I have received a pretty wide spread of opinion in regard to the "New Corporate World Order". This blarticle predicts the emergence of (and need for) a Chief Process Officer as a compliment (or some might argue - a replacement) to the CIO. It also predicts the need for a PDLC (Process Development Lifecycle) which will look IMHO very similar to a traditional SDLC. As there has been such interesting comment so far, i wanted to post a few of the "no way!" comments and one big general response from Tonya McKinney, Newmerix VP of Marketing (and owner of ChiefProcessOfficer.com) which i found pretty thought provoking (she originally sent it to me in email - I have copied it here).
Position: Not Gonna Happen
I applaud the journey but I'm not sure I agree with the destination.
We're in an IT constrained environment, spending isn't increasing and CIO/CTOs are being asked to do more with less...what companies are going to OK the creation of a new layer of CxO complexity?
Nice idea but I can't see how this is practical. SAP is offering a proscriptive approach to the issue of managing that most volatile of commodities - human beings.
I don't believe there is such a thing as a generalised 'best practice' for any process, except at a moment in time. Then circumstances change and poof - you're off again, trying to figure the next best practice.
If current developments around the edge are teaching us anything, it should be that people adapt rapidly to change, especially when they're offered simple solutions - eg any of the 37Signals stuff, wiki, blogs, podcasts and video blogs. Not as a social media experiment but as a way of communicating how the job gets done or plugging a nagging gap.
Surely the requirement therefore is to capture the distilled wisdom/knowledge of that coming from the bottom up and incorporate THAT into our so-called process maps.
We've had 15+ years of SAP imposing processes upon large enterprises. Has it delivered value? If it hasn't - and most would agree ERP implementations have only delivered one shot cost savings, then I'd argue this is a flawed approach. Unless SAP knows something about top down management the rest of us are missing. The last time I checked, it reeked of mushroom compost.
Position: You'd Better Get Ready For It
Posted by: Tonya McKinney (via Niel Robertson), Newmerix, VP Marketing | May 22, 2006
Companies will be OK with this because we're not adding a new layer, we're transforming CIOs into CPOs. We're not adding complexity, we're transforming IT so that it delivers true, intrinsic value to the organization by capturing, teaching, refining, and automating business processes. Why isn't spending increasing in IT? You got no business case for any of the stuff you want to spend money on! IT is becoming a commodity and that's why we outsource it. Why are you constrained? You've constrained yourselves to building, deploying, and managing software, which is not the end, it's the means. Own the end! Own the business process! By turning Information Technology into Business Process Technology, IT becomes core to the business again, and no way do you outsource your core. Your business processes are not commodities [sic - this was every SAP Executive's mantra at SAPPHIRE 06].
Look, this is not so far-fetched. The CIO already owns major pieces of this Business Process Enablement story: Business Analysts, Enterprise Software (ERP, CRM, etc.), and Business Process Technology. In fact, I'd say that IT has been doing business process work for its entire history, but IT hasn't realized that was what it was doing, so it wasn't done too well. Here's how you get the rest of the pieces...
The CPO will be responsible for documenting, teaching, refining, automating, and monitoring business process. To do this, he/she must have control or influence over the three components of inspired business process: the Process, the People, the Technology.
1) Process: Add or enhance business process consulting skills. Take those BAs, add some management consultants/process re-engineers, and go to school on business process. Learn to take BPs apart, learn how to determine the business impact/cost, figure out the metrics, find where to automate and where not to automate, and then start measuring your impact. You'll work closely with business owners to make them more successful at what they do, and then they'll fight to get the attention of your BPT team. DON'T look for people who have experience in the business process sets: CRM, ERP, etc.--you'll just get somebody else's sad ol' best practice BP. DO look for people who understand the mechanics of business process and can make ANY process better.
2) People: Embrace the business user. Look, I know you want to ignore them and make hilarious jokes about their lack of technical prowess, but face it, business process is meaningless without business users. Of course, the CPO can't "own" all the employees. Instead own employee success with the business process. Take over training, focus on usability, make adoption job one. Judge yourself on how fast, accurate and effective you can make a process, and then how quickly and intuitively employees learn it.
3) Technology: The CIO already has control over the technology tools and techniques to enable business processes and people--just get your head out of SLA (minimum requirements to not piss anyone off more than you already have) and worry about BPC (business process commitment: how fast can we make it, how many steps can we eliminate, how seamlessly can we make it end-to-end). Yes, BPM/BPEL. Yes, workflow, notifications and approvals. Yes, Business Intelligence. Yes, Web services. Yes, IT Relationship Management. All these will allow you to be fast and flexible with business processes.
There it is in three easy pieces. It won't happen overnight. You'll need to phase this in with discrete projects and measureable wins. Start by making nice with a business line owner, define a project, deliver some value, and learn a few lessons (Order Management is always a great place to start). Now, go take the Director of Training to lunch.