The End of Excellence?

  • April 22, 2010
  • Scott

Theo Priestley once again has me thinking with this post asking “Is This the End of BPM Centre of Excellence?“:

There are two trains of thought at play. In recent interviews on Redux, Vinay Mummigati of Virtusa said “A BPM center of excellence (COE) is an absolute must for organizations planning to adopt BPM across the enterprise. As companies adopt BPM in more than a single department they often start seeing challenges in terms of standardization, scalability, performance and governance.

And yet there was a completely different perspective taken by Max J Pucher of ISIS Papyrus who stated “…if there is one thing that Social BPM could knock down, it is the Process Center of Excellence and the related bureaucracy overhead!

Ever a pragmatist, I would suggest that inside any firm that can adopt “social” media techniques, the Center of Excellence has to adapt its traditional role.  Instead of being primarily a governance and gatekeeping organizations, the mission should be re-defined as:

  • Providing expert resources for BPM initiatives to draw on – no matter how much participation and spread of BPM skills, there will always be process improvement specialists who have more knowledge and context than the average participant.
  • Providing social infrastructure for collaboration – wikis, BPM collaboration platforms, Sharepoint sites, email lists-  whatever is most appropriate for the organization. Lower the barrier to entry for collaboration among your BPM practitioners, users, and participants.
  • Encouraging and Curating the content generated from “Social” BPM and collaborative activities.  Knowledge workers need positive reinforcement for their participation in social BPM, and with the greater volume of content the CoE’s role will shift to be more editorial rather than primary authorship.
  • Breaking down barriers to communication and collaboration, rather than creating new chains of command and approval.

It isn’t that there isn’t a need for experts-  there is!  But the role of those experts changes from manager-governor to coach-collaborator.  Of course, being an outside consultant, this isn’t a stretch for us to see the writing on the wall -because this is the role we already play for our customers.

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