Building Business Capability Conference: Rules and Process and Analysis, Oh My!

After a welcome by Gladys Lam, the conference kicked off with a keynote by Ron Ross, Kathleen Barret and Roger Burlton, chairs of the three parts of the conference: Business Rules Forum, Business Analysis Forum and Business Process Forum. This is the first time that these three conferences have come together, although last year BPF emerged as more than just a special interest track at BRF, and it makes a lot of sense to see them together when you consider the title of the conference: Business Business Capability.

The keynote was done as a bit of a panel, with each of the three providing a view on the challenges facing organizations today, the capabilities required to tackle these challenges, and how this conference can help you to take these on. Some themes:

  • Lack of agility is a major challenge facing organizations today. To become more agile, design for change, including techniques like externalizing rules from processes and applications for late binding.
  • Consider effectiveness before efficiency, i.e., make sure that you’re doing the right thing before seeking to optimize it. In the vein of “doing the right thing”, we need to change corporate culture to focus on customer service.
  • Structured business vocabularies are important for effectiveness, including things like rules vocabularies and BPMN. Roger pointed out that we need to keep things simple within the usage of these vocabularies, and jokingly challenged us to create a valid process model containing all 100+ BPMN elements.
  • The business analyst’s role will transform in the next five years as process, rules and decision tools converge and business architecture gains more significant. BAs need to step up to the challenge of using these tools and related methodologies, not just write requirements, and need to be able to assess return on investment of previous business decisions to assist with future directions.
  • There is no conflict between the rules and process domains, they’re complementary. I often joke that business process people want to embed all rules into their process maps and just turn them into big decision trees, whereas business rules people want the business process to have a single step that calls a rules system, but the truth is somewhere in between. I’ve written and presented a lot about how rules and process should work together, and know that using them together can significantly increase business process agility.
  • It’s not about aligning business and IT, it’s about aligning business strategy with IT capability. Don’t focus on delivering IT systems, focus on delivering business solutions.

Julian Sammy of IIBA tweeted that he was recording the keynote and will put some of it up on YouTube and the IIBA site, so watch for that if you want to see the highlights on video. You can also follow the conference Twitter stream at #bbc2010.

3 thoughts on “Building Business Capability Conference: Rules and Process and Analysis, Oh My!

  1. Sandy, totally agree with your last comment “It’s not about aligning business and IT, it’s about aligning business strategy with IT capability. Don’t focus on delivering IT systems, focus on delivering business solutions.”

    It’s rather sad how many miss this simple concept – IT is merely an enabler for the business strategy, but so many times I see the technology tail wagging the business dog!

  2. I often see the technology tail wagging the business dog, unfortunately: IT departments, especially in large organizations, get so big that they lose sight of the fact that they exist to serve the business.

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