3.0 The Processes of Process Management

While over years many practitioners, especially executives, questioned the value of BPM, this situation has changed significantly in the past 5-7 years. Most organizations and their leadership start at least understanding the value proposition and the broader dimension of BPM. The challenge has become how to establish it in an organization in a pragmatic but systematic way with minimal up-front investment.

In order to resolve this issue we can look at other management disciplines and how they are implemented. An example is the discipline of Human Resources (HR), as mentioned before. How do you implement the HR discipline? You introduce it into an organization through the appropriate HR processes, like the hiring process, performance evaluation or promotion process.

Consequently, you can implement a BPM-Discipline through the “process of process management”, the BPM process. You address the BPM-Discipline just like any other management discipline. If you interpret the BPM-Discipline as process itself, you can apply all the process management approaches, methods and tools to it – enabling an efficient and effective approach. You basically implement BPM using BPM.

In order to identify and address all key aspects of the process of process management we use the ARIS Architecture (Scheer, 1998), a widely accepted and proven framework to engineer processes from different points of view. This enables the operationalization of the framework so that it can be applied to specific organizations. Based on ARIS, the BPM-D® Framework is decomposed into sub-frameworks. Result are four core frameworks describing the process of process management:

  • BPM-D Value Framework;
  • BPM-D Organization Framework;
  • BPM-D Data Framework; and
  • BPM-D Process Framework

The decomposition of the overall process of process management as shown in figure 2 into sub-frameworks based on ARIS is visualized in figure 3. The BPM-D Process Framework covers both, a functional decomposition and aspects of the control view of ARIS.

The BPM-D Value Framework is shown in figure 1 and has been discussed before. It describes the key deliverables (values) the process of process management (PoPM) produces. The use of this framework therefor enables a value-driven approach to BPM. This is especially important when you establish BPM as a management discipline so that you don’t end up just with another overhead unit but an organization that systematically drives value by improving execution of strategy.

Figure 3: Operationalizing the Process of Process Management using the ARIS Architecture by A.-W. Scheer

The previously mentioned research studies also show that organizations who apply BPM successfully have multiple different process specific roles in place. We identified over 40. The segmentation of those roles led to the BPM-D Organization Framework.

There exist two big groups of process-related roles: Core roles and extended roles. People with BPM core roles are part of the core BPM organizational unit, for example a center of excellence (Alkharashi, Jesus, Macieira, Tregear, 2015) (Franz, Kirchmer, 2012). People with roles in the extended BPM organization are part of other organizational units. BPM roles can be centralized to achieve best synergies or decentralized to be close to operational improvement initiatives. Roles can be permanent or project based, relevant only for a specific initiative. In most of the cases the roles are internal roles. However, there is in more and more organizations a tendency to procure more administrative roles, like helpdesk activities or the maintenance and conversion of process models, externally, as a managed service. The BPM-D Organization Framework is shown in figure 4.

Figure 4: BPM-D Organization Framework

Very important is an emergent top leadership role in the BPM-D core organization: the Chief Process Officer (Kirchmer, Franz, von Rosing, 2015) (Kirchmer, Franz, 2014a). This business leader owns the overall process of process management, hence leads the overall BPM-Discipline. The empirical research confirmed the trend of such an emerging top management position. Successful BPM organizations in many cases report directly to the board of a company.

The most important role in the extended BPM organization is the process owner, responsible for the end-to-end management of a business process. This role has to make sure things get done with the expected impact on the strategic value-drivers, using the BPM core organization as internal service group. Other groups of core and enabling roles are shown in figure 4.

In most of the organizations you may not have representatives for all the groups of roles immediately or some may only be part time roles. It depends on your overall BPM agenda which roles you need when. The required roles change over time, driven by the specific value the BPM discipline has to provide to execute an organization’s strategy. It is important to have both, core and extended roles in place to be on one hand able to execute, on the other hand avoid to re-invent the wheel for every new initiative.

Next “ARIS view” to be addressed is the data view. The information used in or produced by the process of process management is summarized in the BPM-D Data Framework.

This view helps to plan information requirements for the process of process management. This includes business strategy related information to enable the link between strategy and execution. Example are strategic goals realized through value-drivers. But also operational information, like project related information, enterprise architecture, organization or tool and technology related information. The BPM-D Data Framework is shown in figure 5 in form of a simplified entity-relationship model.


Figure 5: BPM-D Data Framework

The most important area for the operationalization of the process of process management is the BPM-D Process Framework, covering the function and control view of the ARIS Architecture. It basically represents the first three hierarchy levels of a functional decomposition and a content related segmentation of the key activities of the PoPM.

The structure of the Process Framework is based on the principle thinking suggested in Scheer’s Y-Model to segment the processes of an industrial enterprise (Scheer, 1995). In order to make the PoPM happen an organization requires project-related sub-processes (activities), focusing on improving specific business processes. On the other had it also needs to have “assets-related processes” in place to execute improvement projects efficiently and effectively. Both, project and asset related sub-processes require planning and execution. This results in four groups of BPM-related sub-processes as shown in figure 6.

Figure 6: Segmentation of BPM-related activities

The specific sub-processes of the PoPM were identified based on the analysis of over 200 process management initiatives. The result is shown in the BPM-D Process Framework in figure 7.

Figure 7: BPM-D Process Framework

The BPM Strategy identifies high impact low maturity processes, BPM capability gaps that need to be filled to improve those processes and the development of a BPM Agenda, showing which processes are improved when to achieve specific business objectives and which BPM capability gaps are closed during that specific improvement initiative. Hence, every initiative delivers immediate business value while creating lasting process management capabilities. Improvement projects follow a straightforward project approach: launch, execution, and conclusion of the project. BPM-Operations enable the execution of activities outside specific projects, for example the value realization once a project is already concluded.

The Enterprise Architecture related sub-processes handle all activities necessary to create and manage information models, necessary to improve specific processes or keep them on track. Process and Data Governance sub-processes organize the way process management is executed, hence, grant the power to take decisions, drive action and deal with the consequences of those actions. Important here is the integration of process and data governance (Packowski, Gall, Baumeister, 2014). Insufficient master data quality in many cases also leads to ineffective processes. An integrated governance approach aligns both aspects.

The availability of improvement approaches and of people trained in those approaches enables improvement projects which use those capabilities. People enablement is all about information, communication and training. Hence it prepares people to think and work in a process context and deal with process change successfully. Tools and Technology related sub-processes handle the technical infrastructure required for a successful BPM-Discipline, including for example automation engines, rules engines, repository and modelling tools, process mining, strategy execution tools, social media, the internet of things and other internet-based approaches, or e-learning applications. These are core BPM tools but also additional technology required to increase the performance of a process to the required level.

While all the sub-processes of the PoPM shown in figure 7 can be important in a specific company context, organizations only rarely need all of them in full maturity. The specific objectives of a company’s BPM-Discipline determine the importance of a specific sub-process and the required maturity level. Once the relevant sub-processes of the PoPM are selected and their required maturity level is defined, the necessary roles and information are identified using the appropriate BPM-D frameworks. All frameworks need to be configured consistently to a specific organization, its strategy and business context. The right application of the BPM-Framework and its sub-components enables companies to focus on what really matters, improve those areas efficiently and effectively as well as to sustain those improvements. These key tasks of a BPM-Discipline are visualized in figure 8.

Figure 8: Key Tasks of a BPM-Discipline

The BPM-D Framework with all its components is patent-pending. It is a strategy execution environment helping organizations dealing successfully with the challenges of the new normal in a digital world.




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