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Should the business process manager also be the IT manager?

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An interesting question from this group on LinkedIn (which requires a membership to join), should the business process manager also be the IT manager?

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  • I think not. The business process manager should be someone from the business side of the enterprise. That said, the business process manager needs to be familiar with IT-related activities.

  • Ideally, they (Business and IT) are different people that are equally important in any BPM initiative.

  • While both roles will appear on the RACI chart, they are seperate and distinct roles and responsbilities that should not be taken on by a single person. Managing the process vs. managing the technology itself requires different skillsets. The process is deep functional knowledge, while the IT Manager is deep technical knowledge. While each need to be aware of each other's responsibilities, they are specialists in their own domain and this will rarely result in the same person taking on the same role.

  • NO, but there is ONE situation where they should. When the business process that is being improved/managed is the IT function eg Service Delivery, Product Development, Backup and disaster recovery, ITIL.

    Sadly this is where IT is often blindsided and instead of using business process analysis approaches, they use an IT analysis approach.

    As they say "To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail"

  • Absolutely NOT! The business process should be defined by the person who knows and understands the subtle requirements of the business. Asking an IT person to do this will always cause some lost-in-translation problem with the process.

    This has been the primary difficulty with BPM: to the extent that IT expertise is needed in defining the process, the real business process manager effectiveness has been diminished. The original dream of BPMN was to allow the business manager to draw diagrams directly (but the OMG forgot this part).

    It is a tough problem to solve, but there is no question that these are two separate roles and should almost always be played by different people.

  • Not any more than the the compliance manager should be the auditor! IT's function is to enable the business, but not to manage the business itself. The business process manager needs to be able to manage the business.

  • It seems that everyone is in agreement on this. So, it must be the right way to approach it.
    I'll just add my vote in the NO column as well.
    For all the reasons stated and perhaps more, Business Process Management must be separate from the IT management of an organization.
    Perhaps what is most concerning is that the question was asked. It indicates that there is still some lack of understanding about where BPM fits in an organization.

  • The only thing I would add to this consensus is that the Business Process Manager should feel as empowered to drive process automation in the IT department as they already are in every other department!

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