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Process Makes Perfect

Tom Allanson

Evolving Roles and Responsibilities in BPM

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Connie Moore of Forrester Research posted a fascinating introduction to the firm's 2010 BPM areas of focus shortly before the holidays. In her post she discusses Forrester's "Role Deep Dives" experiment, in which Connie interviewed business process professionals at 28 large enterprises across nine countries and five continents.

The findings were extremely interesting and illuminated the differences between various business process roles and responsibilities, regardless of how similar they may have initially appeared to the unfamiliar eye. ebizQ's own Ian Louw does a good job of summarizing the findings here.

From various BPM-centric roles Forrester devised thought-provoking - if not slightly harsh - classifications, including "stakeholders," "change agents, "gurus," "wannabes" and "prodigies." The key message I took from Moore's research was that job roles (and, of course, titles) within BPM are highly transitory and that business process professionals are seeing significant evolution in their relationships with the two strange bedfellows of the enterprise - IT and business users.

Not surprisingly, therefore, is Moore's contention that business process managers should aim to support "cross-functional and departmental" processes by adopting packaged solutions like CRM, ERP and PLM while integrating data from BI and/or predictive analytics into their existing BPM framework. Nothing quite screams "I'm a mediator and I'm asking you to collaborate" quite like the marriage of unstructured data integration and business analytics.

Even though it won't be an easy transition for us as business process professionals to embrace the role of business-IT coach and referee, the benefits of such successful mediation can completely revolutionize the way your company functions. Speaking to the needs of two very different groups while short-changing neither is a delicate balance but it is expected of us in 2010 and beyond. After all, we are becoming increasingly interconnected in both form and function.

I encourage all of us to heed Connie's insight and to embrace our inner "change agent" and "guru" and lead our organizations into a more collaborative and efficient new year.

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Tom Allanson of PerfectForms shares his ideas on managing business processes, automating workflows and designing for business users - both in the cloud and on the ground.

Tom Allanson

Tom Allanson, CEO of Perfect Forms, Inc., has over 19 years of experience leading teams and growing businesses and has held key executive roles at Intuit, General Electric, and H&R Block. Most recently the President of H&R Block Digital Tax Division, he had previously been Senior Vice President at Intuit in charge of the Tax Division, including TurboTax. He started his career as a design engineer.

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