Competence centers are not new in business environment. There are many reasons why an organization would like to establish a competence center. Consequently there are also many different manifestations of a competence center or center of excellence as it is sometimes called. Some competence centers are focused on a specific discipline, e.g. Business Intelligence Competence Centers or Business Process Competence Centers. Others are focused on a specific product or platform, e.g. a SAP Competence Center.
The common denominator is that they all want to bundle scarce resources, promote standardization and re-use, and accelerate implementation time. However, the level in which this competence center is engaged can differ from setting direction and executing the directives as well, to only enabling functions like guiding, coaching, training or auditing, and combinations of these functions.
Organizations in the public and private sector choose a business process management platform for realizing their strategic goals. More mature organizations are more likely to choose an iBPMS (intelligent Business Process Management Suite). It is essential that in-house competences are in place in order to reap the full benefits from the iBPMS technology. An iBPMS competence center helps to achieve this ambition.
iBPMS benefits are worthwhile to share
This blog article focuses on the characteristics and implementation of such an iBPMS competence center. The text is derived from Blueprint for an iBPMS competence center.
Definition, Mission and Goal
It may be obvious that there is a level of overlap with BPMS or BPM competence centers, nevertheless an iBPMS competence center is a special instrument given the technology that is being used, the complexity that must be addressed and the organizational impact of implementing an iBPMS.
An iBPMS competence center is an actual or
virtual organizational entity that guides and supports customers in the
introduction, development, maintenance and evolution process of applications
that are built with the iBPMS.
The mission of the iBPMS competence center is to make, as soon as possible, working with the iBPMS “New Business as usual”, by resolving competence, process and governance issues.
The goal of the competence center is to facilitate transition of an organization to the required maturity level in order to achieve and maximize success in creating business value with iBPMS based applications.
The iBPMS competence center provides transition support at three levels, which are:
- Creating organizational willingness, by
- Evangelizing the vision
- Educating people
- Developing organizational readiness, by
- Developing competences and helping the organization to become self-sufficient
- Promoting standardization and create alignment
- Enhancing organizational result orientation, by
- Providing and assuring methods and means
- Monitoring the business case and improve business operations using the iBPMS.
Objective and Role
The main objective of the iBPMS competence center is to act as an instrument or mechanism for the transition process by offering a structure that:
- enables organizations to make better use of the scarce expertise and skills available within the organization;
- enables organizations to exploit and leverage the experience gained from the various implementations;
- enables organizations to align the organization toward a standardized and reusable use of iBPMS components/capabilities;
- reduces risk;
- maximizes outcome and coherence;
- guides organizations towards a goal oriented transition.
By offering this structure and helping the organization to use it as a lever the iBPMS competence center supports the transitioning from the old way of working to the new way of working.
The role of the iBPMS competence center is
to help to bridge the gap between the present and required competence level for
realizing business ambitions.
Business value = level of ambition + solution + level of competence
The competence level comprises Organizational and Methods & Means related competences. Organizational competences are people-related. They are focused on aspects like training, roles and behavior. Methods and Means related competences focus on processes and tooling. Examples are procedures, practices, templates, modeling and analyzing tools.
An iBPMS competence center is an important mechanism to coordinate iBPMS related initiatives and perpetuates the benefits throughout the organization. It has responsibilities at different levels:
- to translate the strategic, customer-value view of the iBPMS;
- to facilitate the continuous improvement of business processes with the iBPMS;
- to nurture innovation in process improvement with the iBPMS;
- to coordinate and align process improvement activities with the iBPMS;
- to support change management activities associated with process improvement projects with the iBPMS;
- to track the benefits delivered from process improvement and management initiatives;
- to provide an internal iBPMS related research and analysis resource for the organization
- to keep methods and tools up to date, and to promote and support their use in all iBPMS specific initiatives;
- to support the use of systems built with the iBPMS technology;
- to provide iBPMS related training and learning facilities;
- to harvest and share iBPMS -related knowledge and successful iBPMS related outcomes.
The blueprint of an iBPMS competence center is based on a set of guiding principles.
The iBPMS competence center:
- enables strategy to execution conversion,
- stimulates business-IT alignment,
- acts as a transition catalyst,
- focuses on competence aspects,
- supports processes end-to-end,
- enables continuous improvement,
- is a temporary Means to reach an End.
These principles will be reflected in the
manifestations and functions of the competence center. However they have to be
situated within a clearly defined scope. An iBPMS competence center is focused on
competence aspects that are related to choosing, implementing, maintaining and
evolving iBPMS based applications. It provides the way of working to bring
together expertise, experience and best practices. The competence center facilitates in doing
the right things and doing the things right, without being compromised by
day-to-day project activities and choices. In this sense an iBPMS competence center
should not be regarded as being a project or program office that is responsible
for implementing iBPMS based solutions.
Scope of the iBPMS competence center
There will be more competence center-alike units within an organization. The scope of the iBPMS competence center is restrained to the use of the iBPMS technology and related visions and methods and its direct interfaces with the environment. With interfaces we mean explicitly all sorts of interfaces (e.g. human, methodology-wise and technical) that will or may have an impact on the use of the iBPMS. Other types of support have to be fulfilled by other (internal or external) parties.
Setting up a competence center generates multiple benefits related to working with the iBPMS, like:
- Adoption of vision
- Managed coherence
- Elevation and exploitation of expertise and skills
- Normalization of practices
- Acceleration of results
- Embedded quality assurance
- Evocation of opportunities
For more information see: Blueprint for an iBPMS competence center.
Image on front cover of 'Blueprint for an iBPMS competence center'