After you have your first few BPM projects complete, it is natural to begin looking at sustainability and best practices. A typical way to approach this is to build a Center of Excellence (COE), but companies have to avoid the PMO (Program Management Office) trap. Corporate level PMOs were set up to do the same thing, but only a few have been successful. Keeping your COE (or PMO) lean and focused is key. A good strategy is making it a rotational role so it doesn't become an ivory tower and make sure that it is composed of cross-functional people with line experience.
What does a COE do? It serves as the knowledge repository for the organization on BPM strategy, methodology, tools, market changes, processes, business cases, templates, etc. The team should be versed in multiple approaches to process management (e.g., BPR, BPMG training, Six Sigma, Lean) and should understand system development with experiences with BPMS, BI, DW, and EAI. Essentially, they are acting as internal consultants to evaluate projects, create the business case, recommend the right approach, and make sure teams are successful.
The COE is going to answer questions like: How long should this take? Are their re-usable sub-processes or services that we should link into? Is this the right BPMS? How do we integrate with our existing data warehouse or document management system? How do you analyze our processes? What works well? What doesn't work?
A few articles on this:
- Moving On Growing the Team's BPM Capabilities - key points include conduct benchmarking, evaluate different approaches, take an iterative approach, build experience on the right types of projects, address governance early.
- Infosys Presentation - key points include building standards, doing market analysis, linking efforts, and knowledge management.
- IT Toolbox Blog - talks about the process culture which become critical as you move from functional focus to process focus and address the issue of governance.
- Allstate Article - this is an old article (2002) but it talks about Allstate's Process COE that they built in 1997. some of the key points are building models and templates, linking projects to the enterprise vision, and moving to process stewardship.
This is a key topic so I will continue to add to this, but it is an important part of your roadmap as you embrace BPM.