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Business technology (BT) has been a game-changer for business process professionals. Theyíre now front and center as BT makes the end-to-end digitalization of business processes possible, enabling an enterprise-wide approach to BPM.

BT has historical roots in the many different breeds of business process specialists, who traditionally focused on the piecemeal requirements of analysis, automation and optimization of individual functional processes such as finance, HR, marketing, sales and operations, using dedicated information systems.

But the business process professional's traditional job is rapidly changing as companies must manage faster and more complex value chains spanning increasingly dispersed and diverse stakeholders. When IT cannot provide adequate support for business processes, business process professionals are forced to build or buy BT services from inside business units. Thatís a suboptimal situation that typically leads to duplicate or shadow technology support functions and increased tension--rather than collaboration--with IT.

A typical example might be the sales organization deploying an eCommerce portal with support from Web services suppliers, relegating the internal IT group to hosting servers and taking the blame for security breaches. Forrester's data reveals that this kind of situation is not unusual: 18% of the business process professionals we interviewed said that they perform process-improvement initiatives without IT's participation.

Three levers, six steps

Business process professionals and IT executives who want to increase IT's role in process improvement initiatives must develop and fit together the three levers of a mature IT organization:

  • 1) An organizational structure based on specialized COEs
  • A demand management process based on an enterprise life-cycle portfolio
  • Formalized business-driven process governance.

Six steps guide them in this direction:

1. Assess the enterprise's IT maturity level. Business process professionals should reflect on the maturity level of IT in their companies. In addition, they might use Forrester's BT maturity matrix for BPM governance to help business stakeholders and IT executives understand where their organizations currently stand. This can also help them agree on a coherent list of prerequisites to move to the next level of maturity. Visualizing the assessment results is an effective way of getting buy-in from business stakeholders to make improvements using the following steps.


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