Harmon points out that this view is somewhat reinforced in Version 2.0 of the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABoK), in that it basically defines how a Business Analyst should go about defining the business problems that are to be automated.
I have found this traditional role is often an unwitting accomplice for business managers that subscribe to the Magic Bullet Theory of IT. These managers overlook the feasible improvements to processes and procedures that would minimize the costs of developing and providing ongoing support for software and, furthermore, the obedient Business Analyst helps them with the specifications of the gun and to broker the arms deal!
This role of intermediary between the business and IT is not what is needed in the future. Harmon quotes, Thomas Volmering, the SAP Product Manager who coined the term Business Process Expert (BPx):
"As companies focus more on business processes, they will need individuals who can help their organizations with all of the various problems that are joined under the term Business Process Management."Harmon uses the term "Business Process Practitioner" to describe the range of skills needed to address BPM problems and really change the way organisations operate:
- Defining processes, eliminating activities that don't add value and straightening out the flow of the activities.
- Analyzing employee performance, defining jobs and structuring training to support performance.
- Establishing and aligning measurement systems and evaluating how managers plan and control the processes they manage.
- Determining how business policies are implemented in business rules.
- Understand why processes work or don't work from the information available, the feedback people get, and the incentives and bonuses that structure employee and managerial behavior.
- Analysing customer needs and the processes customers go through to interact with an organization.
To be effective this role should be located in a Centre of Excellence, apart from the IT function, providing expert advice and support to senior executives and business process owners in shaping value creating processes.
Paul Harmon is Executive Editor and Founder of BPTrends, author of Business Process Change, and participated in the development of the International Institute of Business Analysis'(IIBA) Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABoK).