March 3rd 2016

7 Common Roles in Successful BPM Programs

Behind every successful BPM program is a team of professionals with specialized and differing skillsets. BPM initiatives are not about communicating a change plan, or optimizing processes, or implementing an enterprise-wide technical solution. They are about all of these things, and the makeup of BPM teams should reflect this.

Depending on the size of an organization, teams feature all, or a combination, of the following roles:

Business Process Director – The Business Process Director is responsible for overseeing an organization’s entire process improvement program. They obviously play a vital part in managing the people beneath them in the organizational hierarchy, but they also are the source of vision and direction for their team. BPM projects that do not feature a clearly established leader lack the strategic thinking that is the backbone of organizational change. Even in smaller companies, one person should assume this leadership position.

Business Process Consultant – Business Process Consultants are the most advanced pure BPM experts of the bunch. Consultants and Directors are like two sides of the same coin, with the Consultant providing technical know-how to supplement the Director’s management skills. Consultants have a depth of knowledge about BPM systems and their implementation, from modeling software selection to process optimization to the creation of custom applications.

The Process Director and Process Consultants together form the foundation of a BPM project. For smaller organizations, adding a few less senior team members for hands-on work can be all that’s required to get a project off the ground. Even if they’re not making many high-level strategic decisions, these individuals are equally important to a program’s success. Executional needs are filled by employees with job titles such as:

Business Analyst – Business Analysts are responsible for identifying and suggesting improvements to existing processes, but they don’t always need great expertise in the transformational or technical aspects of BPM projects.

Project Manager – Project Managers, meanwhile, ensure that work is delivered in a timely and effective manner. In tandem with the Process Director, they can help to define the scope of work required and develop a project plan.

For larger projects, you will often see the introduction of team members with skill levels in between that of director and analyst. These employees are particularly strong in one of the core competencies of BPM, allowing them to focus their energy on a single piece of the overall initiative. Examples of these positions include:

Business Process Architect – Business Process Architects resemble Directors in that they must have a full understanding of business operations, with vast knowledge about end-to-end processes. This business strategy expertise is what truly differentiates Architects, but they are often also fluent in management methodologies such as Lean or Six Sigma

Business Process Champion – BPM Champions are tasked with being the voice of continual improvement within an organization, ensuring that decisions are made with the future of the program in mind. Champions should be well-versed in techniques for achieving buy-in and communicating the value of BPM to the organization as a whole. It is their responsibility to help the Director in creating a culture that is accepting of and excited about process-thinking.

Solution Architect – Solution Architects provide technical support and offer a balance to the communications-oriented Process Champions. These individuals are well-versed in various BPM suites and are able to bring analytics and decision management into the fold. They also understand the link between BPM and any existing ERP systems, combining discipline with technology to maximize results.

You will undoubtedly find that job titles and definitions vary from organization to organization. Size, industry and culture can all combine to turn one company’s “BPM Champion” into another’s “Process Evangelist.” That being said, the skillsets required for a BPM project are constant. Transformational change cannot occur without a foundation of strong business knowledge, and strong business knowledge should be supported by technical expertise (whether from within the BPM team or outside IT). The same is of course true in any order. Regardless of titles, a truly successful program will be carried out by a well-rounded team that features all of BPM’s skills.