Corporate Process Due-Diligence should include Business Agility

Registration is free. Login or register to view/download this content.


Co-Author of The Microguide to Process Modeling in BPMN 2.0,
I am a Senior Vice President at Innovations Software Technology Corp., a independent subsidiary of the Robert Bosch Group. During my tenure at Business Knowledge Architects (BKA), I served in a variety of operational and strategic roles encompassing consulting, engineering, finance, and general operations. Throughout my career I developed, championed and implemented methodology in government and at a variety of Global 1000 corporations. Prior to BKA, I was a technical manager with Oracle Government Consulting, specializing in enterprise integration initiatives for Oracle Financials. Mr. Debevoise was the Business leader of Oracle’s Government Financials business, where his team grew a start-up business to a $50M service line, one of the fastest growing and successful endeavors within Oracle. I started my career as a Professional Engineer, where I performed a wide variety of jobs, from design engineer to public works and infrastructure planning.

Business Agility is the ability to run profitably in changing economic conditions by producing high-quality, customer-focused goods and services. Theorists in business management and technology agree the key to achieving agility is in a focus on business processes.

For instance, In the February, 2007 issue of Harvard Business Review, “How Managers’ Everyday Decisions Create or Destroy Your Companies Strategy”, Bower and Gilbert describe intransigence of sales personnel at dealerships for a leading automotive manufacturer. The sales personnel would not ‘push’ sales for a low cost car, built to meet challenges from low-cost competition. The lack of incentive (or disincentive) to sell the car ruined the strategy, despite the product quality and market demand. This led me to infer that decisions without consequences are just suggestions, no matter who makes them. Bower and Gilbert surmise that firms should ‘Align bottom-up processes with top-down objectives’, or conduct due diligence in processes governance.

I would argue the automotive manufacturer’s product is a business agility failure of sales and marketing. The firm failed to develop incentives for existing salespersons, or a new sales team. ‘Aligning bottom-up practices with top-down objectives’ must be done with an eye on the agility factors involved: Sales and Marketing, Business Delivery, Personnel and Information Technology. In the future, all firms considering new resource allocations should consider a due-diligence effort that examines all the agility factors. And this in not just a suggestion, – the outcomes are obvious.

What to consider

Many thought leaders in business and technology believe Business Process Management (BPM) and Business Rules (Decision Management) is critical to achieving business agility. Business agility is not the immediate result of BPM and Business Rules. Business agility happens once core processes and decisions achieve a certain maturity. That is: they are documented and understood, institutionalized throughout the firm and added to the enterprise architecture. Then, processes can be choreographed as components that are technology agile (process maturity level 4). BPM/Rules is well suited to integrate statistical analysis of data into enterprise decision management. Many ‘technical’ agility tactics work by ‘tweaking’ the decision factors of the choreography with these statistics. For instance, a firm might aim subtle shifts in behavior according to an analysis of past performance: information decisions and outcome. Other, less diaphanous, tactics might require rewriting business rules that control a decision point in a process. Business agility uses these technically agile capabilities to achieve performance acceleration in a business area.

As firms ‘align their processes’, they should decide what type of agility is important for their strategies. For instance, agility in product variety may be critical for a consumer product company, whereas product variety is less important to a commodity producer. Therefore process due-diligence should identify and prioritize the type of business agility that is important to their strategies. Next firms should match these with a list of objectives for processes and business rules. It is a context for arranging the knowledge in the firm into a form that can become an agile, process-decision driven organization.

What to Do

Organization documenting processes and decisions complete a planning matrix such as the figure below. Processes are comprised of process participants, activities, and flow control and process data. Where flow control branches, or decides with the data, business rules should are defined. Business rules formalize a decision, or flow control point in the process.

Processes achieve a goal for the organization and goals are measured (or instrumented) with metrics. Many of these goals should be to improve core processes performance – agility goals. In turn, this might lead to developing more processes. Processes carry the data needed to compute these metrics; however, metrics must be informed by business rules (decisions).



The next diagram suggests how you might move this into a technical infrastructure. Each of the appropriate information plays a role in the technology.


The outcome should be to create business processes and business policies and supporting services that carry out agility objectives. This is the beginning of an iterative process, a starting point for building a core set of services that support business agility.

Obviously, an application built around processes and rules cannot replace the knowledge and intelligence needed to perform research or create new products and services. Yet most research or product development projects have clearly defined process activities and decision points. Digitizing these processes might be strengthened with decision analytics. At this point firms will better understand the resources and time required to complete them.

