Case Study: Framework for Business Process

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Brett Champlin leads business and IT process redesign projects for Allstate. He led the development of an enterprise process model repository and the selection of the enterprise process modeling, analysis and design tools. He has over 20 years of experience working in IT systems and management.

In New York, Brett will present an approach to defining all of the parts of an enterprise’s process management environment in a structured framework. This framework can be used to build a repository to organize, navigate, measure, and manage a business’s process information assets. The framework also can be used as a roadmap for strategy and management of the whole business process environment.

Brett told me he has worked with business process architectures for a long time and has seen medium and large companies end up with hundreds of process models made with different tools using different standards and notations. They usually are lost or ignored and seldom used.

Many definitions of business process models exist, depending on what they are used for and which business unit created them. A high-level business analyst will produce a different process model than a systems analyst. A framework for business processes defines terms and creates a perspective for people to see the models, what processes they address, and how they work. This gives everyone a common frame of reference and a common terminology to see how all the processes can work together. The framework aligns and organizes business processes and the underlying IT systems that support them and includes all the models, artifacts, documentation, and information. Brett described his framework as a design model for a process architecture repository. After this process repository exists, business processes can be seen, analyzed, and linked together to provide information that couldn’t be accessed before, giving much needed insight into what the business is doing and where it should go.

Brett said, “Basically the idea is to create a blueprint of your business process architecture that shows what business processes you have. If we have a framework that starts at a very high level and puts everything into the enterprise context, what the major core processes are, and what are the support and control processes and how we address and map things to them, we can see, recognize, and replicate the best practices, getting value from them.”

Brett said that while there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, his talk will cover an approach to developing a framework that ensures that all bases are covered and all business needs met. Brett added that this is more a business process than a system process. Coming from the IT side, he has moved to the business side because his job is to bridge the gap between the two.

Brett isn’t going to delve into the technical details of how this framework is built. He said that, in his experience, as soon as he begins talking about the technical side, the business-side people stop listening. That’s a problem because they are the ones who need this information most. His goal is to structure a framework that starts with the end in mind, along with the company’s direction and goals. There are dozens of different ends, but the idea is to set the goal and decide what to do, which then determines the framework. How you set it up will either help or hinder you, so a lot of thought needs to go into the framework creation and organization.

The result is a business process framework where everyone speaks the same language. It is a tool for better understanding and communication. More importantly, it can be used as a roadmap for strategy and management of the whole business process environment.

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