I have become increasingly concerned that in the typical enterprise the major business improvement disciplines operate to some extent as silos. EA is often disconnected from Business Architecture. BPM is frequently not well connected with EA and Application Modernization. Governance is commonly applied at discipline level rather than being coordinated across discipline. I have blogged on these topics recently in Beware the New Silos! and Silos What Silos!
The term Parallel Universe comes to mind in which a hypothetical self-contained separate reality coexists with one's own. Although strictly we should refer to this as a Multiverse, let’s not get too technical. Think about it for a moment; disciplines are inward looking, they have their own language, industry standards, specialists, champions, culture and sponsors. In fact they have a significant critical mass of their own. Furthermore we can observe standards bodies for the various disciplines expanding their scope to encroach on the natural space of other disciplines, instead of establishing agreed boundaries and coordination mechanisms.
In the BPM world there appears to be a profusion of frameworks, all of which cover similar ground, but no real convergence. Other disciplines have equivalent frameworks, and they are similarly discipline centric. No surprise here. They all use different perspectives to manage dimensions of a common business objective. The issue is that all these frameworks need to work in a coordinated, networked manner. But in addition to the culture, language and other areas of difference mentioned above, they operate on different life cycles and timescales in a concurrent but often conflicting manner frequently with very fragmentary coordination.
I don’t believe we need yet another framework to address this question. There are a huge number of possible dependencies and interfaces, and given the heterogeneous nature of the overall business improvement environment, it seems preferable to encourage outcomes not techniques. What I propose is that because governance is typically exerted for each discipline, what’s required is a set of governance review criteria for each discipline that raises the key questions that allows the organization to monitor and govern across discipline.
In this month’s CBDI Journal I have introduced such a cross discipline governance system. I have suggested a simple approach which extends the widely used COBIT governance framework. There’s no attempt to say “how” the disciplines should work together; simply to focus attention on the outcome for the collaboration to ensure that appropriate coordination is considered.