BPM Think Tank Day 1: Organizational Modelling

I switched over to the business stream for the discussion on OSM and BMM by Lance Gibbs of BP-3.

BMM (Business Motivational Metamodel) establishes a common structure for business planning, including business strategy and execution. It aligns the defined goals to the influencers that help or hinder achieving these goals, and considers business rules to be a major governance instrument that needs to be employed. The last point was a bit surprising, until Gibbs pointed out that this specification comes from the Business Rules Group to OMG. In retrospect, however, I can see that BMM is addressing some essential bits of enterprise architecture that have long been ignored: In Zachman terms, the top 2 or 3 rows of column 6 (remember, I’m Column 2, so rarely go this far to the right) covering business goals/strategies, business objectives, and business rules. It’s all about the ends and the means, terms that repeat in each cell of that Motivation column in EA models. It’s interesting to point out, however, that this upper right corner of the Zachman framework are often ignored because the concepts of motivation are a bit fuzzy; since EA is often owned by IT (even though it should be more cross-functional), it would be their natural preference to deal with the left-most columns and the lower rows.

OSM (Organizational Structure Metamodel) helps to manage work resources that don’t fall into the old hierarchical models. This includes business rules, roles and responsibilities, formal organizational relationships, effective dates, authority chains, qualification definitions and all of the concepts around the extended enterprise in this highly-distributed world. As I mentioned in one of today’s earlier posts, OSM ties into business processes as the resources that service those processes.

I’m completely new to BMM and OSM, having never heard of the specific acronyms before this morning, but the value is immediately apparent. These two are covered together because they represent part of the spectrum from strategy to the operational processes that can help to achieve that strategy. This directly addresses the issue of becoming a process-centric organization, since both of these span functional areas to manage processes end to end, and more importantly, decouple work management from the organizational hierarchy.

Lombardi is one of the contributor to OSM, and they’ve started to introduce some of these concepts into the resources definition functionality within their TeamWorks product: Gibbs showed a few screenshots from this to illustrate concepts such as task routing relative to the current organization chart (parent/child) rather than to a specific role or person, and dynamic task assignment based on business rules. Consider also the impact of including organizational models like this on simulation and what-if analysis, such as the ability to find weaknesses and bottlenecks in the organizational structure as well as the business processes.

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