Business Analysts provide a critical role in organizations. In fact, without this role, Business Owners and Developers must work together in a software project, which can be frustrating to both sides. Indeed, Business Owners may not get what they want and Developers may spend time building functionality that was not needed. OUCH! Why is that? Because the Business Owners and Developers have not learned to communicate to their mutual benefit. Enter the Business Analyst whose role is to define the needs and recommend solutions that deliver value to the stakeholders (e.g., Business Owners, users, customers, etc.) 

 

According to the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) BA’s do the following

  • Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring
  • Elicitation
  • Requirements Management and Communication
  • Enterprise Analysis
  • Requirements Analysis
  • Solution Assessment and Validation

Or more simply, business analysis includes

  • Planning strategically
  • Operating/Business Model Analysis
  • Process Definition and Design
  • IT/Technical Business Analysis

BA’s can provide important value in Business Process Management (BPM). Their success depends on the depth of their understanding about how to work with key stakeholders and how to use a consistent BPM methodology Here are five areas where you can differentiate your work and get you the results the Business Owner wants. Each one also has specific actionable techniques that can get you started today.

Specific Definitions of Business Requirements

Often the Business Owner has a problem and asks for a particular technology solution. A Business Analyst can help the Business Owner determine what the underlying problem is, if that problem is important to his overall goals, and how the problem aligns with the company’s strategy.

There are two things the Business Analyst needs to accomplish in the initial conversations with the Business Owner:

  1. Is this the right problem/process to work on now
  2. What do you want to achieve?

Business Owner’s make particular requests and suggest particular solutions for these requests, but the problem could be larger than the initial request. The BA can help the Business Owner identify it this is the best process to be working on now by completing a Macro Map identifying all his processes. Then the BA and Business Owner can determine which processes offer the biggest opportunities in the market, or which processes are underperforming significantly, and will impact his/her business goals the most. Another approach would be to develop a Business Architecture for the organization or the division and then prioritize processes within that. (This may be a larger task than the Business Owner wants to take on by herself so the Macro Map is a simpler substitute.)

Two BPM techniques I use at the beginning of a process improvement effort which help focus the project and get the Business Owner involved in the critical upfront work are:

  1. Create a Macro Map of core processes and support process: the Macro Map helps to identify which are the best processes to work on now?
  2. Charter: The charter is critical at the beginning of any BPM project. The BA builds it with the sponsor; it include the sponsor’s improvement targets which focus the project.

As the BA, you have to use your judgment to see if the request is really a small improvement that automation or new functionality will easily resolve. And, it is your role also to see the bigger picture of how improving a larger process (of which the request is one piece) will add more value to the organization.

BPM Methodology

A consistent BPM Methodology makes process improvement more efficient and effective, builds process assets that are shareable and replicable, and trains leaders and employees in process improvement skills. But most organizations don’t have a consistent BPM Methodology unless they are using a consulting firm and ‘buy’ the methodology of that firm. There is no standard BPM Methodology yet. Only the phases of a process improvement effort are pretty standard (although they may have different names). So the BA should provide a BPM Methodology stealing shamelessly from well known consultancies and giving credit where credit is due. My company, i4Process, uses a consistent BPM Methodology which includes these phases:

  • Process Discovery
  • Process Modeling
  • Process Analysis
  • Process Redesign
  • Continuous Improvement

What’s helpful about the methodology is it tells you what techniques are required in each phase and which techniques are optional. So the BA needs to know and use the required techniques and then know which of the optional techniques would also be helpful for the client situation. The BA provides value by keeping to a consistent BPM methodology and tailoring it by adding some optional techniques. If you use all the techniques you get analysis paralysis and diminishing return for the Business Owner.

Part 2 will cover Identifying and Conducting Operational and Technical Analysis, Facilitating Leadership Conversations and Team Work Sessions, and Finding Solutions that Match the Real Goal.

 

Want to learn more?  Sign up for my live-online BPMessentials workshop, Starting and Organizing a BPM Project (Jan. 15 and 16, 2013) and Analyzing and Optimizing BPM Processes (March 12 and 13, 2013) Find out how to build high level maps with process owners and project leads, how to write a charter in 90 minutes, how to get the right members for a BPM team, how to document process models in the BPMN standard, using the free ITP software, how to use the 4 required techniques to analyze processes, and creative ways to build optimize processes. 

  • IActive

    First Impressions: IActive ACM Suite

    One of the most notably unique aspects of theIActive’s Intelligent Process Suite, the“secret sauce” if you will, is the artificial intelligence (AI) component that makes explicit the relevant tacit knowledge of the case expert (i.e., the knowledge worker). It is this part of the platform that brings the adaptive power of AI to bear on the management challenges associated with a case domain. IActive ACM Suite represents almost twenty years’ worth of advanced AI research conducted at the Intelligent Systems Research Group at the University of Granada in Spain. The technology is domain-agnostic, input-agnostic, output-agnostic, and is compatible with any programming environment.

