Business Process Management (BPM)

Aug 30, 2020
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In the computer age, we’ve limped along literally for a human lifetime without blueprints for business knowledge and the vocabulary used to communicate it. How well is that working out?

If you have any doubt, do a quick internet search on all the problems associated with ‘data quality’ and their costs. Or look at the still dismal success rates of IT projects. Or consider how much sharper your decisions could be if the data were better.

A business knowledge blueprint, whose core component is a concept model, permits you to deeply analyze your concepts, your vocabulary, and your business knowledge. In this post, Ron explains all the critical reasons you need that blueprint.

Jun 14, 2020
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Business process mapping is the most indispensable technique for performance improvement and technology innovation initiatives. More than just boxes and arrows, the process map reveals the “magic” and wisdom of how and why work gets done.

Sadly, too many professionals give process mapping short shrift. Here are 10 tips that will ensure process mapping helps you achieve full potential from your improvement/innovation project.

May 17, 2020
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No-one (in their right mind anyway!) ever sets out to design processes that qualify in the above categories, so why then do we end up with them?  This might be because of tight deadlines, not starting with the customer in mind, not testing the processes with the target audience or even not updating implemented processes once they are found to be sub-optimal or S.U.C.K.’y… Whatever the reasons, we should seek to prevent the creation of processes like these by all means.

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One of the Sidebars to the Business Agility Manifesto introduces the notion of Reconfiguration Agility. It’s a fundamental capability your organization needs in the Knowledge Age. What’s it about?  In the big scheme of things, you have two basic choices for conceiving, and ultimately implementing, business capabilities: procedural or declarative. They are fundamentally different.  Traditionally, the vast majority of business systems have been modeled and constructed on a largely procedural basis – virtually all things tied together step-by-step in processes. Unfortunately, that procedural approach simply doesn’t scale.

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In a classic business analyst universe, requirements are the soul of all the work a business analyst does. If a business analyst fails to identify and translate the right requirements, they’re out of a job. This is the reason why a successful business analyst is always good at requirements handling/management process. What makes requirements...
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Chaos! Stress! Everyday mess! Isn’t this an everyday situation for a business analyst? If not, either you’ve job satisfaction or you’re not being introduced to the real world of business analysis.

A person might possess great skills, however, (s)he might not be able to utilize skills without the right mix of tools and environment. A toolbox enables a person to implement the skills in the most efficient way. Possessing necessary tools is just the one part of it. Another is the knowledge to utilize the right tools at the right time to cater the solution and ensure timely committed delivery.

What are these tools? How do we map the usage of tools to the given circumstance? How can we efficiently utilize the tool? Does it depend on the solution or the approach?

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In a large firm, a business analyst (BA) organization makes an effort to identify, analyze and provide a solution to the above questions. A BA organization is a prime pillar in optimizing resources to provide maximum value out of it to the business.

A BA organization consists of business analysts in various roles like Product Manager, Program Manager, Project Manager, Business Analyst, Business Systems Analyst, Business Systems Consultant, Business Process Analyst etc.  The prime objective is to analyze business to maximize value addition.

To understand more about the BA organization, it is important to understand what is business analysis

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The success of process improvement projects is greatly influenced by good planning for gathering requirements or user stories. Part of the planning is identifying which of the analysis techniques will be effective for the elicitation of business needs with stakeholders. One objective for these techniques is to enhance project team collaboration by establishing a common understanding of the business process, thus providing a knowledge basis for developing changes. This article explores using job task instructions as an analysis technique for supporting project team collaboration by providing a platform to keep team members informed with the decisions on workplace changes.

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When my older son graduated from college, he worked as an intern for a professional sports team. At the end of his very first day of work he called me, puzzled. "I asked them what my responsibilities were," he related, "and they said, 'We need you to know what we are supposed to be doing'." After a long pause he went on, "I wanted to ask them why they didn't already know what they were supposed to be doing, but I didn't think that would be such a great idea my very first day there."
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A list of business analysis techniques is pretty extensive and from year to year new techniques appear, or become more formalised, and are adopted by business analysts all over the world. Some techniques become more popular and are widely used and some are used rare or only when a specific need arises. But definitely there are techniques that became very popular and are used on a daily basis and even become buzz words for some people. These techniques are mainly used to create solution design and they are business process maps, use cases, user stories, wireframes and business rules. Sometimes even business analysts are confused how they should create solution design and what techniques they should use.
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There are several interpretations of Business Process Design, which is concerned with devising a cost-effective approach for the various tasks to be performed in a business. Here is mine which has worked effectively for me for several years. It's not a matter of what tools I use, but rather understanding the principles behind the design process itself.
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BA needs to ensure that any process improvements benefit the end-customer – a quicker delivery, higher quality, or a less expensive product/service from the eyes of the customer. But what happens if the BA only evaluates a sub process? Can the end-customer value be harmed (i.e., slower delivery, lower quality, more expensive product or service)? 
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Data migration is typically the most forgotten or underestimated component of an IT project which is the process of making a copy of data and moving it from one system to another, preferably without disrupting or disabling active business processes. On some occasions, it is not easy to understand that a data migration is needed in the project and ...
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As of this writing, the city of Houston is still struggling with their pothole process. The point of this article is not to recommend a solution, but a path to resolution and a profound lesson learned. Not all problems are resolved by just “throwing money” at it. In fact, the lack of a budget being used is an indication of a process problem.

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The PBD starts with examining the end-product data elements and associated business rules. The BA team then uses this information to redesign a process that produces the end-product. Special note about the team. The lead BA should remind the team members that this is a redesign effort. This is a real challenge especially for the team members who are knowledgeable with the existing process. It may be best to recruit team members with a “fresh pair of eyes.” Note that there is no doubt that the BA team will consider automation in the redesign. In this effort, the BA team should keep in mind a quote attributed to Bill Gates [3] on BPM.

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. [7]

In my experience, all benefits come from redesigning or improving existing processes, not by applying automation through software. Software only facilitates the process improvement.

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