Posted by: Adam Deane | 28/10/2011

BPM as a Catalyst

BPM as a CatalystI had planned to publish a post on changes in the Enterprise Architecture world this week. I was looking for something witty with some interesting insight about “the evolution of EA” following my post on “Occupy BPM“.

It’s one of those topics where you think, rethink and overthink. And in the end nothing gets published.

After changing and redoing, redoing and changing – I gave up.
So… just so I can get it out of my system and move on to the next topic , I’ll just say:

Enterprise Architecture is changing.. Evolving would be a better description.
The peasants are revolting. The old definition of how the enterprise architecture is about information being pushed from the IT into the Business, is now about how information is being pulled from the IT into the Business.

The change might sound a little petty, but its impact is huge.

EA is slowly moving towards Business Technology with the emphasis on analytics, impact analysis, revenue and growth… and less on data, application and technology.
“Revenue” and “Costs” are now being used instead of “Applications” and “Interfaces”.
The target audience is changing: COOs instead of CIOs, CFOs instead of IT Managers

Business Process Management suites are being used by EAs as a catalyst. The ability to run real processes instead of just creating high level objects. The ability to gather information to analysis instead of just simulating scenarios.

Adding BPM to their tool kit enables Enterprise Architects to be in a place where they can have a real impact on the organisation: Creating business growth and revenue instead of trying to find ways to save money.
Making the architect’s role more innovative: enabling them to discover new business opportunities, speed up business cycles, manage budgets, resource management…
Enabling them to analyse business data: measuring customer satisfaction, ROI…

Bottom line: Enterprise Architecture is changing and Business Process Management will empower EAs, change their role, making them indispensable to the organisation.


  1. Adam, totally agree on the connection between architecture and process. But the point is that users have no idea what they want to ‘pull’.

    I see therefore architecture as the definition of the ‘language of process’. BPM thus depends on architecture and not the other way round. But it is a moot point, because an architect can make all the drawing he wants if there aren’t any skilled workers to understand and create something from them.

    Too many enterprise architects today think that they are ‘the IT gods in white’ who control what the business does. They need to change their thinking to how can they create a language that business can use to describe what they need for IT. Than they can start to pull. It is a service job for the users and not a control job for IT.

    Thanks, Max

    More here:

  2. I totally agree with Max’s perspective that adds to your own points, Adam. In a recent Process Forum held by Software AG to promote Aris and webMethods in the Middle East, there was an interesting case presented by Deutshe Borse where they created a department called StatistiX and incorporated into their operational processes. This unit comprised of tech-savvy business users and business-savvy technocrats. While in principle, their focus was on reporting and business intelligence, their strategy to make the unit and integral part of business operations does carry some weight.

    Perhaps, EA/BPM needs to become an active unit (service-oriented) in the operations of an organization and hence, always having a pulse on it. I don’t yet know how this may be achieved, but that strategy did arouse my curiosity and interest.

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