The Business Process Architecture structures the way customers are serivced and how this is supported and controlled by the organisation. A good process architecture secures that realistically set strategic goals are achieved through well-fitting division of labour, coöperation and control.
In order to do so we use an open systems approach to organisations. We investigate which end-to-end-processes or value streams exist and which work processes realise these chains. Work processes are the 'subsystems' in the organisation, with people and means that are required. This is visualised in the picture below.
The major issue for Business Process Architecture is which end-to-end-processes (value streams) exist and how process steps can be combined to work processes, that are executed by a concrete group of staff and means. Work processes are the building blocks for departments and teams in the organisational structure. When the structure is supposed to remain unchanged, the work processes are assigned to the existing departments. This will show if the organisational structure limits the possibilities for future operations and excellent customer service. The design of the process architecture forms an excellent basis for Business Architecture, since all organisational aspects are directly related.
Based on this point of view we developed a methodology for Business Process Architecture since the year 2000. Since then many architects have been trained en the approach is used in many organisations in the Netherlands.
The methodology has five (iterative) steps, in which the realisation of the process architecture is included, so agile architecture development is possible. We will shortly describe the five steps. An extensive discription can be found in the dutch book Procesarchitectuur als veranderinstrument (Business Process Architecture, instrument for transformation).
Step 1: Oriëntation and Process Architecture Action Plan
You need to understand where and why an architecture design is required before you start designing. This is the basis for the agreement on the action plan, that needs to fit with the organisational change approach. A proper oriëntation requires extracting the strategy and major issues for the organisation. Furthermore you require an overview of the products and services portfolio and the relevant stakeholders inside (and outside) the organisation.
Step 2: Define vision (principles) for the Process Architecture
This steps delivers a vision (main characteristic of architectures!) on the process architecture. The vision shows how strategy and relevant issues are translated to the processes and organisation of the business. The coherence and fit with all organisational aspects is an extremely important part of this endeavour.
Step 3: Design the primary process architecture
Delivering products and services to customers is why organisations exist and this is where you need to start the design. The controlling and supporting business processes must support an excellent operation of the primary processes. In this step you define the primary end-to-end-processes (high level) or value streams based on the products and services and the quantities and variance of the expected future delivery. The vision directs which classification of end-to-end-processes shows the relevant characteristics for the design. For each primary end-to-end-process the major steps are modeled in terms of the business function model and subseqently combined to work processes. The picture below explains these steps.
Different scenarios may appear to support analysis and decision making for the best solution. Each work process is described (not designed in detail) to establish the necessary staff and means, such as IT, housing, locations and appliances as well as the required culture and leadership style. This may sound like a time consuming task, but with the proper participants and experience this can be done quickly.
Step 4: Design the control and support process architecture
Based on the previous steps also the controlling and supporting end-to-end-processes are identified and analysed. The controlling processes may require a slightly different approach, since they should not be focussed on delivering (control) products only. When control or support issues cannot be solved you go back to the design of the primary process architecture, which may need simplification or other changes in order to enable good control and support.
Step 5: Realise the new business process architecture (or business architecture)
This step results in the necessary changes in the organisation and means, after detailing the new ways of working (business process design and design of information systems and other means). The change programm usually exists of multiple projects, in which parts of the planned architectures are realised. During realisation the architecture design forms the basis for framing and scoping project assignments. The detailed designs or (pilot) implementations may deliver knowledge that requires changing the business process architecture or other global designs. For large transformations several development stages will be defined that require their own (temporary) architecture design.
The figure below summarizes these steps for the Business Process Architecture Methodology.
This methodology delivers an integrated approach to designing and developing organisations, starting from the primary processes and external delivery of products and services. You require an extensive knowledge of (industrial) engineering and organisation science. Key to success is working with the right group of participants from operations and support staff. The book describes the methodology in more detail, including the techniques and knowledge required.
The approach is the basis for creating a strong business architecture or enterprise architecture. In the article What is Business Architecture this is further explained.
Interested to work with this methodology? Contact us to discuss the possibilities for support, training and projects!