Just this past week I was speaking to a group of consulting professionals comprised of sales and delivery folks. During a rather invigorating discussion about process excellence and how an organization can go about addressing the challenges inherent in striving for it, I realized that there is one aspect that we must discuss more explicitly – the aspect of process governance. With the talk of executable process models more prevalent these days, it becomes all the more relevant that organizations find a way to preserve the integrity of the foundation platform while allowing the creativity of its end-users to express itself in a relatively uninhibited fashion.
In my discussions with various customers and practitioners it is clear that process excellence is necessary for SOA success. Also, leveraging available SOA enabling tools is an effective way to bring about process excellence. This business of achieving process excellence calls for the creativity of business process owners to be unleashed. If this is not managed well, there is real danger of a chaotic experience overshadowing the benefits of process renewal. Should an organization, therefore, clamp down on this forthright expression of creativity? Should an organization do this without any boundaries or discipline? The answer is “No” in both cases. What is needed is a framework that will keep unbridled creative instincts in check. Let us not forget that in this post-Enron era organizations are ever more answerable to regulatory bodies and the integrity of data and process controls cannot be overemphasized.
Also, from a purely business process perspective it is important that individuals do not expend unnecessary energy in defining or accomplishing something that has already been an accepted best practice for the organization. If there were a way to leverage the wealth of accumulated knowledge around best industry and business practices, that could certainly make refining business models a lot more efficient. A framework that does so based on sound governance principles is what is needed to satisfy this requirement. This framework should be geared toward providing access to process best practices treasured by the organization.
So, in essence, the framework that would serve an organization best is one that not only serves as a knowledge management tool or provides easy and ready access to stored knowledge capital, but also has process checks and balances that guide users as they seek to refine and renew processes.
Does your organization have a declared approach to process governance? What are some of the steps your enterprise is taking to address this?