There are many native benefits to BPM/Rules that improve agility. For instance, workloads can be optimized among business units. The result should be a portfolio of agile processes and process features that increase agile responses to economic or competitive challenges.

Outcome: An Agile Core

Over time, companies that incorporate agility into their process/policy (rules) strategies will build an agility ‘back bone’ or agility core. An agile core is a collection of common process/rules/information structures that business agile processes will need to act on a simple level, as in the figure above. These underpinnings, including vocabulary, product/services, organizations, and personnel and training data structure should be critical to every process, and therefore every BPM/Rules initiative. What an agile core of services offers is a resource for:

  • Accelerated understanding
  • Instrumentation and control of critical programs in a firm
  • Improved, even surgical,  governance of policies and compliance
  • Improved accuracy

In the business case of the automotive manufacturer: had the firm considered the agility of its sales staff the result might have been different. Specifically, a base set of policies about sales management probably exists. A core process, with stakeholders and decisions should exist for changing this policy and aligning it with corporate strategy. Agile businesses can do this rapidly. This type of thinking is multidimensional and considers all the factors, core and agile.  This will improve performance of either an entire business strategy or a business project.

Similar Resources

Featured Certificate: BPM Specialist

Everyone starts here.

You're looking for a way to improve your process improvement skills, but you're not sure where to start.

Earning your Business Process Management Specialist (BPMS) Certificate will give you the competitive advantage you need in today's world. Our courses help you deliver faster and makes projects easier.

Your skills will include building hierarchical process models, using tools to analyze and assess process performance, defining critical process metrics, using best practice principles to redesign processes, developing process improvement project plans, building a center of excellence, and establishing process governance.

The BPMS Certificate is the perfect way to show employers that you are serious about business process management. With in-depth knowledge of process improvement and management, you'll be able to take your business career to the next level.

Learn more about the BPM Specialist Certificate





  • Business Process Management Specialist
  • Earning your Business Process Management Specialist (BPMS) Certificate will provide you with a distinct competitive advantage in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. With in-depth knowledge of process improvement and management, you’ll be able to take your business career to the next level.
  • BPM Professional Certificate
    Business Process Management Professional
  • Earning your Business Process Management Professional (BPMP) Certificate will elevate your expertise and professional standing in the field of business process management. Our BPMP Certificate is a tangible symbol of your achievement, demonstrating your in-depth knowledge of process improvement and management.


BPM Certification

  • Make the most of your hard-earned skills. Earn the respect of your peers and superiors with Business Process Management Certification from the industry's top BPM educational organization.




  • Operational Excellence Specialist
  • Earning your Operational Excellence Specialist Certificate will provide you with a distinct advantage in driving organizational excellence and achieving sustainable improvements in performance.


OpEx Professional Certificate

  • Operational Excellence Professional
  • Earn your Operational Excellence Professional Certificate and gain a competitive edge in driving organizational excellence and achieving sustainable improvements in performance.



  • Agile BPM Specialist
  • Earn your Agile BPM Specialist Certificate and gain a competitive edge in driving business process management (BPM) with agile methodologies. You’ll gain a strong understanding of how to apply agile principles and concepts to business process management initiatives.  

Business Architecture



  • Business Architecture Specialist
  • The Business Architecture Specialist (BAIS) Certificate is proof that you’ve begun your business architecture journey by committing to the industry’s most meaningful and credible business architecture training program.

  • Business Architecture Professional
  • When you earn your Business Architecture Professional (BAIP) Certificate, you will be able to design and implement a governance structure for your organization, develop and optimize business processes, and manage business information effectively.

BA CertificationCertification

  • Make the most of your hard-earned skills. Earn the respect of your peers and superiors with Business Architecture Certification from the industry's top BPM educational organization.




  • Digital Transformation Specialist
  • Earning your Digital Transformation Specialist Certificate will provide you with a distinct advantage in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. 


  • Digital Transformation Professional
  • The Digital Transformation Professional Certificate is the first program in the industry to cover all the key pillars of Digital Transformation holistically with practical recommendations and exercises.



  • Agile Business Analysis Specialist
  • Earning your Agile Business Analysis Specialist Certificate will provide you with a distinct advantage in the world of agile software development.


  • DAS Certificate
  • Decision Automation Specialist
  • Earning your Decision Automation Certificate will empower you to excel in the dynamic field of automated decision-making, where data-driven insights are pivotal to driving business innovation and efficiency.