Simplicity still rules for 2015

Over the years the concepts of enterprise architecture and business process management have evolved, the number and complexity of frameworks are growing, new hypes and acronyms are popping up like crocuses in spring. All approaches are aiming to deliver better support for business, more agile IT and closing the much-cited gap between business and IT (just to mention some of the chief targets). But taking a real world view at enterprises, the majority of organizations are still far away from architecture’s wonderland.

CrosusSpring 1024x640There are several reasons we may discuss for this divide between technology (read: methodologies and tools) and the reality in practices. Just to consider a few road blocks between the now-picture in many, maybe most organizations and becoming an enterprise which is living process excellence with continuous improvements of business processes.

Project driven initiatives fizzle out and can’t deliver sustainability unless adequate momentum is achieved at all levels of the organization: from the top management consenting to continuously invest in this technology (‘how do we calculate ROI of BPM?’), the process owner’s willingness to change and the employee’s motivation toward being a vital part in these initiatives. The objectives of initiatives must be reasonable, implementation simple and robust, information gathered with low effort and easily shared between the different roles in an organization to secure the success of improvements.

Key to the success of a project is the understanding of the overall initiative and specific core concepts by all participants. This can be compared with popular widgets in daily life like car GPS systems. They do a great job because they are simple and people understand their value; finding the best way to a location. In our enterprise architecture world the methodologies are the map, EA/BPA tools are the vehicle to forward initiatives to their targets. These also must be simple and easy to use in order to obtain understanding and attain broad and deep voluntary adoption.

Let us compare the featured BPMN standard and the success of a tool like NIMBUS Control (now TIBCO Nimbus). The focus of Control is communication using a very simplified language with a much reduced notation to describe business processes. The implemented concept is sufficient to describe compliance, share information and involve business lines to gain momentum for BPM initiatives. This BPM simplicity has seen much success in the market for professional tools. Comparing this approach with tools implementing a rich BPMN notation we see that the standard is often implemented inappropriately by teams; deliverables created are too technical and not accepted by the business side. These BPMN tools do a great job for specific “project” BPMN (implementation of IT systems), but not for Enterprise BPM implementing process excellence.

In 2013 I wrote about the famous Bauhaus style “Less is more” – how much “tooling” you really need for process modeling. In 2015 BPM-X’s clear focus is the simplicity of its Visio based BPM tools which feature the real world matching of business process models with real time process performance data. Process information and KPI data are then publishable; speaking directly to the various roles in an enterprise so each from their own chair can understand, decide and act for continuous business improvement.

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