My Week In BPM #42: Roles in a BPM CoE
Blog: Aris BPM Blog
In the previous two blogs I shared my thoughts on the mandate and the position in the organization of the BPM CoE and this week I will add the various roles that play a part here. A center of excellence can only function properly (like any organizational entity in fact) when the right people are assigned to the proper roles. This means that I will touch upon two aspects in this week’s blog: (1) what roles would that be, and (2) what type of person would you like to see in this role.
So, let’s get started with the roles and to make things easier I’ve added a simple visual. First of all, let’s explain the coloring a bit. The green box is either the group the BPM CoE reports into or is part of (this very often is a Transformation Office nowadays) or the Executive Leadership position the BPM CoE reports into. The purple boxes indicate the core roles in the BPM CoE. The red one (the communications professional in my picture) is a role that is often contracted to be part of the CoE on a temporary or part-time basis. The dark grey boxes (Business Process Architects) can best be described as some form of luxury. If you do have the budget to include these roles in to the CoE, be sure to add them. if not, these roles will most probably then exist in the business itself. The light grey boxes indicate the Process Owners group throughout the business.
Now, let’s take a look at the roles themselves. Just to make sure we’re on the same page not all of these roles are full time roles. It depends on the scope, size and maturity of the organization and this is always a bespoke configuration.
Head of BPM: this is the major champion in the organization for the BPM topic. Preferably a seasoned professional who has done this before in another company or industry. Somebody who understands that implementing BPM will be made or broken by the commitment the Head of BPM can secure from the executive sponsors. This role does have a rather large portion of salesmanship as, unfortunately, it does require a lot of internal selling due to the simple fact that a lot of business line professionals are not able or don’t want to see the bigger picture on BPM (it first takes effort before you reap the benefits, then again, this is a not a strange concept in business, is it?). Summarizing: a seasoned professional who can sell a Alfa Romeo 8C to Valteri Bottas or think about Leonardo di Caprio in movies like Catch me if you can or the Wolf of Wallstreet.
Methodology Expert: This is a person with actual modeling and documentation experience and understands what is needed to support the organization with a set of decisions and agreements on how to document the business processes to such an extent that it is both rich enough to capture the complexity of the business processes as well as not to complicated to get lost in the forest of rules and regulations for modeling a process. The balance between simple and capable of capturing complexity is the main challenge for this role. This expertise could be (and often is) contracted from the supplier that delivers the BPM platform or from an external consultant with experience. Once the method, conventions and filters are defined this role is often combined with the System Administrator.
Trainer: As the name kind of gives it away, this role makes sure that there are sufficient people in the organization that are trained in making valuable contributions to the process repository. I am not talking about the end users consuming the information as most BPM platforms are so intuitively easy to use nowadays, you can suffice with self-paced, video-lead explanations for those type of users. No, I am talking about the modelers and this also touches a fundamental discussion you will have at one point sooner or later: will we stick with a limited number of expert modelers or will we try to train as much modelers throughout the company as we can. Again, here the most cutting edge BPM platforms help you make that judgement call. Nowadays, these platforms distinguish between different type of modelers: the real modelers who can document a process from scratch (you only need a few of those), the subject matter experts who are able to make simple edits to processes (you probably have a few more of them) or the contributors that basically only make textual additions, corrections or removals based on their experiences (and there’s plenty of those). In the end of the day, you need a trainer to either train modelers, or create self-paced training content for editors and contributors.
System Administrator: this is a crucial role to be honest because this is the role that keeps your BPM platform in optima forma. Even in the era of cloud platforms, you still need to be on top of the content and the configuration of your BPM toolbox. One of the major benefits of a BPM platform over documenting your processes in PowerPoint or Visio is the re-usability of objects (such as activities, roles, applications, risks etc). However, in due time and because of the sheer size of the process repository, you will have duplicates of objects in your database. If you want to keep things as easy as possible for the end-users (meaning: if they are modeling or editing and they want to add an application that’s already present in the repository, you want them to have only one choice in the pop-up screen and not 2,3 or even more). So, keeping the repository lean and mean is the name of the game for the system admin. This role typically also deals with new custom made reports, queries or other analyses to be set up in the BPM platform. This is also the reason why the Methodology Expert role is often combined with this role. Here, you’re looking basically for McGiver (a jack of all trades) with a lot of patience.
Management Assistant: last, but certainly not least the management assistant or PA to the Head of BPM. As we already established, the Head of BPM ideally is a salesman and we all know (and I know from personal experience) that sales people do not like administration and can come across a slightly chaotic from time to time. Implementing BPM however is a hefty program for which you need somebody who can make sure that progress is continually being made in supporting the CoE with structure and stability.
There you have it, the BPM CoE dreamteam! Seriously, the point I’m trying to get across is that there are several different roles that all play a crucial part and that you need to make sure that you put the right person in the right place for it to be successful. Next week, in the last blog on the BPM CoE I’ll zoom in a bit more on the most common things a CoE does on an average day/week/month.