    Read More

  • Fujitsu Interstate BOP

    First Impressions: Fujitsu Interstage Business Operations Platform

    Since the earliest days of the BPM market, Fujitsu has been a leading innovator in delivering Web-based process management frameworks, including pioneering one of first truly n-tier, pure Java BPMS platforms. Today Fujitsu offers Fujitsu Interstage Business Operations Platform ("Interstage BOP"), a unified, multi-tier platform built on J2SE (Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition) technology combining composite application development capabilities with robust integration and data-driven BPM.

    Read More

  • EMC

    First Impression: EMC Documentum xCP 2.1

    EMC Documentum xCP 2.1 is a next generation solution development platform designed for quickly building and deploying smart apps to support information-intensive processes and decision-making.

    Notable key features of Documentum xCP 2.1 include:

    • Support for Big Data – leveraging Pivotal Greenplum Database for actionable analytics and real-time visibility across processes and Big Data sets.
    • Content Intelligence – out-of-the-box capabilities for analyzing unstructured content and automated metadata extraction.
    • Cloud-ready Architecture and Supporting Services – ready-to-go support for deploying to the EMC OnDemand cloud environment.

    Read More

  • Verint

    First Impression: Verint Systems’ Impact 360

    Verint® Systems (NASDAQ: VRNT) is a global firm focused on delivering solutions defined by Actionable Intelligence™ – combining analytics with specific capabilities designed to enable its customers to capture, analyze and act on customer and operational data to achieve better business outcomes. Verint Systems’ solutions are used at over 80% of the Fortune 100 and across more than 10,000 customers worldwide. Today the majority of its total business (60-65%) is composed of its Enterprise Intelligence division, which consists of practice areas focused on support back-office operations, contact centers, retail branches, and a Voice of the Customer set of analytics solutions.

    Read More

  • BP Logix

    First Impressions: BP Logix Process Director 3.0

    Recently the BPM.com team was provided with a comprehensive demonstration of the latest release, version 3.0, of Process Director from BP Logix. This was not a literal introduction, as we have had the opportunity to explore Process Director through prior briefings by BP Logix, as well as through working independently with two key customers. This has allowed us to understand both the potential value and the differentiating features offered by Process Director historically, as well as provide us with a unique appreciation of the critical milestones achieved with the V 3.0 release.

    Read More

  • Image 01

    First Impressions: JBoss Enterprise BRMS

    Red Hat’s New JBoss Enterprise BRMS 5.3 Business Process Management Software - a look at the current offering and future roadmap. Founded in 1993, Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT) is easily the most commercially successful open source vendor, and the first to exceed $1B in software-related sales (which it did in 2012). Red Hat entered the middleware arena in 2006, with its acquisition of JBoss and the related community projects around the “JavaBeans Open Source Software Application Server” (or simply JBoss for short). JBoss was then, and remains today, the most widely-adopted open source Java EE App Server.

    Read More

     
     
  • Image 03

    First Impressions: Integrify 6

    Lean BPM is distinguished from today’s consolidating group of “stack” or platform vendors in its focus on the quick deployment of process-driven applications (such as purpose-built forms and web apps) rather than broad-reaching system modernization and integration efforts. The latter typically involves project lifecycles of several months, and often 100s or even 1,000s of vertically-integrated function points. In contrast, Lean BPM can be applied to targeted areas to realize immediate benefit, without imposing the deployment overhead and integration effort involved with those environments.

    Read More

     
  • Image 03

    First Impressions: Intellect BPM Platform Version 7

    Originally formed as an engineering consultancy more than a dozen years ago by a group of mechanical and aerospace engineers who saw an opportunity to build a web-oriented application with integrated workflow, since then, Interneer has built its Interneer Intellect Platform that allows technically capable business people to configure web-based applications to support integrated workflow, without programming. Today Interneer has hundreds of customers including Bose, Jacobs Engineering, and Host Hotels in markets including construction, manufacturing, energy, public sector, and services.

    Read More

  • Image 03

    First Impressions: Bonita Open Solutions

    Bonita Open Solution (BOS) 5.6 is the latest release of an open source BPMS from BonitaSoft, available in both a free downloadable version and as part of paid ”subscription packs” including access to live support and enhanced product capabilities. The freely downloadable version of BOS provides the complete framework of the BPMS, consisting of the Bonita Studio, for complete process and initial application design with BPMN 2.0 based modeling, the Bonita User Experience (User XP) design module which follows an email-like worklist metaphor and portal experience, and the Bonita Execution Engine which provides the run-time execution environment. 

