data Architecture, Applications Architecture, Solutions Architecture and Integration Architecture. However, although separate, if these groups do not communicate effectively, share techniques and approaches, coordinate data collection, or work together on a change project, the end result will suffer.

This openness to collaborate is, and has historically been, a problem. From an IT perspective, everything is IT related. From a business perspective, IT and everything associated with it are necessary evils and interaction is avoided – "who can understand what those IT guys are saying anyway?" This is one of the biggest problems facing business and IT and it is certainly not new. It just never seems to get much better.

But, with BPMS supported BPM, collaboration becomes a must if you want to succeed. For many companies, this becomes a cultural issue. Business managers who have purchased BPMS tools quickly find that they need IT. IT managers who purchase BPMS tools quickly find that Enterprise Architects are not really the right people to model or redesign business operations. The result is a recognized need for collaboration. But need is very different from acceptance and availability. This is one of the hardest issues because it deals with culture, "turf - ownership", control, and personal measurement.

It is also a critical issue that must be dealt with and a coalition of IT and business managers really needs to be formed to define how the BPM CoE will interact with them, where authority and responsibility lies, and what roles each will play in the BPM and BPMS projects.

This will be discussed in the next column of this series.

Read the full series: