in past blogs you’ve heard me talk about the need for collaboration across business process management (BPM), service-oriented architecture (SOA) and master data management (MDM) initiatives. I’ve also discussed how most of these initiatives tend to be initially focused on a “far-less-than-enterprise” scope of effort – in many cases targeting for improvement one business process, application development project or domain area of data. And, I’ve tried to drill home the point that each of these initiatives are of less value to the organization than when through collaboration the sum of the parts becomes greater than the whole.
But, I do not want to oversimplify the issue of transition strategy from project-oriented BPM, SOA and MDM to broader enterprise-wide collaboration. Arguably, less than 5% of all organizations are doing BPM, SOA and MDM at the same time, and those who are doing all three are generally not doing them in collaboration to any great extent. Moreover the maturity of the disciplines and technologies for each of these initiatives is at different stages of mainstream readiness.
SOA is the most mature and well into mainstream use in IT organizations, although many are struggling to use it “enterprise-wide” as a discipline (especially in terms of agile development methods). BPM is at a similar place in terms of BPM being implemented on selected processes identified as having low hanging fruit value to the business, but cross-organizational or enterprise-wide BPM is in use in less than perhaps 5% of organizations. And, finally, MDM is even newer; and while arguably the most important of the three for future new business opportunities and agility, it is perhaps 5-10 years away from being ready for adoption by most mainstream IT organizations. Moreover, MDM tool suites and solutions are primarily delivered in silos around domains of data like ‘customer’ or ‘product’; the more integrated (enterprise-wide) MDM solutions are even less mature.
How then should cross-initiative collaboration be accomplished in light of these maturity issues and the desire for more enterprise-wide sharing of benefits to the organization?
IMHO, collaboration first and foremost has to start with enterprise-wide planning of solutions within an enterprise solution architecture team. This team is new to most organizations, but it is critical for identifying where collaboration between the initiatives makes the most sense – both now (opportunistically) based on immediate needs, and later (strategically) based on future plans and needs. This is the most pragmatic way to plan the transition from project-oriented BOM, SOA and MDM to more enterprise-wide unification of these intiatives.
Net: Staffing the enterprise solution architecture team – whether with enterprise architects experienced in planning the future solution architecture (best practice) or subject-matter expert analysts who simply talk to one another regarding their project plans (still better than having uncoordinated initiatives) – is the best practice for optimizing the return on investment of the BPM, SOA and MDM initiatives.
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