    Read More

     
     
     
  • Image 03

    First Impressions: Laserfiche

    Laserfiche is a familiar name to anyone who follows the ECM market. As a long-time leader of solutions for document capture and transactional content management,  Laserfiche 8.3 builds on this history with new capabilities that address the needs of both document-centric BPM and case management.  A critical aspect of document-centric BPM is the ability to link a document to a business process, based on content and context (i.e., metadata) from the moment of capture.  Rather than launching a process and in the course of that process capturing a document, it is the document itself that drives the process.   In other words, the process launched or “instantiated” is based on the document itself, rather than choosing the process then capturing the document.

    Read More

  • Serena

    First Impressions: Serena Lean BPM

    Should you follow a pragmatic approach with BPM initiatives? After nearly a decade of market research on what drives BPM implementations, we have found the most common answer for what prevents BPM projects from advancing is consistently “lack of sponsorship” by upper management (cited by 25% of respondents to our most recent survey -- more than twice the frequency of any other answer, and consistent with similar studies we have performed over the last 10 years.)  Why the lack of sponsorship? The basic requirement and typical challenge in achieving project sponsorship (true of BPM as with another area) is building a credible argument that demonstrates value while keeping risks in check.

    Read More

  • Image 02 IActive
  • Fujitsu Interstate BOPFujitsu
  • Image 02 EMC
  • Verint Verint
  • BP LogixBP Logix
  • Image 01 JBoss
  • Image 03 Integrify
  • Image 01 Interneer
  • Image 01 Bonita
  • Image 01 Laserfiche
  • Image 02 Serena
  • Farmers Insurance Group

    Case Study: Farmers Insurance Group

    To leverage the power of their many recent acquisitions, Farmers Insurance Group assembled a road map of activities encompassing more than 300 separate initiatives to be accomplished through cooperative efforts between business teams and IT. Farmers’ challenge was integrating the technology of legacy customer services systems from their acquired companies and, in doing so, ensure a unified consistent standard of quality of customer service for all Farmers customers.

    Read More

  • Lincoln Trust

    Case Study: Lincoln Trust

    Lincoln Trust Company constituted a BPM program in 2007 with the initial goals focused on operational efficiency and going paperless in our back office processes. The overall program has been widely acknowledged for its tremendous success and directly contributed to Lincoln Trust Company’s survival in the face of the global financial crisis. This paper discusses the continuation of the program and specifically describes our experiences implementing one of our most evolved BPM processes to date.

    Read More

  • Nokia Siemens

    Case Study: Nokia Siemens Networks

    Nokia Siemens Networks’ initial foray into Business Process Management (BPM) was the award-winning “Zeus” project which thoroughly transformed its Consulting & Systems Integration division and delivered an estimated €6 million annual productivity savings. Based on this success, NSN has now deployed a sophisticated, pan-organizational BPM Program, leveraging and extending the success of “Zeus” through one of the most mature Center of Excellence organizations in the BPM industry.

    Read More

  • Naval Special Warfare Group

    Case Study: Naval Special Warfare Group

    Naval Special Warfare (NSW) is a division within the U.S. Navy that includes more than 2,400 active-duty Special Warfare Operators, known as SEALs. All of these personnel are divided among “groups”. NSW Group 4 (NSWG4) consists of three Special Boat Teams (SBT) and one international training command—all working together towards the common goal of fighting the global war on terrorism. In the past, NSWG4 always had more than adequate numbers of craft, engines and spare parts. However, with today’s current high demand for combat operations, security force assistance (SFA) and fiscal downsizing, NSWG4 had to develop a different business sustainment model to complete missions with less assets.

    Read More

  • County of San Joaquin Calif

    Case Study: County of San Joaquin, Calif

    The modernization of San Joaquin County’s Integrated Justice Information System (IJIS) was a strategic initiative that started with setting our visions and goals to modernize interfaces and functions that continue to support the law and justice duties of the residents of San Joaquin County, Sheriff’s Office, Public Defender, District Attorney and Probation Department, as well as the needs of other local, state and national law enforcement entities. We focused on reducing unnecessary redundancy and consolidating like functions to decrease costs and improve overall system performance.

    Read More

  • Audi Japan KK

    Case Study: Audi Japan KK

    At a certain point of business maturity, companies find it necessary to increase productivity and efficiency in order to stay ahead of industry standards. Audi Japan KK, importer of Audi vehicles and subsidiary of Audi AG, discovered that to reach operational efficiency it was necessary to gain more control and visibility over its core management and administrative processes. To fulfill this objective, the financial department decided to develop a BPM initiative within the organization that would revolutionize the operations of Audi Japan KK.

    Read More

  • Farmers Insurance GroupFarmers Insurance
  • Lincoln Trust Lincoln Trust
  • Nokia Siemens Nokia Siemens
  • Naval Special Warfare Group NSWG
  • County of San Joaquin, Calif San Joaquin
  • Audi Japan KK Audi Japan KK