How to Identify Core Elements of BPM?

The framework to be identified has to comprehensively structure those elements of BPM that need to be addressed when following a holistic understanding of BPM, i. e., BPM as an organizational capability and not just as the execution of the tasks along an individual process lifecycle (identify, model, analyze, improve, implement, execute, monitor, and change). This requires an organization-wide perspective and the identification of the core capability areas that are relevant for successful BPM. We, thus, base our work on BPM maturity models that have been subject to former research (Roeglinger et al. 2012; van Looy 2014).

Recently, a number of models to decompose and measure the maturity of Business Process Management have been proposed as shown in Fig. 1.

The basis for the greater part of these maturity models has been the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) developed by the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. This model was originally developed in order to assess the maturity of software development processes and is based on the concept of immature and mature software organizations. The basis for applying the model is confirmed by Paulk et al. (1993) who stated that improved maturity results “in an increase in the process capability of the organization”. CMM introduces the concept of five maturity levels defined by special requirements that are cumulative.




Process Condition Model

Effectiveness and efficiency measurement to rate a process' condition

DeToro and McCabe (1997)

Strategic Alignment Maturity Model

Maturity of strategic alignment

Luftman (2003)

BPR Maturity Model

Business Process Reengineering Programmes

Maull et al. (2003)

Harmon's BPM Maturity Model

BPM maturity model based on the CMM

Harmon (2003, 2004)

Rummler-Brache Group's Process Maturity Model

Success factors for managing key business processes

Rummler-Brache (2004)

OMG's BPM Maturity Model

Practices applied to the management of discrete processes

Curtis et al., (2004); OMG (2008)

Rosemann and de Bruin's BPM Maturity Model

Maturity of Business Process Management capabilities

Rosemann; de Bruin (2005); de Bruin (2009)

Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)

Maturity of software development processes

SEI (2006a, 2006b)

Hammer's BPM Maturity Model (Process Audit)

Defining process and enterprise competencies

Hammer (2007)

Fig. 1 Selected maturity models in BPM

Among others, Harmon (2004) developed a BPM maturity model based on the CMM (Harmon 2003). In a similar way, Fisher (2004) combines five “levels of change” with five states of maturity. Smith and Fingar (2004) argue that a CMM-based maturity model, which postulates well-organized and repeatable processes, cannot capture the need for business process innovation. Further, BPM maturity models have been designed by the Business Process Management Group (BPMG) and the TeraQuest/Borland Software (Curtis et al. 2004) that is now supported by the OMG (2008).

Curtis and Alden (2006) take a prescriptive approach to process management. This model combines a number of process areas by either applying a staged or a continuous approach. Progress through the stages is dependent on all requirements of preceding and completed stages. Some discretion is allowed at lower stages using the continuous approach but it largely evolves around the order in which the process areas are addressed. Hammer (2007), likewise, adopts a prescriptive approach (the “Process Audit”) defining a number of process and enterprise competencies. Hammer also demands that all aspects of a stage are to be completed before progressing to higher stages of maturity.

One shortcoming of the universalistic approaches adopted by Curtis and Alden (2006) and Hammer (2007) is that they seem to be more appropriate for relatively narrow domains and do not capture various aspects of an organization sufficiently (Sabherwal et al. 2001). A further critique of these BPM maturity models has been the simplifying focus, the limited reliability in the assessment, and the lack of actual (and documented) applications of these models leading to limited empirical validations.

A proposal to divide organizations into groups with regard to their grade and progression of BPM implementation was made by Pritchard and Armistead (1999). The Rummler–Brache Group commissioned a study, which used ten success factors gaging how well an organization manages its key business processes (RummlerBrache Group 2004). The results have been consolidated in a Process Performance Index. Pritchard and Armistead (1999) provide a proposal for how to divide organizations into groups depending on their grade and progression of BPM implementation.

In an attempt to define maturity of BPR programs, Maull et al. (2003) encountered problems in that they could not use objective measures. They define BPM by using two dimensions, an objective measure (time, team size, etc.) and a “weighting for readiness to change” (Maull et al. 2003). This approach, however, turned out to be too complex for measurement. Therefore, they chose a phenomenological approach assessing the organization's perception of their maturity, using objective measures as a guideline. Another example of how to define maturity (or in their case “process condition”) is provided by DeToro and McCabe (1997), who used two dimensions (effectiveness and efficiency) to rate a process' condition. These models show that a clear distinction should be made between process maturity models (“How advanced are our processes?”) and Business Process Management maturity models (“How advanced is the organization in managing its business processes?”).

In addition to these dedicated process and BPM maturity models, a number of models have been proposed that study and structure the maturity of single elements of BPM. An example is Luftman's (2003) maturity model for strategic alignment which serves as a foundation of Strategic Alignment in BPM (Luftman 2014).

As our base for identifying the core elements of BPM, we have used Rosemann and de Bruin's (2005) BPM maturity model (de Bruin 2009). This BPM maturity model was selected for a number of reasons:

• First, it was developed on the contemporary understanding of BPM as a holistic management approach.

• Second, it is based on a sound academic development process. Starting with an in-depth and comprehensive literature review, the experiences and preliminary versions of three previous BPM maturity models have been consolidated. The model has been validated, refined, and specified through a series of international Delphi studies involving global BPM thought leaders (de Bruin and Rosemann 2007). A number of detailed case studies in various industries further contributed to the validation and deeper understanding of the model (de Bruin 2009).

• Third, the model distinguishes factors and capability areas on two levels of

abstraction. This hierarchical structure allows different types of granularity in the analysis. As a result, definitions of the factors and capability areas are available and provide a basis for consistent interpretation (Rosemann et al. 2006; de Bruin 2009).

• Fourth and finally, the model has been applied within a number of organizations by means of documented case studies including embedded surveys and workshops (Rosemann and de Bruin 2004; Rosemann et al. 2004; de Bruin and Rosemann 2006; de Bruin 2009). Hence, the core elements have been validated and proven to be of practical relevance in real life projects.

Using this maturity model to identify the six core elements of BPM, we do not explicitly elaborate on the maturity assessment process and the various maturity stages of this model. Rather we take a static view and discuss the six capability areas as core elements of BPM.

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